Over the course of the ranked play on smashladder, we saw a few issues with our ranked system that we will be smoothing our ranked system around in order to minimize their impact. The most pressing problems we saw:
Farming Low-Rank Players
Players would choose only to play matches of players far below them in ranked, guaranteeing wins that still rewarded considerable points without risk of large losses
Ranked Division Distribution
Extremely uneven ranked divisions with Bronze and Silver reaching up to 85% of total players with 4 other divisions competing for space in about 15% of the total ranked playerbase.
A Lack of Definitive Meaning Between Ranked Divisions
Due to prior inaccuracies, lower ranked divisions did not appropriately reflect player skill, and often would be frustrating for lower-ranked players to play within due to the total gamble that a ranked queue would be, even within one's own division tier.
Ladder Movement and Reflection of Skill
Like I mentioned earlier, lower-ranked players were having difficulty moving to their appropriate skill berth due to the gamble a ranked match would present, and an opposite problem presented itself on the top end of the ladder, a sticky and unmoving ladder that felt uncaring about a win or a loss, but guaranteed little movement in either direction regardless of result.
Beginning to address these issues, we saw a trend of an overinflated bottom of the ladder caused by one thing alone; our decay system. A system initially put in place to promote play and competition on the ladder was overinflating lower ranks and making an intimidating withering feature that made ranked play difficult to get into and stay into.
Due to these problems, **we have disabled ranked decay indefinitely, pending review**.
We have also redistributed playerbase weight in ranked divisions. Adjusted weights are approximately, out of 100% of the ranked player base:
2% Grand Smasher
This will better reflect skill across a wider playerbase and reduce some of the 'gamble' of playing within your ranked division. With the next changes, it will also more firmly place players in berths based on their approximate skill.
We have also adjusted interactions across ranked divisions (bronze / silver / gold etc.). This should put better meaning into the separation of ranked divisions and prevent farming from having a meaningful impact on players' represented skill. To do this we have significantly reduced points gained across wider ranked gaps when playing players below your skill level while increasing points lost in the event of an unlikely defeat. We have also clamped Bronze I / Silver I / Gold I to these rules in a more extreme fashion; the best way to use the numbers to explain the jump to the next division up is "I can reliably beat members of where I just was, and compete well with those directly above me, so I will advance to the next ranked division."
The top level suffering sticky movement at the top of the ranked system has also been addressed along with confusing and less consistent movement in lower ranked by increasing a backend value of our TrueSkill backend called Sigma, which represents the system's overall certainty that your skill is accurately represented by your numerical rank. By increasing everyone's base Sigma, the system is less "sure" about where your rank should lie, and allows for better movement even after many games and inside of higher ranked divisions.
Additionally, with our rebalance of the ranked system and division weights, the start berth of our ranked system has been moved from Bronze I 100 / Silver III 0 to Silver III 50. This helps to even our placements and promote the high-level movement mentioned earlier.
-Play within +/- 1 division for best point gain results
-We turned decay off, yay
-Rebalanced divisions and made divisions a little better defined and meaningful
-Way less points and bigger risk from playing lower ranked players
-More movement from the get-go and a more dynamic ladder
-Much, much more reliable estimation of skill based on ranked placement