Crystal Arena: Rank Point Rollercoaster

    • Crystal Arena: Rank Point Rollercoaster

      TL;DR AT THE BOTTOM

      I want to start by saying that the inclusion of Crystal Arena this season was great. As a start, the unlimited rewards system and vanity drops were cool and I think the fact that more people got to experience gameplay closer to what a Crystal 5v5 might be was awesome. However, I think there were a lot of aspects poorly thought out or some decisions that seem...dubious? At best.

      Solo Queuing and it's expectations

      I tracked several stats for 101 solo queue games that I played. Of these 101 games, 92 were in Gold 1. Of these 92, 56 were wins and 36 were losses. That's about a 60.8% winrate and 20 wins above .500. Regardless, from these 92 games alone I lost a total of 112 RP. Even with the most charitable analysis I couldn't see this as anything other than a bug or misguided expectation. The reason for this massive RP loss is that starting at Gold 1, penalties for losing start increasing and RP rewards for winning start to decrease. I averaged about -16 for every loss and only +8 for every win. Admittedly, I have noticed that this issue would be assuaged (slightly) if there were more players in these higher ranks queuing. However, because the current RP system actively punishes you for queuing at ranks Gold 1 and above in any situation where you can't guarantee an extremely high winrate, many players in this rank rarely queue with less than 5 players. These lopsided punishments don't make sense because: 1) the lobbies where you lose 16 RP seem almost identical to the ones where you win and gain 8 RP AND 2) expecting an exceptionally high winrate to be maintained is not congruent with the assumption that matchmaking strives to create teams where both teams have an equal chance to win. (If you will just take me at my word for these two points you can skip the next 3 paragraphs)

      To expand on point 1, I have tried my best to figure out the rhyme or reason behind these big penalties when you reach Gold rank (compared to lower ranks), but after tracking my matches by hand, I can come to no other conclusion other than that this forced difficulty is put in by SBI (or is a bug). What leads me to this conclusion is that even though the lobbies that the game would create when I was/am Silver 2 are largely the same as the ones when I'm Gold 1, at silver 2 the RP +/- for wins and losses are very similar as opposed to Gold 1 where the each loss is worth significantly more than each win. And I am specifying the badge of Silver vs Gold because even if your rank number is the same, your +/- RP is much more heavily influenced by your badge (i.e. a loss at 2950 RP and silver rank is less punishing than a loss at 2950 RP and gold rank). My solution to this is simple, just make wins and losses worth very close to the same amount at all ranks, at least for solo queuing (yes, even at low ranks, I'll expand more on that later). In all honesty, I don't mind getting lower ranked teammates as my rank goes up, but it does not make sense to have progressively harder games AND getting punished harder for losing as well.

      As far as point 2, it's fairly simple. The way I see it, it can't be two ways. Let me explain. Let's say, for arguments sake, that the higher loss penalties for higher ranks are legitimate because the lobbies that are made for these players are ones where the high rank players are EXPECTED and will most likely win. In that case, I can accept the higher penalty for losing because you are constructing a lobby where the high rank player has an easy time winning. However, if this is true and this is what your algorithm thinks is true, how can you justify putting the players who are playing against the high rank player in the lobby? Do you think they would feel good about you putting them in a game where they are expected to lose? Ok, now lets look at it from another point of view. Let's say that you believe the algorithm is creating two teams where both have about an equal chance to win. Which is good, I think that's where everyone would like it to be. If this is the case, and if SBI believes this to be the case with their current implementation of the algorithm, then how can you further justify the higher penalties at higher ranks? If both sides have about equal chances of losing and winning, shouldn't a win and a loss be worth the same amount of Rank Points, regardless of your current rank?

      The win:loss ratio SBI is trying to force you to achieve is not reasonable in any sense because even in other games, most high rank players don't go above a 55%-60% winrate. For example, if we take a look at the top LP players in Korea, Europe West, and NA for League of Legends, very few players reach a 60% winrate at the highest level, and even fewer go very far above that. In contrast, some of the best and/or most accomplished Dota 2 players like Sumail, Miracle, Yatoro, Ceb/7ckingmad, and w33 don't manage to maintain a 60% winrate over thousands of ranked matches. Even in the all time chess elo rankings most of the top players hover around a 60% winrate and the only outlier is Garry Kasparov, whom many believe is the best chess player of all time. This idea that once you reach a certain rank you need an absurdly high winrate to climb when queuing solo is misguided. It may work for 5 stack queues, due to the removal of +0 games, but for solo queuing it's very nearly impossible. If the matchmaking system is working to create lobbies that are "fair", and we assume both teams have an equal chance of winning, should a player that has a positive winrate not just continue to climb? If anyone would still argue that as a player reaches Gold 1/Gold 2/Crystal, their winrate should be sustained above 66%/75%/etc, why should this be the case for a solo player? What makes 5v5 in Albion more special than games like Dota or League of Legends where this expectation is not in place?

      Overall, I don't understand a lot of the expectations that seem to be carried over from 5 stacking into solo players' games. My suggestion would be to have solo queue games be more volatile (i.e. you gain and lose significantly more RP than the current implementation, like +- 20/25/30), but the wins and losses should be valued largely the same for the vast majority of games, assuming SBI has confidence that their matchmaking is making a balanced lobby. Additionally, I think SBI should consider increasing the rewards for solo queuing as opposed to queuing in a party. Doesn't have to be a lot, maybe 10%-20%, but I think encouraging this will lead to faster queue times and an easier time for the matchmaking to create fair lobbies.

      Teammates
      Losing RP is good, actually

      If you browse the forums or sometimes even comments in the reddit sub, people sometimes will complain about their teammates being bad, the lobbies being unbalanced, or something along those lines. What I found is that generally, the matchmaking algorithm is pretty good at having either team being within 300-400 RP of each other most (78%) of the time. The actual issue with "bad" teammates has nothing to do with the matchmaking in my opinion and more to do with the fact that the +/- RP calculations for players at the lower end of the rankings is also severely imbalanced. Generally, I don't see the result of this issue very often, since I mostly get matched with Silver players and occasionally a few bronze players. However, despite this I have encountered what I will call "anomalous players". These are players who consistently affect the games they take part in negatively for their own team, but because of how RP is handed out, they maintain a (most likely) undeserved rank for quite a while.

      Lets say that we have this silver player , what I would consider to generally be about average (maybe slightly above average) stats for a Silver 1 player. He has 2129 RP, 127 total games played, and a winrate of about 59%. For the most part, a lot of silver 1 players will have stats similar to this and have about the same impact as this player. However, occasionally you will run into an anomalous player. This silver player has the same RP, more experience, yet their winrate is significantly lower than the aforementioned silver player (41%). These players are by no means are anywhere near each other in the impact they have in a match. Yet by all metrics, they will probably be treated as the same level of player by the matchmaking system. See, the issue at the lower end of the rankings has the same issue as the high end, except in the other direction. In lower ranks, wins net players much more positive RP than losses give negative RP (in some cases 3 times more). This starts to level off a bit once you hit silver but the reality is I've seen quite a few players able to maintain a ranking of Silver 1, even with a winrate as low as 40%, and able to maintain Bronze 2 with a winrate in the 30's%. So what is the solution at this end of the rankings? Same as above, just make wins and losses worth the same RP. Players who play above their rank will influence the game in a positive manner consistently and will eventually climb out of that rank. Yes, occasionally any player will get games that they were never going to win, "impossible games". But, if you play consistently above the rank you are currently at, you will eventually climb. Good players don't need the extra boost to get to the rank they "belong" at. More importantly, the "anomalous players" who maintain their rank despite more consistently affecting a game in a negative way will eventually fall to an appropriate rank. So in this sense, losing RP is good, actually. Especially when you lose enough games to deserve it.

      Healers

      I don't have much to say here. Contrary to what I've seen quite a few people say, I don't think healers alone determine the outcome of a match. For the most part my experience with solo queuing with random healers has been mostly positive. They're not all perfect players, but you don't need a perfect healer to win most matches. However, if you're going to continue to let people queue as healer in 5s with spells like Revitalize, Sacred Pulse, Holy Beam, or Holy Blessing, they should really be more useful in 5v5, otherwise just don't let people equip these spells in crystal arena. Moreover, at least for healers, when they enter the crystal arena instance they should have all spells unlocked for them. Additionally, while this has become MUCH less common than before the most recent crystal arena matchmaking change, I really don't think a healer should ever be the lowest rank player on either team, almost is never a good experience for the healer or the team. ALSO PLEASE MAKE A MUCH MORE VISIBLE AND OBVIOUS INDICATOR FOR THE DOUBLE HEALER PENALTY YOU HAVE PUT IN, YOU CHANGED IT WITH JUST A SMALL FOOTNOTE OF INFO AND NOW MOST PEOPLE DONT REALIZE ITS IN THE GAME. Make it like the message that a territory is low on food or something, anything really. It just needs to be much more obvious.

      QOL

      Include total elapsed match time and final score somewhere on the final stats screen, please.

      TL;DR

      Solo Queue
      • Out of 92 games in Gold 1 solo queue I went 56:36 Win:Loss. I lost a total of 112 RP from this.
      • Avg loss was -16 avg win was +8
      • Expectations of high winrate from 5 stacking carried over to solo queue are unreasonable
        • LoL Ranked Ladder leaders rarely cross a 60% winrate
        • Dota 2 pros with thousands of matches usually are pretty far off from reaching a winrate of 60%
      • What makes Albion 5v5 special to where we can put an unusually high expectation on every player as opposed to other 5v5 games?
      Teammates
      • Matchmaking algorithm is pretty good at having either team being within 300-400 RP of each other most (78%) of the time, contrary to popular belief.
      • "Bad" teammates are mostly players who have benefitted from the fact that at lower ranks 1 win is worth multiple losses in terms of equivalent RP
      Both the above issues can be solved if wins and losses just give the same RP across all ranks, at least for solo queuing

      Healers
      • Most healers play well, at least good enough to win (from what I can tell solo queuing)
      • If you are going to let people use Revitalize, Holy Beam, Sacred Pulse, and Holy Blessing in Crystal Arena, make these spells at least as useful as others in the same tree. Otherwise restrict their use just like double healer is (basically) restricted.
        • MAKE THE INDICATOR FOR THE DOUBLE HEALER PENALTY MORE OBVIOUS
        • Consider having all spells unlocked for healer in Crystal Arena

      The post was edited 1 time, last by boogiepop ().

    • Amazing post and stat keeping. I agree with all your points, gaining RP as solo queue once you hit silver 2 becomes practically impossible and the game forces you to 3 or 5 man queue to support a ~70% win rate to climb further.

      Also frustrating to see silver players with 40% win rates in terrible builds making some matches just straight up unwinnable. I try to make myself feel better about that because statistically those players should be on the other team 50% of the time giving me some free wins but it’d be better if those players were segregated into a separate matchmaking lobby so all the shitters can play together with their DPS nature staffs and forge hammers.

      I was talking to someone last night, it could be like the pro European soccer leagues were teams get relegated to a lower division when they’re at the bottom of the standings in their current one.


      Impressive that you had a 60% win rate in solo queue, I struggle to stay around 55%. I see you play a few different builds, which did you find most effective to carry matches with bad players?
      AO Quick Reference Guide
      Discord: Grimhawke#9254


    • Yes, seeing players play in such obtuse ways that negatively affect matches in extreme ways is frustrating. However, I truly believe if the value of wins and losses were equalized, these players' ranks would fall and higher rank players would overall play with them much less. So that will continue to be my prescription on that issue for now. Yes, getting them on your team at all sucks, but I don't think it's entirely their fault since the only reason they are able to maintain their rank is due to how RP is handed out under ~2000.


      The build I'm liking most for solo pubbing is 1h Arcane, Mage Cowl, Cleric Robe, Mistcaller, Leather Shoes on refreshing sprint, and Thetford Cape. Mana potions or res pots if there is a druid cowl on your team that is able to sustain you. I usually try to play by my healer and use the 1h Arcane E primarily to purge hellion jackets of enemy melee players so that they can't just sit on my healer. I've seen other people use offhands like Muisak with scholar cowl or druid cowl which is probably fine but I just personally really value having my cooldowns faster.
    • good points, best way to fix it is just make a separate solo / group que, then can go to a true ELO system to make points gained / lost inline with that. Currently completely impossible to climb past gold i as pure solo que, which is discouraging for an individual ranking system

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Lockemup ().

    • Hello,

      I read all of your long post, and I certainly agree with many of your valid points.

      I hope that someone who is able to make a difference actually reads this, as Crystal Arenas is actually great content, but due to the above mentioned reasons it can be very unforgiving to play, especially at higher ranks.

      I liked many of your suggestions, although I don't think Healers should have all spells unlocked in arenas nor certain spells locked, that's part of the learning experience to become a better healer. (I am a Healer main)

      Two things you pointed out that are the biggest issues are most definitely RP gain/loss related, because there is absolutely no good reason as to why Bronze players should be getting +30 RP per win, in fact, it is causing the problem that you pointed out about players having 40% winrate in Silver... ruining matches for "actual" Silver players. That isn't good, a 40% winrate player should honestly remain stuck in Bronze/Iron for sure, I believe a person should have to hold around a 50% winrate to be Silver - and if players can hold up to around 60% winrate they should be able to keep climbing even passed Gold into Crystal and so on.

      There's a lot that can be improved for the next Arena Season.

      Also, I believe it is VERY IMPORTANT that this current SEASON 1 Crystal Arena players get REWARDED for their efforts at the END of Season. We should get some kind of Unique Rewards that show our success and the Ranks that we achieved during the Crystal Arena Season when it ends, so that our time playing was worth something and doesn't just get completely erased when the season ends and a new one begins! Hopefully it is not too late to implement this Reward system in place for those who actually put the effort in to Climb the Ranks, because it is VERY time consuming.
      --- Arena Healer Main! Owner of the Albion Arenas Community Discord Server: https://discord.gg/hFsmwCcEvv ---
    • Healheart wrote:

      That isn't good, a 40% winrate player should honestly remain stuck in Bronze/Iron for sure, I believe a person should have to hold around a 50% winrate to be Silver - and if players can hold up to around 60% winrate they should be able to keep climbing even passed Gold into Crystal and so on.
      While I understand the intention behind this system, I think there should be less focus on the actual winrate. If RP +/- is equalized, I think most of the issues should fix themselves. The matchmaking already does a fairly good job of trying to make a "fair" lobby RP-wise, and if your winrate is above 50% playing against a team that this mostly within the RP range of your given team, you should just continue to climb if you win more often than you lose.

      I think we mostly agree here but I just feel that a heavy focus on winrate has led to the situation we have now where most of the top ranked players play almost exclusively as a 5 stack and about half their games are against opponents that never had a chance to begin with.
    • Gold 1 is top 230 players in the game… crystal is roughly top 50.

      Yeah… You should probably be queuing with a team to ensure the best possible chance of wins at that level. It’s designed to ‘pull’ players up only a 70% win ratio or higher at that level because the rewards and great and they’re limiting access to gold 1 rewards. It’s obvious everyone up in crystal is teamed as you see the same guild members.
    • Majority of the games you get when 5 stacking with other top players are just uncompetitive. Forgive me if I don't want to spend half my time sitting in front of the tent of a team with 3 silvers and 2 bronze players wondering how they managed to end up in a lobby against a team of all Gold+ players. That's how you see these winrates of 70%/80%/90%+. In no situation where you are playing in a "balanced" lobby should you expect a winrate that is that much above 60%. But, because you are 5 stacking, you're basically forcing the matchmaking algorithm to give you the "best case" scenario out of the other 5 stack teams that are currently queuing. Not to mention, even if I were to 5 stack just to raise my rank number, now I'm stuck in a situation where I am locked into only playing with 5 other players because solo queuing will almost certainly always result in a net-negative result.

      If SBI wants players to 5 stack, ok cool, I can actually understand that. That would make a lot of sense and I wouldn't necessarily disagree. But if that's the case, just remove being able to queue with less than 5 players. If everything is going to be balanced around the 5 stack queue, don't leave in the afterthought of a queue that is basically a farce.
    • I'll add that I have a 66% win rate over 750 crystal arena games while mostly 1-2 man queueing. I'm hard stuck between 2950-3050 RP in Gold I. By the standards of all other matchmaking systems (mentioned in the post), this alone is already ridiculous.

      I've 5-stack queued once. I was in a party with a strong (underrated) Silver II player. We beat a 3-stack of 2 high golds and a crystal. We ended partying up for one game and got matched against AquaNeko's team (#2 player by RP) and we won in a fairly close, sweaty match. I think it's absurd that I can be competitive with and sometimes beat these much higher ranked players and teams, but I'm just hard stuck at Gold I because I don't want to constantly 5-stack for repeated beginner beatdowns.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by dumbpubs ().

    • boogiepop wrote:

      Healheart wrote:

      That isn't good, a 40% winrate player should honestly remain stuck in Bronze/Iron for sure, I believe a person should have to hold around a 50% winrate to be Silver - and if players can hold up to around 60% winrate they should be able to keep climbing even passed Gold into Crystal and so on.
      While I understand the intention behind this system, I think there should be less focus on the actual winrate. If RP +/- is equalized, I think most of the issues should fix themselves. The matchmaking already does a fairly good job of trying to make a "fair" lobby RP-wise, and if your winrate is above 50% playing against a team that this mostly within the RP range of your given team, you should just continue to climb if you win more often than you lose.
      I think we mostly agree here but I just feel that a heavy focus on winrate has led to the situation we have now where most of the top ranked players play almost exclusively as a 5 stack and about half their games are against opponents that never had a chance to begin with.
      I just wanted to point out that we are saying the exact same thing here.


      If a player got enough points per win (or lost less above Gold per loss) then they would be able to keep climbing up even at a 55-60% winrate over time.

      That was my only point. Winrate is not the focus of my point, it is just the easiest way to explain the exact same scenario that you are stating, obviously a person’s winrate will still have to remain over 50% to be able to climb otherwise the system would be broken.
      --- Arena Healer Main! Owner of the Albion Arenas Community Discord Server: https://discord.gg/hFsmwCcEvv ---
    • Bump.

      SBI really needs to look at the Rating Point system and matchmaking for the ranked crystal arena.

      As a mostly solo player, even with a 65% win rate my point gain has slowed to a crawl. Over my last 45 games, I won 29 and lost 16 (64.4% win rate) and only gained a whopping 29 rating points. I’m only silver ii, and anecdotally I hear it’s only going to get worse once I hit gold. Other solo players like myself report it to be practically impossible to progress past gold I as solo even with a 60+% win rate which is hard to achieve as a solo player bc you have no control over some of the absolute morons you sometimes get teamed up with.
      AO Quick Reference Guide
      Discord: Grimhawke#9254


    • First let me say shoutout to @boogiepop for presenting the issue in such a detailed way.

      It's usually a bit more complex, but the way it normally works in most games is more or less like this:

      You maintain >50% winrate
      You get matched with better players
      If you still maintain >50% winrate you rank up
      =>repeat

      In Albion there is no "You get matched with better players" part. It doesn't matter what your rank is, you will be getting matched with pretty much the same players all the time. The only difference is that you take more "space" in a team meaning the higher you go, the bigger number in the equation you are.
      Therefore the "ranking" system is designed to fail and be abused by premades, because the only way the game can determine who's "better" is by looking at their winrate.

      I could end here, but I cared to elaborate and point out a few things:

      1) It's ridiculous
      Just like explained in the main post, in order to be able to maintain >60% winrate in any other game you must be insanely good. It is obvious that that the system is broken


      2) Frustrating
      Because any time you are matched against a premade stomping you 140:0, with an afk, troll or a guy in t3 gear and you lose, you need like what 3,4,5 games to make up for that loss? Depending on your rating I guess(haven't been there) I mean of course it happens in every game, but normally it shouldn't matter in the long run, as long as you win more than you lose, but well.. not here.

      3) Discouraging to play solo
      Assuming you managed to hit crystal or gold2 with a team and you want to keep your rank forget about playing solo

      4) Meant to be abused
      Because the only way you can rank up past Gold 1 really is to play premade taking advantage of trash matchmaking, stomping matches with >90% winrate


      5) Ruining the experience for everyone
      As a solo player because you're not playing to get better, or playing to be matched with better players. There will be no better players in your games. You're playing to beat a f*cked system. This isn't healthy.
      On the other hand those who are tryharding as a premade smashing headless chickens are making the whole thing pointless, because their rank was achieved in a "different" way. I mean don't get me wrong, there is a title and rewards to get, so if the game allows for it then sure, I don't blame them.


      Possible improvements:

      With Albion population it's most definitely impossible to create tier-based matchmaking (meaning you play with people of your rank only) because I suppose queue times, especially on higher ranks, would be like insanely high, but imo:

      -Crystal Arena should be solo(maybe duo) queue only free entry 24/7
      -Crystal League should stay premade only as it always has been, taking place at scheduled times to keep matchmaking healthy
      -If it becomes soloQ only, this would allow for rank re-distribution (so probably current ~3000 solo players would become top players)
      -Add /surrender vote (4:1) option so matches can end quicker (so there are more players searching for a match per/minute)
      -Reduce the time available to accept the match to 30 seconds (so matches happen quicker. more people searching for a match perm)
      /edit: or even reduce it 15seconds and make arena available to queue up for only from a city. I'd say 90% of players are queueing up from cities anyway so it shouldn't really affect anyone in a bad way
      -The points you get/lose at the end of the match formula can be tweaked in many ways such as taking into account:

      * total amount of games played by players in each team (so winning against players who played 1000+ games in a season is weighted higher than stomping newbies. At the same time getting stomped by fairly "fresh" players should hurt you more, but with some limits let's say at least 100games played to avoid smurfs paradise)
      * the score (so winning a close game gives extra points, at the same time losing one is more forgiving) -- at the same time this could make people give up a bit less
      * obviously the difference between ranks (probably it's already there, thus the different amount of points you get every match)
      * although in Albion the system can't "test" players by consequently matching them with better opponents, it can test them by introducing series (like in league). Although those can be frustrating if you get unlucky with your teammates, the point of this is so players get a chance to prove themselves once in a while. In Albion series could be a best of 5, taking place between tiers, players in their series would be getting a priority queue(which would be much longer- and this should be clearly stated in the game) that would match them with other players at their exact level


      There are probably many other ways to improve the system, but for now I can't really think of a better solution.

      The post was edited 5 times, last by EBN ().