The former, start of the season. I see what you may be hinting at. Perhaps it’s SEMC’s way of helping folks feel better about their drop and to assist getting them back to where they were?
The boost is so strong and for so long that anyone will end up exactly were he was before even with 20% win ratio.
Edit: the idea to drop ranks of everyone is not bad, but the implementation is.
I think that’s what it is, yeah. I could see folks getting really salty about losing tier, then having a very long grind to get back to where they were, visually, while still having matches at the same difficulty level as before. Especially for folks who don’t play a ton of ranked, but still like to feel accomplished when they reach certain levels.
It’s a bit trickier for higher tier players, since they usually spend more hours playing, generally, so they’re more likely to grind through the artificial drop time quicker.
I think the Platonic ideal of the “Season Start Drop” is for players to be at the appropriate skill tier before the drop (where they’re equally likely to win or lose a game), and they spend a good chunk (40% or more?) of the season “ranking up” their VST. This would give players the sense of advancement and earning skill tier trophies each season, even when they’re playing at the same skill tier, while not inducing dread in a player that they might not earn the trophy they had before. I’m not sure how SEMC has it tuned, or what their ideal grind time is, or if it’s possible to use a single mechanic (the drop and its related VST/MMR acceleration) to reach an ideal grind time in multiple tiers.