Hey everyone! Shelt (from way back in Dev Blog #2) here to once again to talk a bit about the previous season and about some of the updates for Season 4. During Season 3 the main concerns raised by the community had been regarding uneven matchmaking, less skilled players reaching the higher leagues, and win streak bonus rating inflation.
So let’s begin by discussing the uneven matchmaking. Battlerite features a lot of different options for play such as the tutorial, the playground, vs AI, 2v2, 3v3, league, and casual which all need to be taken into consideration in some way when matching players. On top of that we also have parties, champions, archetypes, latency, and skill – all of which also need to be evaluated for matchmaking. The general rule we’ve followed is that “it’s better to play an uneven match, than not play at all.” I know some of you will disagree and of course there are situations where waiting would be beneficial.
We can already see some improvements with the recent release of Battlerite Lite as the influx of new players have helped the population grow. However, it will still take some time for the new players to be able to compete against our veteran players. We should still see some more growth over the upcoming months though, thanks to Battlerite Lite, and further down the line we also have the F2P launch of Battlerite to look forward to later this year.
For Season 4 we are looking into improvements in matchmaking by moving some of control of it to the players. In Season 4 you will be able to queue in what we call Strict Matchmaking. Queuing with Strict Matchmaking may significantly increase the queue time, but will instead guarantee opponents with similar skill. At any time while queuing you will be able to toggle Strict Matchmaking on or off without having to rejoin the queue. Strict Matchmaking will only be available for League.
Let’s move on and talk about the two remaining concerns I want to address a bit. Players have brought up that it is too easy to climb and reach high rankings, primarily blaming the Win Streak Bonus system that was added in Season 3. To a certain degree it is true, the Win Streak system have made it easier for players to climb, even more so than we hoped for. But there is also another, bigger reason as to why we see a larger amount of players higher up in the ranks, and that is due to the higher placement position everyone got. For Season 3 we did major changes to the placement algorithm, which resulted in everyone getting placed a lot higher than they did in previous seasons. This ended up with the entire span of players getting pushed up a lot higher in the leagues as the season progressed.
There have been a lot of requests to add a Lose Streak or remove the Win Streak system to counteract the relatively high concentration of players in the upper leagues. We don’t really believe either of these solutions are the right way to go though. Getting a losing streak as a player is demotivating enough while playing normally. As such we don’t want to pile it on even more by throwing an additional rating penalty in their face. Having the Win Streak Bonus also allows teams and players who belong at a higher spot in the Leagues to progress faster. This also reduces the amount of teams that stomp on their way to their proper position in the leagues.
We are doing some changes for Season 4 to address the previously mentioned problems. First, we’ve done tweaks to the placement algorithm, which will result in players and teams getting a lower placement than where people were placed in Season 3. This will help balance out the span of players to a more suitable distribution.
Second, we will reduce the Win Streak Bonus to lower its impact, but keep it at a point where it will still allow players to progress faster if they win a lot. To prevent the average player from gaining rating over time when they actually have around a 50% win rate and occasionally having win streaks, we’ve added a skill check factor which affects rating gains. This means that if the system is under the impression that your actual skill is below the visual presentation of your skill, your rating gains will be slightly modified. This will lead to “random” win streaks being nullified after X amount of games, unless the player actually proves that they belong where they are.
Finally we will also be doing some minor changes to improve the balance between players within a match. This will make it impossible to get a match where the lowest ranked players end up in one team against the highest ranked players in the other team.
That’s all I have for now, thanks for reading and good luck in Season 4!