Monday, March 25, 2013

Welcome to the Platinum Club

I remember the first post I wrote very clearly, even to this date. It was one of absolute frustration and hatred towards myself and this game. However, I did not give up because I held myself to a higher standard and I believed that I deserved this recognition. Today, I hit a long time goal of Platinum Tier in League of Legends solo queue. Although I do not attach much worth to this division as, time and time again, solo queue has proven itself to be a place where skill is made up and ELO does not matter, I find it rewarding to know that I have achieved a certain rank after the two years I have been playing this game. 

Oh, and I just happen to beat popular streamer Destiny during my promotion series too. 

With the introduction of Season 3 and the new 'tier / division system,' I struggled to hit platinum as I consistently fell from Gold I to Gold II only to quickly climb back to Gold I. Perhaps this has something to do with how I always go on winning streaks or losing streaks depending if I play in a good mood or on tilt. However, there is something I want to say about this new tier system implemented by Riot. This new system was the worst thing to happen to determining solo queue ranks. 

I am not arguing that the new system does not make ladder less fun, in fact I believe that it makes laddering more challenging and interactive instead of it being a straight zero to one hundred grind. However, for determining actual ranking amongst players in a game it is a terrible system. Riot attempted to learn from Starcraft II's laddering system when creating their new system but they failed to understand one thing - Starcraft II is not a team game. Albeit, there are team game modes on Starcraft II but they are not as popular or relevant as the solo ladder; some would even call it completely irrelevant. 

So what is the difference between the current system and the previous one? Well, for starters it does not average games appropriately. In the previous system, when one won a game in solo queue they would go up one games worth of rating, except during placements; when one lost a game in solo queue they would go down one games worth of rating. Although there was an existence of 'troll' players, these players would only be able to take one games worth of rating away from you. Furthermore, if one does not consider themselves to be a 'troll' player then there is always a higher chance of the enemy team getting more 'troll' players than your team. 

In the current system, certain games are attributed to be worth more rating than other games. when you are about to drop or rise a tier, these games are fundamentally worth more than other games. Losing these games, makes you lose five to ten games worth of rating. Moreover, players cannot drop divisions so someone who has lost 100 games at Platinum 5, could still be considered a Platinum player. As I said before, the new system is an absolute abomination of a creation when you consider it's main job is to determine a rating for a team game. Players who were 'trolled' in the previous system could still determine their true rating as it would average out in the end; however, in the current system it creates a situation where your rank can be enormously influenced by chance in the short-run. 

Don't get me wrong. I think this system is a great system - just not for League of Legends. In Starcraft II, where the system originated from, the solo ladder was not a team game and there is a zero probably for chance to determine a game. A player loses because he lost under the set parameters of a game, nothing out of the players control influenced the loss; however, in League of Legends the existence of 'trolls' can be a factor that influences a loss.  

Although I have said that the current system is absolutely terrible for determining actual rating efficiently, I still do not believe it is impossible to rise purely because of the existence of 'trolls' and this system. A player who deserves to rise, will rise. Period. There is no ELO hell. It is simply a myth that players create to reason their poor rating and play. Players who deserve to rise will simply take longer than before to rise. 

I beg anyone who thinks they are in 'ELO hell' to simply watch the video above and to truly consider why you have been losing (Warning: This video is rage inducing, I almost got a rage-coma) . There has always been a take I had on Solo Queue, albeit I am not the best Solo Queue player, which may help anyone who is considering to play this cesspool of a game mode. Remember, you can only control what you do, nothing more nothing less, so always focus on how to better your play. You may not be able to win this game, but if you did well and you fix the mistakes you made on this game you will be able to help and win future games. That is the key to solo queue: focus on your own mistakes and the long-run. People who believe in 'ELO hell' are suffering from a common cognitive bias called the Dunning-Kruger effect, where they believe they are actually superior to everyone around them. They fail to realize their own mistakes and remedy them, as such they will never become better players and truly deserve to rise in rating. 

So now we come to the final question that everyone wants the answer to. What do you do in Solo Queue to win? How do you influence the game to ensure that your team has a higher chance to win? What is the difference between you and me when we are both playing this game and why do you win when I lose?

Besides focusing on my own mistakes and never making them in future games, I tend to try to pick roles that put me into a the shoes of a decision maker. Assuming you deserve to rise and you are actually a better player, you should be able to make the proper decisions for your team. You can't control how much CS your top laner has by 10 minutes, but you can control when he will go into a team fight (after you initiate). Carrying does not mean to put up a huge score and have a ton of gold; there are many players who lose with huge scores. Carrying means to make the proper decisions for your team so that you only force favourable plays that you will win for sure. If you have ever started a fight and thought "we might not win this" or "why did I initiate here," you deserve to lose that game. Carrying means telling everyone to sit outside baron put while you pink ward baron and catch someone checking it. Carrying means making the right dragon calls so your team does not get killed while doing an early dragon. Carrying means initiating the fight on that twelve kill Vayne because she mis-stepped for half a second and you caught her for it.

After this long read, I commend you for actually reading this and thank you. I realize I may sound pretentious as I am only a platinum player; however, Solo Queue is not a place of skill, nor is rating a determinant of skill especially in this current system. I hope the next time I write another article about success in solo queue it will be when I join the diamond club. Although as my favourite pro player, TheOddOne, has proven, diamond is not something to be proud about. 


  1. Thoroughly enjoyable read! I started reading your blog about a week after starting LoL (roughly a month ago). Your articles have been incredibly beneficial for a new player seeking to sponge in as much information as possible. Thanks!

    1. Thank you! It means a lot to me, that I am able to help at least one person :)

  2. Really nice read, thanks for posting.

    Out of interest can you explain the bit you said about 'trolls' causing losses that are the same as losing five games?

    As I understood the system the rate of change of LP, both up and down, is based on the Elo difference of the two teams. If you lose to a team with a good 'troll' player in their ranks their rating should be higher than yours, so the rate of negative change for the loss should be low. Or have I missed something?

    1. For sure.

      The case of where 'trolls' influence more than one game really effects those on the border of divisions. For example, a player who has silver 'skill' who is in bronze division will understand the effects the most. While they deserve to be in silver, they do not have the skill to win out 90% of the games. Instead, they have the skill to win out 60%. When they hit their series, they have the ability to win 2/5 games and lose 2/5 games. When they hit their last game (or any game for the matter) they can be influenced by trolls to automatically lose the last game. Thus, it takes a lot longer for players to be able to accurately represent their skill in their division, unlike the previous system where one game is only worth one game. If you lose the last game due to a random factor, you lose the whole series and LP. Thus, you lose the equivalent of ~50-60 LP (50 games then -10 LP to 90 LP min.)

      That being said, over a very long period of time, the exemplified bronze player will be able to get to silver. However, in the new system, it may take a lot longer.

    2. I see what you mean, promotion is a bit of an artificial blocker to you seeing the benefit of your ratings rise.

      Thanks for replying :)