A few weeks ago we made some changes to ranked matchmaking, to make the Rank Score and update rules more transparent. As we noted at that time, we approach the design of the ranked mode from the perspective of balancing two goals that are in tension: giving players a sense of progress, and providing an accurate measurement of skill. We like the balance we have struck between those two goals for Upstart through Big Boss. Unfortunately, in the current design, the Lords of White Spire leaderboard has a tendency to devolve into a list of players who play Underlords the most, and we've heard from many of you that it should be a list of who plays the best. In other words, for Lords of White Spire, the dial needs to be turned all the way to the "accurate measurement of skill" setting.
So we're making two changes to Lords of White Spire that will go live with the next update.
First, we are switching the Rank Score update for Lords of White Spire to use the well-known Elo system[en.wikipedia.org]. In this system, the number of rank points gained or lost depends on the skill of your opponents. The higher your Rank Score compared to your opponents, the more you have at stake: a win will result in a smaller increase, and a loss will result in a larger decrease. Furthermore, it is possible for Rank Score to decrease when placing 4th or above and increase when placing 5th or below, depending on the Rank Scores of your opponents.
Second, we will be adjusting the bonus granted when you attain the rank of Lords of White Spire, such that a newly minted Lord begins at around 15,000. This means that your rank score will have room to go both up and down, and players won't clump at the floor of 7,600.
Now for a few quick questions.
What happens to the existing Lords of White Spire?
We'll be adjusting the Rank Scores of existing Lords to the new range, and compressing it a bit. Positions on the leaderboard will remain the same.
What happens when Big Boss players are in matches against Lords of White Spire?
The Big Boss players' Rank Scores will continue to be updated as before, using the fixed schedule that is based only on where they place in the match and not on opponent ranks. For the purpose of updating the Lords's rank using the Elo formula below, the Big Boss player's Rank Score will be mapped into the Lords of White Spire range.
Are parties allowed?
For now, yes. There are no additional restrictions on partying up in high rank matches. This means that Lords of White Spire can continue to party up with their friends of any rank, and lower ranked players who party up with a Big Boss may find themselves playing in matches with Lords. Also as before, players in the same party do not affect each others' rank. Switching to Elo does require one rule change: for purposes of updating the Lord's Rank Score, players below Big Boss are discarded. This is so that players cannot easily create matches where Lords have little to gain and much to lose.
Exactly how does the math work?
We're using the standard Elo formula [en.wikipedia.org] with K=3 and all the Rank Scores multiplied by 10. The formula is
where "R" is your rank, "Rᵢ" is the rank of each relevant opponent, "S" is the number of relevant opponents eliminated earlier than you, and "ΔR" is the rank change.
If all players have exactly the same Rank Score, the numbers work out to be about the same as the fixed schedule used at lower ranks.
To give you an idea of how rank disparity in the match can shift the amount gained or lost, here are some examples where an outlier is significantly higher or lower than all other players in the match (who, in these examples, all have the same Rank Score).