Skill Ranking and Matchmaking Enhancements
This update renovates the skill ranking system with a new algorithm that places a greater emphasis on individual performance in team games and more aggressively uses a "draw margin" for evaluating that individual performance. A new scaling factor allows a short probationary period where new players' skill rating movement is more volatile until a suitable confidence level is found and then the volatility is dialed in. The new algorithm considers historical performance as a peer with the performance of the latest match.
We've also recalculated all player's skill ranking with the new algorithm using the last two months of match data so that players can immediately benefit from the improved ranking. In partnership with the changes in matchmaking, players should have a much more stable and predictable experience getting in to matches.
The probationary period for skill ranking new players means that the first few matches may not be particularly well matched, as the system needs data to properly identify the skill level of a player. The skill ranking system will have a general idea of a player's skill in about five matches and a very good idea in about twenty.
This update brings matchmaking changes that should drastically improve the ability of players to find an appropriately skilled match. Servers will now start primarily in three skill based tiers that break down by game type into approximately 25% of the player base, 50% of the intermediately skilled player base, and the top 25% of players. Additionally, a small protected haven is available for the least skilled players to sharpen their skills before joining up into other matches.
The server launching infrastructure will generally create servers for all skill tiers in all locations. Additionally, when a server at a particular skill tier reaches capacity, another new server is spawned ready for players to join and begin another match.
The new server tiers have several implications:
- The player base is much less segmented, providing more quality matches for all players.
- Much less server spawning management overhead will allow server counts to dynamically adjust with the active players while leaving more resources for user spawned servers by players with Pro subscriptions.
- The vast majority of players will have almost all of the players in their region to arrange matches with in the case that a perfectly matched server isn't immediately apparent. Even the best QUAKE LIVE players will have about 65% of the player base in their region to arrange matches with.
- In combination with the new skill ranking system, player skill ranks are much more resilient to players "joining up" or "joining down" to other tiers. It's still in every players' best interest to play in a skill matched server, but no severe adjustments will occur to other players' skill ranking in the match as a result of a poorly matched player.
In general, the team is looking very seriously at the player base partitioning in the QUAKE LIVE platform and making changes to encourage high quality, well matched play. This first step should significantly increase the apparent size of the player base for most players and help everyone find more matches.