Incidentally — and not coincidentally — traditional sports offer similar experiences. As much as possible, neither side is favored to win. This enables the emergence of small mismatches in skill to become interesting points of contention. For everyone involved, the game feels winnable but not trivial; challenging but not overwhelming. Maybe that means sometimes you get stomped, but sometimes you have easier games.
StarCraft II Players Want Changes To Matchmaking System
And sometimes you have the really competitive games. Predicting outcomes is something that matchmaking systems do very well. This is how they fairly allocate points to winners and take them away from losers. Valve even trusts their system enough to enable promotions on tie games: But can we go a step further? Philosophically, you could make a practical and utilitarian argument that skill and outcome are identical — what is skill if not the ability to win?
Do marine micro or proper smoke setups have a context outside of their respective games?
Counter-Strike provides an interesting test case for this question. One of the first things I noticed as I ranked up the ladder were the immense skill differences between players of the same rank. At first I assumed it was smurfing, but the pattern was durable long after my entrance into Prime Matchmaking. Some of this is attributable to gaming the system or having a bad day — but not all, and the problem lay in my definition of skill.
Over time, I started to realize that this was inaccurate, and that there were lots of different ways to contribute to a win. What surprised me was that their individual performance, good or bad, was not always relevant. A great fragger who alienates their entire team can still carry a match by themselves, whereas a good teamplayer depends heavily on having strong teammates.
Does that difference in outcome also imply a difference in skill? Outcome is contrived — the relative value of fragging is determined solely by the ruleset. Imagine a hypothetical scenario where landing a specific smoke setup would automatically win a round. Practically speaking, however, the difference in skill is very real. StarCraft and Counter-Strike take different approaches to this question.
Every skill gap will inevitably be punished because there are no teammates to compensate for it. This forces players to develop genuine breadth — good outcomes must, eventually, pair with real skill.
www.mfarrow.com Leagues - Liquipedia - The StarCraft II Encyclopedia
As I argued in my video on Brood War and StarCraft II , misunderstanding this can be genuinely frustrating — cheesing your way up the ladder will only cause you to lose every macro game you play, which will make the game feel arbitrary and coin-flippy rather than fun. For instance, if it were badly balanced, it would drive players to exploit the current meta rather than deeply study the game in its entirety.
Balancing properly is a separate and very hard problem, but it needs to be done right in order to achieve skill-outcome convergence. They bought brand new copies of Global Offensive and played all of their placements together, with one player playing normally and the other merely acting as support.
By the end, the normal player ranked a full two ranks higher than his supporting counterpart. Points are obtained by getting kills, getting assists, planting and defusing bombs, and a few other things. Rewarding players for playing well is a good thing for the player experience, and it makes losing a lot less painful. I mention points because of their potential to create a spectrum of outcomes beyond the fixed win-lose paradigm. But what I appreciate about Counter-Strike is the way it makes every game enjoyable, not just the victories — no matter how tough the match, you always get in a lot of great shots, a few good rounds, maybe even a clutch or an ace.
I think you could theoretically expand this to the matchmaking system by enabling points-based victories. There are a couple of interesting factors here. About a month or two ago I began recording the results of my Global Offensive matches and my rank within each game. Here were the results:. If I was at the top of the score board — i. If I was at the bottom — i. I was rewarded for playing well and punished for playing poorly. A larger conclusion I reached from this experience is that for every game lost due to bad teammates, there was a game that was won due to good teammates. I did not deserve to win many of the games where I ranked 5th, much the same way I carried worse players when I was the top scorer both based on my own subjective evaluation, of course.
Additionally, the game speed in Practice League was "Normal" instead of "Faster". After 50 matches, regardless of whether a player won or lost, players progressed to their placement matches for the competitive leagues. It will work just like the regular league, except it doesn't do a bunch of ladder stats, so you don't have to worry about your rank and where you are. It'll be at a slower game speed setting, so it will be what you're used to from the campaign, and it will be on a bunch of maps that are anti-rush -- that are designed specifically to prevent rushing.
Now, I can't promise you that you won't die at minute six -- you could be minding your own business and here comes a fleet of Banshees and, "Aaauugh! I can promise you that. You'll at least have a chance to get your feet wet and experience some of the tech tree before you get rolled.
Players are ranked within their division based on their Points. The function of points is to determine a player's rank within their division.
The Ranked Ladder
After having completed their placement matches, players start out with 0 points. The number of ladder points is only weakly correlated to skill. Especially if players have unspent bonus pool, ladder points tend to measure activity level much more strongly than performance. On November 15, , Blizzard released a chart for season 4 explaining the point cutoffs required to almost be guaranteed a promotion. The charts also contain information for team formats and for all regions. Note that this chart reflects the Wings of Liberty ladder, and no such chart has been published for Heart of the Swarm, where the league populations, bonus pool accrual rate, and season length are different.
You earn or lose points by winning or losing matches, respectively. To simplify how it works in practice :.
As of Patch 2. When a game is lost, points are subtracted from the bonus pool of the player. The Bonus Pool is the sum of all "bonus points" a player can get, which are added to the rating points a player earns after a victory or, in the case of a defeat, points are deducted from the bonus pool rather than the player's ladder points.
The Bonus Pool serves two purposes: Players receive Bonus Pool points at a set rate per league. Before Season 3, all players received points at the Master league original rate. Season 3 introduced a separate accrual rate for leagues below Master. A player joining StarCraft freshly after the start of a season instantly receives the Bonus Pool as if he started at day 1 of the Season. This change was made in Patch 1. Bonus pool accrual rates have been tuned for team matchmaking modes to make them more competitive: This rating decides which opponents a player will meet, and tries to quantify their skill level.