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Age of Empires / Rise of Rome / Definitive Edition
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Age of Empires Heaven » Forums » Age of Empires / Rise of Rome / Definitive Edition » The problem with ratings...
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Topic Subject:The problem with ratings...
Out4Blood
Clubman
posted 12-29-98 02:29 PM ET (US)         
There is nothing inherently wrong with ratings. Everyone wants to know how they stack up against their fellow warriors. Others want to be able to brag about their "skillz." Competition is only natural.

What hurts the game is abuse of the ratings system. This appears to be a major problem on the zone. Examining the major types of abuse will give us some ideas for fixing the system.

1. Smurfing. IMHO, this is the single biggest problem with the rating system. Let's compare zone ratings to chess ratings; in chess you only have ONE rating (for the most part) which is never reset and you keep for your entire life. In addition, every game you play in tournaments is rated. Games you play for fun are not. A solution to fix this problem is to reduce the number of ratings players can have to ONE. A unique serial number system (akin to starcraft) on each CD could identify players and assign them a unique ratings ID number. This implies that only players with CDs would be able to play rated games. (Listen up MS!) You would be able to change your zone name and play anonymously, but your rating would still be the same. Hard-core smurfers would have to buy MULTIPLE copies of the game. Of course, MS would need to be diligent at preventing pirating of ID numbers.

2. Disconnects. The next biggest problem I see is disconnects. How are we supposed to treat disconnects? I propose going back to treating a disconnect as a loss. Even though the game is played peer-to-peer, by monitoring the zone connection, we should be able to distinguish between those who get dropped from a game (while still connected to zone) and those who lose their connection, for whatever reason. Drops should not count against you, while disconnects would. This forces people who actually are concerned about ratings to upgrade modems and software (Listen up 3Com!) and get new ISPs (Listen up MSN!). When playing team games and a player gets disconnected, he should get a loss and everyone else should get no points. That way, a disconnect only hurts the offending party and not his allies. By keeping track of the number of disconnects, other players can decide whether or not to risk starting a game with a heavy disconnector.

3. Nuking. If we make disconnects a loss, then nukign becomes a major issue once again. The zone should come up with some method of preventing nuking so that the ratings have some credibility. One alternative is to get a good "nuke nabber" and make it available and advertized to all players interested in ratings. Another, more difficult system, is to have the zone software track for ping flooders or what-not and to revoke their zone accounts - possible now that we have unique serial numbers.

So, in conclusion, I offer these potential solutions: Unique ID numbers on the CD for each player, disconnects counting as losses, no effect on allies when one player disconnects in team games, and some sort of nuke protection/education.

I'm OUT! (finally)


AuthorReplies:
Janman516
Clubman
posted 12-29-98 03:08 PM ET (US)     1 / 4       
Hi Out!

I believe the rating system in AoE/RoR is fundementally flawed.

First, the underlying statistical theory regarding paired-outcomes is violated. That is for every win, there must be a loss. 5 winner wonderoffs and mass ally-ups violate this basic premise. Also calculating ratings of individual team members based on the results of a team outcome is unsound.

Second, Rating theory is based on having an homogenous population, that is, every one has the same goals and aspirations for playing. In essence your points fall under this category.

The chess world resolves this issue, as you state, by having unique ID's, but also by charging entry fees. This has the effect of assuring that people are playing for real.

It would be relatively simple to test whether the rating system works though. Select a random sample of 20 or so players, play a round robin and see at what confidence level the outcome correlates to the implied outcome of the participants ratings.

Janman516


postapokalyptic
Clubman
posted 12-29-98 06:44 PM ET (US)     2 / 4       
I actually agree with Blood. The system is not flawed, its the players. Almost all of the stipulations on the Zone Rating System have been created because of players trying to abuse the system. And there are still a good deal of loop holes being abused every day. Its funny how I never get disconnected in non rated rooms but when I get to rated rooms I seem to drop atleast one out of every ten games. And it would be nice if the Zone atleast tried to do something about smurfers, but they are to concerned about saying "One Million Users!!!" no matter how untrue it is. Hopefully ES may work with the Zone in creating a much improved Rating System for AoK (Because we know Zone isnt going to listen to us,) which could greatly expand the multiplayer community, allowing Newbies to play newbies and experts to find experts.


aoerana
Clubman
posted 12-29-98 08:11 PM ET (US)     3 / 4       
Post your comment about Zone 'not listening' seem to be shared by many people on the Zone. Where it might have been true at one point, Zone is now part of MS. MS will make changes according to the responces they get from Users. If as little as 10% of the players in the Rated Rooms were to express the same opinion to MS, Zone will try to accomodate them.

What does that mean? Well that is a different Story, however, I believe that MS could put up any Rating System that could at lease keep abuse to a minimum. There will always be those that do it just for the "fun of it." I myself do not have alot of online gaming exprerience, and cannot understand why some people keep going back after so many bad games. To me if I go online its to have fun against a real player. Since I know that Rated games will most likely be a waste of time, I dont even play there.

You said that Zone is only intersted in say HOW MANY users it has. Think about it that is how they make their money. If nobody played Rated games, they will LISTEN!

Well just my opinion, again I am new to multi-player games. Maybe I also don't understand.


postapokalyptic
Clubman
posted 12-29-98 09:31 PM ET (US)     4 / 4       
aoerana, The Zone has always been a part of MS. Many people express their opinions everyday about problems with the ratings, but what has been solved? IMO, barely anything. I never do play in Rated rooms, or atleast rarely. And the rated rooms have lost a huge amount of the users. I would say that only 20% of the people in the RoR lobby are playing rated games, a huge decrease from AoE. So where are the changes? I completely understand the business aspect of falsifying user numbers since I have a business degree, but balance is the key. If you can have 250,000 actual (and happy) users compared to 500,000 statistical (and annoyed) users, I think the decision should be an easy one. I also play Jedi Knight on the Zone (or used to) and the Zone never did a single thing about the Hackers that plagued the games. They just completely ignored it. I dont call that concern for gamers, but I guess it is a free service. And the zone has its better qualities, but Rating systems are not one of them.


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