Dynamic Queue is quite possibly the most controversial topic in the history of the League of Legends. It’s affects every player that plays the game, from casual all the way up to the professional ranks. Riot Games believes that the ability to team up with any number of friends to play ranked is only benefitting the players. The only risk is to harming the experience for the players absolute top of the ranked ladder.
The main argument against dynamic queue is that players feel the worth of their rank has diminished because the ability to be “boosted” by playing with higher ranked players. In theory, a player can ride up the ladder solely because of his or her friends instead of actually improving at the game.
Riot has stated that in the data that it’s gathered, a big thing that players want to be implemented to improve the experience of League is the ability to play ranked with friends. The ability to be boosted will and has always existed, and is theoretically easier to do now in dynamic queue, but overall the prevalence of boosting isn’t actually high. Smurf accounts are discouraged by Riot, but not able to be banned due simply to the sheer ease of creating a fresh account, as the game is free to play. Matchmaking also has many ways to identify smurfs, which is much more of a problem in pre level 30 games. The matchmaking algorithm for ranked play tries to optimize the highest quality games, so boosting and smurf accounts will not be as much of a breeze as first conceived.
While the arguments can go back and forth in the actual effectiveness of the matchmaking algorithm and the perceived worth of a person’s rank, this leads to the first real major problem that is readily observable: extremely high queue times for highly ranked players. This has led to a good number of top players to look to another solution. The Tournament Realm server is the server pros download when forced to play games online, mostly Challenger Series matches. However, the server is readily available to all the League Championship Series and Challenger players at any time, and they are able to create custom games to host in-house matches against each other.
The pros seemed mixed on the best way to practice, though TR appears to have made at least somewhat of an improvement. Here are the takes of three LCS players on the situation:
Austin “Gate” Yu, Phoenix1: “There’s a lot about the whole system now that’s a little weird. For me, personally, I tried tournament realm, solo queue. It’s basically just a custom game lobby that you kind of sign up for. It’s just a little crazy. There’s not too many games going on at the same time, so there’s generally some peak times where everybody is done with scrims and they want to play. But it’s still more convenient to queue up on the normal live client and play with random people. It’s actually a big problem now because although they’ve said they’d resolve some issues with dynamic queue, mostly I think the biggest problem is queue time, and there’s no real way to lower that if pros are playing on NA TR. So I think it’s just lose-lose situation for the pros because there’s no easy solution. I’m sure dynamic queue for all the other ranges of players, it works just fine. At the top tier play, it’s all messed up.”
Anthony “Hard” Barkhovtsev, Echo Fox: “The best solution is to play in Tournament Realm with the other good players. You can definitely see a difference when you queue up in solo queue. Most of the good players have left and play mostly in Tournament Realm. I don’t even know most of the players in my game when I queue up for solo queue anymore. Even NACS players can play in tournament realm. Pretty much, if they can’t find a game in Tournament Realm then they will just play another game or something to burn time. The games in Tournament Realm are just miles ahead of anything else right now.”
Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin, Immortals: “Out of the scrims, we have like four or so hours. Most people play solo queue most of the time. Now a lot of people are playing in house. I think people are also still playing solo queue. I think the most efficient way to practice outside of scrims in the in house game because the games are really high quality. We even have voice talk when we do it, even though we are on different teams and just play as competitive as we can. If you want to chill, you play solo queue, if you want to try a new champ, you play solo queue. If you want to practice for stage, you go in-house game.”
Reignover’s comment that the pros are even using voice communication in TR games is interesting because that adds a much higher quality to the games being played over there. With this in mind, how can any pro player have any incentive to play on the regular servers? As Hard said, they now just play another game or just do something else to pass the time between scrims and TR games.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games.