Saturday, February 9, 2013

League Analysis: A Critical Look At Ranked Champion Select

With the most recent major patch, Season 3 has officially begun (and sadly LOLReplay is broken due to it). While many of the changes related to Season 3 are already around due to preseason patches, there have been some major changes to the game, such as the ranked system. While there are the usual doomsayers claiming the patch has ruined the game, in this case there may be a ring of truth especially given information disclosed along with the changes to ranked, such as ranked dodge penalties.

As a result, this League Analysis (a term I'm using loosely in this case since it's more suggestions than analysis) will cover some suggestions that I've either found (on Reddit, the forums, or somewhere else) or thought of myself regarding the situation.

(Ranked) Champion Select

A large amount of the problem with the current League system relates to the ranked champion selection. While some problems spawned from the new ranked system (and apparently said system is very screwy at the moment), I believe certain issues, such as League Point awards, will eventually be worked out. On the other hand, other issues, such as ranked dodge penalties, seem to have gotten worse with the recent implementations and thus immediately need analysis and improvement.

In this section, I will go over the issues related to champion select and implementations I would like to see. As mentioned before, these suggestions aren't all original largely in terms of the base idea, though I will go into intricacies that will hopefully separate my idea from the rest.

Dodge Penalty

With the beginning of season 3, the dodge penalty has been changed for ranked from the comparably lesser 30 minute queue lockout back to a more heavy-handed dodge penalty where players will lose League Points (essentially an equivalent of ELO). This is akin to back when players lost ELO for dodging before it was changed. While some of the reasons given in the thread are logical, I can't agree with other reasons. For instance, let us look at this reason:
1. Trolls gained more power in champ select.
I greatly disagree with this statement. If anything, trolls had more power and currently have more power in champion select because no matter how players deal with the troll, it's almost certainly a lose-lose situation as ELO (or League Points) is/are lost for either the dodge or the inevitably lost game.

This situation is even further exacerbated at the moment because when a player reaches a new tier (Silver, Gold, Platinum, or Diamond), they have that tier permanently, which essentially gives a player free rein to troll with no downside whatsoever (except lost MMR), as they can sit at zero League Points in Division 5. The worst part of this is that Division 5 players in a tier often end up matched with players doing a best of five promotion series from the previous tier, which means dodge penalties are even harsher because dodging during a promotion series instantly ends it and the player has to win a game to re-qualify.

Furthermore, there is supposedly a small grace period where it's impossible to fall back into a previous Division if you promote to another Division. As a result, the current League system negates any truth in this statement:
most trolls want to win just as much as you do
With all that said, I would like to suggest a compromise between the two dodge penalties that are available at the moment:
  • The first dodge would result in a 30 minute lockout with no lost League Points. If the dodge was during a promotion series, the player also cannot queue for ranked at all for one hour (ranked exclusive one hour lockout).
  • Subsequent dodges will result in increasing League Point losses (up to 10 at the fourth dodge). In addition, if the dodge was during a promotion series, the lockout timer for ranked is doubled on the second dodge (to two hours).
    • After three promotion series dodges (over any period of time), you must win one game to re-qualify for the promotion series assuming you haven't already lost some promotion series matches.
  • The idea is to allow players to avoid trolls, but if a player abuses the dodge system to try to get favorable champion selections (this is a reason given that I agree with for why the other dodge system was too lenient), they'll end up losing their League Points.
  • Players involved with large volumes of ranked dodges may need to be investigated as well (until they add some way to report players in champion select).
Vote to Kick

I have seen this suggestion in numerous places and there are good arguments for and against the suggestion. For instance, vote to kick, which would allow players to remove a player from champion select, could potentially remove toxic players or trolls. However, the suggestion could spawn more trolls that kick out innocent players depending on how vote to kick is implemented. I believe I have a solution that will prevent the latter from happening and allow vote to kick largely for the purpose of the former, preventing situations where a single person literally ruins the game and giving players an alternative besides dodging champion select.

The vote to kick system would work like this:
  • It will only be available in Ranked Solo/Duo Queue. This is because in normals it would be too easy to premake and kick players out, causing massive grief. In addition, solo ranked is where most of the problem lies.
  • Upon initiating a kick on a player, the majority (3/5) have to vote to remove the player.
  • If a player is kicked, champion select ends and the following happens:
    • The player who initiated the kick and the players who voted gain a 3 minute "dodge" penalty. This will increase to 15 minutes on the second vote to kick, 30 on the third (to prevent players from excessively using it), an hour on the fourth, and four hours on subsequent kicks within a short time frame. The reason the penalty increases so greatly is to prevent players from using vote to kick for the wrong reasons.
      • By vote to kick numbers five and beyond, a League Point penalty may need to be added.
    • The player who is kicked gains a 1 minute "dodge" penalty, followed by 3 minutes if kicked again. The penalty then jumps to 20 minutes for the third, an hour for the fourth, and four hours for subsequent kicks within a short time frame. This is because by this point it is obvious that the player is being kicked for a reason.
    • The exception to this escalating penalty for the kicked player is if he or she is removed due to a vote to kick by the same player multiple times within a short time frame.
    • The penalty increase is reduced by one stage for each ranked match a player does. The penalty also resets after 24 hours of ranked inactivity (subject to being increased).
    • Players who use this system too much within a certain time frame (such as on a weekly basis) are automatically flagged and subject to investigation.

Inclusion of Champion Select/Post-game Chat in Tribunal Logs 

I know this suggestion has been done to death and it's about as simple as the title itself (though I am also aware that implementing something like this can take a lot of time). However, to add on to this, there should be methods to ensure the problematic ones are handled. For instance, at champion select, a player can check off a flag next to another player they think could be a problem.

After the game ends, the client reminds this player that they flagged another player during champion select and to potentially report this other player (with explicit reminder that the report function is not something that should be abused excessively). In addition to this, players that were muted by this player during the match are also "flagged" and would receive their own reminders.

This is more of an afterthought, to be honest, because it is helpful for both ranked and normal queues.

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