Let's talk about matchmaking and Skill Level


#1

Through Beta, matchmaking seems to be based more around level than skill level, which kind of irks me due to running into players that were bad as hunters, or a REALLY good monster that the uncoordinated pub allies can’t seem to fight around. Let me explain a bit deeper with regards to Skill Level:

There are two skill levels; Skill floor and Skill Ceiling.

Skill Floor: This is the level of efficiency that players have to reach in order to know what they are doing and to progress. Until the skill floor is reached, players do not know what to do without having to think about the actions they are making.

Hunters: Hunters have a very low skill floor. Anyone that’s played an FPS knows hunters are more or less about pointing and clicking. When you work your way around activating and using your abilities, you can get an easy grip at how to play the hunter, and you eventually learn what you are doing in terms of objective and play around the 1st game. During a new player’s first game, they can easily ask for advice and get helpful responses to improve their gameplay. Also, if one hunter does poorly, other hunters can pick up their slack to a point.

**Monster:**The monster has a higher skill floor than the hunters. They have to keep tabs on not startling the birds, eating, avoiding hunters, keeping track of armor, and lots of other things. Their abilities require more accuracy due to them being ground-based AoE targeted. It takes more than one game to know what you are doing as the monster, and the hunters will be at an advantage until the skill floor is reached. Getting into their first game, they need to learn through their tutorial in the beginning, or through their own fault. If the monster makes a mistake, there is nobody that can pick up for him. He is punished much harder than hunters would be for a mistake.

Skill Ceiling: This is total mastery of the character. The steeper it is, the harder it is to get better at that character or role. And as players climb to the ceiling, they are capable of pulling off unique and hard-to do strategies, mainly high-risk high-reward.

Hunter: Hunters have a much higher skill ceiling than the monster. To perform effectively, they must communicate, coordinate, and they rely on each other. The hunters’ skill ceiling is combined together each game to make a total. If one hunter is below average, the entire team’s skill level will drop by that average difference. While teams can pick up slack for a bad player, it isn’t going to be enough as total and average skill goes up. Over time, a bad player will drastically skew the win rate of that team’s game due to it’s asymmetry.

Monster: The monster has a lower skill ceiling than the hunters, mainly due to the fact that he can only carry himself. When the monster learns everything in the basics, he can only go upwards…drastically. The monster can improve his gameplay without the need to rely on others, and this includes his total skill level and ceiling.

Now, let’s look at this and matchmaking. In the beginning (around 1-10) hunters will be more likely to win due to the skill floor for them being so low, and the ability to aid each other with advice and mechanical skill.

11-20, the hunters are still going to be at an advantage. Both teams have probably hit the skill floor due to so many played games, but hunters have one real objective, find and cap the monster. They get better at this as things go. The monster gets better as well, but they will still need to practice proper stealth, feeding times, sniffing, stamina balance, and picking fights.

21+ the monster is going to be at an advantage in terms of skill. Hunters and communication don’t seem to have blended well in Alpha and Beta. The monster doesn’t need to rely on communication, and his skill stays with him as he plays. No other player can hinder his ability to do well or hurt his strategy formulation other than himself, so his skill will start to shine because of this.

Max Level + will be hard to compare, because strategies and skill will vary with veterancy and gameplay skill. Things will begin to break even as time passes, and the monster will either fall into balance of skill level or the hunters will remain at fault, all varying on cooperation.

tl;dr If matchmaking is going to be based on wins and levels, then things aren’t going to go well for players throughout the early stages of the game. An MMR system needs to be set.


#2

I agree, about Hunters having the highest skill ceiling but, I completely disagree when you claim they have the lowest skill floor.

I understand FPS’s are more familiar for an avid gamer, but playing hunter effectively is much more beyond point and click. Matter of fact, point and click is only useful during combat, and combat isn’t the predominant phase of the game. Tracking and trapping the monster is the true dominant phase of Evolve. So If you can’t find and trap the monster, and you let him evolve for free, all your aiming skills are rendered useless agaisnt a stage 3 monster that two hits you.

Let this be very clear for everyone …

In order for a hunter achieve a standart level of efficiency, he must grasp three crucial gameplay components :

  • jetpack fuel management;
  • map awareness & recognition;
  • positioning;

Without jetpack fuel management you can’t keep up with the monster (with already superior movement) or your own team in that manner. Without good fuel management you are a sitting duck during the fights (not very helpful when monster have tremendous AOE margins to hit you).
I haven’t personally mastered fuel management but I think I reached a solid level by the 3rd day of the Big Alpha so I’ll assume around 18+ hours.

Moving on to map awareness! This one is hugely important. Without proper map awareness and recognition you’re unable to ping/report the team on the monster location and headings. Without map awareness you will ignore events around you and you have more chances of getting caught by wildlife or plants.
Without map recognition you can’t predict and calculate a clear path to cut the monster, but also, it will affect jetpack fuel management! why? because, since you don’t know the terrain, you don’t reserve fuel for the next obstacle, plus you are lean to pick longest routes that will, futher, slow you down.
My experience told me, it took 4 days to feel comfortable with the four maps used on Big Alpha … and only now in Beta I’ve started to be efficient on cutting off the monster.

Finally we have positioning! and oh boy, this one I still struggle most of the times. Without proper positioning you will be caught all by yourself or you will be evaporaded by AOE abilities, If you bunch up near allies. Without proper positioning you will have tremendous issues with line of sight and you will put your team in danger, If you start wandering out of range or bunch up near teammates while being focused.
I can’t tell exactly how long it took me to learn this aspect but I would estimate around 40+ hours.

So to recapitulate, No! … hunters have the highest skill floor. Monsters have huge margins in health, damage, range and movement in their favor, they don’t need to worry about wildlife at early levels, they have free reign to control the pace of the fight and they can simply win with mindless behaviours like ability spam agaisnt hunters who:

  • don’t know how to position
  • decide to bunch up near the power relay because they couldn’t even find the monster during the entire game.

I think has been been proven many times over the last Alphas and Betas. Monsters were always dominant on the first days because of unexperienced hunters who can’t distinguish Co-op from Gun&Run games .

Again I disagree its the complete way around. Infact they don’t even aid each other, they will put them in danger with missed domes, solo play behaviours and refusal of using voice communications, If we talking about pubs of course (because thats what the MM is for anyways).
I can even safely tell you that hunter efficiency is only reached in average around 15+ lvl, not 1-10.

This one I have to agree with. Right now we are witnessing the exposure of this category of lvl 20+ monsters agains Max Level hunters! Take a look at Piers, only now hes been losing conscistently agaisnt max level hunter teams. This kind of proves the high skill ceiling of hunters, it took 3 alphas+betas to develop enough team coordination to take down these type of monsters.

On the other hand I feel frighten by the though of only Max level hunters can beat 20+ monsters … what’s gonna happen when monster will reach Max level? I’ve yet seen one on that level, only gentlemansquirrel seems close to it.

Yes matchmaking needs to take account more parameters. Win rate and level isn’t enough. But again, I’m not expecting to be effective anyhow … this game is far more complex than that! MM can’t calculate team-synergy and coordenation with precision. You want good MM? build a good player base and do your own.


#3

Sorry I got heated and I overextended the post Q_Q I feel bad now.

I don’t blame you If you skip it.


#4

From what I’ve seen in higher levels of play from watching Twitch, it seems like the monster is pretty much waiting for the hunters to make a mistake. When you’re rather new, it seems like the monster has total control of a fight. But when you start to learn positioning, flushing, grouping in pairs & good trapper play, you realize the hunters can really mitigate alot of the things the monster does that make combat difficult.

So, from my observations, it seems like the monster has a lower skill floor and a lower skill ceiling.

I do agree that when Chris is balancing the game, he would do well to look at how different levels of play impact win rates. I sort of wonder if progression bonuses could mitigate any differences in win rates.


#5

Very astute observation. This is the new phenomenon! this is the nature&essence of competition and I fucking love it!

Only now (in the press-release) hunters have one up their game! the results of this were drastic on monsters … they aren’t prepared to face something they never had to deal with before! They suddenly find that playing the way they did has been counter and they need to reformulate their gameplan.

Now its their time to re-counter their counters … and the cycle will restart.


#6

I’ve actually seen this happen in a couple of streams. One guy who would normally dominate yelling into the mic about Maggies traps. The hunters in that game (wish I could remember which video) were dominating with Parnell, maggie, Caira and hank. They kept a reasonable distance from each other when was focused the others jumped it was beautiful. Leap smashes and charges stopped by trap mines shields used while new mines were being placed. It took me awhile to realize that the medic was purposefully leading the monster in a circle around the dome.


#7

I think the time it takes the monster to win is a measure of skill, and that they just need to add some kind incentive for winning early so monsters don’t drag it out.


#8

Actually that could be really good… like an XP boost based on how quickly you win. Cowardly monsters are annoying, but to be fair that’s an OK strategy just not fun to play against.


#9

I don’t blame anyone who’s new to the game or thinks they’re facing a particularly good group of hunters for playing it safe.


#10

I don’t think with just the the big alpha and the beta you can say that matchmaking needs fixing. It takes very few games to go for 0 to 10. In that time it’s not guaranteed that people will be able to play every character let along get a good grasp of how to play them. Early game release matchmaking works pretty well off of just player levels in my opinion. Those who have experience early on/understand the game/or just good will rocket in levels early on. It’s how the matchmaking will work after a week or 2 when those who just don’t care for learning how to play the characters or as a team or just don’t understand the game get to the higher levels. This is when matchmaking is important. From a few weekends where everyone starts at 0 we can’t have a good understanding of that. We will just have to wait and see. And if it doesn’t meet what the competitive pub people want them I’m sure everyone will tell Turtle Rock and they will do their best to make it what we want.

My experience was that once you reached the 20+ zone and were paired with others in that zone most people had mics and communicated and worked well understanding how each of the roles complimented each other and beating the monster was much more common. I got to about 23 before losing my progress and having to start over again from 0. Landing back at 0 again it was easy to see that monster had a much easier time early on but I still reached 10 again in a couple of hours. I went 0 to 23 to 0 to 15 again all within the space of the beta. That’s one weekend. Should I have expected the game to realise I was better then most of the people I was playing with when it dropped me to zero again? Hell no, for all the game knows I could have just been lucky. Is that a reason to put me with higher level players? Hell no. If it was luck it is just going to ruin the game for the people who have put the time and effort in have made it to higher levels because of it. If you don’t like being paired with inexperienced people early on you need to grow up. With the way things are these days in gaming communities only those committed to the game will be left after a couple weeks anyway.

Personally I don’t care much for when and where Skill floors and ceilings are.

All I need is Griffin unlocked because when I do there is no where the monster can hide, and then he will need to run like hell.


#11

While this is true, I believe that proper jetpack management comes into play after reaching the skill floor. Below this floor, players would just need to know about jetpack jumping and flight. If they understand it’s use for dodging and traversing, they can hit the floor and begin to learn about using it wisely as they begin to climb from the floor.

Coming through both Alpha, Beta, and playing a friend’s press release for a day, my experience was different in that the monster would usually lose in fights. While lack of teamwork is correct, the players all shared similar goals in taking out the monster or defending the relay.

Luck does not correlate with skill. If a player gets lucky, their win ratio would stick around the 50% win rate, with a few skews higher in percentage. Because luck doesn’t mean you are winning most of your games, luck means you are winning around 10% more games than your medial average in a short length of time, which eventually evens out later on.

If you are constantly winning games, being around 60%+ win ratio, then it shows you are overskilled in who you are being paired up with. This can ruin games for the lower-skilled players due to things being too challenging, increasing the learning curve for them and making it hard to properly progress and learn.

It’s not that I don’t like being paired with inexperienced players, but it’s the fact that inexperienced players are being challenged a lot harder then they should and the skilled players aren’t being challenged enough. Again, this leads to poor progression in learning, making things hard for them later on near max level. Players need to be evenly matched to lead to quick learning and progression, making both parties increase in total skill. It also makes games much more fun for players as there is that even chance in getting a victory, creating close plays and very close wins and losses. Both parties are being challenged to the point where they have to think hard to perform correctly, and make risks to win. You don’t get that in poorly matched games, as one party is either just being stomped or doing what they normally do without punishment or risk.


#12

Man I want to be able to say more in this thread but I’m not home and only have a phone right now so it’ll have to wait ><

One thing I wanted to add was that I think the skill floors are relatively even. I’m a long time fps player, but evolve is much different from a standard fps. There’s lots of positioning and setting things up rather than just point and click. Additionally, fighting is only one aspect of the game. Keeping on the monster is a challenge in itself.

For my first game as monster I lost, but it was close. I was stage 3. To be fair that was in alpha before I upgraded my pc and I was lucky to get 30 fps. But getting to stage 3 and fighting wasn’t a huge challenge in that game. Then I played as kraken and learned how hard it is to get away and to fight a Lazarus.

Both sides have lots of challenges to get used to. But I agree with @yazkin about the ceilings.

Wow I typed this on a phone.


#13

Skill floors and skill ceilings don’t matter in this. At all.

What you need to do is set up a proper alghorithm for MMR to work with. Skill floors and ceilings are completely subjective to your own gameplay experience, and that doesn’t represent any logical limits for MMR.

So yeah. All I have to say about this, at least for now.


#14

That’s true, but skill floors may have come into this discussion because we were talking about level. Say that it takes players until level 15-20 to hit the perceived skill floor. Now you introduce the mmr system, and that is used from there on and represents the skill ceiling or lack thereof.


#15

Do we know for sure if the matchmaking is solely using the levels and W/L Ratios for balance? or can TRS clarify on this? @MacMan


#16

Well, at a certain point levels wont show anything about the players skill. Sooner or later everyone will get to the lvl 40, since its not that hard to level up.


#17

If people play as intensely as they did during the Alpha Beta, Feasibly people could reach 40 within a week. But the learning and challenge continues well after 40.


#18

Pretty sure i can reach 40 before a week.I went in 1 day 20 and the second day my stats were resetted and by the time Beta ended i was again 20.


#19

I’ve stated in the Original Post that max level will be harder to differ in skill, and veterancy will play a big part in games. Which further supports my suggestion on creating a form of MMR that doesn’t solely support the W/L ratio and level that it did in Beta, to allow players to give a challenge.

Even at 40+, the skill ceiling will always go up as new strategies and characters are brought into the game, and there are so many formulas that players can build as time progresses. Its up for the Devs to create such a system where these challenges that are formulated can be put against players with equally challenging styles, making every game close to the 50% win rate in terms of player skill, having those close calls, and Making the game intensely fun for both parties


#20

Well that would be ideally. To tell you the truth when I’m being wrecked by very well organised hunter teams who kill me as monster within first 7 minutes…5 times in a row there is hardly enjoyment in this. I do understand that a lot of ppl played alpha and beta and know the game like the back of their hand and when a noob like me who got the game after release is constantly matched with such ppl only because I finally reached lvl 40 too it only adds to frustration and discourages playing the game. Skill based system is what I am looking forward too. Every now and then I have close games where I land few strikes on hunters and even if I lose I think it was GG cause game lasted good 20 minutes all hunters had a strike or two and I just made too many silly mistakes to finish them off. Being domed before evolving to stage 2 and killed within 5 minutes doesn’t make you learn from your mistakes.