• [2018/06/22]
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Thoughts and Solutions on Rift Battles [Devs Please Read]

I would hope that changing the system so it's based more on rank would mean that ( after the initial period of readjustment ) rank would be more representative of strength, and as a result, folks with similar ranks would have similar strengths, and getting paired with someone of the same rank would mean a fair fight.

After this initial readjustment period, I would think that having rank truly represent strength, and only pairing people who have close ranks would actually put a full stop to the newb-stomping that the game currently faces, since if rank = strength and your rank = opponent's rank then your strength = opponent's strength far more accurately than it does now. It would get the strong players out of Bronze / Silver for good ( as long as decay is removed ), and allow the newbs to grow in peace without having their rank outpace their strength, preventing matchups that are unfair for either group.

However, you're right about the fact that there would be a lot of unfair matchups, at least during the readjustment period. The current broken system means that there are folks of all different strengths at all different ranks, so for a while there would be a lot of matchups between people who have the same rank but different strengths. After this period though, things would even out once the folks with stronger collections earn their higher ranks, and the folks with weak collections fall down to a rank that truly represents their strength. I can see this creating a lot of frustration though, since the folks with weak collections who raced to the higher ranks before their collection grew will lose their higher ranks, even though they'll end up at a rank that more accurately represents where they fall on the scale of strength vs the rest of the rift population and give them more fair matchups.

As I stated in my first post, even back when I got to Silver 1 with my weak collection of almost totally >10k score fighters, I would sometimes face off against opponents with somewhat similar collection strengths who were in Gold 4 or even Gold 3. These ranks are supposed to represent folks with strengths in the top 11-20% of the rift population, but they currently don't because the game isn't truly challenging these people by giving them a fight with the people who actually *have* strengths equal to the top 11-20%. Instead, the game is matching them up against other newbs of similar strengths who are racing to the top with similarly weak collections, rather than the older players who have strong collections who actually fall within those strength percentiles, a lot of whom are stuck at much lower ranks due to decay and the fact that the system constantly pairs them up against other strong-but-decayed rifters.

If anything, that's another huge problem that discourages folks from rifting because it prevents people from getting into rift late, or recovering from decaying past a certain point. They try for a while, then stagnate because they're constantly paired against other folks who are in the same situation, and then give up and never touch the mode again. All the while they gain the small low-rank rewards that don't help someone with a strong collection, which discourages them even faster.

If rewards are going to be based on rank, then rank should genuinely represent strength, rather than what it currently represents, like 'how far did you get as a newb before you got stuck' or 'how long did you wait to start rifting after you unlocked it' or even 'how long of a break did you take from the game'.

However, I did mention in the second paragraph that this whole thing only works if decay is removed, and that it completely the truth. Decay is what broke the current system in the first place after all, by scattering strong players with strong bases and a lot of rift knowledge across all ranks and breaking the connection between rank and strength. People who start rifting late further complicate things, adding folks at all different levels of skill and strength at the very bottom of the ranking system.

I'm certain that if you plotted a graph showing each rifter's collection strength on the x-axis and their rank points on the y-axis you'd end up with a low correlation plot at best, and a no correlation plot if it's truly as bad as I think it is. Even if it has some type of correlation, I doubt it's a positive one. However, as it is, we don't have the information needed to do such a thing, and I highly doubt the admins will make it public.

Finally, I must reiterate I have no idea what the best fix for this problem is, only that I'm certain that this *is* a very big problem with rift right now based on my own experience and what I've heard from other people in chat and here on the forums. Changing the system so that matchmaking favors rank rather than collection strength is just one potential solution (although I do admittedly favor it), with some obvious potential problems that must be thoroughly considered and discussed. Like the pay-to-win issue, or campers in high ranks. However, I do feel that this particular problem with newb-stomping would only be a problem for a short while before essentially solving itself, save the occasional late bloomer joining rift with a decent collection, but even then those folks will bubble up to their appropriate rank in a relatively short time span.

EDIT: ( Also, after looking back at this I made a bit of a mistake referring to two separate things as 'strength' - both collection strength and game skill, and a sometimes a combination of both. It makes this post a bit hard to understand when I'm re-reading it.

It also makes me realize another potential problem with this solution, and a really big one at that: If rank is too heavily connected to collection strength, then what's even the point of participating in rift? It wouldn't be significantly different from just handing out weekly rewards based on collection strength and continued activity. )
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I think there are 3 main problems that lead to this mess:

1. There are not enough people who play this mode, this combine with the difference in time zone, make matchmaking even harder than it already was. And if the system cannot find the balance match, the matching range will be widened and with it uneven matches.

2. The overwhelming number of people stay in the lower rank or play 5 matches to fill the week quota. Since I got out of silver (thank god!) I encounter these kinds of people less, but when I was there, I sometimes met people with a base full of diamonds or impossible to beat boss node. I wondered why they're still Silver or even Bronze, and there might be some cases of decay but the number can't be that high. Then I took a gander at my Friends list, many lv70, with a roster full of diamonds, still Silver and some Bronze. There can be only 2 reasons, they're deliberately staying at the lower rank for fewer stress matches or (I don't want to kink shame people but...) they want to bully weaker or new players. For the players that only play 5 matches to fill the quota? Well, they only play 5 matches and get the rewards at the start of the week, however small it might be, and with only 5 matches a week, losing or winning won't be a problem, and also ranks. This makes a higher barrier of entry for new players or someone who wants to play. It demotivates them to the point they don't want to fight those Futile fights with fully upgraded diamond Bigband any more (*ba dum tss*). This led back to problems 1.

3. The number of cheaters is too high (I don't call them hackers because they don't know s**t about hacking, just download a modified apk and you're done). There is a sticky thread to report cheaters and it now more than 200 pages long, from prizefight to Rift, some names just repeat over and over again. I know that mobile games don't have fancy cheat detectors like PC or Console and with a small studio they can't manually comb and remove every report, not to mention checking if they're really are cheaters or not. And it's even harder because the game is Free, if they got removed, they just create a new account, and with that cheat program, leveling won't be a problem. The solution won't be easy, I just want the dev to have some input about this.

I don't think the remover of point decay is the solution. Rift suppose to be competitive, and if you want to have that shiny badge and reap the rewards that come with it, you have to fight for it. Why don't apply the LoL system, where you got to Silver or Gold, you can't decay to the lower rank, but if you are at diamonds, you will be decay to the minimum of Gold 4 and have to play regularly to stay competitive. It's not the perfect solution, but it might be better.

But then again, the power is in the hand of the devs, the game is their creation and they're free to do anything with it.