I was reading through some of the tweets that a new hire at Respawn (https://mobile.twitter.com/Exgeniar/with_replies) was putting out, apparently he’s “in charge” of ranked or something close to that. I’ve seen sentiment for over a year now that ranked “needs to be fixed” but I’ve never fully thought about what that would even entail.
The way I see it is that there are two key questions that must be considered and sometimes weighed against each other when making changes to the way ranked works:
How do we determine if one player is better than another player? To me, that should be at the core of what the ranked playlist is there for, but this is not a trivial question. Is a player that is on the 2nd place squad with 2 kills and 1 assist better or worse than the player on the 7th place squad with 6 kills and 1 assist? This is the problem that’s faced when deciding how kills are weighed relative to placement. If someone had a simple way to answer this I’d love to see it. (Methods like Elo exist but don’t seem to scale to games with more than two competitors/teams).
Is ranked fun enough on both a micro and macro level to keep people playing throughout a split?
For example, to increase competitive integrity Respawn could remove care package weapons and give weapons set spawn locations for a whole split, but this might kill player engagement because the actual act of being in game is no longer enjoyable to a large number of players. Respawn could also change the way the RP system works such that the amount of RP you need to move through ranks is now doubled, so while ranked gameplay may still be enjoyable, players could become less likely to enter the playlist at all on the grounds that it’s “too grindy” or “not worth it”.
Again, I would like to point out there’s no “objective” answers to these questions, it’s up to the designer’s discretion. There are conceivably changes that would increase player engagement across the board except for the top .1% of players (the streamers/pros many of you watch), would those changes be worth doing? Depends who you ask and what goal they have in mind.
Maybe I’m not thinking about this correctly, maybe I’m missing something major, I’d love to hear your thoughts. But this seems to be a much more complicated matter than it is credited as being, the simple fact is there are often conflicting goals to keep in mind when changing the way ranked functions.External link →