[Feedback/Suggestion] Why I won't be paying for leagues

Discussion in 'Feedback and Suggestions' started by Neofalcon, May 9, 2014.

  1. Neofalcon

    Neofalcon Goblin Champion

    When I first heard about leagues, I was really excited. I always felt that what CH was missing was a way for players of different gear levels to compete on equal footing. Even when I found out that was only going to be the case for half of the leagues, I continued to be excited, because...they sounded fun! And I had fun, during the free week of leagues.

    But now, after only a few days of paid leagues, I'm not having fun anymore, and I can't see myself continuing to play them if things don't change.

    The structure of the league system doesn't serve to make a more level, competitive playing field. Rather, it simply adds multiple levels of RNG on top of some game modes that are even more RNG-based than your average match.

    Things that have a huge influence on how well you do in a league:
    • Is your pod full of low/high ranked players?
    • Did you get matched up against high ranked players, while your opponents got matched up against low ranked players? (Or vice-versa?)
    • Did you get to go first on Triple Duel?
    • How did the other players in your pod do this time? Did they all go 4-0, leaving you in last with your 3-0? Or did they all go 2-0, leaving you in first with a 3-0?
    For all of these things, you have absolutely no control over the outcome, and it makes leagues feel more like a slot machine than a fair, competitive way to play, which was presumably the intention.

    When I win, it doesn't feel like it was because I beat everyone in my pod, it feels like I just got lucky, that this time I got matched up against low-rated opponents, whereas my opponents did not. Similarly, when I lose, it feels like I got screwed because I got matched up against all high-rated players, whereas my opponents got matched up against low-level ones.

    For instance, just now I had a league where I lost the first game, had three more matches against high level players, and manged to win them all. I checked the pod scoreboard, and saw there was only 1 person with the potential to go 4-0. He currently had 1 win. I spectated his current game, and he was up against someone with a rating ~1000. He won that game. His opponent the next game was also ~1000. He won that game too. Then, for his final round, he was matched up with someone ~1000. He won that game too. And oh, look, I lost the pod, even though I managed to eek out 3 victories against harder opponents.

    And this isn't even accounting for the tiebreaker system, which further rewards getting lucky and being matched against lower-ranked players.

    Suggestions on how to fix Leagues:

    Pods have to go
    Pods don't really serve any purpose, other than to occasionally screw you over or give you a win you haven't really earned. You're not directly competing against any of these people, and yet for some reason how THEY do determines your rewards? Why? How is that fair?

    Pods should be replaced with either flat rewards based on number of wins (ie, 4-0 is first. 3-1 is 2nd, etc), or an actual swiss-style tournament with 8/16 players in a pod DIRECTLY competing against one another, one at a time.

    If the reasoning for not having actual tournaments is players population, just add the option to enter for free/gold, with a different reward table for these players - I think the free league week showed that there would be more than enough people willing to play if they didn't have to spend money.

    Tiebreaker points are terrible
    They really don't measure anything that players have control over. Individual VPs in a match are heavily RNG-dependant, it's 'only over the course of a game that the RNG evens out and the higher-skilled player wins. Why punish players for getting unlucky? All that should matter is whether or not they won the game.

    League game modes need to be less RNG-heavy
    Some of these leagues are ridiculous. Artifact Anarchy had some RNG, but wasn't terrible, but the only 2 new leagues I've played are Triple Duel and Monkey Magic, and they're insanely RNG-dependant. On triple duel, whoever goes first has a HUGE advantage, as they can claim 2 squares and just sit there, with decks full of parries/dodges. On monkey magic, the huge variety in what types of cards are in each deck make it so that you can't even count on being able to ATTACK anything on any given turn. The whole idea of the league seems to be on stealing cards from your opponent's tree, but it can just wreck any monkeys that get near, and then there aren't even any attack cards to steal. Games seem to be decided by whoever's tree draws the best/most attack cards.

    There needs to be a serious effort to tone down the absurd amounts of variance in these fixed deck leagues, to make them feel less like an elaborate coin flip.
    Zo0m3R and neoncat like this.
  2. Squidy

    Squidy Hydra

    What about matching people according to their current win rate?

    -First match, I get to play against anyone who play also his first match. Should often be someone in your pod as pods take about ten minutes to fill. Note: an even number of players in the pod doesn't help for this.
    -I won my first game and get to play against someone who also won his first game during the first match.
    -I won again, and next match is against another 2-0 player.
    -Previous game was hard and I lost. My last game is against a 2-1 player.

    This would make the life of low rating players easier as losing all their matches against 1600+ players can be quite depressive, possibly leading them to not try the leagues again. And it will be more challenging for skilled players as they will be most likely get matched with though opponants for last games.

    Otherwise I am still convinced that all 4-0 players should tie for first place.
    WhiteSorcerer, Neofalcon and neoncat like this.
  3. Scarponi

    Scarponi Moderator

    I've said this elsewhere so I'll keep my thoughts on this brief. Pods are good for both players and for Card Hunter as a business. From a player stand point it gives a tangible level of competition that makes for greater player involvement (you yourself said it got you to watch three matches that you probably would have had no interest in otherwise). It also results in more top prizes given out as there is guaranteed a 1st place prize for every 5 players. Its good for the business because BM can predict exactly how much revenue there will be per a pod based on what the prizes are set at. This makes it very easy for them to set entry fees and prizes in a ratio that makes them money but keeps costs reasonable for players (again good for the player).

    I wouldn't use the adjective terrible, but I do agree that a system that does tie breaks based on opponents' win/loss or opponents' total victory points would be better.

    I think the nature of trying to remain creative with leagues (which I love!) will mean that some leagues are more RNG-heavy than others. Some people really like random-heavy games, some do not. While I think it might be helpful for leagues to get more test play first for feedback and tweaks, players can always run them as casual games to see if they like a given league before paying to play them in the actual league. I myself played all the leagues in the free week, but had they had fees I would have avoided some of them and played others just based on my preferences. There's nothing wrong with that.

    I really like this idea. It would have to be approximate win rate where over time the match up system expands it's search from exact win rate to the next closest, and then the next and so on, so that you don't sit there forever without a match up.
  4. Neofalcon

    Neofalcon Goblin Champion

    It's not a "tangible level of competition", which was really one of my points - I'm not directly competing against these people. They could just as easily be replaced with a random number generator that does 4 coin flips for each player to do determine how many wins they got, and the net effect would be the same.

    And while labeling spectating of podmates as "greater player involvement" is technically true, that doesn't change the fact that my inability to have any control over how they do is infuriating. It feels like justifying the decision to fill someone's house with lava by saying "at least you won't be cold any more!". I mean, yeah, sure, but is it really worth it?

    What will be best for BM as a business is if leagues are as fun as humanly possible, so that as many people as possible play them. Not only because BM makes money off of entrance fees, but because making the game more fun means more people playing it for longer periods of time (and thus spending more money).

    Arguing in favor of putting "the business model" above fair competition is exactly the line of thinking that leads to pay-to-win shenanigans in F2P games.

    And there's other systems that allow them to have set payouts - any sort of tournament-style thing would do the trick. Furthermore, BM doesn't even have to give out pizza as a reward for leagues - it could just as easily be more chests, or gold, or w/e, so that payout rates don't even matter that much, as BM makes a set amount of money per entry.

    Honestly, this might be a good idea in general, as with everything feeling so RNG-y, it makes people feel more screwed if they feel like they lost actual real money due to RNG, as opposed to just earning less rewards than they would have otherwise. Saying "I'm gonna spend some money and then get between X and Y chests" is very different psychologically than "I'm gonna pay an entrance fee and if I do well enough I could earn it back".

    Personally, I find the first one makes playing a lot more fun - if you have the first mindset, and lose due to RNG, it's no big deal because you never expected to "make a profit" - just get back some # of chests. If you have the second mindset, and lose due to RNG, your thoughts consist mostly of expletives.

    This is a really good idea, and (assuming this would be accompanied by a switch to payouts based on win record) it would have all the fairness of a swiss-style tournament with all the freeform-ness of the current system, but it'd have one huge drawback - it'd be very difficult to match players like this. What if you're 3-0, and nobody else is? And you're just sitting there...waiting? What if there isn't anyone else with your same win rate to match you against up until the league ends?

    The ways to alleviate these problems would probably be:
    • As suggested by many people, have the option to enter for free/gold with a different payout structure, to ensure leagues are always populated
    • If CH can't match you up against someone else with your win record, and the league ends, you get both a refund of your entry fee and the rewards for your current # of wins. In order to prevent abuse, you'd have to have entered by a specific time and been in the queue looking for a match for some amount of time as well, and if you don't meet those requirements you just get the refund but not the rewards.
    I feel this system would actually work wonderfully - certainly it would be a MASSIVE improvement over the current one.
    Last edited: May 9, 2014
  5. Scarponi

    Scarponi Moderator

    I'm not arguing for a business model over fair competition, it's just that it is a good business model was one of my points. I'm not sure how getting rid of pods results in fair competition. If it was based on 4-0 gets 1st prize, 3-1 2nd, etc., we'd have people complaining on the forums that they had 4 games against 1600+ opponents while some other guy was bragging about going 4-0 against all guys under 1000. There might be less awareness that some people are getting easy 1st places and others tough 2nd and 3rds, but I'm not an "ignorance is bliss guy." Personally I'm more appreciative of the fact that I had multiple leagues that got me 1st going 3-1 than I am disappointed that I lost a tie-breaker at 4-0. Furthermore, if I'm particularly playing for the first place prize (which many who have entered are going just for the figure), the last thing I want is to lose the first game and know that I'm out of any chance for the prize regardless what happens in the remaining 3.

    The fact is pods could actually be used to increase fair competition. I suggested elsewhere that if they filled multiple pods simultaneously based on rating (or league history win percentage, or whatever other factor you want to use) so that players got "podded" with players of a similar classification, then while games would still be random who you played against, at least everyone you're competing against pod-wise is starting at an approximate level playing field. Basically saying 5 players rated around the same level should be expected to do approximately evenly against the field as each other. Rather than getting a 400 vs 1700 in the same pod. Of course, like Squiddy's suggestion, this needs numbers to work.

    You may be on to something here - sometimes rewards do make people take things too seriously. But then really you're asking for them to change the structure of the game to control your approach to it. Doesn't that strike you as a little odd?
  6. Squidy

    Squidy Hydra

    I can see myself tanking my ranking with no remorse just to easily farm the leagues. A new league ranking would be more appropriate as noone wants to lose on purpose when they have paid pizza to enter.
  7. Neofalcon

    Neofalcon Goblin Champion

    I'm not saying that removing pods is the be-all end-all solution, that's going to fix everything that's wrong - it makes competition fair-ER by removing one source of unfairness/randomness - that a 3-1 can be first place or last place depending on how others in your pod did (which is something you have no influence over).

    Playing against people with a higher rating than you isn't inherently a problem though. I mean, that's a bit like saying "He only won because he's better than me!". I mean, yeah. So? Isn't that how it's supposed to work?

    The current problem isn't that you play people of different ratings, it's that your final standing depends not only on who YOU fought, but who others fought. In that sense your 3-1 could be very different from someone else's 4-0 if you fought easier opponents, but you still come in 2nd place behind that person.

    In a system where you receive rewards based on your win record, you're correct in that there'd still be the problem of your win record being dependent on whether or not you got lucky in the skill of the opponents you face. Still, this is fairer than the current system, and Squidy's suggestion of matching people based on win rate (aka, people who are 2-1 only play others who are 2-1) would completely fix the problem.

    Not at all. After all, that's what game design is - setting up rules and structures that cause the player to experience a game in a way that's fun.

    If BM added a button that gave 1 gold every time you clicked it, everyone would be clicking that button nonstop. But they'd also be complaining that pressing this button nonstop isn't fun, and that BM should remove it. The reality is that players often value efficiency over fun, and good game design pays very close attention to player incentives in order to have players play the game in a way that will be fun.
    Last edited: May 9, 2014
  8. Scarponi

    Scarponi Moderator

    This is like saying that it would be more fair that anyone who runs a sub 10 second 100 meter dash in the Olympics should get a gold medal because they had no influence over the guy next them that ran faster. Even if this means that one year 5 people get a gold and another year no one does.

    So you don't have a problem with losing to an opponent who did better than you because "That's how it's supposed to work." But you have a problem with not getting 1st in your pod because someone did better than you? Isn't that how that's supposed to work? I afraid I don't understand how you can see one as fair and the other not.

    Agreed. But some players (myself and others who have expressed it) find that pods add something to the fun of leagues, and other players (yourself and others who have expressed it) find that pods detract from the fun. And so on with many other features. So what do we do?

    I think one thing that we can do as players is try to enjoy and emphasize to ourselves the good and fun aspects and let go of what we perceive as negative. And maybe this is what you're trying to do in choosing not to play pay leagues, and if so I applaud you for it. I'm also not saying that you can't voice your opinions or suggestions as I think that's a good thing as well. But when you state that your enjoyment is based on your attitude that you bring to the game (which I think is the case to some extent with everybody), while I support asking for changes from BM, I also humbly suggest trying to come to the game with a more relaxed - I'm going to focus on what I like about this game - attitude. After all, the only change we can really control is in ourselves.
  9. Neofalcon

    Neofalcon Goblin Champion

    It's not like that at all - in this case you're directly competing. You have influence over how everyone else places because you're directly competing in that game - if you get 1st, nobody else can. It would be more like if everyone competing in the 100 meter dash was split up into 2 groups, and I ran it in 9 seconds and got 2nd place in my group, whereas in the other group the guy who got the gold did it in 12 seconds.

    Also, this analogy doesn't really work at all because you're not really competing against each other. Competing against less skilled players in a race doesn't make you run any faster, so times would still be comparable across races.

    I don't have a problem losing any given game to someone because they were better than me. I'm not gonna be like "oh man, it's so unfair that I'm losing all the time because my opponents are outplaying me. So unfair!" because that's not unfair at all. They're just winning cause they're better than me. But if I go 3-1 and someone else in my pod goes 4-0, that doesn't mean they're better than me. It could mean that they got matched up against easy opponents, and I got matched up against hard ones. There's no way of saying who is better because we never actually played against each other. He didn't do better than me, he did better than 4 other people who are not me. And yet my standing is based on the relative skill levels of 5 other people, that I have no control over whatsoever.

    I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. It seems to me that you're trying to tell me to just ignore the stuff I don't like, and focus on the good stuff? This is a forum dedicated to feedback, both good and bad. And...I'm giving feedback on something I perceive as bad, and offering solutions I'd see as fixing it.

    I'm aware that everyone is different, and likes different things, and has different opinions, and whatnot, but that's exactly why a feedback forum like this is so important - so that people with differing views (like you and I) can offer feedback to help the devs make decisions.

    Maybe BM will make changes to this stuff, and maybe they won't. I'm certainly not going to be all like "ZOMG BLUE MANCHU, PALADINS OP, NERF NOW OR I'LL UNSUBSCRIBE AND PLAY WARHAMMER ONLINE INSTEAD", I'm just putting my thoughts out there to add to the discussion about leagues, so other people can weigh in with their thoughts, with the end goal hopefully being a better game for everyone (even if the end conclusion is that I'm alone in these opinions, and I'm simply going to have to deal with being disappointed).
    Last edited: May 9, 2014
  10. Scarponi

    Scarponi Moderator

    This actually happens. Each year is a different group and the winning time in one year isn't necessarily the winning time in the next year. (But those are different years so that doesn't count...) Ok, it also happens within a given year. If only the top two advance in a heat and in your quarterfinal time you run the 3rd fastest time of anyone during the ENTIRE Olympics, but two others in your heat beat you out, you don't get a bronze medal, you get nothing. If you'd prefer something where you compete against opponents there's still plenty of examples. There are sports that do round robins where everyone plays everyone, and then they match up for the actual prize. In such a system it is entirely possible to go 9-1 in all the competition but to have the one loss be an elimination loss, where someone who lost 4 games in round robin wins the whole thing with a 6-4 record. There are lots of systems out there and many of them you can't directly affect your opponent and many of them the best record doesn't necessarily get the prize.

    I don't think this response entirely jives with your RNG comments in your original post, but let's not debate it because I went back to look where this part of the conversation came from and I'm not even sure how we got on this. My suggestion was not on matchups for battles, it was on groupings for pods which I thought was actually a suggestion that would help with what you seemed to have a problem with in regards to pods. But maybe not?

    What I was trying to say was in response to this:
    And it was that there's nothing to stop you from saying "I'm going to spend some money and have some fun playing in leagues because I like CH and want to try out league X and if I get a prize at the end of the night that's an awesome bonus!" Ultimately even though we disagree, I was just trying to encourage you to keep having fun with CH. I think its a great game and I want other people to enjoy it too!
  11. Ector

    Ector Hydra

    While I am far from keeping the OP's tone, I will avoid Triple Duel since:
    1. I went second all four times when I tried. This doesn't depend on my rating, on my standings or anything. It's just a pure luck.
    2. 10 minutes is not enough for this match. There are many hard decisions I should think about: will my char try to beat the closest enemy or move to help another char? The situation changes rapidly and frequently on every turn.
  12. Ector

    Ector Hydra

    Update: I am leaving the leagues forever. The reason is simple: they are dominated by the top players, and the medium players like me (I have 1300-1400 rating at best) are going to just waste the money and time.
    Just played the Golden Shrine, went 2-2 and gained the LAST PLACE. Faced only 1500+ players, some even 1600+, and defeated two of them! Won a game at the last second of my time! And what will I get for all my time, efforts and pizza? A "magnificent" chest?

    If you want my money, lower the price on epic chests to the reasonable level. The leagues were uber-popular when they were free, and two wins was sometimes enough for a 1st place (I've won 3 figurines BTW). But now the leagues are dying, and soon enough there would be just 15-20 players there.

    Edit: rageposting that kind of thing is not really excuseable, even with the smilie added to it. /P
    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2014
  13. neoncat

    neoncat Feline Outline

    Cut back on the language.
    Flaxative likes this.
  14. Jarmo

    Jarmo Snow Griffin

    C'mon, Ector. I get your strong feelings, but there's no reason to be uncouth about it.
    Flaxative likes this.
  15. Ector

    Ector Hydra

    Sometimes the only words that can really explain one's feelings are 4-letter words :) And that's right now!

    BTW, as a former MtG judge I can simply guarantee a large frequency of collusion between players. One player needs a 6-0 win, another may have finished all his games and just playing for fun and practice. Why shouldn't he help a friend to win some goodies?
  16. Jade303

    Jade303 Thaumaturge

    Leagues first week were a lot of fun for me. I thoroughly enjoyed playing Chess Madness, Geomancy, and Anarchy (I played 6-10 games each time I entered) and the prizes were a sweet bonus, an afterthought. Now it's a bit different.
    I tried the new leagues with my meagre amount of pizza and eventually lost it all. The thing is, it's not fun to play anymore.

    Sure you can say that for 50 pizza you are getting a great deal on chests! (which BTW, are going to be adjusted price-wise I hear) and you get a chance at winning a figure or part of your entry fee back, but it's too stressful to sign up for one league and try hard to win.
    I played the very first Monkey Magic and it was pretty great after I defeated my first two opponents, which was due in part to my opponent's moves and some absurd draws. Every league after that though (Astral is horrible) I had a 60% chance of being destroyed.

    I agree that the paid leagues are very competitive, full of flaws, and they can only appeal to a small portion of paying (top) players.
    Basically, if you have just scrounged together a little bit of pizza DONT waste it on leagues. It's a trap! Play for fun instead, buy a starter pack or something.

    .... More thoughts later.
    Ector and Kalin like this.
  17. Pengw1n

    Pengw1n Moderately Informed Staff Member

    Ector, being angry and dissapointed is understandable, using the words you chose to show it - not so much. I've removed your comment, keep your temper in check - you have valid input, keep it at that instead.
    Flaxative and neoncat like this.
  18. Ector

    Ector Hydra

    You've seen my words, and that's enough. I am not just "angry and disappointed", I feel myself fooled. The leagues should be sportsmanlike, but the current structure is very, very far from a sport. You could greatly improve the sportsmanship with several easy fixes:

    1). The pods should consist of players with roughly equal ELO ratings. That could be done by assigning pods only after all players register for the event.
    2). The tiebreakers should be calculated not by the difference in victory points (which is stupid, as players should aim at the final victory, not at the VP-denial), but by the ELO rating of the opponents played. The total accumulated rating gained (or lost) in the 4 games would be the best tiebreaker: a low-level player who managed to defeat a high-level player really deserves a prize!
    3). All games after the 4th should never involve the players who are still playing their league games (to avoid collusion, see my comment above). Practice games should be played only with the other players having all their games finished.
    4). Spectators shouldn't be allowed during the league games. Currently the top players can observe the games of the people competing with their friends and join the queue to make the unwanted competitors lose.

    I simply cannot understand how Blue Manchu failed to understand all this, and this is what I've tried to say in the words you've deleted :)
  19. Jacques

    Jacques Hydra

    The thing about leagues is that they are very expensive (at least I find them to be that way) for the little play time they offer. 50 pizza for a 4 game competition is too much. And that is the reason why they are stressful, because even if there is a way to get even with the pizza ending 2nd, or even to win some ending 1st, the fact that they are so expensive makes players want to at least end 2nd by all means. If the leagues were cheaper, you could just play for fun the leagues you like the most and if you don't end 2nd or 1st you won't have such a bitter feeling when it's over. Add that to the facts that half of the leagues have an extremely low time limit, that you don't have any control over your podmates' results and that the luck factor is decisive (specially in the pre-constructed leagues) to make this supposed to be fun experience an actually very stressful one.
    This will become worse in some weeks, when most of the players won't have anymore the earned pizza during the free week (as they will have spent it in some paid leagues and the club membership). Because of all this, I don't see too much people choosing to spend an additional amount of pizza per month in leagues if they want to keep the membership as well.
    Aside from that, I find the actual leagues less interesting than the ones in the previous rotation.
    Squidy likes this.
  20. Ector

    Ector Hydra

    Last night I've managed to collect my thoughts that I've initially failed to express properly. I wouldn't complain if I'd lose all the games: the loser gets nothing, as usual. I've won 2 games and was sure to get at least an epic chest for my pizza and efforts. The league prize structure is very generous, even a player placed 4th shouldn't complain for getting an epic chest for a good price, but not the last place loser who gets screwed. I was that loser yesterday! I've lost the league only by the "tiebreakers" (there were at least 3 players with 2 wins in my pod). Now I should quote Neofalcon:

    My situation is even worse, since I did actually play against one of my podmates and won! Both of us had 2 wins, but he had the better "tiebreaker", got 3rd place and an epic chest, while I got 2 "magnificent" chests that should be placed you-know-where :)
    Now please tell me, is there any sport with such stupid "tiebreakers"? In soccer, for instance, the difference in goals is the last tiebreaker, not the first and only one. Under the fair rulings, I should get an epic chest yesterday. That's why I feel myself fooled and robbed.

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