League of Legends 2016 Ranked Season Begins Soon!

League of Legends’ popularity is difficult to exaggerate and showcases the viability of the free-to-play business model. When MMOs were still primarily opting for a subscriptions, Riot Games decided to implement free access with various micropayments. This worked superbly for the company and League of Legends is one of the most successful MOBAs worldwide today. More specifically, as of January 2014, over 67 million people played League of Legends per month, 27 million per day, and over 7.5 million concurrently during peak hours. Not only that, the prize pool in 2014 and 2015 are some of the largest ever seen in eSports history, amounting to 2.3 million dollars. Even though I’m not a seasoned League of Legends player, this success has caught my attention and encouraged me to give the game a try!

The 2016 ranked season is scheduled to begin on January 20th and here is a complete rundown of the key changes:

Seeding

As usual, you’ll have ten placement games to fight through before settling in to your tier and division, ready for the climb. Your placement is still heavily influenced by where you ended up last season and what you accomplished during preseason. If you’ve never played ranked, then your placements will be all that matters!

Preseason brought some substantial changes to the game (learn more about preseason here, so we’re again running a soft reset before placements kick off. As with previous years because of the soft reset, you’ll likely place lower than where you ended last year.

New Champ Select and Dynamic Groups

Now each player chooses two positions (or fill!) before queueing up to find a team. We’ve also replaced the solo/duo queue with a dynamic group queue, where you’ll be able to climb the ladder with any number of teammates. You’ll still need to be of similar rank to your queue-buddies, and we designed the system so groups will almost always play against similarly grouped opponents. We’re watching this very closely, but we’re confident this change makes it easier to compete with friends of similar skill levels and better emphasizes the team nature of League.

Check out more on new champ select and dynamic groups at the Season 2016 update.

Promo Helper and High MMR Queue Time Adjustments

Promo Helper means when you’re in a division lower than Gold 1, if you lose a promotional series, the next time you enter your series, you’ll start with at least one win.

We’re also optimizing high-level matchmaking to identify epically skilled players faster and widen the MMR range for finding games at the pinnacle of amateur competition.

Learn more about Promo Helper and high MMR adjustments here.

Rewards

This year we’re exploring new possibilities for ranked rewards, but we don’t have anything ready to share just yet.

Do you play League of Legends extensively or find the skill barrier is too high?

‘Serial’ Becomes a World-Class Podcast

The popular podcast was born ‘Serial‘ as a user report of a lengthy criminal investigation. In 1999, a school girl was murdered with her ex-boyfriend being sent to jail for the crime. Dedicated to the cause, Serial is still analyzing this case on a week-by-week basis and has become of one of the most downloaded podcasts available online.

Based around the accused, Adnan Syed, Serial explains of his life sentence which is currently being serves in Maryland correctional facility for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Haw Min Lee. After a lengthy search for her body, it was established that her murder was conducted on the 13th of January, 1999. The Serial podcast was kicked off by Sarah Koeing, a journalist who was asked by a family friend to look at the case at hand – later becoming her obsession and turning into a weekly podcast for her to share her thoughts, discoveries and theories.

15 years since her tragic death, we’re now eight episodes into the series -which became the fastest podcast to hit 5 million downloads and streams on iTunes in history. Serial is now ranked one of the top offerings among iTunes’ 285,000 podcasts and 9.2 million episodes currently available for the consumer.

Podcasts are an ‘old technology’ that seemingly still has it place in our society – much alike radio. Whether you’re sitting on the train or driving to work, there’s no easy way you can sit down and watch a TV – so why not load up an interesting cast? we’ve heard that Serial will provide you with much better entertainment that your general murder-mystery fictional series, providing the listener with a connection to the people, places and things that occur within.

Image courtesy of Gizmodo