Riot Games have announced a number of changes coming to League of Legends' 2017 season on their website, one of which being that normal draft will be retired in certain locations.
All regions aside from Brazil, Europe West and North America will see normal draft removed, and Riot Games said that "our goal is to offer the fewest number of queues that give unique experiences (so we can keep queues healthy) while keeping disruption low, and in all regions except NA/EUW/BR, normal draft had very low participation. In an ideal world, we'd like to retire normal draft in all regions."
Solo/Duo Queue also returns this season, allowing players to either queue alone or with a teammate to ascend the ranks, although tier restrictions will still apply, and Challenger is still limited to solo. Flex Queue, however, is a ranked queue that rewards organised teamplay, as one, two, three or five players within a tier of one another can queue up together. For all those who already have Ranked Twisted Treeline, though, this will transition to Flex Queue, allowing one to three players (again within a tier of one another) to queue together. For Latin America North, however, Riot Games is introducing the Flex Twisted Treeline.
The Flex Queue will be turned on at the start of preseason, which will come with patch 6.22, and Solo/Duo Queue will come within the week after that. The 2017 ranked season will then kick off with patch 6.24.
There may also be more updates coming to position preference. Right now you can select a primary and secondary position preference, but Riot Games have said "we're looking into the ability to exclude your least-favorite. We are currently running tests in LAN and LAS, but if it's seen to drastically impact queue health, we may not proceed with developing this feature."
New rewards are also in place, as those who hit Gold or higher will get a Victorious skin, and anyone who achieves Gold or higher in either Solo/Duo or Flex queue will get an extra reward if they can climb in both.
Riot Games also drew attention to the fact that at the start of the season players will be placed lower than where they ended last season, due to ladder resets meaning the highest rank players can achieve after placement games is Platinum 1, moving all ranks down. You can, however, play ladder calibration games for Flex SR/TT during preseason, and games played during preseason may still have an impact on your place at the start of the season, despite the soft ranked reset at the season's start.
Their plans for 2017 were also laid out too, and Riot Games said it is planning to launch Flex Queue with an IP bonus for the season's opening week, and if that Queue doesn't attract enough Solo/Duo players then other incentives will be tested. They also said they'd update fans of their plans every few weeks for each region.
What do you make of the changes?