As you may have noticed yesterday's patch notes, the time penalty for dodging a ranked game has been reduced but you now also lose League points. This change comes unexpected to many and has been stirring up quite the forum discussion. Luckily Yegg stopped by the forums to shed some light on Riot's decision to reintroduce more than just a time penalty for queue dodging a ranked game.
Continue reading for more details on the new penalty, including the negative effects of having only a time penalty, exactly how the new penalties work, and more!
To start this discussion, I’d like to go back in time a bit. Back in June of 2012, we announced a change to the ranked queue dodge penalty. It was clarified that the change was somewhat of an experiment and that we'd be making further changes if necessary. At the time, we removed Elo penalties for two reasons:
The Elo penalties were undermining the matchmaker and opening up abuse cases that people were very much using.
Queue dodging is sometimes a valid defense mechanism against toxic situations, and we didn't want to punish people too harshly for using it.
In many ways this worked out well. Players looking for easy wins could no longer dodge their way down to Elo ratings hundreds or thousands points below their skill level. Other players stuck with true griefers in their lobby could get out of that situation without any permanent penalty. These are all good things.
However, over the last 7 months it became clear that there were three undesirable side effects:
Trolls gained more power in champ select.
Players were much less willing to work together and became much more focused on what they individually wanted.
Some players started using queue dodging to micromanage their Elo gains and would dodge whenever they perceived the matchup to be unfavorable.
The first two above led to an increase in trolling in champ select, which in turns leads to an increase in queue dodging. Combined with the increases from the micromanaging group, it’s now the case that queue dodging is very common in the ranked solo queue.
You might think that I'm crazy based on the first point above. “Trolls gained more power when we removed the Elo penalty?” You're probably also thinking that by increasing the penalty now, we're giving trolls more power because it punishes innocent players who are trying to avoid trolls.
The key is this: most trolls want to win just as much as you do. They might believe they need a certain role to do that, or they might be annoying to interact with, but at the end of the day they generally want to win the games they queue up for. Here's a corollary: most trolls don't want to sit through a 30 minute game rocking Karma/Revive/Promote (or whatever the latest "troll picks" are) just as much as you don't want to be in the game alongside them. What they want when they troll pick is for you to dodge for them, because then they'll get another lobby and they might get the role they want. Think back to the days when there was a 10 Elo penalty for dodging. There was much less troll picking in champ select for one simple reason: it often didn't work. If no one dodges, everyone on the team loses, and no individual wanted to dodge and lose Elo, so everyone was compelled to cooperate more. But with the removal of the Elo penalty, it was almost guaranteed that someone would dodge, and once it was clear that troll picking and/or threatening "X or feed" worked, more players starting doing it.
So here's how the penalties work now that the League System is active:
Dodging in the ranked solo queue will trigger a 6 minute lockout and will deduct 3 League Points (LP).
Dodging in ranked solo if you've dodged recently will trigger a 30 minute lockout ad will deduct 10 LP.
Dodging a ranked team game will trigger a 1 minute lockout and will deduct 10 LP from the team.
Dodging in ranked teams if you've dodged recently will trigger a 60 minute lockout and will still deduct 10 LP from the team.
Dodging during a Promotion or Division series will cancel the series, so you'll have to get back to 100 LP to start another series (likely just one game away, unless you had already lost a couple series games).
Now that League Points are on the line, there's much more incentive for everyone on the team to work together and try to reach a positive consensus on champions and roles. The number of League Points lost is small enough that it's not a huge setback if a dodge does happen, but it's big enough that players will think twice about dodging just because they don't like the matchup or didn't get their role. Taking away League Points does not tell the matchmaker that you're worse at the game, which means the penalty is no longer opening up abuse cases or leading to unfair matches. We've also greatly shortened the time penalties, and almost completely removed them from ranked team dodges, because it sucks when everyone has to wait around for a teammate's dodge penalty to wear off. In general, our goal here is to reduce the amount of time that it takes you to get a game started by reducing the number of failed lobbies.
As with many changes that we make these days, this is an experiment. We'll be monitoring the effects, both in terms of queue dodge rates and also in terms of the feedback that you all give us on the forums. I'll personally be reading all of the replies in this thread even if I don't have a chance to reply to them."