Matchmaking Phase 3 will feature a variation of the Elo rating system.
We do not know exactly what will factor into the rating, but I assume the rating will measure the personal performance of each player. Teams will probably be represented by the average rating of their players or might get their own rating (in 8v8).
In addition to player rating several other factors have been considered to balance match-ups:
- Drop Weight: Either each team's tonnage would have a limit (e.g. 500 tons for 8 players) or the team's total tonnage would somehow be factored into its rating. That means a lighter team of high-skilled players would be matched against a team of lower-skilled players in heavier mechs.
This approach is flawed in that it does not account for any qualities of a mech besides its weight. Speed, weapons loadout and special equipment (e.g. ECM) would not be included in the rating process. This is also contrary to the concept of Role Warfare because it promotes the notion of "bigger is better".
- Battle Value: In the table top game the concept of Battle Value is used to balance opposing forces. It factors in the mechs' engines, weapons, equipment etc. While this would be more suitable than a simple drop weight measurement it is still a set of static factors. Adjustments would always be required to reflect changes in gameplay (balancing) and the emerging meta game.
Elo (and related rating systems) have proven their worth for skill-based player vs. player matchmaking.
My suggestion is to expand those rating mechanics to the actual BattleMechs for matchmaking in MW:O. Just like players' Personal Rating (PR), each mech variant (HBK-4SP, AS7-D-DC, ...) should get its own Mech Rating (MR). When the system is first introduced starting ratings could be assigned based on statistical data of the variants' performance in the past or all mechs could start out at the same base rating. Each time a mech variant is played in a match (possibly separated by queue) the MR of the variant would be adjusted by the outcome of that match. Over time, the qualities of the individual variants - hardpoints, engine size limit, ECM capability etc. - would be reflected by its Mech Rating.
For the actual matchmaking process both the the player's Personal Rating and the Mech Rating of the mech variant the player drops with should be combined into a Drop Rating (DR). The individual players' DRs would congeal into a Team Drop Rating (TDR). Finally the matchmaker would try to match two teams with similar TDR.
I'll leave open how PR and MR are combined into DR for each player and how those can be combined into TDR. For the sake of simplicity they could just be averaged, but using median (for TDR) or weighted averages are options to be considered.
Joe McWarrior (1450 PR) is a slightly below average (1500 PR) MechWarrior. He drops into solo queue in his trusty Hunchback HBK-4SP. The 4SP variant of the Hunchback is one of the most liked - and for good reason. It has established a nice 1870 MR. His Drop Rating works out to 1660 DR.
Mason Chist (1920 PR) is a hot shot player trying to unlock the Elite tier of his Raven piloting skills. So he drops in his craptastic RVN-2X (1350 MR) achieving a 1635 DR.
Being at a similar Drop Rating those two players may now face each other in the upcoming match. If Mason Chist had used his RVN-3L (1790 MR) instead then his 1855 DR would have been far out of Joe McWarrior's league.
I think that expanding an Elo'esque rating system to mechs and then combining the mech variant's Mech Rating with the pilot's Personal Rating to a Drop Rating would create a matchmaking system that takes the players skill as well as the advantages or disadvantages of the mech he drops in into account. Furthermore, when expanded to a Team Drop Rating, team matchmaking would account for "all Atlas" or "8 ECM" teams.
Once implemented such a system would be very low maintenance. The ratings would adjust naturally and reflect changes in gameplay mechanics dynamically - at least over time.
Do you think this would be a worthwhile addition to the matchmaking process or did I miss huge flaws in my proposed system?
Do you think rating values - especially Mech Ratings - should be publically visible? Or should ratings be hidden to prevent stagnation in the pool of "viable" mechs based on rating-biased perception of chassis or variants?
Give mechs an Elo rating just like the players.
Edited by FiveDigits, 18 December 2012 - 03:37 AM.