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View Full Version : Suggestion: Leagues based on rank



Janus
02-20-2013, 06:36 PM
So far, I had a great time since soft launch. The community is still super friendly and the game is still fun. I've played 15 games since Factions went live, 11 of those were against teams of equal renown level, some were quite close, others not, but all of them were fun (at least for me :p). The other four games, however, were not fun and not competetive at all. I played three poor/brave newlings with their 61 renown teams who got slaughtered by my three rank 1 units. In the other game, I went up against Druski's team of six fully upgraded rank 1 units, this time I got slaughtered in similar fashion. I realized two things:

1. It's not fun to play against teams of different power levels, no matter wheter you're the one playing with a handicap or if it's your opponent.

2. The units were never balanced to be used in mixed teams.

During beta, we spent a lot of time figuring out how the units work together and how they match up as teams, but we only focussed on fully upgraded rank 1 teams (and I believe basic units were tested separately before my time). While a Warhawk might be a well balanced unit when two rank 1 teams meet, it feels quite differently when he mows through basic units like they are annoying bystanders.

Anyway, I realize that stoic wants to ensure a big player pool and therefore decided not to subdivide it. But the current way of match making will subdivide the player pool all the same, as it won't match up teams with a power level difference of more than six (which is way too much anyway). However, in my opinion every game that is not played at equal power level is a lot less fun than a truly fair match. That's why I'm suggesting leagues based on rank. In the basic league all competing teams would only consist of six basic units, this would be a great place to learn the basics of the game. I would also strongly suggest to allow players to change the stats of their basic units. Once a player has managed to promote six units to rank 1, he is allowed to enter the rank 1 league where all units have to be fully upgraded to rank 1 stats. And so on.

I feel like implementing a league system like this would not decrease the player pool but instead increase it, because much more players would be playing at exactly the same power level. Whereas right now, it feels a bit too much like pay to win to me. I can either pay a lot of money to get all my units to the current maximum rank to make sure that my opponent can only have an equal or lesser power level or I have to accept that I will sometimes have to play with a hefty handicap.

Right now, I'm actually hoping stoic will take their time until they unlock ranks 2 and 3, because I want to get my own team of six up to rank 1 before that. Then there might be a short time frame in which I can play pure rank 1 vs rank 1 action. But once the higher ranks become available the whole thing will repeat....

What do you guys think? Would such a system create enough incentive to keep playing (or paying :D) even though you cannot immediately use the units that you just upgraded?

Finjinimo
02-20-2013, 09:05 PM
Something like this could help add to the feeling of progression which is good I think.

It means you play at the lowest tier learning the game in even bouts. When you are ready to progress you take the next step up.

Also good is the idea that you will likely have a couple of squads that you play with, so you'll have your best squad for the highest tier you play in. But you will also have backup squads that you are levelling up in lower tier leagues. And that is really good I think. It means veterans are still using low-level squads instead of only playing at fully maxed-out tiers. And I think that will lead to a greater spread of games, and increase the ability to find a game. It should also encourage you to purchase more units of varying levels, as it will be easier to find matches if you have multiple squads at varying levels.

So, if you get tired of playing high-tier matches, you grab your basic unit squad and go back to a lower league for a bit.

In theory, the matchmaker should be doing this naturally anyway but due to the size of the pool of players and the ability to side-step competitive matching however, it does not.

GreenDread
02-20-2013, 09:32 PM
I agree with your concerns, Janus, especially about the lack of mixed-teams balancing. I haven't seen it yet, but I can imagine how a max-strength warhawk mows through basic units like the reaper himself.

However, if you were stuck with only base-units until you get six advanced ones, I would imagine that many players would become frustrated because they can't use their newly upgraded unit, yet. Not fun, progression wise. I'm rather hopeful that Stoic will optimise the matchmaker or that 'hard launch' fixes the problem just so.

raven2134
02-21-2013, 12:23 AM
This seems like a suggestion going in a good direction. Maybe we should be taking a different perspective on things.

We worry that leagues and matchmaking changes could either

a.) divide our growing but already/possibly small present and future community (which is bad)

b.) hamper playing itself, if we can't match up exactly, but which is most fair


Now, let's set aside those two worries for a second. When you think about it, Janus has a good line of thinking in that if people can choose where to play, then it is better for everyone. Let's explore how to make that work...

For example, one thing that will happen, if we do open up tiers to basic, rank 1, rank 2, and rank 3, is that people will naturally enter the brackets where they fit (the only issue here is whether enough people will populate the tiers at any given time to allow matchmaking to proceed in a timely manner).

On "getting stuck" This can be addressed if we implement 1 special tier, a free-for-all tier which is like matchmaking now. And let's say the system is smart, and you can choose to enter 1 tier to search, but if the system finds there's not enough players populating, it can inform you and redirect you into the free-for-all tier. And so it really captures both fairness, preference, and convenience/practicality.

Now, the question could be raised...isn't this too strict/rigid on the tier boundaries? Does just 1 more advanced unit make that big a difference? What if we don't mind that?

Then, based on this idea, why don't we translate the tiers into powerlevel brackets that capture this. Since Stoic will soon be implementing additional powerlevel, just by virtue of a unit being of higher rank.

Note, this is just my suggestion, and undoubtedly it will still require a lot of fine tuning, and it will take time to implement (cos it is essentially overhauling/super enhancing our matchmaking infrastructure).

erom
02-21-2013, 12:32 AM
My only problem with this solution is it fails to allow a niche for my most favorite games so far - where everyone has basic units _except_ a single or pair of rank 1's.

Which rank 1 you pick to bring when you only get 1 or 2 is fascinating and to me very entertaining. A basic team designed to support a warhawk is going to play very, very differently than a basic team designed to support a skystriker.

raven2134
02-21-2013, 12:47 AM
I think my suggestion captures/addresses that problem erom :) If the bracket only went as far as allowing 1-2 more advanced units on any tier.

Although, all this still necessitates the stat reduction-to-rank power level substitution to be addressed...

Conundrum
02-21-2013, 06:03 AM
I definitely don't think the idea as proposed in the OP is the right solution. There are a number of problems with having to wait till you have 6 nice shiny units to be able to use any of them:

1) The already mentioned frustration of "Why can't I play with my toys NOW??"
2) You would need at least 11 units to get to play in rank 1 - while you have 5 rank 1 units, you need a full team of 6 rank 0s to compete in the lower tier and earn kills/renown.
3) Players would be unable to learn how the Rank 1 game works in smaller steps - it'd be a big jump in complexity from 6 Rank 0s to 6 Rank 1s, with no chance to learn with more granularity.

KamikazeDurrrp
02-21-2013, 09:58 AM
Well what I've been arguing for was pretty much the tier system that Raven and Janus but I realized all of this could be simplified with just two options:

1. Fair Matches
2. Free-for-all

Obviously the names don't have to be that way in the real game, but essentially a fair match would be restricted to opponents with at most a disparity between two stat points (so a 63 stat person could face opponents between 61-65) and the free-for-all wouldn't have that restriction. Essentially, you would have the benefits of the focused pool of the league system AND a bigger less restricted pool of players to work with. As for the stat reduction to rank power level, the only way I see that could really fix that is that if people were forced to use all their stats on their units before they could queue. I don't know if that's too restrictive, but since stats are free now it would make sense for people to use all their stats anyway.