Normal draft is pretty much dead at least for the highest of "elos." See there has always been a normal elo but it is hidden. The highest of the highest players tend to play vs each other if they queue up for normal draft. It was fun while it lasted sure but then it slowly started deteriorating. It was a mix of failures from the system and personal issues with almost everyone that played cropping up and causing a wave of butthurt.
The first section will detail some of the failures and inconsistencies of the system and will be written rather normally. The second section is the personal one and I will not restrain my language. I will withhold all names so I hope you can keep up with the story I'm telling. Keep in mind that just because I warned the readers about my language doesn't mean it's a rage fest. It just means that I'd rather just write it as I go.
The Confusing System
Well as I already mentioned in the introduction, normal elo exists and it, in some way, determines who you end up vs in normal draft. This combined with a lot of other issues greatly screw people with high normal elos. I don't even know how it is calculated anymore. Blind pick seems rather unaffected because of the number of players and that brings up the first big issue.
No one plays normal draft. There aren't enough players playing draft mode normals and thus the players that try to queue for normal draft (at least high normal elo) have the most obscene queue times. When I queued up with friends we literally had queue times over 40 minutes long more than often. It got to the point where people stop caring enough and would leave after several minutes of waiting and thus causing a domino effect of people just not playing period. If, after 20 minutes, one player leaves then another player would consider leaving and thus no one even played. God help you if someone queue dodges. It gets even better and by better I mean worse.
Matchmaking is a real mess in normal draft and probably in normals in general. The biggest issue is that we don't know exactly how normal matchmaking works. We are told it has a few factors that are different than draft but we aren't told what exactly. To make matters worse even if we did know the factors, we wouldn't even be able to know how to put them together. We don't know how to check our numbers easily or we can't do it at all. We can't check our wins over losses until after a game for starters. We can't check our normal elo. We can't check our combined group elo to see if we either drag the team up or drag it down. Matchmaking screws high normal elo players. If they group up with a team that has a few lower elo players then they run the risk of either getting into a game vs players that are far stronger than their weaker allies and thus it just becomes unfun and tedious for them or they end up fighting opponents that are the level of their weaker allies and they just end having an easy time and perhaps making it not fun for everyone. The next important factor is rather personal but I will talk about that in a bit.
I don't know how matchmaking it works. All we do know is that it apparently looks for opponents with the same team number and relative elo to yours. Seeing as there are few high normal elo full groups playing at all times you can imagine how hard it is to find players. Sometimes it makes no sense and throws your incomplete team against a complete team. The system is unpredictable.
There aren't many solutions that can be suggested to help out normal draft because of the almost universal drama with everyone but there are things that can help somewhat. It would be great if we could actually have the entire matchmaking system for normals detailed to us and be given enough to at least give ourselves some sort of idea of what bracket we are in instead of just guessing. It would also help if we were able to see the bracket he put our teams on if we have a mixed group. I don't want to screw over my friends or some weaker opponents out of a good time. I have come to fear playing with lower normal elo players because the likelihood of it being a stompfest on one side is too high. Some may say "just do Ranked Teams" but that isn't the same thing and the restrictive nature of that mode makes it an unviable way to play with certain people. We just really need to be able to see where we're being placed when we decide to play. It isn't as big of a problem for lower normal elo players in draft mode because there are more of them playing there unless they decide to player with higher normal elo players. Sometimes only one high elo normal player is all it takes to make the queue times take forever.
High School Again
Well how do we start this? Well draft 5s were incredibly fun when they were released. Everyone was playing draft 5s and finding teams wasn't hard. We could chain games back to back and play all night. You met other players and formed groups and fought other groups. Eventually you became accustomed to familiar faces and added players from other groups and a lot of mingling was had. It was all good.
I would say that the drama started around summer. See draft normal 5s was still going strong except Riot announced that the player salary thing was going to become a thing. This isn't a fault at Riot at all and I'm not blaming them, just some players that would play draft normals started getting into that professional mindset and it started becoming toxic and causing shit here and there. They would get aggressive with their friends, they'd ditch them and play with their "teams" and cause headaches for everyone.
Then came the "rivalries" with people. They weren't exactly rivalries but they were "I don't want to play vs them let's wait till they're in queue." Some players started flat out avoiding other groups just so they didn't have to play against them. It was a really bad state of affairs. The "teams" wanted to use draft normals for practice and pick on the normal groups while the normal groups wanted to avoid that noise. See some of the groups had no problems and were in fact some were very strong and could give them a run for their money. These were the groups that the teams wanted to take on. However, those groups didn't always want to play super serious so they avoided the teams and when they did decide to play them, they sometimes became tired of playing chain games vs the teams. Meanwhile, during all this, the random groups or the lower end groups sometimes got caught in the crossfire and would either fight the teams or the higher end groups preparing to go up against the teams. The lower end teams decided that it was unfun for them so they stopped playing as much or all together - normal 5s draft.
Then comes the drama. I am not blaming girls or anyone directly for that. It just ended up being that way. There were "teams" formed and some of those players were able to obtain some groupies or just one girl or whatever. Then the whole "come play with me" shit happened and the players would miss practice or not hang out with the guys and instead go with the girl. Friction started happening. Now the players trying to showboat for these girls would still want to win even if the girls didn't care. They'd go against their own friends or the strong groups they knew and they may win or they may lose. It didn't matter. What mattered was that these players would try to avoid the strong groups because they didn't want to risk losing. While some of them acted as if they didn't care - their actions showed a completely different thing. They went on smurfs, they queued at different times, they played other modes like dominion or just chain ARAM. Friction between the teams began to rise and shit hit the fan. Teams were divided, groups were incomplete and it was impossible to form a 5s and play let alone having to wait for even longer queue times than before.
Slowly but surely, in order to avoid the other players and the long queue times, some players stopped playing normal draft all together and started playing blind pick. They had their time there and whatever but then those still playing draft became bored as well due to the lack of players and started playing blind pick as well. The lower queue times make playing the game a bit better and most players don't seem to care about the loss of bans and ordered picks but half the time the quality of opponents is dismal. If you queue up with a group you have a better chance than before of just stomping one of the many groups (sometimes they're just 5 solo players) and feeling unfulfilled.
I tried playing normal draft 5s again sometime ago and holy shit the queue time was huge. It almost approached the one hour mark and then one of the players had to go. Hell we even were asked by a few other players "Hey are you queuing up for draft 5s?" because they saw our long queue times and when we answered that we were - they queue dodged. They didn't want to go against us. Sometimes they'll do that in champion select because they see the picks and go "oh only Stonewall plays Trundle" and ask - then dodge. That ends up being more demoralizing as now the group has to wait even longer to find a game because the only group we found doesn't even want to play us.
I am a firm believer that the personal strife, vanity and ego of the players (including myself) caused high normal draft to have a meltdown. Most everyone shit talks, most everyone gets butthurt, most everyone avoids the strong groups now and it has become aggravating. Players just don't play it anymore and it's a mode that really needs a resurgence. Ranked 5s has its own issues and it's not a mode you should take lightly anyways - even though some do - so it would be nice to see draft normals be restored to an extent. There are some good players out there who rarely/never showed any upsetting traits and those players play whatever. There is no solution for the personal stuff. The only way the personal stuff could be fixed is if everyone adopted the behaviors of those good eggs but that's never going to happen. Hell even if normal draft were to get a revival - I fear that players will just make it a cesspool of bitching and whining again eventually.
In short, high normal elo draft 5s is dead through a combination of being unable to easily make a 5s group for it without getting screwed and all the groups already in there having meltdowns and all the drama. Everyone moved on to either blind or just chain ranked - sad times.