I know there are a lot of people out there who want to be able to casual solo play in a competitive environment in this game and I am one of them. But the unfortunate truth is that dream isn't real. Guild Wars 2 Conquest is the wrong game to be playing if a player is looking for a fair & competitive solo play environment. This game is riddled with so much match manipulation in so many forms, most of it not even against the TOS which is why no action is taken against it. The amount of bunk dirty unclean matches in solo/duo que nowadays is astonishing. If you don't have someone getting mad and throwing the game because someone said something to them, then you have someone AFKing to answer their door to pay for a pizza, or an ALT account who is throwing because he has some personal rivalry with the Necro on your team, or there is a Plat 3+ player on the other team who is smurfing on an ALT that is currently ranked and placed as Gold 2, and if it isn't some chintzy non TOS breaking kitten like that, it's actual $%^&ing blatant win trading, or the classic guy who has terrible ping who keeps DCing who should just STOP trying to que but for some reason he keeps doing it. And now with lower population, these problems have become much worse.
5 or 6 years ago or hell even 3 or 4 years ago, when you'd que solo the games were still primarily full of players who owned only 1 account, who were actually trying hard in legitimate fashion, who were playing by the rules. Running into win trading was far in between because not many people knew about it, and even running into general match manipulations didn't happen too often because people actually feared Arenanet administration back then. There was such a large player base that 9/10 of the players in your game were actually within about 50 rating of each other. But now... everyone has heard or read or watched youtube videos or streamers discuss win trading and how it works. Players no longer fear Arenanet administration because 7 years have gone by and they've seen the examples set by popular streamers and old pro players who have been caught breaking the TOS, who only received slaps on the wrist. And the population is so low at this point, that even with the complete absence of match manipulation, the algorithm can't do its job correctly. Simply put my friend... wanting to find any form of quality match making within solo or solo/duo only queues, is a pipe dream at this point. I hate saying that because I rather enjoy playing solo off discord, when I want to relax.
There are many reasons why all of this has grown into such a plague, but the two primary reasons are these: 1 - F2p accounts were implemented with absolutely no restriction on how many f2p accounts a single person could create and actually use in ranked seasons, which lead to heavy exploitation of leaderboard position blocking. 2 - Solo/Duo only opened the gates to mass match manipulation exploitation through synch queuing and alt throwing. No matter what we do as players within a solo/duo only que, we have no way to block ourselves from throwing, other than participating in match manipulations ourselves. <- When players began to notice THAT, this is when things got bad. And you mark my words right now reading this, it's only going to get worse as time goes on. This pattern of decay in match quality over 7 years and within the solo/duo queue system will continue to worsen as it has been doing since the day it was released.
The only thing that Arenanet could have done to save solo/duo or solo que modes, if acted upon about 2 or 3 years ago, would have been doing an intimidating mass ban phase where players were not allowed to come back. This would have saved us so much player base in the long run, if Arenanet would have shown that they cared about their game mode. We'd still be seeing a lot of veteran players sticking around to this day if that would have been the case, and match manipulation would be much thinner if players actually feared Arenanet's hand. 2 or 3 years ago, the population could have survived that and recovered from it. But now, the population is so low that it's like a stage 3 cancer patient who's too deep in the sickness to survive chemo. If they tried to ban phase now, the player base required to run the game mode wouldn't survive it.
Since that is no longer an option, we are looking at accepting what this game mode is. Solo/Duo ranked is a game mode where you roll the dice each and every time you que. We are long past the days where matches look like: 1575 1560 1555 1550 1545 on a team together, who were queued like this through solo joins, all players with 1 account who are actually trying hard. No, now we are looking at situations like this almost every game: 1650 1525 1500 1480 1420 where the risk is high that one if not two of the players on that team will throw for whatever reason that is, whether it is win trading alt throwing, or simply because some guy gets mad and he knows Arenanet won't do anything about it. The fact of the matter is... solo/duo only is producing absolutely kitten quality match making man...
Look, I used to love the randomization behind solo que. I really enjoyed joining matches and playing with different people on different builds with different team comps against some other different random team comp every game. That is a good form of a gambit, variation, it keeps things interesting. This was still healthy 2 or 3 years ago even. But nowadays, it just doesn't work anymore due to every reason I've already mentioned.
At this point 7 years in, things are different. If we want to experience healthy matches again in Guild Wars 2 Conquest, we need to be able to know & trust who is in the teams that we que with. We need 5 man ques back for the main competitive seasonal mode for several reasons. I know this is hard for the solo que promoters to wrap their minds around, but it's true and it's the only hope we have of cleaning up the poor match quality monkey kitten that solo/duo only and lower population has brought us: