League of Legends’ North American Champion’s Queue has become a heated topic over the past weeks, as the dedicated environment implemented to help maximise the quality of high elo and pro player practice has seen a progressive decline in users. After plenty of feedback from “pros, teams, media, and fans”, Champion’s Queue project lead Zack ‘Riot Whoopley’ Elliot has today offered his thoughts on its current iteration, as well as sharing what’s next for the queue.
In the LoL Esports article published today, Riot Whoopley says there are four major pain points which the Champion’s Queue team has discussed with the LCS Players Association, the Amateur & Academy Committee, and other Riot teams internally: ‘Split schedule’, ‘Match quality’, ‘Limited players & role disparity’, and ‘voice comms’.
To ensure pros get the opportunity to rest up between splits, Champion’s Queue Split 3 will be cancelled, with the CQ Summer Season now kicking off on May 31, which will see it run until August 21.
“We anticipate that when we bring Champion’s Queue back in late-May, it will line up with when players start scrimming again to prepare for the LCS Summer Split and will have an ample number of players looking to participate,” says Riot Whoopley.
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Following criticisms of the lack of dedicated MMR system from pros such as league veteran Darshan ‘Darshan’ Upadhyaya, Riot Whoopley says the team is “continuing to explore the implementation of such a system”. While he does concede that an MMR system will “increase average queue time”, the feedback from players has indicated that they are ok with this tradeoff to ensure better quality matches.
The greatest amount of space within the article is allocated to discussing the dearth of players currently taking part in CQ. The “short answer” offered by the developer is that Riot will be inviting players from the two upcoming Proving Grounds Qualifiers – provided they meet the Grandmaster rank threshold – to bolster the numbers.
Of course, simply adding new players to the queue isn’t enough, as role bottleneck is another area Riot is paying special attention to. Following the addition of a ‘Roles Needed’ UI during the Spring Season to ensure players can flag which roles are needed for a game to be generated, Riot Whoopley says the studio will continue monitoring the issue as new players enter the queue.
Finally, on the topic of voice comms, Riot Whoopley says that, because “there’s a lot of pressure to win every game due to the prizing as well as pressure in the user experience of Champion’s Queue that makes it very difficult for players to feel comfortable opting out of voice comms”, Riot is now exploring a version of CQ where players have to opt-in to voice comms instead of opting out.
Whether or not these changes will be sufficient to bring players back to Champion’s Queue remains to be seen, but nonetheless it has been worrying to see the queue gradually fall out of favour since its launch.