November 27, 2018
Today we’ll take a look at the PvP Matchmaking system in Wizard101. We’ll check the original concept and then compare it with the current system. Personally, I was always big fan of the original system. While you were able to quickly lose your hard earned rank, it was friendlier to less advanced players.
The Original System
Originaly, PvP MatchMaking used an “ELO” system for gaining/losing rank. This basically means that “you receive less rank for beating lower ranked players” and “more rank for beating higher ranked players”. As a result, ranks were much lower than they are today and you had to go through many more battles in order to obtain high ranks.
It’s understandable why a lot of players didn’t like that system. When you reached a certain rank and went against privates you would receive only a few points(or in some cases none) for winning and lose many more than 16 points for losing.
Comparing Both Systems
Obviously, the current matchmaking system is more suited for experienced players. There is always a fixed amount of points you can win or lose. It’s much easier to rank up, since you don’t need to win as many matches as you had to in order to obtain 500 extra rank.
While I understand the frustration with the old system, there were things about that system that were better. That is to say, there were certain questionable practices that were much harder to perform under the old system that are quite easy to do today.
First, there is rank farming. This practice entails a lower lvl warlord constantly beating higher lvl privates to gain easy rank. It was much harder to farm rank from higher level privates in the past. The most common justification rank farmers use to excuse their practice is that the fights are stacked in the higher lvl players favor because of the level difference and thus a warlord deserved more than 2 or 3 points for a win. However, this statement is quite exaggerated because higher level privates usually are equipped with sub-par gear and have below average pets along with an absolutely massive experience deficit.
Let’s step into the shoes of an inexperienced player. In the old system, they could lose many battles and still maintain at least a private rank(like 300-400). But now? 20 battles later and the new player is below 200 rank already. 20 ranked PvP fights isn’t nearly enough for new players to get used to the Arena. Seeing your rank drop so drastically under the current system is very discouraging and leaves little to no incentive for NEW players to STAY in the Arena.
Second, we will discuss the topic of boosting. Boosting is the practice of facing either yourself(on a different account) or a friend and having them deliberately lose, therefore falsely elevating your own rank. While boosting doesn’t bother me personally, it was a pretty big issue in the Spiral. KI has been making some changes to discourage boosting but it’s still possible to do it nowadays (just not on such a large scale). Under the old system boosters would rank up very slowly as they received only one rank point for defeating their private friend or sock puppet account.
Why the current system isn’t good enough
We’ve already touched on this subject in the previous paragraph. People PvP at lower levels for various reasons. Some players don’t like leveling up, some prefer the different dynamic and others do it for rank farming.
It’s often much easier to fight a higher leveled Private than a same level Warlord. Most of the time, you’ll find Privates who wear poor Bazaar gear and don’t have any real knowledge about PvP dynamics. They are basically treated as a free win in the more experienced player’s path to achieving their goal.
Add toxic behaviour into a mix and we have an answer to the question of why new players don’t stay in arena. Why they don’t stick around and learn. Not only do they fail to get an opportunity to learn, they’re also talked down to and discouraged by players they admire and look up to.
The final aspect we can mention is rank inflation. Rank inflation refers to a player having a much higher rank than their skill level would naturally acquire. I’m not saying that all players don’t deserve their rank. But as long as players will receive 16 rank for a win against a player who is less skilled AND has worse gear, we can’t get an accurate representation of what their actual rank would be in a fairer system.
There are several ways to improve PvP Matchmaking. Today we’ll explore and describe one of them. The changes are geared toward pairing Warlords with Warlords and Privates with Privates.
Cap and Create “Pseudo” Ranks
Pseudo ranks refers to a rank value that the system would use for matchmaking that is independent of your actual numerical rank. The low end is easy here. Just cap it at 400. This would basically act as zero rank. You wouldn’t be able to go below this number, no matter how many fights you lose. The high end is a bit different. In the proposed system, when you reach overlord, the game creates a “pseudo” rank for you, which will serve for PvP Matchmaking. This rank would have only one value: 1000.
You would still be able to rank up normally as you’re doing right now. But because the game would use your “pseudo” rank instead of your real one for finding opponents, a level 50 1,1k warlord would be instantly paired with level 50 1,9k warlord. That way, they would fight each other rather than each of them getting a different higher leveled Private.
|Match 1||50||1000 (1,9k)||vs.||50||1000 (1,1k)|
These numbers don’t represent actual ingame PvP Matchmaking. They just serve as an example to show how the game matches players now vs. how could they be matched in a new system.
But why would we create “pseudo” ranks only for the upper limit and not for lower ones as well? It’s true that PvP Matchmaking would work the same in either case. However, by preventing new player ranks from going below 400, they are encouraged to continue striving and to continue playing in the system rather than walking away demoralized that they have a sub-private rank.
If this didn’t convince you yet, here’s another positive aspect of this proposed system. It’s a step forward to fighting Zero-Heroes. Zero-Heroes are skilled high lvl players who intentionally rank down to zero so they can be paired with lower leveled warlords. These players usually have great gear and a perfect pet, thus putting their opponents in really unfair situations. In this proposed pseudo rank system- Zero Heroes would be more likely to be matched against their own levels, meaning they could no longer prey on lower level players. A win-win.
What do you think about current PvP Matchmaking an this Idea?
Do you have any other ideas on how we can improve it?