Maybe its time to move the Ladder starting skill down.

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Maybe its time to move the Ladder starting skill down.

Postby biass » 25 Jan 2017, 09:38

(Look, i understand how it works currently is a good anti-smurf measure, but i wouldn't be bringing this up if it wasn't a problem)

New players are having massive difficulty getting into ladder, with the lower amount of people at around the 1300 rating (to be 1300 rating is to be in the top 200 out of 3503 people, at time of posting) people cannot find their first game and sit for hours on end searching, bringing many people to think its bugged or straight up broken, questions like these are asked every day, especially through downtime hours.

The second point is retaining newer players, a large majority of people will finally play their game against a 1300 or similar, and then get so crushed they will never play ladder again, this issue was probably present before, but with less intake this issue is now more pressing.

I suggest maybe starting new players off with maybe 100 or 200 rating, or something, to stop both of these issues, 800 might also be a good choice, discuss?
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Re: Maybe its time to move the Ladder starting skill down.

Postby RealityCheck » 25 Jan 2017, 12:44

I so much agree!

This system is just so wrong. It probably made sense during the early times of FAF but now it causes grief.
New players are not welcomed to ladder but are treated coldly instead, because the 1400 guys are afraid they might be smurfs. So instead of giving them tips they totally destroy them.

The system also causes grief at its main use case - when a genuinely new and strong (not smurf) player starts playing ladder, they may get correct rating very quickly, but they are accused of smurfing and the guy who lost is angry. How is that a good thing?

Even 800 starting skill is too high. Newbies won't feel a difference, they will be destroyed just as brutally. It would be better if the newbie faces people who are at 100 or 200. Those guys were probably newbies not long ago and won't be annoyed as much as 1400 guys would be.

I watched the games of a newbie, who "won" two of his starting games because his opponents forfeited the game. The newbie got high rating and then continued to get strong opponents and they continued to crush him for a long time. Probably not very common, but this is a case where the system just plainly fails.

The whole idea of trying to rate players super quickly seems unnecessary. I am sure trueskill will be able to rate the players quickly enough even if they start playing against 100 rated opponents. Who will be opposed to winning easily 10 or 15 games before they start playing against equal opponents? After all, this is a chance to get acquainted with FAF balance and ladder maps.
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Re: Maybe its time to move the Ladder starting skill down.

Postby partymarty81 » 25 Jan 2017, 15:27

having just started on ladder and still feeling very noob ish (coming up 100 ladder games, 200 games ish total) - it is a very sharp learning curve. my first ladder game was also my very first online game (how naive :roll: ) and playing a 1200 player got me the pounding i was expecting.

It's not very motivational to play 5-10 games (or whatever) until the system knows you, to start matching up against similar players. Had I not been so motivated to keep on with this game I think many will just leave it there....

My ladder rating (just under 600) will match me majority of the time against anything up to 1100 ish (although rarely at the higher level). I'll take a beating from higher rating but this is balanced off on being a bit more experienced now against lower rate. Perhaps a 200 starting rating for all new players and a limit of what they can match up against for first 5-10 games of say 800 - and by then the current system will have them at the correct rating? I don't know how the nuts and bolts work with it but that will surely keep people interest in at the early stage
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Re: Maybe its time to move the Ladder starting skill down.

Postby JoonasTo » 25 Jan 2017, 18:58

I agree with this, getting matched vs new players in ladder, when you're 1400 or above, it just stupid now. We don't get that many returning FA/custom trained players to justify this anymore.

800 is definitely better than 100 or 200. I hate starting a new game from the bottom and as someone who's played RTSes since I was a kid, I can smash through the first 20-50 opponents with ease. It is boring as ****.
FAF has rather good rank adjustment algorhitm for new players, so maybe it's not so bad here. Regular ELO games or "get ladder points from every game you play" are the worst. Those take hundreds of games to grind so I can get decent games going on.

In the mean time, it is up to us to talk to the new guys and tell them it's going to take a while before it knows their rating. Just be friendly in general and say hi.
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Re: Maybe its time to move the Ladder starting skill down.

Postby JaggedAppliance » 25 Jan 2017, 19:11

I agree, and made an issue for this on github.

https://github.com/FAForever/server/issues/266
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Re: Maybe its time to move the Ladder starting skill down.

Postby Morax » 25 Jan 2017, 20:48

I agree that the ladder is in need of some tender love & care, namely being what biass has outlined above, and in addition and foremost we need a system that purges and cracks down on smurfing hard. It's not even a joke how much egregious activity still happens there and makes newcomers feel like crap, move on, and dodge ladder to opt for Gap, Thermo, etc games.

Unfortunately for right now, I think the devs are putting forth all their efforts to work on the transition to the new server and we need to support that. Once that is settled and working we can focus on fine-tuning the system again, but FAF won't even be a thing if that does not go well.
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Re: Maybe its time to move the Ladder starting skill down.

Postby Downlord » 26 Jan 2017, 16:12

For anyone interested, our wiki describes how TrueSkill works: http://wiki.faforever.com/index.php?tit ... kill_works

The relevant part is this: "By default, you have 1500 in mean, and 500 in deviation. 1500 is the average level."

So the system assumes that new players have a skill (NOT rating) of 1500 which, as we probably all agree, is very unlikely (btw. the average player's average skill at this point is 1348). This leads to new people facing ~1200 rated players.

I agree that this is a big mistake that should be corrected. I don't know who's in charge to make a decision, but I assume it's Tokyto, and I don't know what good values would be, but I'd probably go with an initial average skill (a.k.a. "mean") of 600 and an uncertainty (a.k.a. "deviation) of 200 - giving you a starting rating of 0 and a first opponent that is probably rated ~300.
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Re: Maybe its time to move the Ladder starting skill down.

Postby IceDreamer » 26 Jan 2017, 17:25

Are you saying the average FAF account has 1348 rating? Because even that seems very high...

Definitely for ladder initial matchups should be beginner ratings though. I agree with your proposed numbers.
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Re: Maybe its time to move the Ladder starting skill down.

Postby biass » 26 Jan 2017, 18:38

IceDreamer wrote:Are you saying the average FAF account has 1348 rating? Because even that seems very high...


I agree
The average rating (for ladder only) seems more like 700/1000 to me, too low for me to play against :/
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Re: Maybe its time to move the Ladder starting skill down.

Postby JaggedAppliance » 26 Jan 2017, 18:44

I think he would be talking about the mean there, rather than the displayed rating which is a fair bit lower.
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