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Other Rift matchmaking based on power level is backfiring in upper ranks

Liam

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It would be nice to turn on a Rift-style AI for practice. I need a chance to fight at this level without feeling the anxiety of perfect play.
I have a lot more to say (I'll be back!) but real quick - DUEL is exactly what you're describing. You fight against the highest level of AI for 0 energy. Go find a Diamond in chat and ask them to set a specific Fighter you want to practice against!
 

Dusty00

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I have a lot more to say (I'll be back!) but real quick - DUEL is exactly what you're describing. You fight against the highest level of AI for 0 energy. Go find a Diamond in chat and ask them to set a specific Fighter you want to practice against!
This requires that I turn chat on and socialize! *gulp
I imagine that once we get the Guild feature it would be easier to coordinate these things!
 

Liam

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This requires that I turn chat on and socialize! *gulp
I imagine that once we get the Guild feature it would be easier to coordinate these things!
You can arrange the duels in the Skullgirls Discord and then ask to meet them in a channel. That's what I do sometimes.
 
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Yujipooji

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I have to agree 100% with this post.

So I have been writing a series of articles titled "Getting to Diamond", in which I describe the process of improving your team and Rift map for the final push into the very highest levels of the game. I haven't posted in a while. Really, since the upgrade to 3.2.

Why did I pause? Because I would have to post the following article: "Getting to Diamond: I Have No Idea." I am a Gold 1 now. First time since Rift began that I have ever missed the cut.

So, am I a terrible player? Well, maybe. We have to consider that possibility. We also have to consider the possibility that the structural changes to Rifts have had some unintended consequences. Here is what I have found, after four weeks of flailing around in Rifts.

1) I know that I am not the best technical fighter in the game.

I *know* this, but Rift Battles have been a source of sublime pleasure for me, even as I get my hat handed to me. You see, by knowing my limitations as a technical fighter, I could compensate by building a powerful team that would assert a dominant presence over the match. I had most every power variant at diamond, and I had a wide base of defenders at diamond to make the battle difficult.

That's no longer an advantage. I am matched with people of "similar team strength", so I no longer get to assert this power. All my planning has backfired.

2) Catalysts are of outsize importance when team strength trends towards the mean.

I can't emphasize this point enough. With team strength acting as a secret tier (fight only those players who have a team value similar to yours, and *don't ask* how that number is calculated), your defensive team is no longer your strongest advantage. The most effective component to a Rift match becomes the defensive catalysts. They are a good to great idea in a vacuum, but with this secret tier system in place they become the most accurate forecast to the outcome of the match. I ran into a player with *seven* Armor Ratings in their defensive map. It wasn't even a contest.

3) Skill is important, but there is nowhere to practice.

Rift Battles are insane. The AI manages feats of timing that frankly feel like wizardry. I would be okay with this level of trickery if it were found anywhere else in the game. It isn't. Rift Battles are at a skill level that is never seen elsewhere in the game, so the only way to learn the patterns of play is to play.

These three effects have caused me to lose my grip on the top of the pig-pile that is the diamond tier. I do not get to pair up with teams that I know I can beat, even as I see them ascend into Diamond tier themselves. (I mean no ill will, many of these people are my friends) I would *love* to match up with them, but I cannot because I have a secret tier that pushes me to fight only the very biggest teams. I have poor catalysts, even after buying three bundles. I have struggled to keep my emotions positive as I lose six out of seven matches on a weekly basis, and so I do not get in any more practice.

Rift Battles may be great for Silver and Gold, but as a former Diamond let me say this: I am not playing Rifts again until something is done.

Remove the secret tier system of "team strength". It is awful and backwards. (If you don't agree, then explain a numerical measure for team strength that factors in every component to a Rift Battle). Replace it with something a little more thoughtful, like the above proposal or even a short-hand variation that does not reduce the complexity of an interdependent team to a single numerical value.

My own idea: have the second tier system be a single calculation: (wins - losses). If you are +2, then you get paired with other +2s in the same neighborhood as your score. If you are -2, then you get paired with other -2s. This system, while not perfect, does let those with no luck find one another for a better chance at victory, and it pushes the winners into direct competition. You can still have "a bad week" but you are far less likely to have a relentless losing streak, and the eventual winner of Rifts will have earned it from fighting the best.

I love catalysts as a rule, but they need to be tuned. There are some obvious winners and losers in the catalyst game, and if you want a good list of all the bad catalysts just take a look at my inventory.

It would be nice to turn on a Rift-style AI for practice. I need a chance to fight at this level without feeling the anxiety of perfect play.

Of all these possible fixes, removal of the "team strength" tier is the most important. It has sucked all the joy from the game for me.

I’m glad to see players speaking up about this.

FYI the suffering works on both ends .. i’m currently diamond 1, and i am constantly getting matched with the top players and losing 14-15 points. Then i match with another really strong player who is 100 rift points below me, and even if i do barely win, i earn 7-9 points and if i lose (very likely because they’re strong), i lose like 18-20 points. Meanwhile i see people climb to d1 or higher and have never met any of the top players (nothing against them, but this is just wrong)..

Climbing is really difficult when you have a strong base unless you are in gamma, odd or gunz’s position where they can beat practically everyone. Even then some players have it easier than them, because they get matched with each other quite often and it becomes a tossup.
 

Dusty00

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I’m glad to see players speaking up about this.

FYI the suffering works on both ends .. i’m currently diamond 1, and i am constantly getting matched with the top players and losing 14-15 points. Then i match with another really strong player who is 100 rift points below me, and even if i do barely win, i earn 7-9 points and if i lose (very likely because they’re strong), i lose like 18-20 points. Meanwhile i see people climb to d1 or higher and have never met any of the top players (nothing against them, but this is just wrong)..

Climbing is really difficult when you have a strong base unless you are in gamma, odd or gunz’s position where they can beat practically everyone. Even then some players have it easier than them, because they get matched with each other quite often and it becomes a tossup.

Similar situations here last week and this week. I kept getting matched with the same couple of Gold 2/D4 players with stronger base than mine. It’s a lot of efforts to beat them to earn 8 points or so. Then I’d lose a bunch of points to Megatron because he’s in high 1900s :/
 

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I have a lot more to say (I'll be back!) but...

If I had a goal in this conversation, Liam, it is this:

I need you to see that, by restricting matchups using “team strength” you have effectively created a shadow tier system from which it is impossible to break free. This creates the perverse incentive to avoid improving your team strength at all costs in order to stay inside the easier tiers.

I dedicated a large part of my time in SGM to building up my team because I thought team strength would give me an advantage. But we are in a position now where diamond evolution, skill tree expansion, and Prize Fight grinding are just further reducing my ability to compete in Rift Battles.

That, that perverse incentive to not build your team, is what I need you to understand. It has distorted this game beyond my capacity to enjoy it.
 

Pepperlunatic

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I have a lot more to say (I'll be back!) but real quick - DUEL is exactly what you're describing. You fight against the highest level of AI for 0 energy. Go find a Diamond in chat and ask them to set a specific Fighter you want to practice against!

I don't know if this is a temporary system that buys enough time to actually make a better practice mode or the most optimal practice method the devs can think of but it has many flaws. First, asking diamond to set up a duel in a discord chat is a hassle for many players especially if someone does not have time for setting that up or does not want to socialize with other players. Second, the game does not tells players about this at all and therefore not many knows about that. Third, this method is so cumbersome that even people knew about it, it would not be widely use as intended. Forth, that is basically using diamond players as some staff member who specialize in providing training dummies for others.

Please don't widely tell people to ask with diamonds to set up practice round. Catalyst has already done the damage and saying that nonsense to players will only bring more ridicule and PR nightmare. Just make a practice mode that allows players to set various modifiers and other settings to test out their forces before fighting the actual opponent. That is just the best way to solve this one issue.
 
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Gerhop

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2) Catalysts are of outsize importance when team strength trends towards the mean.

I'm not going to discuss a troubles of someone in D1 tier, as a bronze 2 player, but I'm really agree with that statement. While i have some weak and mostly useless modifiers of bronze tier, i've matched up against player with the nearly same fighter strength, but much more powerful catalysts. I believe it was a gold water armor and gold armor rating on upper boss node, like, imagine, 25% and 10% chances respectively of getting armor on hit. Man, I swear, it was insane! Like, I wasn't even able to kill at least one of those fighters with my strongest units (gold cold stones and gold bassline) because of that! That player had brain freeze, dead of winter and some another gold water fighter on that node, can't remember now who exactly was the third. I didn't even have a chance, u know, and that was a really depressing matchup. So, yeah, catalysts totally should go hand-in-hand with overall base strength calculations.
 
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Yujipooji

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I'm not going to discuss a troubles of someone in D1 tier, as a bronze 2 player, but I'm really agree with that statement. While i have some weak and mostly useless modifiers of bronze tier, i've matched up against player with the nearly same fighter strength, but much more powerful catalysts. I believe it was a gold water armor and gold armor rating on upper boss node, like, imagine, 25% and 10% chances respectively of getting armor on hit. Man, I swear, it was insane! Like, I wasn't even able to kill at least one of those fighters with my strongest units (gold cold stones and gold bassline) because of that! That player had brain freeze, dead of winter and some another gold water fighter on that node, can't remember now who exactly was the third. I didn't even have a chance, u know, and that was a really depressing matchup. So, yeah, catalysts totally should go hand-in-hand with overall base strength calculations.

not sure if that was null’s point.. the real problem is that people are getting matched by strength to begin with. it causes an awkward situation where strong players are being punished for being strong with much more difficult matchups regardless of rank.
 

Luke

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Uhm I have reached rookie tier simply through decay. Cus I can’t get a match up. Cus I’m my collection is too strong for my rank.
Oh and btw. I used to OCD stealth click every player in chat and duel their diamond 2 updates ago. I don’t feel duel ai is any harder than pf ai. Unless there was a change recently. That nobody knew.
 

Luke

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A53FF60F-F09D-45DE-AB96-10D843A22D96.png Behold thine eyes.
I will reach the fabled 3-digit soon
 

educavalcantee

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Maybe you don't feel that the duel IA is harder because there isn't the pressure of doing a perfect match? Never tried it, just guessing.
 

Brother Null

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There are no modifiers. There is nothing to support or extend the defenders innate capabilities, so there is no real challenge. Rifts can still surprise with catalysts, but I also agree that Rift AI feels sharper than duel AI.
 
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Dusty00

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There are no modifiers. There is nothing to support or extend the defenders innate capabilities, so there is no real challenge. Rifts can still surprise with catalysts, but I also agree that Rift AI feels sharper than duel AI.
Agreed. I tried Duel AI out for about an hour and did not once encounter Rift-level AI.
 

jamar

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Here's my take on what happened. Pre-update, there was a matchmaking problem: Players were getting matched with other players who had similar rift ratings but different collection strengths. This prompted the most simple solution: Use collection strength as a metric when generating rift matchups. But this created a new matchmaking problem: Now players are getting matched with other players who have similar collection strengths but different rift ratings.

I think this happened because the collection strength metric was used offensively instead of defensively in order to combat the initial problem. Used defensively, if a situation like the initial matchmaking problem were to occur, collection strengths would prevent that from happening, likely resulting in longer wait times for matches for those players. But used offensively, the problem was overcorrected and caused the inverse problem, lowering the significance of the entire rating system.
*Edited for spacing
 

Yujipooji

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Here's my take on what happened. Pre-update, there was a matchmaking problem: Players were getting matched with other players who had similar rift ratings but different collection strengths. This prompted the most simple solution: Use collection strength as a metric when generating rift matchups. But this created a new matchmaking problem: Now players are getting matched with other players who have similar collection strengths but different rift ratings.

I think this happened because the collection strength metric was used offensively instead of defensively in order to combat the initial problem. Used defensively, if a situation like the initial matchmaking problem were to occur, collection strengths would prevent that from happening, likely resulting in longer wait times for matches for those players. But used offensively, the problem was overcorrected and caused the inverse problem, lowering the significance of the entire rating system.
*Edited for spacing


This is more or less what happened, and the results are beyond unfair. Top 20 of rift is now divided into 2 groups: the strongest players, and those with decent catalysts but with a collection strength low enough to dodge the strongest players. Furthermore, there are people good enough for top 3 unable to even break past diamond 2 coz of matchmaking.
 

Liam

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Just going to cross post our Rift Battle notes from this thread here in case they haven't been seen:

RIFT BATTLES

In 3.2, we introduced some substantial matchmaking changes that were designed to make sure that players weren't matched up against players with a collection that is significantly stronger than their own. This has been pretty successful in the low to mid-high Rift Ratings! (1000 ~ 1750 RR)

However, we're aware of some problems with collection based matchmaking at the top of the ladder around 2000 Rift Rating and higher. We've noticed that some players have been able to sneak into Diamond tier despite never facing off against other Diamond tier players because their collection strengths are too far apart. This also prevents extremely skilled players from climbing far into Diamond tier if their collection is too weak.

Rest assured, we’ll be taking steps to address these issues as soon as possible. Much like Prize Fights, Rift Battles will continue to evolve until they’re in a good spot. Thanks in advance for everyone’s feedback - it’s essential to making the mode as compelling as it can be!

We're also keeping an eye on how much time Rift Battles demand out of a player each week. As such, we plan to reduce the number of matches required to qualify for season rewards.

We'll have more news about the exact solution(s) going live once we're a bit closer to our 3.3. release, and the update notes are live.
 

Brother Null

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This is why I continue to play SGM; you guys are awesome!
 

Yujipooji

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Just going to cross post our Rift Battle notes from this thread here in case they haven't been seen:



We'll have more news about the exact solution(s) going live once we're a bit closer to our 3.3. release, and the update notes are live.

there’s a level 70 player who decayed to rookie unable to find matches who is defs waiting for this update
 

Luke

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there’s a level 70 player who decayed to rookie unable to find matches who is defs waiting for this update
E5EBB0BE-65FD-43CA-B9E9-BBDEBB980C31.png Am I being called out? :D
I’m sure eagerly waiting for that update. (1045last week. Three digit sooooon)