What’s Next for Ranked

An update to Ranked Distribution, promos, and the introduction of a new Ranked tier.

Hi folks, I’m Riot Auberaun, Product Lead for the Game Loop team, here to talk about how the Ranked season has been going from our perspective this year. We knew going into this year it’d be a bit different with a mid-year reset, so let’s review each change:

  • Promotion Series from best of 5 to best of 3: We wanted to let promotion series resolve more quickly, which this change accomplished. We liked what this did, so coming up they’ll be resolving even faster, maybe even instantly. Riot Revenancer has the details below.
  • Removing visible rank influence in matchmaking: We still believe this was the right move for returning players (basically anyone not playing a bunch of games at season start), but have heard you on the pain of more smurfs in your games. We knowingly made the tradeoff of more smurfs in regular games for the returning player experience with this change, but definitely aren’t happy with the current impact of smurfing.
  • Victorious Skin and New Rewards Track: We’ve still got some time to go, so we don’t have an official take on how these have landed yet. More free rewards are good though, right? I’d also like to officially announce that the Victorious Skin for Season 2023 - Split 1 will be Victorious Anivia.

Earlier in the season during 13.4 we made it easier to move both up and down in rank so that your ranked journey is more eventful. We accomplished this, but with a few side effects that we’re evaluating. Increasing LP variance shortened the initial journey to your rank, where you can start to experience LP losses that are greater than LP wins if your MMR isn’t near the level of the rank you’re trying to climb to. This is a really bad experience we want to address, but it does serve an important purpose: preventing rank inflation and maintaining ladder integrity.

“But Riot!” you say, “The ladder is inflated!” It is accurate that there are more players at high ranks, but important to note that we didn’t change the MMR requirements to sustain those ranks between 2022 and 2023. With the faster LP progression, players are reaching places they would end up anyway over time, just more quickly. That said, the original design of Master+ didn’t account for such a high population, and it has been steadily increasing over the years. There’s probably improvement to make to the progression experience when the next milestone for a Master tier player is Grandmaster at 800 LP away, and it’s important that this level of play is perceived as prestigious. At the end of the day though, if you’re in the top 0.5% of… really anything a lot of people do, you are really good at it.

Next, Riot Revenancer will reveal what’s coming up as we walk down the yellow brick road to Split 2.

What’s Coming Next

Hello! I’m Riot Revenancer, Systems Lead for our Motivations initiative. As this is the first time we’ll be resetting ranks during the season we wanted to explain exactly what’s going to happen and our reasoning behind it. To start, I need to talk about our philosophy on ranked and how it’s shifting.

Historically, League has had a very bottom-heavy distribution of rankings. Setting aside Iron at the bottom and Diamond+ at the top, most other competitive ranked games have the equivalents of Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum roughly similar in size. This means that Bronze and Silver represent below average/average, while Gold and Platinum represent above average and very good players respectively. However, our ranks have typically biased low, with more than 60% of players typically in Silver and Bronze. Currently in League, many Silver players are actually above average in skill, while Gold players are significantly above average.

You can think of it like this: compared to most games with similar ranking systems, we label a significant portion of players one tier lower. We’re changing that in Split 2 and distributions are going to move to a more even percentage split, centering around gold. With this change, ranks should better match the meaning you’ve come to expect elsewhere—and many players will see their end rank be higher than before.

That’s the story for the main ranks, but what about Diamond and above? It’s important to us that the highest ranks retain the exclusivity and prestige they’ve historically had, so we’re NOT changing anything about how those ranks are distributed. That said, flattening the curve without compensating somehow would result in significant inflation in Diamond. In order to mitigate this we’re adding a new rank: Emerald, which you may recognize from League of Legends: Wild Rift. Emerald rank will live between Diamond and Platinum and represents a roughly similar percentage of players as Platinum does today.

(>10 Ranked Games played)

So now that we’re clear on the philosophy shift, how are we going to be resetting ranks between splits? We’re doing what we’re calling a partial reset. This works like the typical resets you’re used to but with your initial reset being smaller than usual, effectively starting you at a higher rank than you would have started at in prior resets.

In addition, we’ve added a couple extra features to smooth your ability to move through ranks you climbed in Split 1:

We’re lowering placement games from 10 to 5.

As you’ve already gone through placements once this season and we’re resetting the ladder more gently, we can determine starting rank more quickly and save you the extra time before getting to laddering up. While the rationale for this change is related to the mid year reset, we’re going to be keeping it at 5 placements as well for next season.

We are removing promotion series.

Promotion series have long been a divisive element of the ranked climb. Promotion Series were meant to add drama and stakes to import moments in your League Career. While they certainly did this, they also created situations where players would bounce off them multiple times, stalling their climb and creating frustration. After looking at how frequently players are likely to be playing them with more climbing and two splits in a year, we’ve decided that the stress of repeatedly running through promotion series for ranks you may have earned before outweighs the benefits of having that significant series of games. Starting next split, you’ll be able to move directly through tiers whenever you’ve accumulated enough LP.

Since that’s a lot of words, a closing TL;DR:

  • We’re flattening the rank curve—the meaning of each rank will be closer to what you expect ranks to mean, and most players will find themselves at a higher tier than before.
  • We’re adding a new rank, Emerald, between Platinum and Diamond.
  • We’re resetting ranks, but less than usual and you’ll only need to do 5 placement games.
  • Promotion series are gone.

Thanks for reading and good luck with your (second) climb!