Back in April, Riot Games announced that it was working on a number of ways to improve the League of Legends matchmaking experience – namely through harsher punishments for queue dodgers and AFK’ers. Now, the studio is making some changes to its initial approach, while also “investigating targeted enhancements” to the autofill system.
Competitive team design lead Jordan ‘BarackProbama’ Checkman yesterday shared some of the data Riot has been using to improve matchmaking – particularly in high elo – in a blog post. The data shows that, in Diamond I+, a third of all games are currently being dodged.
BarackProbama says that when a player dodges in the top tiers of the LoL ranks, “already-long queue times get even worse and match quality goes down because the matchmaker has to pull from a wider skill range to fill open positions.”
With the mantra that “dodging gets everyone into matches more slowly, and the matches are worse” in mind, Riot is now gradually introducing further measures to deter people from quitting out of lobbies across the board – especially the 1.6% of players who dodge three or more times per day.
— Jordan Checkman (@CestDommage) July 6, 2021
Additionally, Riot is also looking to stop ARAM players from skipping out on games should they not roll their ideal pick. Here’s how the new punishment tiers for Summoner’s Rift, ARAM, and their limited time modes will eventually look, with the rollout beginning from patch 11.15.
|LP Penalty (in ranked)
|720 minutes (12 hours)
|720 minutes (12 hours)
To help “legitimate dodgers” – those who have perhaps been held hostage in a lobby by trolls – Riot is also changing how its dodge punishment tiers reset. Before, dodge tiers would completely reset every 24 hours. Now, the dodge tier will drop by one every 12 hours, with the aim of getting players back into games quicker. Riot has also promised further punishments for said hostage-takers in the future.
Although punitive measures may prove effective deterrents, Riot has also acknowledged that it needs to do more to get to the root causes of why people dodge in the first place. With the autofill system being a large contributor to dodging, BarackProbama says the team is looking into the possibility of ‘autofill parity’.
“We’re investigating targeted enhancements to matchmaking that will prioritize both teams having the same roles autofilled, not just the same number of players,” he says. “This is an improvement that didn’t make it into last year’s general matchmaking updates, but with the added urgency around the dodging issue, we’re reprioritizing it now.”
The difference between a team having a mid lane main autofilled top, and another having a mid lane main autofilled into the jungle is pretty massive, so should this change materialise it could have a real positive impact on the quality of matches.