StarCraft® II

Ladder Flaws When Race Switching

Posts: 21
The ladder is essential for a competitive multiplayer game like StarCraft II but some of its promise is unrealized. Problems arise when an experienced player wants to switch races or simply experiment.

A Platinum Terran player, LiquidMule, wants to expand his horizons by experimenting with Zerg. His skill with Zerg is merely Silver level but Blizzard continues to pair him with high ranking players. Since LiquidMule has a lot of experience, it takes dozens of crushing losses for his ladder opposition to adjust to his level. Getting an accurate ladder ranking with the new race takes both a lot of figurative tears and wasted time. Until then, his opponents cruise to victory and get inflated ratings. Similarly, if LiquidMule suddenly decides to play Terran again, his Silver opponents will be a eaten alive by someone that's supposedly an even match. Both of these cases hurt the integrity of the rating system and lead to frustration for both sides.

In fact, some players ease the pain by just auto-surrendering until they get into Bronze or Silver to try a new race. After all, playing a bunch of Diamond and Platinum players while barely knowing how to spawn larva on time isn't going to teach you much about the game. It would be akin to a tennis novice playing with Roger Federer. The game would consist of Federer hitting decisive shots nearly every time. The novice would be lucky to even touch the ball outside of his own serve. Clearly this isn't how one learns to play tennis and it's also not how one should learn a new race. That some would resort to auto-surrendering countless games just highlights the problem.

Besides the practical problems, for those who love StarCraft II and eagerly follows its developments, the thought of having a hard earned ranking marred by race switching is enough to dissuade many from trying. With Blizzard's encouragement, eSports have blossomed and the competitive scene relies on Blizzard's ranking system. Even the forums show this by dismissing the opinions of weaker players, rightly or wrongly. Players invest a great deal of effort at getting better and probably even invest emotionally too because of the prestige associated with some levels. Thus, the most natural solution is to buy the game game again or fail to explore its other races in full. StarCraft II is first and foremost, a multiplayer game and one shouldn't have to buy it three times to get everything out of it. While it may line Blizzard's coffers, it's logically indefensible and clearly not a realistic solution.

However, there are many simple and elegant solutions. Ladder rankings by race selection would neatly solve the issue. Having the option to reset one's ladder four times would also be easy enough. It's not rocket science and I'd be shocked if Blizzard didn't anticipate everything from the start. Of course, without an uproar from customers, why should Blizzard pass on the chance that its most dedicated fans will buy the game more than once? I hope Blizzard will prove my cynicism wrong by fixing this situation. After trying and failing to get a ladder reset from support, I'm not particularly optimistic

TL;DR: The Ladder doesn't adjust for experience with individual races and it's annoying as hell.
Edited by LiquidStool on 2/25/2012 7:47 PM PST
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Posts: 1,726
Just play coop or custom games with real players, or even ffa. If he really cared to get good, you could also ask around for a coach or practice partner....problem solved.

Just play in a mode that is not going to affect you skill level and practice at the same time. Like you said, it's not rocket science.
Edited by MetalRaider on 2/25/2012 8:31 PM PST
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Posts: 21
The problem isn't solved at all; it's not even addressed. The fact that many dedicated players felt forced to buy another copy to race switch proves it.

You just offered cumbersome and unsatisfactory workarounds. FFA, coop etc. are NOT the same as 1 vs 1. Moreover, custom games are also NOT the same as laddering because there is no matchmaking system. Most people I've seen in custom maps are Gold or better and it often takes a while to get a game anyway.
Edited by LiquidStool on 2/26/2012 12:46 AM PST
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Posts: 1,726
Are you in a clan? If you are, and I'm assuming so based off of you and mule both have the same tag beginning, then play with clan members. You can also play in 1v1 tournaments.

Buying another copy just for the sake of learning a new race is a little radical if you ask me. What I'm trying to say, and maybe I didn't say very well, is that there are several several ways to practice a race and get good at while preserving the 1v1 environment you want. And honestly, you can't win everything. Buying another copy would just be the lazy !@#$ way to go if you think learning and "training" to be "cumbersome and unsatisfactory". There's a ton of replays all over the net and people who are willing to help if you ask them.

If you don't learn from your mistakes buy another copy.
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Posts: 21
I'm not claiming it's impossible, but WHY should any of us have to go through those extra steps when it COULD have been RIGHT from the START by simply having race specific ladder classifications or a couple of reset options?

It's as if you don't want to improve the system or are blind to its obvious inadequacies. It's like kicking someone in the groins and then lecturing him on the many ways he could still attempt to walk. Perhaps he can use crutches! Sure, but why kick him in the groins to begin with? Aren't you to blame for his problems? I'm shocked that someone who paid for this game would wish to embrace its problems rather than fix them.

You're asking me to search for and join a clan (my name's a joke) just to then hopefully find an appropriate practice partner for my level. Even if there were a clan for Silver Zergs that would accept me knowing I only want to briefly use them for practice, I'd have no ladder ranking in the other race and no convenient matchmaking system at every hour. Tracking progress with all three races is currently impossible in Battlenet.

What if Blizzard were to list your "solution" in the FAQ under "race switching"? How useful do you think it would be for most players? It's pretty ridiculous that I'd have to jump through all these hoops when Blizzard could fix this with minimum effort.

BTW: Don't use the silly holier than though argument about not learning from mistakes. This is a red herring and has NOTHING to do with my claims or wishes. In fact, this could just as easily apply to a Master StarCraft player that is merely Gold/Plat with his new race. It's just a derogatory statement that dances around the fundamental problem discussed here.
Edited by LiquidStool on 2/26/2012 12:25 PM PST
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Posts: 1,726
The problem with the overhauls you want to have brought around would essentially mean scrapping the current ( or most of it anyway). I don't think the ideas you propose are bad, but for a game that is already developed and almost 66.6% of the way finished I wouldn't bet on this happening. These changes will make much more complex, which effectively will make the whole system run slower. Because it'll constantly have to keep reranking everyone and/or store specific race data into a memory bank or large file elsewhere (more realistically, probably just more servers). I think these changes would make it more fun, but you are asking for a new essentially. I program and I know that making even the smallest changes can make the whole thing get slower.

With your name I thought you were a member of team Liquid.
Edited by MetalRaider on 2/26/2012 12:46 PM PST
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Posts: 21
Actually, the few suggestions I came up with (and there are many more solutions) don't require such a major overhaul. It's a fairly trivial database modification in the context of the complexity Blizzard deals with on a daily basis. Allowing a couple resets wouldn't be much more difficult than allowing character name changes. Race specific rankings would admittedly take more work but it's work that could benefit future StarCraft games and work that has to be done to deliver us the entirety of the StarCraft II experience. Just because something essential isn't part of the current paradigm doesn't mean it should be ignored. Battlenet is a living system that can be updated and modified at any time. There is no excuse for the stagnation you appear satisfied with.

From your extrapolations, my guess is that you're not familiar with software development and especially not database design using PostgreSQL, MySQL, Firebird etc. Your worst case scenarios are not at all realistic. It wouldn't make Battlenet slower and the amount of extra data that needs to be stored is negligible. Your Terran profile picture is far more expensive in terms of data storage than all my proposed changes.

EDIT: Deleted doublepost.
Edited by LiquidStool on 2/26/2012 1:14 PM PST
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Posts: 1,726
If you're going to blow off what I'm saying, then stop addressing me. I've just about said everything that there is to do to get better and you blow it off as poppycock. I mean seriously, what do you think blizzard is going to say if you write to one of the developers or programmers that the system is flawed (regardless if true or not) and that this is what they should do? If it was a hiccup and they want to fix it then they will if not what does it matter to them, cause they already got your 60 dollars.

Furthermore, if you know so much about programming then write a proposal code to blizzard to fix your issue with
Edited by MetalRaider on 2/26/2012 1:19 PM PST
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Posts: 21
I'm addressing what you're saying, not writing you off. It's just that what you wrote has been unrealistic or inaccurate in a lot of cases. And now you're suggesting I write a code proposal for Blizzard out of my own free time and with no actual Battlenet code to go by? How insane is that? What kind of response are you looking for when you make absurd suggestions like this?

Anyway, this was also posted on TL:
Edited by LiquidStool on 2/26/2012 1:40 PM PST
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Posts: 187
@ liquidstool... I agree with you on this one.....however from the other perspective. I am soo tired of facing high level players in the low levels. If granting a ranking for each race would help separate those who want to learn an off race, from those who just smurf....than I am all for it. At least in 1v1...give 4 different if I face someone who is actually off least his skill with that race should be proportionate to my skill (or else he would be promoted).

@ metalraider.....I also agree that this would require changes to the bnet system. However there are currently many flaws/deficiencies in bnet, if Blizzard does not do some serious overhauls....large portions of the community/fan base are going to move on to something else.
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Posts: 1,726
@Deathray: I agree with you. I honestly think Blizzard would be on top of this more if they weren't heavily involved in several projects all at once (Diablo 3, HotS, WoW and WoW: MoP).

@LiquidStool: If all else fails to get their attention then just stop playing the game, the inactivity will get them to do something, just like the player drop for WoW is getting them to do something about it. (however the inactivity will only work if a large percentage of players follow in suit)
Edited by MetalRaider on 2/26/2012 1:57 PM PST
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Posts: 197
MetalRaider, you make good points, there are ways around this like you suggested, there is no reason why you can't go into customs or non-1v1 ladder.

However, it would be impossible to doubt that having 4 different mmr ratings/league rankings for each race would be a bad thing. There is no reason to argue against it. There are no downsides, except for maybe less pros buying multiple copies of the game.

As for making the game slower, there is nothing having 3/4 different mmr ratings could do to mess up the game. Blizzard accommodated the lag at the height of starcraft 2, and there are significantly fewer players now.

Also, 3/4 mmr ratings is simply extra on the player's end and will only require a few interface changes, much like when they changed the join custom game format. This would not require an overhaul of, they would simply have to add a few features. For example, when you click on a race in the league selection, your league for that race will show up and not your general 1v1 ladder league, and a few changes to the leagues and ladders page of one's profile.

So, in essence, my point is that there are no downsides to this.
Edited by TheBOSZ on 2/26/2012 6:08 PM PST
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Posts: 187
@ TheBOSZ....

However, it would be impossible to doubt that having 4 different mmr ratings/league rankings for each race would be a bad thing.

That is a confusing sentence, I am not sure if it is a double negative or what? Your post seems in favor of LiquidStool, however I have read that sentence 5 times and I can't exactly tell which way it is leaning...

Perhaps I just can't read....
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Posts: 21
I'm guessing he meant to write: "it would be impossible to doubt that having 4 different mmr ratings/league rankings for each race would be a good thing."
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Posts: 4
I agree with liquid stool. For example, I have been playing sc2 for a few months now and have made it to the silver league with Zerg. But I think it would be FUN to switch to Protoss for a little while and test my skill on the ladder but I am afraid to play silver league players because I am a newb with protoss. Blizzard would benefit from having a different ladder for each paid account's race because the REPLAY value of SC2 will raise. Thank you for the thread. Hopefully Blizzard will read this thread and make a small change to greatly increase their game's replay value. LOVE this game btw, and almost everything Blizzard has already done with it.
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Posts: 408
Wow there's alot of confusion going on here..

I'll just throw out my idea, (goes along with yours) to break some confusion.

--Everyone when you get on matchmaking can (potentially) be in 4 different leagues.
One for their Zerg, Protoss, Terran, And Random Races, If i select Zerg and m (5) Placement matches put me in silver, then Whenever I click that i want to play as ZERG I shall be playing in silver league.

--Now for the problems with this idea.

1. Ex. You are bad with Terran but GM protoss, Diamond level terran. You have the mechanics of GM but get to play in diamond offrace in an indefinite lower league.

2. Team Games. Random does not show a problem, but when playing with friends? whats your idea. I'm not doing 5 placement matches everytime ONE of us wants to switch their race for fun, and I, nor does anyone want to do 5 placements for EVERY combo of races within 2v2, 3v3, 4v4.

--With that said, i could find more Pros, and Cons, but either way I'm in favor all the way. Just need to rework your idea for team games. --And saying it would only pertain to 1v1-- is NOT an option.
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Posts: 2
@LiquidStool (epic name, by the way): This thread is not the first thread to bring this issue up. I would also personally *love* to see blizzard add different placement matches/MMRs for different races. It's a small adjustment with huge consequences. I, too, am a silver player of one race, but the wood league of other races. Since I don't want to buy another copy, what am I left with? Either suck it up and not play other races on ladder, or as someone else said, autosurrender! Neither a good idea.

Also, this idea shouldn't be confused with smurfing. A player is simply playing *another* race at his own skill level, not his own race at a different skill level. A master's level Terran might really be bronze/silver at zerg, or vise versa!

I'm not sure whether blizzard will listen anyway, but I hope they do fix this because it will just make SCII so much more OP!

And if any Blizzard guys happen to be reading this thread: I hope you'll do something about this. At least in HotS!
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Posts: 16
liked and requested sticky. And metal raider I highly doubt it would take much extra programming. Instead of 1 ladder placement slot, each person has 4. Pretty simple. I could do this with an if-then statement. Would undoubtedly increase server size though which is probably the main reason it wouldn't be implemented.
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