What is going on with North America’s Champion Queue?

What is the Champions Queue?

In early 2022, Riot Games North America launched a dedicated space for amateur and pro players in the LCS and LLA leagues which also has an invitation system for players ranked at the top of the solo queue ladder. This space was created after years of complaints fromNorth American pro players about the lack of seriousness in solo queue and the high latency they have in the regular server which is around 60 ping. The Champions Queue is being hosted in Los Angeles where professional players are based, meaning they would be playing with around 10 ping which is a huge difference.

Adding to the low latency, players are able to join a Discord server where they would be communicating with each other during the games, trying to replicate what an actual competitive match would feel like. On top of this, there is a prize pool for the players who reach the top of the ladder, this was added as an incentive for them to play. So basically, Champions Queue is a matchmaking system where professional and amateur players can get the highest quality of practice when they are not training as a team and if they perform consistently there is a monetary reward. However, if it’s all that great, why are professional players not using the system?

The Lack of Motivation for Players To Queue Up

After a couple of months of Champions Queue being available to use for professional and amateur players, there was a huge drop in the amount of people queuing up on the server. A couple of reasons come to mind for this and a few pro players have voiced their opinions on this matter. “First, I dislike using comms with other players that are not my friends OR teammates”, said Danny, the ADC for Evil Geniuses, “… I want NA as a region to get better and for us to do very good as pro players. So I do want to play it more often, but I think there’s another valid reason to not just specifically grind CQ every day”, he added.

So professional players are not playing Champions Queue mainly because they are not comfortable using comms with other players they don’t personally know, and they also find Solo Queue to be a better environment for practicing champions. This problem will only get worse because there is a feedback loop, if some players stop queueing then there is a longer queue time for players that do want to play in CQ. This means that players will get less motivated to play due to longer queue times and that will lead to even less players using the system.

In April 13th, Riot issued an article as an update for the current state of the Champions Queue where they talk about the MMR system, the comms situation and how they’ll work around the limited amount of players and role disparity. One of their solutions for the long queue time is that they’ll add more players, these players will be from the Proving Grounds Qualifiers in summer as long as they meet the rank requirements.

“Champion’s Queue is designed to be adaptive… this Spring Season has just been the start of us learning how to create the best experience possible for our competitive players and we’re eager to continue working with the Player’s Association and teams to reach that goal” said Riot Whoopley, the LCS Academy Director for Riot games. Hopefully this update that Riot provided will keep the players’ hopes up and continue on the grind the Champions Queue before the split ends.