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 Post subject: How Leaderboards and matchmaking work
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:37 am 
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We keep getting questions from people who don't understand the Leaderboards and the matchmaking, so here's an extensive explanation of how they work.

Rating calculation

-When a match ends, you gain or lose rating depending on whether you won or lost. You can see your rating in the Leaderboards: it is the number entirely to the right.

-If you win you gain points, if you lose, you lose points.

-Rating calculations are based on a more complex version of the ELO system.

-During your first 30 matches, you get a lower rating in the Leaderboards simply because you have not played that much yet. This counts total matches ever, not just in the current Season, so you won't get this rating decrease again every Season. The effect slowly wears off as you approach 30 matches, so after 10 matches it is much stronger than after 25 matches.

-The game takes into account the rating of each player in the match. If the opponents have a higher average rating, you get more points for winning and lose less points for losing, because apparently they were better than you. This means that if a player with a very high rating loses against beginners, he will lose a lot of points at once!

-Bots are counted as normal players, but with a rather low rating.

-All players that have been in the match at any point in time are taken into account. So for example, if during the first half of the match there was a beginner in your team and near the end there was a pro player, then the ranking is calculated as if there was an intermediate player. This also means that if all your opponents leave just before the match is won, you get points as if they were still there.

-If you joined a match that had already started, you gain/lose less points at the end. This depends on the percentage of time you were in the match. This means that if you join a match just before it is lost, you lose a lot less points than if you had been in that match for its entire duration.

-If you leave a match before it ended, this is counted as a loss.

-If you are kicked out of a match because of a network error, this is counted as an instant loss. This is because the game cannot reliably distinguish between a genuine network error and a cheater who unplugged his network cable. No matter how we try to detect this, there is always some way a hacker can make it look like a genuine network error. In Swords & Soldiers network errors were not counted as losses, and the result was that at some point the #1 player in the Leaderboards got there by always unplugging his network cable just before the end of a match, thus never getting a loss. This is why in Awesomenauts, network errors are always counted as losses.

-It helps to not think of the Leaderboards as a system that rewards wins, but as a system that tries to find out what your skill is. So if the leaderboard already knows what you skill is and you keep performing according to that (not getting significantly better or worse), then your rating won't change much. This is why if, for example, pro players are expected to win 90% of their matches, they lose much more points for losing than they gain for winning: the one losing match needs to compensate for the 9 won matches, since winning 90% is not a skill improvement for such a top player.

-Internally, your rating consists of two numbers: Skill and Certainty. The Certainty starts really low, and as you play more, the game gets a better and better idea of how good you are exactly. If you have a high Certainty, you won't gain or lose as many points for a win or loss anymore. This is why at the beginning of a new season, your rating makes much bigger jumps than further on, when you have already played a lot and the system has a higher Certainty. Skill and Certainty are combined into a single number for the Leaderboards.

What does not matter for the ranking calculation

-Duration of the match.

-Kills/deaths/turret kills. This is because there are many ways to contribute to winning a match, and there is no way for the game to know how well you played. For example, a player who defends all match long but never makes any kills, might have contributed greatly to winning, but his stats won't show this. On the other hand, someone who makes a lot of kills but never pushes turrets, might in some cases be doing really badly.

-Leagues. Ranking calculation is done purely based on the ranking score, not on what league you are in. (Leagues and ranking are related, of course, but leagues are ignored in the ranking calculation.)

Leagues

-Depending on your position in the Leaderboards, you get assigned a league. The highest is league 1, the lowest is league 9.

-League 1 has a fixed size of 250 players. The sizes of all other leagues are percentages of the number of players in the Leaderboard. This means that if there are twice as many players, all leagues get twice as big (except for league 1).

Matchmaking

-When searching for a match, the game will only select games that are within a certain range of your own league.

-When there are many players online, it will search 3 leagues wide (so if you are in league 6, it will search for matches in leagues 5 to 7). When there are fewer players online, it searches wider to increase the chance of getting a full match. It then searches in 5 leagues (so league 6 will search for matches in leagues 4 to 8). Despite this, leagues 1 and 9 will never search in league 5.

-Joining a game through an invite is always allowed, even if the league does not match. So a league 8 player can join a league 2 match by accepting an invite from his league 2 friend who is in that match.

-The league of a match is updated during the match with whoever are in it. So if a league 4 player starts a new match and then a league 2 players joins, the match will change from a league 4 match to a league 3 match.

-Which team you join is based on the balance in the teams. Most important is the number of players, so for example in a 1vs2 match, the game will always make it 2vs2 with the next player. If the game is even, say in a 1vs1 match, then you will be put in a team so as to match out rating as best as possible. So if a beginner is playing against a pro and another pro joins this match, he will be put in the team of the beginner.

-Sometimes matches can become uneven (1vs3 for example) because a player joined the game, then another player joins the game, and then the first player leaves while still in the character select screen.

-If players join as a group through the Battle lobby, they remain a group. This way it can happen that in a 1vs0 match, a 3 player premade joins and suddenly it is 1vs3.

-When looking for a match, the game takes into account geographical location (because the nearer the game, the better the chance at low ping).

Seasons

-Leaderboards are reset with every season. Currently seasons take two months each. You can see your history in the previous seasons in the menu, so your feats from the previous season do not just disappear.

-The reset with each season is complete: for the new season it does not matter at all how you did in the previous season.

-In a new season, no one gets a league until there are 5000 entries in the leaderboard. This usually takes less than a day. During this time, matchmaking is not based on skill, so pros and beginners can encounter each other.


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 Post subject: Re: How Leaderboards and matchmaking work
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:51 am 
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Thankyou for this explanation it really helped :D

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 Post subject: Re: How Leaderboards and matchmaking work
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:52 am 
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Thanks for the post Joost, very insightful.
The main problem with the matchmaking is the comunity itself, altough the game is growing bigger and bigger there isn't still millions of people playing simultaneously, so ofcourse most of the time you won't be paired with people of your level, * happens.
I've noticed some improvement on the matchmaking in the latest updates, because even tho sometimes I join lost matches, I've noticed that 70% of the time I've been paired with people of my level, mostly.
Keep up the good work guys.

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 Post subject: Re: How Leaderboards and matchmaking work
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:22 pm 
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Very interesting read, thank you! Could you elaborate a little bit more why you are using an addition to ELO (=certainty)? Also, is it possible for someone with a huge amount of games to almost entirely stop changing his ranking - or is there an upper limit for certainty? And is certainty able to decrease?

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 Post subject: Re: How Leaderboards and matchmaking work
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:24 pm 
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r0estir0bbe wrote:
Very interesting read, thank you! Could you elaborate a little bit more why you are using an addition to ELO (=certainty)? Also, is it possible for someone with a huge amount of games to almost entirely stop changing his ranking - or is there an upper limit for certainty? And is certainty able to decrease?

ELO is only for 1vs1 matches, it doesn't even work for teammatches. So using ELO is not possible.

Certainty will decrease if you start performing wildly out of your expected skill. If a pro suddenly starts loosing all his matches, his certainty will decrease, I think. Not entirely sure: the formula is very complex and I didn't implement it myself.

If you have a huge amount of matches played and perform exactly according to your expected skill, then the ranking will hardly change anymore. Which makes sense, since apparently the expected skill is then already correct and shouldn't change anymore. :)


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 Post subject: Re: How Leaderboards and matchmaking work
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:26 pm 
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I wonder if it would help to treat premades as if they had a higher rating so a league 2 premade doesn't get matched with three solo league 2 players.
Have you ever considered something like this?

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 Post subject: Re: How Leaderboards and matchmaking work
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:27 pm 
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dragbone wrote:
I wonder if it would help to treat premades as if they had a higher rating so a league 2 premade doesn't get matched with three solo league 2 players.
Have you ever considered something like this?

Some premades are really bad, I don't think this would be a good idea for every premade.


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 Post subject: Re: How Leaderboards and matchmaking work
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:54 pm 
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So how much is your receiving rating for a win reduced, if you play as premade?

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 Post subject: Re: How Leaderboards and matchmaking work
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:21 pm 
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G-Dov wrote:
So how much is your receiving rating for a win reduced, if you play as premade?

Not at all. Premades are not handled differently from normal players. They are just three normal players with each their own ranking that is taken into account.


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 Post subject: Re: How Leaderboards and matchmaking work
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:55 pm 
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i think that a player that lose a match (cause having bots in the squad maybe?) doing a very beautiful match should be rewarded with points going UP in the leaderboard, not going down because he has lost

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