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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: Rankings and Tournaments

  1. #1
    Superbacker piotras's Avatar
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    Exclamation Rankings and Tournaments

    After the introduction of tournaments (and soon their own tournament-specific ranking) I was wondering about the pros and cons of having the general ranking and a constructive discussion would be welcomed as always!

    Isn't it a bit redundant to have both general and tournament-specific ranking?

    I definitely agree that rankings are important for maintaining a competitive community in long-term and give some incentive to hardcore players, but these needs should already be satisfied by weekly tournaments and their own rankings.

    With general rankings comes also the matchmaking abuse and the headache of trying to prevent it, which unfortunately is a Sisyphean task. By matchmaking abuse I mean not only trashing new players for renown, but also boosting your ego by increasing your win:loss ratios, win and win streaks rankings. If there was no general ranking, there would also be less of a incentive to abuse.

    General rankings also promote very safe play, with a solid team, minimising risk (both in and outside of the battlefield), while it should be the ground to experiment, practice and prepare for the competitive matches.

    The reason why players are so chickenish in the current system is that experimenting or going for an experienced opponent might make you loose your so so precious elo. We can't ged rid off ego problems, but maintaining only the tournament rankings and removal of the general ones would make players abuse less in normal matchmaking, be less choosy and thus play more games (and get more renown!) and hopefully we would make it much more approchable for newcomers.

    Not to mention the fact that it probably puts new players off to get trashed and see yourself on the infamous negative win streak or ridiculous position in the ranking. I see people whining all the time that it's impossible to achieve the same level (i.e. position) because others had a head start... and they are completely correct because newcomers can't compete in things like total games or wins. If it was just a matter of getting yourself an advanced team and starting in the next tournament then it all looks much more promising, doable and only down to your tactics rather than griding. Moreover, for the same reason we would see the top 20 to be much more dynamic and competitive because of that.

    I got motivated to write this by the fact that I see stronger / equal strength teams dropping out on me in the versus screen... and I sadly doubt it these sorts of player are looking for newcomers with weaker teams to give them advice and support.
    Last edited by piotras; 02-20-2013 at 06:54 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Jorgensager's Avatar
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    What do you intend matches to be based on if there isn't a ranking? Or do you just not want the Hall of Valor there to discourage people, but hide ELO and base matches on that?

    As a newcomer at this stage of the game I like that I can see where the good players are compared to me, and the getting-matched-up-with-the-top-20 was a temporary thing while their ELO was low (assuming that was the case, anyways). This would mean I'll be matched up with new players as soon as there are enough new players to be matched up with, which means I'll also get the occasional win while figuring out how the game works. Then, if I learn enough of my mistakes I might just climb the tables, but I am currently in no hurry to do that.

  3. #3
    Superbacker piotras's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgensager View Post
    What do you intend matches to be based on if there isn't a ranking? Or do you just not want the Hall of Valor there to discourage people, but hide ELO and base matches on that?
    That could be a way of doing that Also, your team power is (and should) be detrimental is choosing an opponent.

    And you would now who the top players are, from the tournament rankings.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jorgensager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by piotras View Post
    That could be a way of doing that Also, your team power is (and should) be detrimental is choosing an opponent.

    And you would now who the top players are, from the tournament rankings.
    A problem with too heavy focus on team power is, as outlined in another thread, that a level 1 team at 10/11 has the same value as a basic team (or -1 since the thrasher is part of the first "basic" team players get), but would completely outclass it in performance, so there must be a rather weighted element based on statistics of the player's skill as well.

    Sure, I personally have little interest in who ranks the highest! ^_^

  5. #5
    I never thought about it before, but I agree. I had already decided that my non-tourney games were for renown and fun. If I ever attempted to compete, it would be during a future tournament (when I have more time and a team I really know how to use); but it's hard to resist the temptation to play for win/loss and general ranking. (In contrast, I'd just as well not show up on "wins" or "total games" . And I think there's no particular harm in keeping current and highest win streaks.)

    If some of these four stats were dropped (#wins, #games, W:L and general ranking) the hall might look awfully empty. I guess tournament results could map to some other rankings, and there's always #achievements...

    On the other hand, they could obfuscate the underlying Elo system. There's a defunct, Western-themed online game that is in some ways similar to TBSF (tactical; turn-based on a clock; choose your team) that did this:


    @Jorgensager: My understanding is that they plan to change that. Besides, is this thread really about team-power calculations? I think piotras means that matches should be/are based on Elo and power (while you only mentioned Elo)...
    Last edited by franknarf; 02-20-2013 at 07:47 AM.

  6. #6
    Superbacker piotras's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by franknarf View Post
    @Jorgensager: My understanding is that they plan to change that. Besides, is this thread really about team-power calculations? I think piotras means that matches should be/are based on Elo and power (while you only mentioned Elo)...
    Yes to both I remember reading in the chat that promotion will have a value of its own, so total power of your team will be: base stats + promotion + extra stats from promotion, so without assigning extra stats or even removing some you will stil be ahead of a unpromoted team.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgensager View Post
    Sure, I personally have little interest in who ranks the highest! ^_^
    That's the spirit! However, not all share you attitude and the newcomers will be ones affected and abused because of them

  7. #7
    Senior Member Jorgensager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by franknarf View Post
    @Jorgensager: My understanding is that they plan to change that. Besides, is this thread really about team-power calculations? I think piotras means that matches should be/are based on Elo and power (while you only mentioned Elo)...
    I don't know how I gave the impression I didn't want team power to play a role, but that was not my intention if I did. I only mentioned ELO because that's the only element of matchmaking connected to ranking. (Stating that it cannot only be based on team power is not the same as stating it should be based solely on ELO!)

    I think we all agree it needs to be a mix of ELO and team strength. However, this thread pointed out a problem but didn't propose an explicit solution, which is why I asked questions to get clarification.

    Quote Originally Posted by piotras View Post
    Yes to both I remember reading in the chat that promotion will have a value of its own, so total power of your team will be: base stats + promotion + extra stats from promotion, so without assigning extra stats or even removing some you will stil be ahead of a unpromoted team.
    Aha, thanks for the info!

    That's the spirit! However, not all share you attitude and the newcomers will be ones affected and abused because of them
    I didn't intend to portray my position as the average, so I agree. Although I would like to be able to see my personal ELO score and rank somewhere, so I know where I stand generally (i.e. only seeing my own score and rank). This should not lead to the same ego problems because the information would not be publicly available. It could be useful to get information about the players you are matched up with as well (when you are matched up with them).

  8. #8
    Backer balnoisi's Avatar
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    very interesting topic.

    i may add that for every player looking for casual battles fun and not interested in rankings or stats there is another whose interests lay on slowly crawl through the rankings and for him climbing a single position from 100th to 99th could be the most satisfactory thing. that's the challenge for any new player, i don't know if by having ranks removed you'd have more people happy or let-down.

    the team power indicator has been removed from the matchmaking screen, no ? i'd like it to be there, so everyone can consciously choose to fight a guy who has only 1 more point of power, or skip other who is 8 points above. just the line-up with portraits can tell you something but you need to know the pictures and calculate with the countdown ... so a lot of people would just see something different in their rivals team and skip it, and perhaps they were both at the same level.

    also 99% of the people who start playing loses their first games. that's the main difference in power, the basics of "howtoplay".
    if i know i'm facing a new player i always give advice and try to offer help, if i am going to lose my first 5 games anyway then i'd rather do it with people who can play and learn from them.

  9. #9
    Sorry if I am a little OT, but has there been a tournament yet?
    Yesterday when I played I saw the tournament banner in the great hall, but nothing happened when I clicked on it...

  10. #10
    Superbacker piotras's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by balnoisi View Post
    very interesting topic.

    i may add that for every player looking for casual battles fun and not interested in rankings or stats there is another whose interests lay on slowly crawl through the rankings and for him climbing a single position from 100th to 99th could be the most satisfactory thing.
    good point... in theory that person would have his/hers kick from taking part in tournaments and the related rankings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bloodaddict View Post
    Sorry if I am a little OT, but has there been a tournament yet?
    Yesterday when I played I saw the tournament banner in the great hall, but nothing happened when I clicked on it...
    Not yet, but weekly tournaments start sometime this week.

    EDIT:

    Overall, the point I'm trying to make is that ranking is a must, but having a general one and a tournament one is redundant. Moreover, the general one gives incentive to abuse weaker players by non-fair game and elo / power shenanigans, while tournaments are by design free of such things... so, why not change the house of valor into a tournament ranking/stats house and drop the general ranking (ELO could remain, just hidden). Hopefully, that would be beneficial to newcomers and build experimentation in general.
    Last edited by piotras; 02-20-2013 at 10:33 AM.

  11. #11
    More rankings is always better, in my opinion. In a pure multiplayer game, without the what-comes-next anticipation of a story mode, you need to leverage every possible thing you can to keep giving players a sense of progression. I doubt the majority of the playerbase participates in tournaments. I doubt even 10% of the playerbase will participate in the tournaments. You NEED stats for these players to be shown somewhere, so they can see themselves progressing.

    TL;DR - General and Tournament rankings are only redundant for the tiny sliver of playerbase that participates in tournaments.

  12.   This is the last staff post in this thread.   #12
    Art Director Arnie's Avatar
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    Good thread, no time to answer completely right now, but know that we are already implementing a system to help with the stat power ganking shenanigans that's apparently been happening to some poor souls. Basically we're adding power based on ranks to help our matchmaking system. Stay tuned!

  13. #13
    Superbacker piotras's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erom View Post
    I doubt even 10% of the playerbase will participate in the tournaments. You NEED stats for these players to be shown somewhere, so they can see themselves progressing.
    I guess more than 10% would if that's where rankings would be. Sense of progress is important, like renown and upgrading units, ranking doesn't show progress because you can win BUT you also loose, so you might have less elo at the end of the day then when you started.

    But I guess Arnie has a decisive voice on that one. There will be more ranking boards and new methods of shenanigans-prevention will be in place. Hope that helps.

  14. #14
    Superbacker trisenk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arnie View Post
    Good thread, no time to answer completely right now, but know that we are already implementing a system to help with the stat power ganking shenanigans that's apparently been happening to some poor souls. Basically we're adding power based on ranks to help our matchmaking system. Stay tuned!
    That's great. I was going to write a lengthy post about this issue, seeing that team power calculation hasn't changed since the very first days of beta. Good that I don't have to now

    It's actually not the first time when I think about something for a whole day, and when I get here in the evening there's already a topic with Stoic's answer. So yeah, best contact with the community ever (definitely among Kickstarter project I backed).

  15. #15
    Developer raven2134's Avatar
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    Hi piotras,

    I think erom's point on progression isn't just about the development of the assets you have in the game, your characters and the renown, but also the progression of the player in skill, which is represented by the various stats in the game. I mean sure basic-advanced, 0-100 renown are forms of progression. But also realize starting from scratch and winning 1/10 games, and getting to the point where you can win 5/10 games, is a big step forward for a player and also gives the feeling for progression.

    That said, and having read the rest of the thread, I do agree with a number of the points you're making. The general rankings do create a self-consciousness in players, whether they say they explicitly care about the ranking or not. Even for people that say they don't care, the fact that losses permanently make them look like worse players still has an impact on their mindset.

    I do also think it discourages experimentation, and it's only in rarer cases, or by relying on friend mode, that people will feel encouraged to experiment and play with different builds on the general ranking/versus.

    On other points raised, I'm not sure how you mean when you say tournament will prevent or erase matchmaking abuse. Even if the boards are weekly, the manner in which abuses could be carried out on the general ranking can still be used in tourney to create a skewed result and try to improve tourney standing? Maybe this doesn't translate into the said stats (win #, w/l ratio), but it still translates into something ego related (tourney rank).

    Also, there's the issue of being able to grind out the games if you simply turned the whole tourney into a weekly general ranking and reset. I mean sure grinding doesn't have a big effect now, due to the ELO algorithm being fixed. I think having no limit on the tourney games, however, can still provide skewed results. We cannot really quantify what the player performance is...if people play different numbers of games. ex. player A plays 30 games, wins 30 games. player B plays 50 games, wins 30 games. The number of wins is the same, but how do we properly account for the skill level of the 20 more opponents of player B, even if we assume player A and B had similar opponents for games 1-30.

    *As a side note, I also agree with bal's points and questions. The team power should be shown, and the sense of progression as explained above. And I agree as well that a redundancy is not necessarily bad.

    After having gone through the pros and cons, I came up with this thought.

    Tourney I think can stay as is. I think what stoic has come up with can work, is simple, and is a good place to start. It's good, let's discuss it when it's out.

    The general rankings, I think are ok to start, but what if we also consider having more of this information available only to the player, instead of visible as a ranking. If a player wants to track his progress, a lot of the stats he can manage just comparing himself before and at the present, instead of to other players.

    I think we should keep a general ranking, ELO and w/l ratio. But perhaps, we should do this on semi-permanent basis as well. What if it's weekly/monthly (a period like tournaments), but it doesn't have limited games. At the end of the period the board resets, BUT, you have a history of your ratings. You can therefore also track your progress, and also that of the top players.

    I think, the issue is not having systems where one can take over the other, but that we should have rating systems which have different methodologies/approaches, to giving the player a sense of progression and providing a sense of their skill level. While having these, we should find ways to promote experimentation, and a chance for players to wipe the slate clean, creating a name for themselves both based on their total time, and their present condition (not just one or the other).

  16. #16
    Backer Grits's Avatar
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    We should never reset the rankings. They make the game feel like it has a history. At most, just add a separate monthly leaderboard but don't get rid of the all time one. New players WANT to see who the top players are (and their high win streaks etc.)and it drives them to want to get better and compete!


    Personally I love rankings. They add a sense of progression and weight/tension to the games. It's fine to have two ladders IMO. Tournaments are for high level play w/ advanced teams. Think of it as the difference between your local Tennis or MTG club ladder vs a National Tournament, ya?

    On the topic of matchmaking:

    Why use renown to calculate power level? You should assume that all characters will be max stats, always, so why not calculate the power level like so: base clase = 1, rank 1 =2, rank 2 =3...something like that

    You could make it more subtle by fooling with the numbers (like rank1=2.355 and rank 3=3.111), but renown has proven to NOT be a good indicator of power. Why not just remove it from the equation? If you leave renown as a factor, sneaky players can fiddle with it too much. Just keep it simple...rank up, gain power, done.

    PS
    Friends mode is for experimentation.
    Last edited by Grits; 02-20-2013 at 01:10 PM.

  17. #17
    Superbacker piotras's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raven2134 View Post
    On other points raised, I'm not sure how you mean when you say tournament will prevent or erase matchmaking abuse.
    What I meant by tournaments being by design free of all sorts of shenanigans was that (at least that's my understanding) players which will participate in the tournaments will be the ones prepared, i.e. with an upgraded team, possibly tested tactics and generally knowing what they are doing, not new players with units from the proving grounds. So there's no incentive to back out and look for easy target because all of them are meant to be experienced. Now you can printscreen the top 20 of general rank and back out whenever a scary names comes up in tournament

    That makes me think... should you be able to back out from a tourney match? Isn't that kinda weird?

    EDIT:
    I'm kinda scared that too much effort is put into overcomplicated ways trying to prevent abuse, while the source of the incentives is still there. Fun-wise, rankings were always a double-edged sword I'm afraid.
    Last edited by piotras; 02-20-2013 at 04:08 PM.

  18. #18
    Firstly if you farm noobs for ranking
    1) diminishing returns as your ranking goes up (less elo gain as ranking difference increases)
    2) are you still improving your game?
    3) Ranking gets too high and MM wont place you in a match.

    Secondly ranking will be a way of placing you in a subsection of the population at roughly your skill level once:
    a) sufficient players are involved
    b) rankings have time to settle down a bit

    I strongly believe there should be a team power and player ranking displayed on the match up screen. However I also strongly believe the only way to back out of a match should be surrendering. MM should give underdog status for mismatches in ranking as well, not just team power.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by tnankie View Post
    the only way to back out of a match should be surrendering
    Agreed, we should attack the problem at the root.

  20. #20
    Backer Grits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erom View Post
    Agreed, we should attack the problem at the root.
    Agreed.

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