Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What is your ELO?

Fleet Combat Online now has an online player ranking ladder. This is based on the ELO scoring system which is commonly used for Chess, "Go", StarCraft and lots of two player games both online and off. This system uses a pretty well established mathematical formula which gives a weighted amount of points based on the existing skill rating of each player participating in a match.

You can see the ladder here.

If the players skill levels are evenly matched, then they both stand to win or lose an equal amount of points. If however their skill levels are mismatched, the higher skilled player has little to gain and lots to lose and the lower skilled player has a lot to win and little to lose. This keeps experienced players from beating up on newbies and allows a skilled but new player to rise quickly in the ranks.

There is some potential for abuse. Once a player has achieved a high ranking, there is not much incentive for them to play further matches. They will have a tendency to just "sit" on their current score and decline challenge requests from competitors. I will be implementing measures against this in the future. But for now I think this will do.

There is also the issue of having AI players on the ladder. I don't really see a reason against this. Yes, you can plump your ladder score by playing the AI in a bunch of ranked matches, but this has diminishing returns. Since the AI sucks, its score will quickly go down to almost nothing. This means the skilled player challenging the AI will score few (if any) points by doing so. So it will work itself out I think.

So start a ranked match and join the ladder today!

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