Positional ranks, Riot Games’ season 8 experiment designed to make solo queue a better experience for everyone, will officially end on March 13. The system is currently only active in North America and Korea, it will be phased out in both regions and will not be expanded into wider release.
Positional ranks were originally created to make playing off-roles easier for players and getting filled less punishing. The LP you lost and gained in an off-role would only have a small effect on your main role’s LP. However, the system proved to be abuse-able and failed to give players motivation to perform their best in matches they were autofilled. As such Riot will discontinue the system.
What this means for ranked players is that their new rank will be whatever position had the highest rank and LP. If that rank was provisional, it will still be provisional when the system change happens. Players will also maintain their promotion helper benefits, such as a free win on promotional series for division of ranked they’ve already been in.
Certain aspects from positional ranks will be carried over in the future, including positional matchmaking, which attempted to place players against slightly lower ranked opponents if they were playing an off-role. According to Riot, this new matchmaking has largely been a success, helping players face more fair games when they are playing an off-role, promoting shorter queue times, and helping players get their main role more often.
As a separate, but somewhat related issue, season 8’s ranked system also suffered from a bug that allowed players with low win rates to get into high ranks like Masters, Grandmasters, and Challenger. As a result, Riot is going to perform a reset for players that are Diamond and above. For players in Diamond, that just means that they’ll be dropped by one division — from Diamond 3 to Diamond 4, for instance. For players above Diamond, everyone will be reset to Masters with 0 LP. Grandmasters will be locked for the first week after the change, while Challenger will be locked for two weeks.
While this may sound like a punitive measure, the reality is that this is the solution that highly ranked players have been asking for since these matchmaking bugs for began. The reasoning behind the changes is that the players that deserve to be there will be able to get back to the ranks they should have fairly quickly, while players that reached these ranks thanks to the early-season error will no long be matched into high ELO games and quickly fall out of the game’s highest ranked tiers.
While this new ranked system was, for the most part, a failure, Riot’s post detailing the upcoming changes notes that the developer feels it gain significant knowledge about ranked play in the two months that positional ranks were active and that this makes the system worthwhile, at least now that it was only a temporary experiment.