LoL Ranked 2019 Changes: Fixing the ‘smurf’ problem and revamping Solo/Duo experience

Riot’s continued patching and hotfixing of leveling issues in low-level play and ranked were addressed in their latest client video. Lead Producer New001 discussed a variety of updates set to take place within the coming patches of Season Eight, as well as some potential ideas for where ranked play will be headed in the years to come.

Smurfin’ ain’t easy

 If you’ve been a frequenter on the LoL subreddit, or have recently made a new account to level up with, then you‘ve probably felt the growing problem of new player integration within League of Legends. With the newly changed runes, playing any role from level one and beyond has become slightly cheaper and easier to manage, but the level of difficulty in games varies drastically with each matchmade team.

No matter what level you set your familiarity on for the game, the inevitability of playing against a high level smurf looking to plow through early level games has been a detriment to the new player experience as certain matches finish entirely too early. Riot’s newly changed tutorial will look to aid the entry of new players into the client as they pick up the most important pieces of the game.


In this new gamemode, the rules on how and when you can upgrade and improve your champion are slightly bent in order to maximize player integration at the early stages. Riot is making these new changes optional as well, to not interfere with recurring player experience. The tutorial and Co-Op vs. AI game modes will be used as a way to help new players find their footing and make the initial impact of online play less daunting.

Clash Competitive, Possible Ranked 2019 Changes

 After the recent beta tests for Clash in a variety of regions, LoL creative teams have had a slew of new data at their disposal in order to put the final touches on the new 5v5 competitive feature. In an attempt to immerse regular players with an in-depth team atmosphere, Riot’s Clash mode offers tournament style brackets for teams of similar rank as they duke it out for weekend prizes.

The beta testing got off to a buggy, but fruitful start as an estimated 100,000 users participated in the open beta. As the game mode gets set to relaunch in May, all players level 30 and up with a level two honor rating can participate in the new game mode that is sure to provide an engaging and robust alternative to Flex queue.


When it comes to the changes being proposed for the season to come, Riot is taking an entirely new approach to the way placement games will be made. For starters, your first placement match will give you a ‘floor level’ ranking that will be considered a guaranteed starting point for the rest of your placement games. As you progress through the season, the climb will now take place in seven total divisions instead of the previous five, with four different tiers per division

The ‘position based matchmaking’ has drawn up a lot of skepticism from different sides since Riot’s teaser video. While the idea on its surface seems time consuming, the ambition for Riot to add smoother matchmaking for the eventual games where players suffer on an off role will be key to drawing up more even games as the season progresses and hopefully, a more complete solo queue experience.