Understanding PVP ELO ranking system – Rift

Understanding PVP ELO ranking system

Understanding PVP ELO ranking systemFor those who have played Dota 2, you are already familiar with understanding PVP ELO ranking system. While the rating distributions are not equivalent, the same principles apply here. This guide to understanding PVP ELO ranking system, should help you to undertstand what is needed for you to get higher ratings within the game, and the importance of setting and achieving various aspects within the PVP Warfronts.

Understanding PVP ELO ranking system

In Rift, your starting rating is 1500. 0 wins, 0 losses, 1500 rating. Let's assume a scenario where both teams have the exact same average Elo rating. This should be the average points gained/lost for any given match. In Rift, because not all of the data is displayed, it is difficult to determine this value. For argument's sake, let's say this number is 6. For every match you win against opponents with equal rating, you gain 6 points. For every match you lose against opponents with equal rating, you lose 6 points.

If the matchmaking is unable to create a fair game, the impact will be very large for one of the teams. If the team with a higher rating wins, they will earn less points than normal. In exceptional cases I have seen this value to be as low as 1. Likewise, if the winning team happens to be the disadvantaged side, they will gain more points than normal.

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The losers of both scenarios have an equivalent distribution applied. If you lose, but you were disadvantaged, you will lose minimal points. If you lose, but you held the advantage, you will lose even more points than normal.

What do the above facts realistically mean? Well...you DEFINITELY need to win the matches where you are at an advantage. If you're stomping the other team, don't suddenly ignore objectives just to farm kills. If you throw a game like that, you will lose many points compared to normal, and in the long run it will cripple your rating.

Another subject to bring up  with this guide to Understanding PVP ELO ranking system, is that of extreme ratings. If you are losing more often than you win, even by a rate of 5%, you will eventually drop to a very low Elo rating. It doesn't matter how good you "think" you are doing; your winrate is all that matters. Obviously some other factors are at play, such as your winrate in "disadvantaged" games and your losses from "advantaged games," but in general your average winrate is very telling for your Elo rating. I've seen a ton of forum posts whining about their rating, and they will post a screenshot complaining about the system being broken. The problem is, in these screenshots they have horrendous statistics since patch 3.2, generally something along the lines of 10 wins and 20 losses. That is a 33% winrate.

To put this in perspective, if you played 1000 matches with an average net change of even just 3 points per match, and you win 1/3 of your matches, your Elo rating will have dropped from 1500 to about 500.

Likewise, if you had a 2/3 win rate over 1000 matches and a humble 3 rating gained per victory, your new rating would now be about 2500. What's important to see here is that you don't need an exorbitant win or loss rate to drastically impact your long-term Elo rating. If you literally won 51% of your games, you would eventually get to a very high Elo rating.


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For the vast majority of players, it is critical to understand that the system is not biased against you. If your rating is 200, you deserve that rating. You are not good. You should stop thinking you are good. Look at the games you are actually winning and compare them to the games you are losing. Still think you're doing well? Read up on the Kruger effect.

The matchmaking system in Rift, just like Dota 2, becomes very unreliable at extreme ratings (both low and high). There is a bell curve distribution of relative player skill. The problem with this is that the matchmaker literally cannot group you with teammates of your skill level. You will consistently be the best (or worst) player in each game. This problem is amplified in Rift as the player base is much smaller than Dota 2. Thus, it is almost impossible to get a balanced match (same average rating for each team) without creating HUGE gaps between the top and bottom players.

So lets get one thing perfectly straight for this guide to Understanding PVP ELO ranking system. Technically, yes, the matchmaking is quite imperfect. But there are some major misconceptions with this, the main one being... "My team sucks!" - Some games cannot be won. This is true. Sometimes you will have people AFK, trolling or otherwise being completely useless. But the chance of that happening to the opposing team is just as likely. If you're actually better than the others, you will win over 50% of your games. This fact may not make the losses more enjoyable, but in the long run you should understand "shitty teammates" have almost no impact on your rating because this factor is applied to both teams. If the enemy team is simply stacked against you and has a very high average rating, then you will lose minimal points anyway. This is critical to comprehend.

written by Ahovv

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