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Why Elo Systems in MOBAs are Bad for the Game

Why Elo Systems in MOBAs are Bad for the Game

The Elo System

When you join a new game and click on the gear icon, you're presented with four options: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Each of these represents a rank that you can potentially climb from, and it isn't uncommon to find players in the lower brackets with only one Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Bronze and Silver will often get players access to about 1/3 of the content, while the higher tiers bring a bit more, but not enough to warrant spending large amounts of money on game-specific currency. Some games like League of Legends allow players to buy gold directly through the game itself, but most use a numerical system to determine who can get ahead. In most MOBAs, the 'Bronze' tier represents the lowest possible ranking, while 'Gold' and 'Platinum' represent the highest.


Why Elo Systems are bad

After all, mobile MOBAs and their ilk already suffer from severe issue with server lag, terrible matchmaking, and lackluster graphics, not to mention myopic balance and competitive play. Don’t think that a mobile game that uses a competitive ranked system is going to improve these things? The most popular MOBAs on PC suffer from some of these problems. Which makes the decision to use an Elo-based system rather than one based on an individual’s skill, at least in theory, even more perplexing. We have nothing against eSports or top-tier players, but there’s simply no way to gain a competitive edge in mobile MOBAs without using some kind of skill-based rating system. Let’s take Arena of Valor as an example.


Why Elo Systems are bad for the Game

If I had to boil it down to a single attribute, the problem with elo systems is this: players hate them. Players do not have the patience to play a game for a long period of time, regardless of how much fun they think it is, before playing a match. Making a game very difficult to play means that you need to get a lot of people into the game very quickly. If they all play at the same time, then the system should be working. But when they don’t all play at the same time, then players want to beat the snot out of their computer-controlled opponents, which means there needs to be a lot of matches for the system to work correctly. The problem with this is that the balance of the game requires a good level of skill to play.



That said, I believe that competitive MOBAs as a whole are going to continue thriving as long as they are appealing to a wide variety of players. Unlike most other genres, there is something for everyone in competitive MOBAs. But that doesn’t mean that players should have to accept competition from a single game that has already conquered the PC MOBA landscape. Wild Rift is going to become a hot-button topic around the community of MOBAs, and I encourage everyone to have their say. What do you think about the new League of Legends MOBA?

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