Author Topic: Vote to Balance Levels in Matches  (Read 6744 times)

Offline Tai Fighter

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Vote to Balance Levels in Matches
« on: August 22, 2013, 01:51:11 pm »
This has been at the back of my head since 1.1, and we've all seen it time and time again. Blue team has ships with level 6 and 7 pilots, and similarly leveled crew. Red team has level 2 and 4 pilots, similarly leveled crew. The match begins, Blue team wins 5-0, Blue team stays, some of Red shuffles with new players, and the cycle repeats itself. It's not fun to get stomped, but it's also not fun to have continuous uncontested wins either.

Could there be an option to attempt to "balance" experience levels? (balance in quotes, since we know that levels are an indirect indicators.) Of course it's doable by swapping through the spectator slots, but that's very cumbersome when the match is full, and it is prone to having spots ninja'd.

I felt it would be better to give full details than it would be to just suggest it, so I worked out the details. (I feel like I am I inventing the beginnings of a matchmaking system...)

Provided the countdown timer has not started, people have the option to request the teams to be balanced. If more than 25% of players request balancing, (this way a single player cannot stall matches indefinitely), a poll would be held asking every player if they wish to balance the teams. After 30s of voting, if there are more 'yes' votes than 'no' votes, the balancing system would rearrange the ships (i.e. crewmen would stay under the same captain)

The balancing would assign a weighted sum of levels to each ship and try to rearrange the ships so that each team's sum would be as close as possible to the other team's sum. Rather than simply adding the active levels of each member, the system would take the following into factor:

  • the captain is double-weighted (a level 3 captain would be given a value of 3×2 = 6
  • A player's value should be no less than half his max level (I, at the time of writing, am 1/5/7, so if I were to gun, i would be 7÷2 = 3.5)
  • AI are assumed to be level 3
  • If there is one pilot on the ship, but not in a captain slot, it is assumed that he is captain (I don't understand why people do this, but it happens)

Example:
Consider these four ships Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta. Currently, on the blue team, Alpha has a level 7 captain with levels 5, 3, and 8 crew, while Bravo has a level 6 captain with two crewmen levels 3 and 6, as well as an AI. On the Red team, Charlie has a level 4 captain with three engineers levels 2, 5 and 3, while Delta has a level 3 pilot with levels 4, 2 and 3 crew. While Delta has the lowest levels, a lot of them are playing their off-classes so they are actually more experienced than their active level may indicate.



Alpha's total is 30, Bravo's 25.5, Charlie's 18 and Delta's 19.5

A + B vs C + D (current configuration)
(30 + 25.5) - (18 + 19.5)
55.5 - 37.5
18

A + C vs B + D
(30 + 18) - (25.5 + 19.5)
48 - 45
3

A + D vs B + C
(30 + 19.5) - (25.5 - 18)
49.5 - 43.5
6

The balancer would put Alpha and Charlie against Bravo and Delta in attempt to make the most balanced match.



It's a bit simple and obvious with a 2v2, as there are only 3 combinations, but with 3v3 there are 10 combinations and with 4v4 there are 35 combinations.

lol did i overthink things?

Offline Keon

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Re: Vote to Balance Levels in Matches
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2013, 01:54:58 pm »
Well,  a lot of those stacked teams are a cogs team or such practicing. You can't practice if your crews get shuffled around.

Offline Pickle

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Re: Vote to Balance Levels in Matches
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2013, 01:57:37 pm »
Where's the poll/vote?

Balancing generally happens anyway if the stacking starts to result in stomps - at least with sensible players.  But I will chip in with one observation, noting that someone is a L4 pilot is only part of their level.  I'd argue that the sum of all their levels is a better measure.  So I'd peg you as L13 (1+5+7) - although I might not count any level below 3 as L3 is the basic level for someone to know what needs to be known about a role.

Offline Imagine

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Re: Vote to Balance Levels in Matches
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2013, 01:59:08 pm »
So, two things:

1) People like playing with friends. Whether it's a bunch of high level folks or a bunch of low level folks, splitting them up is generally worse than having level mismatch.

2) Levels mean jack squat. Now, yeah, generally people with higher levels are thought to have a better understanding of the game, but we quite often see ships with a crew averaging lvl 5 hold their own vs a ship that averages lvl 9.

Look, we'd all like balanced teams, people doing the stomping get as bored with it as the ones getting stomped, but there's too much going on in crew setup other than just numbers (which are pretty arbitrary to begin with).

Offline treseritops

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Re: Vote to Balance Levels in Matches
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2013, 02:36:55 pm »
So, two things:

1) People like playing with friends. Whether it's a bunch of high level folks or a bunch of low level folks, splitting them up is generally worse than having level mismatch.

2) Levels mean jack squat. Now, yeah, generally people with higher levels are thought to have a better understanding of the game, but we quite often see ships with a crew averaging lvl 5 hold their own vs a ship that averages lvl 9.

Look, we'd all like balanced teams, people doing the stomping get as bored with it as the ones getting stomped, but there's too much going on in crew setup other than just numbers (which are pretty arbitrary to begin with).

Levels mean jack squat above 3 or so. You're right in that level 5 and level 9 are pretty standard, but level 1-3 has a *huge* difference. Everyone says you should just teach the newer the players but frankly some of them don't want to hear it. You find them off doing there own thing as the ship goes down.

However, the numbers still don't tell you how even the match will be. If the captain's on one team have mics and the others don't, if none of your crew has a mic, what ships are taken, etc. all play just as a big a part if not bigger in deciding the winner.

Offline Captain Smollett

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Re: Vote to Balance Levels in Matches
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2013, 03:08:19 pm »
I actually like the suggestion.  Balancing gets put to a vote so if friends want to keep playing together than they can, at the very least it lets the stomping team know that the stompies aren't enjoying it. 

I do think captains should be the only ones able to call the vote, and the vote timer should be shorter.

Offline Zyem

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Re: Vote to Balance Levels in Matches
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2013, 09:59:37 am »
You mention that doing this "manually" is cumbersome and prone to having spots stolen. I'm wondering if it would be better to let people balance the teams manually if they want and add in a "position swap" mechanic which can be used in other situations.

For example, you click on the taken spot you want and it flags you as wanting that spot. The person in that spot can then click on your spot and you switch immediately. Maybe even with a message in the chat "XYZ invites you to switch slots" (or their slot changes to white?) to bring attention to it.

If I were going to implement the suggested system, the captains would vote for a balance shuffle and if that passed, then each player would "opt-in" to the shuffle. Those that don't opt-in would not be moved. This way, if they are flying with someone specifically (say a friend) and were on the same crew, they could just not opt-in and they wouldn't be split up. Equally, if they were flying against someone, they would not end up on the same team.

The idea that someone else gets more influence where a player is than the player seems pretty wrong to me. I know I've only been playing for a short time but I have seen a massive amount of sportsmanship in the community[1] and I think we should build systems that utilise that rather than start dictating.

[1] From captains changing their play to let a crewmember get an achievement, to the crewmember putting their achievement on hold so the captain can play how they want, to people leaving slots that are intended for other people simply by being asked.. the list goes on.