We have been working on a number of changes to the matchmaking system in the game which we hope will fix some weaknesses in the system that have been getting exploited in addition to providing better matchups for players on a more consistent basis.
We currently plan to implement these changes on Wednesday, October 16th, which is right at the beginning of the next ranked play season.
Handling "Alt" Accounts in Matchmaking
We are aware of an issue where certain players have been taking advantage of the fact that there are not a lot of people playing at all levels at all times and were able to repeatedly and consistently match up against certain other accounts. This allowed them to choose which account would win or lose in order to artificially inflate the ratings of their accounts and therefore the rewards earned. In some cases this was intentional and in other cases not, but either way it was all within the rules of the system.
Ultimately, the best solution to matchmaking is to get more players, which is what we are actively working on as our primary focus at the moment (more on that soon). Until then, we plan to implement the following changes to help address the issue under the current conditions.
Going forward, the Splinterlands team will be actively working to identify any accounts which are repeatedly and consistently matching up against certain other accounts (whether intentionally or not) and/or purposely losing or surrendering matches with the goal of artificially inflating their ratings and rewards. We will be looking for multiple accounts run by a single player as well as "rings" of separate players working together.
Whenever we identify such activity, we will act as an oracle and publish the list of account names to the blockchain so that the matchmaking system can use it and avoid matching these accounts together in the future.
We want to be clear that there is no issue with people playing multiple accounts, just as long as they are played fairly and are earning their ratings and rewards by defeating real opponents rather than by taking advantage of a current weakness in the system. Additionally we want to be clear that the only thing that will happen to accounts that are identified as belonging to the same person or group is that they will no longer be matched together. This includes ranked battles as well as in the first/qualifier rounds of tournaments (when it can be avoided).
We also encourage (though certainly not required) anyone using multiple accounts to volunteer to have those account names be recorded so that the matchmaking system will know not to match them together.
We understand that this adds an element of centralization to the game, which goes against our overall mission, however our hope and expectation is that this will only be temporary. We will monitor the situation on an ongoing basis and as soon as we feel that there are enough players playing in all leagues at all times of day then we will discontinue this system.
Removing Guild-Based Restrictions
One good thing to come out of this, other than reducing matchmaking irregularities, is that after these changes are put into effect we can remove the temporary restriction that had been put into place preventing members of the same guild from matching up against each other. So, in the near future you can all go back to beating up on your guildmates! Trash talking in guild chat is highly encouraged.
The final update to the matchmaking system in the game for now deals with allowing matchups between players in different leagues.
Currently players are only matched with opponents in their same league (i.e. Bronze, Silver, Gold, Diamond/Champion). This causes a situation where when players first move up into a new league they end up facing much higher rated players, often with higher level cards, making it overly difficult to move up. This has been referred to as "Diamond Hell" by some of our players as it is most noticeable when moving from the Gold to the Diamond league.
Going forward, players will be matched up with the available opponent closest to themselves in rating, even if they are in different leagues, but no more than one league tier apart. In this case both players will be subject to the level caps of the highest rated player. So that means that if a Gold I player is matched with a Diamond III player, both players will be able to use max level cards in the match.
Stay tuned for more updates from the Splinterlands!
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