League of Legends – Non-ranked players DO NOT = “lower class” players

Ranked vs. Normal.


‘Tis a civil war within LoL’s community that’s considerably silent but deadly, and it’s got me in a bit of a tiff. Mostly because a certain sector of ranked players feel a sense of entitlement that’s completely obnoxious at best, but what else is new? Not like this is unheard of, but it’s still never not annoying.

Back in season 1, the good old days of yore and glory, everybody who played 10 games got a champion and a skin. That was kind of nice, though generous and I wouldn’t scoff at the idea this treatment would be overboard in today’s League environment. But when season 2 ended, only ranked players got any sort of compensation for playing. That irked me and I, perhaps stupidly, tried to start a discussion on reddit asking whether or not it was fair. I’ve never been downvoted so fast in my life – the consensus was “stop whining, you don’t deserve shit if you don’t play ranked, qq moar,” and so on.

Thanks for the input.

Then season 3 came and went, and once again normal players were overlooked when it came to rewards.  Seriously?

Some might say it’s hypocritical of me to complain about ranked players’ entitlement but in the same breath try to reason that I, as a normal player, am entitled to some sort of reward as well. I can understand the assumed contradiction, but the short of it is that ranked vs normal is a very poor deciding factor for dedication and contribution to the community, and quite frankly I do feel shafted. I’ll try to explain why.

How do we define commitment to community?

The first and last time I was considered visible by the community's standards.
The first and last time I was considered visible by the community’s standards.

Let’s count brownie points. I’ve been playing League for about 3 years now, and I feel I’ve  put just as much time and dedication into it as probably a good chunk of ranked players in bronze do.  I’ve also spent a good amount of my money to buy skins and support Riot (as if they need it). I’ve converted many friends into League players, and was once a regular on the forums and reddit. Hell, I gave out 30 PAX-Sivir codes on reddit for free, when I could’ve easily made bank if I held on to them. Not patting myself on the back, here – but I feel that I definitely was a positive force in the community at some point.

Despite this all, though, I am still a MOBA’s version of a dirty casual who contributes nothing to LoL’s growth, if you ask ranked players. And any mention of “hey, I might be important too!” starts an internet hissy-fit that could put Justin Beiber to shame.

I am accepting of ranked players getting preferred treatment these days (though begrudgingly), but I still feel it’s nonsense that my decision to play one mode rather than another, for my own reasons, is enough grounds to deserve no acknowledgment from Riot or the community.

Normal players get literally zero rewards end of season these days. None. Ziltch. Meanwhile ranked players are showered with banners, skins, and icons. I am as much a part of this game as a bronze 1 player. I’m not asking for more, but I think we deserve something. And for those who say “but what about scrubs who log in, play 5 games, and never walk in again?” Riot is more than capable of flagging accounts that are active to whatever parameters they might decide to set.  10 games a week. 50 games a month. A certain amount of wins, no bans, no reports, whatever it is they decide is necessary to separate toxic or inactive players from the dedicated ones regardless of preferred game mode.

Is that really unreasonable? I don’t think so.

Why not just play ranked?

Come at me, ye carrot on a stick.
Come at me, ye carrot on a stick.

That’s a fair question. And I really wish “I don’t want to” was a fair enough answer, but it’s not. Most players agree that ranked can be miserable. I don’t play games to be miserable. I don’t like the extra pressure, the shitty attitudes, and I don’t feel I have the time to dedicate to keep up with it. That doesn’t make me less of a player than those who do and are happy to expect (or demand) recognition for putting up with the extra pressure, shitty attitudes, and time sink. And why is that any less than someone who logs in once a week to play ranked and stay at whatever tier they’re in vs someone like me who would play almost every day for fun, just normals? This is what I fail to understand.

My choice to play in a way that I enjoy is mine. Some people enjoy ranked. Some people don’t. But being a normal player doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) automatically be the deciding factor on contribution, or skill, or whatever. And playing ranked doesn’t automatically make someone better or more dedicated. Plenty of normal players are more involved in the community, play more games, and are better than lots of people who decide to go ranked.

This definitely is more of a rant than I meant for it to be, but I suppose it is more of an opinion piece and I really can’t express my displeasure in a way that isn’t a little ranty. In the end.

readers-button What are your thoughts on ranked awards? Do you think ranked players deserve awards over normals? Why or why not? What other reward system do you think could be put in place? Comment below.

  • Guyde

    I agree on some points and disagree on others. Let me break it down.

    I agree that simply playing ranked does not give a player reason to boast over any player that chooses not to play ranked. Interestingly, at the start of Season 3, a group of unranked players formed a team out of the blue and very nearly qualified for NA LCS. From this we can see that there are unranked players that are more skilled than a handful of the top ranked players.

    I disagree with your feeling that you are entitled to competitive rewards just because you play a lot. The skins and borders are meant to reward skill, and the method of proving skill is to play Ranked. (Insert ragey ELO Hell arguing here.) It’s worth noting that in order to qualify for a champ skin, you needed to be at least Gold in Season 3, so by far the majority of ranked players missed out.

    Riot has introduced rewards for players like you in the form of summoner icons. With the obvious exception of the Ranked icons, all of the reward icons require only time (e.g. “Win 3 games on Howling Abyss”) or money (e.g. “Wear a holiday-themed skin”). Those icons recognize players like you who enjoy the game and support Riot with purchases.

    “Normal players get literally zero rewards end of season these days. None. Ziltch. Meanwhile ranked players are showered with banners, skins, and icons. I am as much a part of this game as a bronze 1 player. I’m not asking for more, but I think we deserve something.”

    This is perhaps why others feel you’re being unreasonable or whiny. As discussed, normal players can earn summoner icons all through the season. Since a “season” only really affects ranked players, once a year they might get a ward icon or–if they are in the ~90th percentile or better–a champ skin. They certainly aren’t “showered” with rewards. Finally, no one who plays a free game “deserves” anything. Buying content does not entitle you to more than the champ or skin that you pay for.

    Hopefully that expands your perspective on the different types of rewards available in game.

    • The icon deal is a fair enough point, but I did want to reply to a specific comment you made:

      “Finally, no one who plays a free game “deserves” anything. Buying content does not entitle you to more than the champ or skin that you pay for.”

      I hear this thrown around a lot, and I think it’s one of the most frustrating arguments people use when anybody criticizes anything about a “free game.” The cost to me has little effect on the argument made here.

      I’m not saying I (or other normal players) deserve anything solely because we play. I am arguing in the context of Riot’s decision to reward some players for playing a certain mode of game but not others (whom they previously did recognize), and the parameters in which they decide who does and does not get rewards. I think it’s discouraging that one’s decision to play normal instead of ranked is the deciding factor on rewards.

      And again, I am not saying normal players deserve the same level of treatment. I admit I did forget about the Icon thing, though, which I suppose again is a good point.

  • AnonymousCoward

    Though I might think this is slightly annoying, mostly because I read this article that was linked to my by a friend, It is the least of my issues with LoL at the moment. I much more concerned the emphasis and balancing being shifted towards high-level competitive play at the expense of us “casual” players. Between the still mostly shitty community and the increasing number of stupidly broken (unless you happen to be playing with a well coordinated team, which is usually not the case in solo queue) characters, I’m on the verge of leaving LoL forever. And I don’t say that as someone who dislikes the game, I love playing LoL with my friends and family, have more time in it than just about any other video game, and would list as one of my best video games of all time, but I’m getting sick of the bullshit mechanics from riot and the idiots in the community.