In a recent blog post, Riot discussed the possibility of removing the ability to duo with somebody in solo queue. If these changes are implemented, there would be huge ramifications for the ranked experience, for better and for worse.
Keeping solo queue competitive
Playing with a duo is one of the greatest advantages you can have when playing League. You can build synergy together after playing multiple games, use voice comms to quickly communicate important information in game, and guarantee one of your teammates will be skilled and tilt-free. Though the system attempts to place duos against other duos, this isn’t always possible meaning it’s very unfair if one team has a duo while the other doesn’t. Duoing with somebody is such a large advantage that Riot have already removed it from Masters rank and above, so removing it from solo queue entirely would make the experience much more competitive.
Furthermore, it would drastically reduce the amount of boosted accounts on the ladder. Boosting is pretty easy to do in League, as a high ranked player only needs to make a smurf account then duo with somebody and carry their games. If players aren’t able to duo queue, this would help ensure players are placed in a rank equal to their skill level and games will be much closer. There would also be some social improvements as some duos steal roles in champ select in order to play together, or band together to flame somebody else on their team.
Can Flex queue be taken seriously?
On the other hand, removing the option to play League’s most competitive mode with friends would make it far less appealing to play for some players. Ultimately, League is a video game designed for people to have fun, and removing the option to have fun with your friends challenges that ethos completely.
Though Riot have anticipated this and argue the removal of duo queue would make flex queue more popular and competitive, it may be difficult to change the playerbase’s perception of flex queue. Ever since its introduction after Riot’s failed ‘Dynamic queue’ experiment a couple of seasons ago, flex queue hasn’t come close to the competitiveness or popularity of solo queue. Instead, it’s the mode you play with your friends that has a rank and LP gains on the side. Even if flex queue is the only mode you can play duo games in, it may not be enough to change the attitude players have toward the queue and friends wouldn’t have a competitive space to play together in (outside of the infrequent Clash tournaments).
Finally, pros have been very critical of the removal of duo queue in Masters rank and above as it limits how much they can practice together. It’s particularly problematic for ADCs and supports who need to put extra time into developing their synergy, communication, and practice certain laning phases. Pros can get around this by playing on smurfs or constantly reaching then dodging their Masters promos, but these solutions are far from ideal and they wouldn’t even have these options should duo queue be removed entirely.
Though there are clear advantages and disadvantages to removing the option of duoing in solo queue, a large portion of the playerbase would be extremely frustrated by its removal and the fact they can no longer play with their friends. Ultimately, it’s up for Riot to decide whether they value the satisfaction of their players or the competitive integrity of the ranked experience more.