Do Higher Ranked League of Legends Players Spend More Time in Flow?

Ben Wisbey
3 min readMar 14, 2022

Our previous research has shown the importance of achieving flow to perform your best in League of Legends. The average win rate is 13% higher when a player has high levels of flow. This made us wonder ‘do better players spend more time in flow?’

Using thousands of games of League of Legends with accompanying mental performance data, we set out to answer this question. While we had a spread of user ranks, the majority were from silver to diamond. So sample size at the very top and bottom was small.

We found two key outcomes:

  • Better players DO spend more time at high flow levels
  • Average fatigue levels were higher for better players, but they spent only a small amount of additional time playing with high fatigue

Let’s have a look at each of these.

Player Rank and Flow

We looked at the rank of the player compared to how much game time they spend in a high flow state, as well as their average flow level. There was a clear relationship with a moderate positive correlation (r=0.514).

Player Rank vs the percentage of time playing with high levels of flow

This further emphasizes the importance of flow. High flow helps you win more, and better players are able to achieve this more often. While a lot of things impact a player’s rank (mostly skill), we shouldn’t be surprised that highly ranked players spend more time playing with high flow, especially given we already know that individual players win more in this state.

Player Rank and Fatigue

We then went on to look at the impact that fatigue had on player rank. While there was a relationship it was much weaker than for flow. There was a weak correlation between average fatigue levels and player rank (r=0.454), but this isn’t overly meaningful given we have seen that moderate levels of fatigue are similar to low levels in terms of their impact on performance.

The more important relationship is that of the player’s rank and the amount of time they spent playing with high levels of fatigue. There was an even weaker relationship here (r=0.335), but this is still worth considering. It is possible that the more highly ranked players undertook longer gaming sessions, and were, therefore, more likely to reach this state. That said, the amount of time spent playing fatigued across all players averaged less than 10%, so this does not account for a large portion of game time.

While this doesn’t have a meaningful impact on rank, it is a reminder that long sessions are often a performance risk.

Player Rank vs the percentage of time playing with high fatigue

Summary

So what does all this mean?

My interruption of these results is that flow is king. Achieving a high flow state more often is the key to playing your best; it will help you win more games, and if you can do it consistently, it will help you rank up. Undertaking routines to help you achieve this is recommended, as described here.

When it comes to fatigue, things are a little less clear. We know it is more difficult to achieve that desired flow when you have high levels of mental fatigue. Taking a break, or stopping playing when you get to this point is recommended, and one of MaddCog’s key benefits is the ability to tell you this.

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