North America recently reopened Champions Queue once again to the region to help participants of the Worlds 2022 tournament to prepare in a more competitive environment with professional players as well as amateur and collegiate esports athletes. However, the response to this system has stirred quite the commotion among the esports community with mixed responses on how Riot Games handled the different sectors of CQ’s mechanics.
What is Champions Queue?
Champions Queue is an invite-only matchmaking system in League of Legends where Riot Games manually handles which players will be playing in a game. It is similar to solo queue but the games aren’t played in standard matchmaking. Instead, an admin invites a certain set of players according to role and places them in specific teams inside a custom match as well as an exclusive Discord channel to give them voice comms, which simulate a professional match.
In this format, only professional players as well as amateur and collegiate players are invited to participate in the matchmaking system. Non-professional streamers are not invited. The organizers claim that these qualifications aim to make the matches more competitive and break away from the negative experiences of playing in solo queue. Unfortunately, this is where the problems come in because the players invited in champions queue as well as those who were not has raised many questions about this format.
Negative Experiences Arise in CQ 2022!
The first day of champions queue was relatively exciting with players and viewers having fun watching professional players’ point of view when playing in a coordinated game. However, the cracks started to show soon after when the caliber of players didn’t seem to meet expectations since a lot of them weren’t performing well. The collegiate players, specifically, were at the main target of people’s ridicules as many of them were supposedly inting their games.
The worst hit would come when LCK’s T1 finally joined the CQ, only for T1 Faker to be matched with three collegiate players and an amateur athlete. Unfortunately, his teammates performed horribly with Faker having a relatively impressive score, the only one on his team that was winning the game. Needless to say, Faker’s team lost that game horribly and after only two games (which both ended up in losses), he discontinued playing in the champions queue for the rest of the day.
Uninvited Players Speak Out
Recently players such as Katevolved has come out to criticize champions queue for the caliber of players they invited while former professional players, such as himself, did not receive an invite. Riot Games claimed that one-tricks such as him, would not contribute to the format despite Katevolved playing various champions during his time in LCS Academy. On the other hand, players who were supposedly below Grandmaster ranks were allowed only because they were currently associated with a competing team.
Many fans still comment on how players in the CQ continue to provide low-quality games that competitive players don’t enjoy. Even Doublelift on his stream claimed that he would stop playing if he were to get another game where he was teamed up with mostly collegiate players. These statements provide troublesome insights on the overall system that Riot Games has laid out with most of the system contradicting its own goal.
Is Champions Queue a Better Alternative Than Solo Queue?
Undoubtedly, CQ is the better alternative to Solo Queue with the players dedicated to providing their best performance in every game rather than having players who queue for content, entertainment, or are not even motivated to climb the ladder. The North American server is also notorious for being one of the most toxic servers in the world because players would win trade or grief their teammates out of spite.
The issue at hand is not that CQ is worse than Solo Queue, it’s that CQ is not upholding its own part of the bargain. There are many players in North and South America who would be better suited in this format but it seems Riot Games has not extended their invited to every single competitive League of Legends organization in the Americas. Even though CQ is a great way for collegiates and amateurs to gain exposure for potential scouting, this is supposed to be teams’ preparation for Worlds 2022.
Should Streamers Be Invited to CQ?
Most streamers entirely play for content creation and entertainment which means wacky picks or being one-tricks. There are a lot of streamers who take the game seriously but it can be hard for Riot Games to gauge their level without solely relying on rank. Unfortunately, Riot Games wants to simulate a tournament environment in CQ and most solo queue players don’t exactly follow the esports meta and can really mess up the atmosphere of the system.
It’s hard justifying streamers getting invites simply for being streamers. It’s a better format for players to receive invites for having the right competitive background, but that might limit the number of players queueing up for a match which will make it insufferable to wait for the players to get into a game. There’s also the problem of some teams who are at Worlds 2022 who do not participate in CQ like Royal Never Give Up, who have opted to take their chances in solo queue instead.
“CQ is Hurting the Image of Collegiate Players”
The community has painted collegiate players in a bad light due to CQ, but that’s not entirely their fault. If the NBA were to arrange a system where a college basketball team were to help the NBA teams practice a serious game, it won’t be the college team’s fault for underperforming against a pro. The organizers are entirely at fault for pitting the participants in an environment that makes it look one-sided.
If we were to take another perspective, the collegiate esports players are most likely learning a lot from this experience when playing with the pros. The most outstanding players are also getting exposure that will increase their chances for getting scouted by an LCS team. They have years ahead of them to improve in the game but the CQ only comes once in a while so it’s a good idea to take advantage of this format even if the fans criticize them.