League of Legends maintains its position at the top with the highest concurrent number of active players. While the player base continues to grow more and more, players have started noticing an increase in queue times instead of a decrease as they would otherwise expect. This has led to them speculating on the possible reasons behind this delay.
Longer queue times in League of Legends are caused by various reasons such as a lack of players at higher ranks, unpopular game mode, the time you’re queueing at, and the role you’re queueing for. Matchmaking adjustments like Duo Queue and Autofill Parity also play a major role.
Various content creators have also expressed their views on the queue times on Twitter, and Riot Games has attempted to answer some of the questions related to it in an attempt to reach mutual understanding. We will take a look at some of the most common reasons queue times are longer in League of Legends and what steps have been taken to combat it.
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The most obvious reason behind extended queue times is probably the number of players available at your rank. As you go higher and higher in MMR, the total pool of players queueing up for a game at that rank decreases. The simple reason is that most of the players have MMR belonging to relatively lower elo.
This means that in high elo, the number of players becomes less and less and eventually you end up in queues where there are simply not enough players available to fill every position while keeping the MMR balanced for both sides. As people get out of their previous game and queue again, they become available for the game, and a lobby is formed after a long waiting time.
Unpopular Game Mode
Some game modes in League of Legends are simply more popular than the rest. While there are a lot of players that like to play Ranked Solo, the same can’t be said about Ranked Flex. There are also far more players that like to casually enjoy the game in Blind Pick or ARAM than queueing up for a Ranked Solo game.
Time Of The Day
All kinds of players find themselves queueing up for a game at various times of the day. But it goes without saying that majority of the population queues up at times when the world is wide awake. If you are queueing past midnight, chances are you will have a much longer waiting time to get into the game because the number of players playing at this time is simply less.
During the daytime, you can have long queues because most people are either at work or school. During weekends, the queue times become much shorter because people have more time to burn.
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Popularity Of Roles
Not all roles in League of Legends are equally popular. Some roles, like Mid lane, are known for their high impact and therefore have a higher player population. Support, on the other hand, has the smallest player base because people feel a lack of agency in their games. This leads to an unequal distribution of players across all five roles.
If you are queueing up for a highly contested role, chances are you will have to wait much longer in line before you get to play a game. This is the reason Blind Pick game mode has much shorter queue times and also why some people queue up as Fill to maximize their chances of getting into a lobby.
In recent years, Riot Games has heard the cries of players and worked on various changes to improve the matchmaking environment. Some of these changes have made the quality of games much better, especially in high elo. However, these changes don’t come without a cost.
We will take a look at the three recent, yet major, changes done to the matchmaking system and their effect on queue times:
In recent years, Riot Games introduced what is now known as “Smurf Queue” among the players. Riot Games realized that high elo players consistently made smurf accounts to play in lower elo for various different reasons, and something needed to be done to prevent them from ruining low elo games.
With smurf queue in place, the system tries to make the game more balanced by detecting the MMR of a low elo account and placing them in a game with other similar MMR players (i.e: with other smurfs). This can lead to very long queue times as finding other smurf accounts can be time-consuming.
Almost a year or two ago, Riot Games introduced a couple of changes to balance the matchmaking system a bit better. One of these was Autofill Parity; The system tries to match the number of auto-filled players on both teams or at least reduce the gap.
This means that the game would be more balanced since one team won’t be comprised of auto-filled players while the other one is full of main-role players. But as you can tell, this leads to higher queue times since the system has to work within stricter rules to place auto-fills in teams.
Duo Queue Parity
The other feature from the two mentioned above is Duo Queue Parity. This means that the matchmaking system tries to place an equal number of duos on both teams. This was implemented because having a duo on one team and not on the other led to a disturbed balance of the game because duos usually have better synergy and communication.
Lastly, if you are from NA High Elo and are reading this, there might be another factor playing part in your queue times. Last year Riot Games introduced Champions Queue for the NA server. Basically, professional players and other high elo players with good conduct can queue up for a scrim-like game experience. These players are in a discord voice call and are matched against five other selected pro/high elo players.
This eliminates disruptive behavior found in SoloQ so these players can get better practice. However, this also means that all of these pro players and selected high elo players will be spending their time queueing for Champions Queue and will be absent from SoloQ for the most part. This will lead to much higher queue times in high elo because the already-low player population gets even lower.
While League of Legends remains the most played online competitive game, queue times are bound to get longer due to improved matchmaking systems in place. We have listed the various factors that contribute to queue times so you can queue at the best times to avoid wasting time.
In the meantime, check out this list of the best League of Legends quotes.