"Extra Credits" video on ladder systems in team games
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Author:  Schol-R-LEA [ Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:26 pm ]
Post subject:  "Extra Credits" video on ladder systems in team games

This one here. I'll post the video in-line at the bottom, but the YOUTUBE tag doesn't seem to have been working for quite a while, or perhaps Chase disabled it, I'm not sure.

Part of why I mention it was that I wanted to re-post a comment I'd made that I didn't want to lose track of, and which I thought others here might find it to be of interest (not all, of course, as many here probably have no interest in such games, but some might).

Schol-R-LEA wrote:
One thing that might help is setting up a system of 'registered' teams in addition to the usual random 'pick-up' teams. These registered teams would be composed of players who know each other, play well with each other, and agree to play together over the long haul.

Each team would be allowed to have a roster of perhaps half again the playable team size, and each player would be able to sign with 3-4 teams (so that they can play with a different team, in a different match, when there are either too many or too few members of a given registered team at one time). There would need to be some kind of rules about not playing for one team against another you are a member of, if only to reduce confusion and hard feelings.

When a player who is on a registered team is preparing to enter team play, they would be able to choose to either join a pick-up team, or send a message to others on one or more of their registered teams to see if they want to play a prepped-team match.

It would be permissible to have players either choose roles at match start, or 'fix' their role on a given team (that is to say, they could agree to always play the healer or the heavy fire support, and mark that in the team roster in some way that persists until they change it). And of course, players could leave or even dissolve registered teams if they get toxic.

Now here's the important part: the ladders would weight play on registered teams differently from play on pick-up teams, or even use separate ladders for them (either overall play with prepped teams, or per team, or both). There might be an 'overall play' ladder with it's own ranking and rewards, which would be affected by all play, but the play in pick-up teams would not affect the registered play ladder(s).

Whether the overall ladder weights either pick-up play higher, or prepped-team play higher, or even has some complicated scaling of each, would be the choice of the games designers, of course.

The option to join a registered team should itself probably be a reward, something that opens after a certain amount of team play or some level of advancement on the pick-up ladder(s).

Note that I am suggesting multiple ladders for different dimensions of play. This makes sense; some (maybe even most) MOBA games I've seen have some sort of stats and ranking of play for (say) playing different characters, in different arenas, with different play goals, and so on. Not all of these need to feed into the overall ladder, of course, but a multi-dimensional ladder system could very well add a new level of complexity, and if done well (and not as just something confusing), additional engagement (it's the 'if done well' part that is, as always, the rub).

I'd love to hear people's opinions on this.

Author:  StudlyCaps [ Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "Extra Credits" video on ladder systems in team games

So one thing that the video didn't touch on is motivation, I'm not 100% sure that game makers have incentive to fix ladder systems, they already work like a MMO Skinner box, rate of receiving rewards very rapidly trends to 0 and as mentioned, it creates a gambling style engagement based on sunk cost and the gambler's fallacy (hot/cold streaks). Also, generally speaking, angry gamers don't seem to disengage with games. I've heard that people generally seek out negativity and conflict, so maybe that's why, but I've spoken to plenty of people who go on about the toxicity of a game community or shadiness of a game publisher, but they never stop playing.

With your suggestions, I think this would work at a higher level, but the appeal of pubbie teams at lower levels is surely the ability to pick up and play? If you were in the mood to reach out to others and try to assemble a team then most games do have the option to create a party and invite your friends to it. While adding structure might add value to well managed teams, it also acts as a barrier to entry, making it harder for a new individual to find a place.

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