There comes a time in everyone’s life where things just don’t go our way, regardless of preparation. Life happens, and as they say: even the best fall down sometimes. Sometimes, we find ourselves in… the low priority queue.
Now, that isn’t to say it’s any individual’s fault. Life happens; emergencies at home, sudden power outages, or even a rat chewing through your power cable are examples of things that may cause you to experience the dreaded low priority queue, depending on a few factors. For this reason, it’s important to understand how and why this works.
Low Priority Queue: The Purgatory in League
The low priority queue is simply what it implies. You get a lower priority for matchmade games. To truly understand how it works, however, we need to understand what Riot’s LeaverBuster system does. It’s a system they designed to discourage players from repeatedly disconnecting from the game. A poor internet connection or having to dodge a game for any number of reasons may be understandable from time to time, but this system aims to penalize repeat offenders.
This isn’t to say that it’s only for summoners who leave the game. Oh no, being AFK can also contribute to landing a spot in the low priority queue.
How Does Jailtime Work Here?
As we previously mentioned, Riot has put a system in place with its own formula to determine whether or not a person should be placed in the low priority queue. While finding a match in Summoner’s Rift may be relatively quick in normal circumstances, for ranked or otherwise, the low priority queue has you looking at an additional wait time of about 5 minutes or more, which depends on your location and how long waiting times are originally. Repeated offenses can increase this to even 15 minutes.
If we take it a few steps further, there are more severe forms of punishment. Repeated offenses result in Queue Lockouts. To put it simply, this prevents the offending party from even starting a queue. It can last for as much as one day, for people just starting out. For the more seasoned leavers it can be as long as 2 weeks.
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Tiers of Severity and Getting Out
There’s no getting around the low priority queue. Think of it as a form of penalty to dissuade people from doing it again. As such, “serving your time” will get you out of the queue. Typically, all this means is you’ll need to complete 5 matchmade games without leaving or going afk. Also, as much as possible, you’ll want to avoid any form of offense if you’re able to avoid it. Good behavior goes a long way.
Queue lockouts were introduced last September 2021. This works differently in the sense that you can’t just complete all the games after a binge and call it a day. Rather, you’ll have to wait for the timer to expire. Earlier we mentioned the duration could vary from a day up to two weeks, and how this is determined depends on the “tier” of punishment you are. Tier 1, 2, and 3 gives you an additional wait time of 5, 10, and 15 minutes respectively. To end the low priority queue, you’ll just need to complete 5 matches.
The queue lockouts are introduced from tiers 4 and above. It ascends from 1, to 3, to 7, and then finally to 14 days when you finally arrive in tier 7, the highest possible tier for punishments. On paper, you might think to yourself that tiers 4 and above are easier to get out of from a perspective of raw endeavors, seeing as how you’ll only have to wait instead of exert effort to get out of the queue, right? Well, not exactly.
After waiting for the assigned queue lockout to expire, players will then be put back in tier 3, which has you waiting for matches with an additional 15 minutes per game for 5 games.
At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to unwind and have fun. Few things can ruin the game more than a potential win given up due to a teammate afk, especially during ranked matches. I’ll be the first to admit, repeatedly experiencing this can lead to the potential souring of my mood for a good bit of time.
To be fair, MOBA games in particular can be hard to police without removing a significant amount of control from the players. Because of this, a good chunk of the responsibility shifts from solely the developer to the rest of us. Riot, along with the rest of the players involved with them, need to do our part in ensuring the health of the community. A hearty game with highs and lows still rewards us with a certain degree of fun, regardless of whether we win or lose.
Should you ever find yourself in this position for whatever reason, don’t worry too much because you won’t have to win, just complete the matches. That isn’t to say you should throw the game to get the match over with, just try to have fun. That’s what League was made for.