Champions Queue Spring Split 3 Skipped, Summer Split to Begin in May End
North America’s premiere server, the Champions Queue, which was introduced in February, has been the hot topic of debate in the League of Legends community for many months now. Champions Queue (CQ) was introduced by Riot Games and LoLEsports as a saving grace for the North American (NA) Solo Queue environment. This invite-only super server provides top NA talent and teams with the tools to play quality games on very low ping with proper voice comms. Additionally, the system has also incentivized Solo Queue, giving players another solid reason to climb their way to the top.
Recently, many in the community pointed out the fact that a lot of NA pros have been skipping Champions Queue and that it is deserted. On 16th March, Golden Guardians support Kim “Olleh” Joo-sung even took a dig at the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) pros for allegedly shying away from playing on the invite-only super server.
Following this, the League of Legends Championship Series Player Association (LCSPA) took to Twitter to state that the server was alive and well. The LCSPA further said that it was excited to continue working with Riot Games to keep improving the server so that it continues to actively grow beyond the monthly updates.
Riot Games breaks down the pain points of Champions Queue
Riot wrote in a , “Behind the scenes, we’ve been talking with the LCS Players Association, the Amateur & Academy Committee (made up of owners and GMs from LCS teams), and our internal teams on how to best address the feedback in order to continue to improve CQ.”
Basically, it broke down the common pain points into four categories. They are as follows:
Limited Players & Role Disparity
On the basis of the above-mentioned categories, it provided context and explained some of the next steps it has planned.
Champions Queue Split Schedule
When we initially launched Champion’s Queue, we intended for it to be around throughout the year, even when a player wasn’t actively playing in the LCS, such as between splits or after they’ve been knocked out of the season."Riot Games
Riot mentioned that players are looking for these breaks to reset and mentally prepare for the next split. Hence, it has decided to skip Split 3 of the Champion’s Queue Spring Season as it overlaps with the “off-season” between LCS Spring and LCS Summer splits.
Additionally, Riot is adjusting Summer Season dates to start on 31st May running through 21st August, to better align the start and end of the LCS Summer Split.
Match quality and new MMR system
Riot acknowledged that pro players were asking for a more sophisticated Matchmaking Ranking (MMR) system in the server that would award LP based on the skill discrepancy of players and also improve match quality. “We are continuing to explore the implementation of such a system with our dev team and will share more updates on this feature once we have a better understanding of the timing,” it added.
Riot stated that this new MMR system would increase the queue times but mentioned that players were okay with it as long as they get to play higher-quality matches.
Limited players and role disparity
Riot confirmed that it would be adding additional players into Champions Queue from the next two Proving Grounds Qualifiers in the Summer as long as players meet the Grandmaster tier threshold. However, it stated that bringing in additional players, though it might help queue times, comes with challenges.
In the Spring season, new players were brought into the server, but in an attempt to better the match quality, Riot raised the minimum requirement from Masters to Grandmasters. “In total, 20% of our Amateur players that were added were removed from Champion’s Queue after the new rule took effect. We also saw that many of our pro players ended up having to wait longer to find a game given that more non-pro players were queuing for games,” the company explained.
It also addressed the problem of “role bottlenecks” where when players were not queuing for certain roles at a given time, the queue duration might be longer than usual.
We’ve also seen that this role bottleneck is not isolated to a single role and tends to vary day to day, meaning adding in more players from a specific role wouldn’t help address this. To help with this, we added a “Roles Needed” UI into Champion’s Queue during Spring to help players know when a role bottleneck is happening and what role is needed to generate a new game."Riot Games
Both Riot and the community have agreed that having integrated voice comms into Champions Queue has been a great addition. However, Champions Queue comes with added pressure for players to win every game to earn the reward, and hence it might be difficult for players to opt-out of voice comms.
Hence, Riot is working with its developers to explore an option where players are asked to opt-in on the voice comms rather than opting out.
In short, Riot says that the Champions Queue is designed to be adaptive and that the goals it has stated directly correspond to its interest and investment in this server.
Community reacts to Champions Queue break
The League of Legends community, including pro players and analysts, has pointed out that Champions Queue going on a hiatus is not the right call. The lingering question that begs to be answered is: “Isn’t the offseason the optimal time to play more League of Legends?”
SK Gaming’s support player Erik “Treatz” Wessén said, “I don't think shutting down Champions Queue for 1+ month is the correct call, offseason is when the most people want to grind LoL after a short break, very weird to not have that benefit for NA players.”
Riot Games’ blog post on Champions Queue seems to have triggered more debates and has not addressed the biggest concern of the community: “Are NA pros just lazy?”
In response to the narratives woven around NA as a region, its pro scene, and the Champions Queue, LCSPA President and Cloud9 Academy player Darshan "Darshan" Upadhyaya posted a .
A TL;DR version of his post said that the community has valid concerns and complaints but the “discussion of improvement and practice can be much more nuanced and deep than just practice more.” Darshan also pointed out nuances like improving the MMR system and moderation to make Champions Queue better and brought up playing quality games over quantity.
His third point was: “NA won't beat other regions by just playing more, we must be very deliberate with our approach to practice and the game (i.e. develop new practice methods) because other regions are already better than us and have better practice environments. We must improve at a much higher rate than them by practicing more intentionally.”
Additionally, he also pointed out that “volume of practice for athletes is something that should be dynamic, not static. There may be days when someone can practice 12 hours effectively, but there are also days when only 5 hours of effective practice is possible.”
The community will soon have its answers when Champions Queue returns for Summer Split and when Riot introduces an MMR system.