Riot Games has released a new patch to League of Legends that has fans pretty angry about some various things. The biggest change in the patch is that players will now have to invest a ton more time into their ranking online. The system, called MMR, controls the matchmaking systems, and it’s supposed to be based on player skill. Previously the game would try to balance players based on MMR to ensure a balanced progression path.
The biggest problem with this system, aside from cheaters and other balance problems is the idea of Smurfing. The practice of Smurfing in League of Legends involves a player creates an alternate account to blast their way through the MMR system by playing easier opponents. The MMR system has a ton of different ranks, each one locked behind a certain number of wins, and it’s possible to game the system, thus ruining the experience for other players. The new patch is supposed to make that harder.
“The climb takes a lot longer now. This is intentional. We really don’t want players creating alt accounts just to blow through the climb. We encourage players to stay on their mains. Smurfing ruins the game experience for others,” said League of Legends developer Riot Games.
The practice was pretty widespread, leading to a lot of balance problems in lower leagues as players with higher skill end up screwing up the ranking system for others. The smurfing is an issue, but players aren’t content. The amount of time that needs to be invested into MMR now has shown that players don’t want to have to go through that much of a slog.
Players criticizing the change have also pointed out that there are other ways to balance the game that reduce the skill gap. However, the power gap being shrunk too much could actually make the problem worse due to the paradox of when making things easier or harder for skilled players magnifies the problem for less-skilled players.