Elo is gone! That's good right?
Riot has announced a new plan that removes the current elo ladder system and replaces it with a new league system. Is this a good thing for the game? Does it make anyone who didn't play ranked, actually want too? Ranked is an extremely hostile environment, is this new change actually going to make it so I don't get insulted, trolled, flamed and berated? I am absolutely sure the last bit will not stop, but there is a lot to consider what the removal of everyone's elo number means.
So leagues are finally in League of Legends.
For those out of the loop, Riot is introducing a new system in place of the old elo number by your name. Your still going to be sorted into groups based on your skill, your still fighting to go up in the ladder, but the way the system works has a lot of subtle changes. You will compete in your sorting matches like before to determine your approximate skill but from there you will be sorted into a "League" or group of people of similar skill and compete almost solely against people inside that grouping. I am told this is similar to how Starcraft 2 does their leagues, but I am unfamiliar with that system. So I have no previous love or hate of the system and would love to hear your thoughts on it. Here are some of the bigger changes and their impacts.
You play against the same people regularly
When I watch streams, I am a little jealous how the players at the top of that ladder interact. They all know each other and play against each other regularly. Everyone knows that Scarra is a mid player and Dyrus plays top and knows what they can play. We aren't that good or on pro-teams, but if you play with the same people often, they get to know you. They will learn what you can play and what you do well over time. No more constantly playing with people who you don't know and couldn't care less about. Well, you might still not care, but you should be happy to see that fantastic AD player you have seen before on your team. Then cry a little when you see him on the other team. We all get a taste of what it is like to play in a setting like the pro's do, just not nearly as skilled. Plus, people are less likely to troll/anger/berate people they know.
Elo is no more!
Sort of anyway. The matchmaking system will still use a sort of elo to determine your skill rating, but it will no longer display it on your profile page. Effectively you still play for elo, but the removal of the big number on your profile is a big psychological change. For a lot of people, that number was their skill and essentially their worth in league of legends. Every win, every loss, played on that basic value and was a cause for the rage you oftentimes ran into. The other part was that it was a simple way to gauge people. Ever gotten into an argument with someone and their first question was "What's your elo?" If your answer isn't satisfactory, they will rebuff you for being inferior to them. Of course if you answer higher they might lie or just ignore it. Either way, elo was a quick and very simple way to gauge skill. Too simple really. Your elo is in a state of flux due to your ability level at any given day and your win/losses. So your elo is really more a range, like 1400-1600, than just any absolute number at any point. Now your in a league with people who have the same variation. People will ask what league your in, but at least it isn't an absolute number they can poke at.
Winning is rewarded, Losing isn't a punishment
Easily one of the most infuriating things about the elo system was about how losing punished you. Every game was essentially a tournament game against your advancement. Imagine your about to advance to gold, you've played well recently and your one game away. Things go well, but everything falls apart at the last minute and you lose. You bitch, moan and swear at your incompetent teammates but the match is over. Due to your loss, you now need two wins to get to gold and one just to get where you were. Then you lose again, and again. Each time forcing you to win more games to get not only ahead, but back to your previous number. This is how the system is designed to work, you move and down around your true elo. But this system visually and psychologically sucks. Now, I get LP for winning and a chance at moving up through a series of games. Not one chance each time I am on the edge of moving up.
Clarity and Goal Setting
What is the most asked question across all of league of legends? Does "How do I raise my elo?" sound familiar? Well, the answer now is, win games, get LP, win series, advance. Bam, simple to understand system of progression in the ranks. Sure you are supposed to actually get better at the game, but how to progress is clear and easy to understand, past just winning every game. Each time you advance, you have a new target and there are more milestones to be excited about! Nothing feels better than moving up in the ranks, but advancing from silver to gold, to platinum can take a very long time with little to be excited about until you get there. Your sights can now be set a lot more reasonably.
I like Leagues in my League of Legends.
I personally am looking forward to seeing what will transpire with this new system. I believe it will be a positive impact on the game and community. Or at the very least, I will not punish myself and my teammates for wanting to play Karma mid. What? Don't look at me like that! I like Karma!
Edit: It appears an FAQ came out after I wrote this post. My original understanding was based on the reddit AMA and original announcement. So....Basically the loss of ELO is the only real change. It is still the same system as before, only with more ranking matches to change tiers. You still are not punished nearly as hard for losing a game, but you are punished. Now my enthusiasm has changed to despair, as this seems almost more grinding than the original system. Plus, your still playing with random people from all across the spectrum, which is rather disappointing. My goof on the article being inaccurate as it was based on outdated and incomplete information.
Most of the article still applies however as there ARE some real changes in the perception, just not as much as I had hoped.