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Author Topic: Making the Best FFA Rating System  (Read 17323 times)
Ross Przybylski
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« on: July 07, 2010, 06:45:01 PM MT »

A number of players have suggested improving the way player rating is determined for FFA games.  So, I thought I would take a moment to offer up some thoughts on the system as a whole to give players some perspective on the challenges of rating FFA games in hopes of enticing some conversation and debate.

If you haven't done so already, I recommend reading how our current FFA rating system works: https://www.heromages.com/gameInfo/howToPlay/ratingSystem.html

Makings a Better FFA Rating System

In the Elo system, rating adjustments are dependent on wins and losses.  Other factors, such as in-game performance, do not factor since the win ultimately determines if a particular strategy was successful.

This is Mr. Elo's justification anyway, which applies directly to the game of chess for which the rating system was originally designed for, particularly since many strategies in chess involve the sacrifice of pieces to ultimately trap the opponent's king and win the game.

That being said, Hero Mages is not chess, and the principles of Elo don't necessarily carry over to a Free-For-All environment where it's possible for multiple opponents to team up against one player.  I think our Valor system is a step in the right direction towards mitigating the nuisances of FFA, but what can we do to improve how FFA games are rated?

Since our rating system strictly judges performance based on wins and losses, I believe the key lies in questioning: What determines a win in FFA?

At the core, I believe that, regardless of other factors, the last team standing has achieved the ultimate objective of survival and is thus rightly entitled to first place.  But what about the runner ups?

In our current system, your finishing place (which determines who you are rated as winning/losing against) is based on the order in which players are eliminated. So, in a 4 player game, first player to be eliminated automatically gets fourth place, second player eliminated gets third place, and third/final player eliminated gets second place.  I suspect it is within this realm of "runner ups" that we may find a better solution to FFA rating.  Here's my reasoning:

1) It doesn't necessarily follow that the second to last player left standing deserves second place since, regardless of the fact that they out survived the other players, they did not achieve the ultimate goal of being last player left standing.  One could rightfully argue, in fact, that all eliminated players have equal standing as loser and that only the last standing player can rightfully claim winner. In this case, we might resolve rating by only adjusting rating scores of the winning player against each losing player instead of adjusting ratings based on finishing place.  In other words, only the ultimate winner stands to gain points, while all eliminated players stand only to lose points.

2) While the proposed rating change in #1 might be more technically correct than our current system, it carries with it various psychological factors that could deter fun and engaging game play.  If the only goal of FFA is survival, players might be more likely to camp to avoid confrontation and more likely to quit after losing a mage (since there is nothing to gain if you feel your team is too weak to outlast the remaining players).  Also, #1 doesn't solve the problem of gaining up on the highest rated player, since it is still to the advantage of the other players to defeat this person so as to gain the most possible points in victory.

3) What if runner-up finishing places were determined by a points system that evaluated how much impact you had on the game before being eliminated?  A simple system might look like this:

A) Defeated a Guardian = X Points
B) Defeated a Mage = Y Points
C) Out lived Z Players = Z Points

In this case, we take from #1 that runner-up placing need not follow directly from survival order and take from #2 that motivation to continue fighting is needed to promote exciting game play.  Should we also factor Valor into the mix, we might also help alleviate the problem of ganging up on players, since a lone player fighting against a team will likely kill more units and accumulate more Valor.

So, there you have it- some thoughts to consider.  Ratings are important to many players, so I won't change the system lightly.  As game designer, my goal is to satisfy you- the players.  So I now open the floor to you.  What are your thoughts on FFA rating?  How can we make the system better?
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Ross Przybylski
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« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2010, 06:02:21 PM MT »

Hey all!

I'm still waiting to hear your feedback on this.  Let me know your thoughts on the FFA Rating system and whether or not you would like to see some of these proposed changes in the next release.
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Joshua

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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2010, 06:17:50 PM MT »

The main issue is players with high ranking tend to avoid playing with low ranking players in ranked matches.

It's true - because even though the high ranking player had won, he/she won't get any additional point to the ranking. And if the high ranking player lost, his ranking system gets cut down horribly.

I suggest a ranking system something like this:

- Winning player gets ranking points based on the ranking of other defeated players, something like this: (fixed point) + (10% x difference in ranking - if higher). So if if the winner player's ranking was higher than the losing player, he would only received the 'fixed point' but no bonus. However, if the winning player's ranking was lower than the losing player, he would receive the 'fixed point' ad well as a 'bonus'.

- The losing player doesn't lose any ranking point - but only a 'loss' is counted towards the player's status. So, all players won't lose any ranking points. This benefit players who have played this game longer than others, and obviously players who have played this game longer should in theory receive better ranking.

- The leader board would be based on how many games won minus how many games lost - so it will be regardless of points.

- New players would receive massive bonus if winning a battle against an experienced players.

It's a simple system - and this would encourage all players to play ranking game.

Unranked games just means - no win/lose status and points

Just an idea to start with.
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Ross Przybylski
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« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2010, 02:27:46 AM MT »

Joshua,

Your prosed system offers some pro's and con's.  Among the benefits, it offers something positive for the players to earn each game.  It may also encourage more higher ranked players to play lower ones (since you never stand to lose points, only to gain them).  On the other hand, this system erradicates the Elo mechanism of evaluating true player skill level.  High rating (while expedited by winning) is now tied to play time, so players that play more oftern will undoubtedly have more points- and a new player, tho technically higher skilled, might face an impossible climb to the top against veteran players.

I suppose the question to ask is: What’s more important to players in a rating system?  Do you want a true measure of your playing skill so you can find players of equal match to play against- OR- do you want a more positive reward system for playing and winning games?

You’ve got some really good ideas here- particularly how you’ve suggested having a points-only gain, but a higher rated gain for winning against more challenging opponents.

What do others think about this?

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diesbudt

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« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2010, 06:25:57 AM MT »

I want the better matching.  I don't want a FFA where I can't loose oints. I just want an FFA where if I happen to kill all 3 my opponents units down to 1  but loose first....

 I just want an incentive to not hole up and wait for ppl to start losing before I enter and deliver the final blow.
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Joshua

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« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2010, 02:29:09 PM MT »

Just to clarify, the ranking system I proposed is not just for FFA, but for everything in general.

New players can have the opportunately to catch up with the veteran players since they'll be getting lots of bonuses (for winning) while the veteran players can only progress slowly since they're not getting any bonuses.

As I said - the main problem with the current ranking system,  is that high ranked players avoids playing with low ranked players. I tried to challenge a high ranked player to a duel, but they kept avoiding me because I'm @ 1000-ish. Thus, it'll be hard for me to catch up with the high ranking players anyway.

Any veteran players could create another new account (by the way, this is NOT allowed!) with a new name that is unknown to high ranked players and then challenge them - and may generally be accepted since they think s/he is a noob.

As most of you all know that I can play hero mage quite well - but my ranking does not reflect that. I just love doing 'Circle of Death' or 'Skittles' in ranked - muahaha.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2010, 02:34:33 PM MT by Joshua » Logged
diesbudt

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« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2010, 04:23:12 PM MT »

Well the problem with that is, since no one can lose points, the best ranked players can/will be the ones who play the most, not the best.  As an average player winning  3 out of 5 games  plays  20  a day.   vs a great player that wins  4 out of 5  and plays  5 games a day,   the average player would be considered the  'better player'.

Also I never turn down a ranked duel challenge because of rating,  if others do that's there problem.

But I won't play someone ranked who has like only  5-10 games on their profile  (ranked or unranked).

I also don't think people should care that much about rank I mean, a 'rank' system on a game that arguably at high levels is controlled more by luck than anything else is hard to do.

I have lost a handful of ranked games to players  under 1000   who didn't understand some of the basics (keep mage hidden) and such, and threw 30 dice on heir sorc. but  luck said no  and I  ended up losing.     In no way was I the inferior player in that example of a match, but my 'rating'  change says I was.
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Ross Przybylski
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« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2010, 04:46:20 PM MT »

There are good points on both sides of this.  As Joshua mentions, it is arguably hard to climb unless you are playing against higher rated players (since you gain little points for beating lower rated players).  One measure we have taken to mitigate this is to require players participating in ranked games to play at least once every two weeks (hence, if they refuse to play any rated games, they will eventually be taken off the leaderboard).

Diesbudt also brings up a good point that since luck is such a strong factor, winning and losing points here and there really doesn't mean anything.  In fact, the rating only starts to make sense over a period of time playing many games with many different players.  In this sense, I feel ratings represent player skill fairly accurately.

Another possibility might be to look at ways of combining skill and play-time reward.  Perhaps we track play/win experience along with skill and have different leaderboards for each.  Or, maybe once achievements are added, we have special rewards for higher rated players accepting challenges from lower rated players.
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Vinman

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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2010, 07:19:36 PM MT »

I'd like to add a few things I've noticed.

As Dies said, FFA is basically a 2v1, with the 2 lower ranked guys gunning for the higher ranked player. It's tough to win a 2v1, although it has been done. So as Dies said, you kill multiple foes, have seberal great card / unit combos, but lose the game, and then lose a ton of points.

In team games, I've been involed when the host choses random heros and random teams. This adds even more luck to the game, since you can't strategize with a team mate on complimentary units. Also, if there are 4 expert players and 2 rookies; teams can be grossly lop-sided. Obviously choosing team mates eliminates this as well as chosing heros, but many folks still play the random / random games. Also, I've seen players get mad and leave games, stranding their team-mates. I've seen this early in the game, when there was still a good chance to win. And what about connection losses or the game being hung?

Other observations. Some folks are just so uptight and hung up on rank. It's just a game, if you play long enough, you'll know who the top players are. I've seen a player (to remain namless) playing ranked games against a complete newb. Sure he only was rewarded 1 or 2 points per game, but the new player left mad after the loses (and taunts), and I haven't seen hin since. I checked the leader board and this new guy hasn't played since then. Not good for building the community! And for what, 5 points!

Also, some folks tend to play more conservative in ranked games. They get tense since it's ranked and "turtle up". Not all, many experienced players know when to go all out. But if folks are afraid to lose rank / rating points, they may tend not to experiment with different combos of units and spells since you're penalized heavily for loses to lower ranked guys.

I know the rating system was based off Chess. But chess is 100% skill and this game has lots of luck. I've mention this before to folks and "well Vin after you play so many games it averages out and the skill player rise to the top....". Still, LUCK IS INVOLVED. Dice don't have a memory, you can go on a long losing streak due solely to bad luck.

IMO the rating system should be eliminated.

I enjoy the game, I have several freinds in the community and will continue to play. I have and will continue to help new players and coach folks when asked or needed. I just don't like the negative effects of the rating system. The taunting, name calling, ill tempered, childish beavior just to see your avatar's name closer to the top of some list that is influenced by luck is just nuts.
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diesbudt

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« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2010, 09:16:30 PM MT »


As Dies said, FFA is basically a 2v1, with the 2 lower ranked guys gunning for the higher ranked player. It's tough to win a 2v1, although it has been done. So as Dies said, you kill multiple foes, have seberal great card / unit combos, but lose the game, and then lose a ton of points.


This is my only concern about FFA rating. It really doesn't show the "best" player. I have seen FFAs where a persons first ever game wins with many high rated players only because he doesn't know what hes doing and the others kill themselves (not wanting to waste cards or mana on the new guy) to the point anyone can finish them off.

Maybe, what I propose is what you suggested last time. Remove Overall Rating. Keep individual ratings.

Keep the Overall wins/loses (so some acomplishment is felt) on "view profile"

and instead on the lobby version, have a title (based on highest rating), along with the wins/loses and rating of that game type.

Duelist <duel>
Huh??  <FFA>
Teamster <team>


In team games . . .  random heros and random teams . . .  you can't strategize with a team mate . . . Obviously choosing team mates eliminates this as well as chosing heros, but many folks still play the random / random games.


Well, random teams is the only way people will play. No one will accept the "weakest players" (loosely defined) ranked or unranked.  And the choosing of teams... no one wants to sit for 5-10 extra minutes to talk strategy.


Some folks are just so uptight and hung up on rank. It's just a game, if you play long enough, you'll know who the top players are. I've seen a player (to remain namless) playing ranked games against a complete newb. Sure he only was rewarded 1 or 2 points per game, but the new player left mad after the loses (and taunts), and I haven't seen him since. I checked the leader board and this new guy hasn't played since then. Not good for building the community! And for what, 5 points!


That is the point of an ELO system, that way a strong player can beat a weak one and barely take points. If the new person gets upset, they will get upset if they just lose.  Do I think it wrong to beat up on a new person?  Yes, but that shouldnt remove rank, anyone who gets upset with it would have been upset anyways.   (P.S.  after my 2nd week on here I was 950 rating, so anyone should know it is easy to turn around)

Also, with that said I run a code that I usually try to never play ranked unless it is someone I know is up for the game, has a certain rating in duel (IF i have never seen them before), or many games under their belt to hopefully know strategies. And Vin, I bet I can name the player you left nameless.


Also, some folks tend to play more conservative in ranked games. They get tense since it's ranked and "turtle up". But if folks are afraid to lose rank / rating points, they may tend not to experiment with different combos of units and spells since you're penalized heavily for loses to lower ranked guys.


That is why unranked exists, to try out combos, maps, learn the game, or play for fun. I enjoy rank, but enjoy the game even more.  Also, if someone turtles up? thats fine its their decision, but a defensive setup is usually 1 of the easiest to break if you know how, so they wshould learn quickly once its being beaten to change strategies.  Because in a duel (hint, hint)  if I see a player sit back and wait, I already know I have a huge advantage and will probably walk away with the win.


Still, LUCK IS INVOLVED. Dice don't have a memory, you can go on a long losing streak due solely to bad luck.


Personal experience I assume?   Tongue


The taunting, name calling, ill tempered, childish beavior just to see your avatar's name closer to the top of some list that is influenced by luck is just nuts.

Yes that is what annoyed me by the new brazilian comers, and the way they acted in games. (thank you google translator) And anyone who knows me I will not tolerate that kind of behavor.

But just one thing, the ladder isnt all luck.

Sure Luck is a major component, but skill does have its place.  somewhere around the 65/35 line.

the way I think of a duel is a game is split into 100% to the 2 players whoever has the most wins. 
---So if Player A is much better, he has all 35% of the skill, so all he needs is 21% of the luck, and he will win (needs much less luck, but it is still there)

--- But if the players are better matched say  20%/15%, than luck plays a bigger part. But the better player still requires a little less luck.


(This skill can be, knowing how to use your cards, when to save/dump, when to attack a hero or guardian, when to defend or attack, where to move and when, estimating what cards your opponent may have and if they have the ability to drop a hero to 0 in 1 turn.)

So that is what I have to disagree on, it isnt only luck. Luck is roulette, where a player has no chance to influence the game, there is great amounts of skill involved.  I just agree, luck plays a bigger portion.


....this took longer than I thought it would
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Alderon

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« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2010, 01:21:19 AM MT »

The people that know me will know that I've now officially given up on the ranking system, since for me it's really not friendly towards how I play this game. I mostly play, 'it's all or nothing' and that means I lose a 'lot' of games if the dice bugger me.

Because of that, my rating is hardly complimentary. I 'can' play more conservitively if I so choose and I'm pretty damn good at putting together a good hand then unleashing it at the right moment, as anyone who plays me regularly will tell you. So what I'm saying is, if I just copied the play of some of those at the top of the leaderboard, sure given time I'd be right up with you guys. But where the hell is the fun in that? I enjoy the game the way I play it. And it's a style I'll never drop just to climb the luck-ladder.

As Vin said, I know who the top players are, I don't need the ranked ladder to tell me.

It's un-needed and really does cause a lot of stupid tension in the game which could be avoided. I think dies proposal of just keeping the win/loss overall is a good one. Drop the ladder, drop ranked games, just have both ranked and unranked wins and losses underneath your name and go from there.
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