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Author Topic: Experimental Ranking System  (Read 17986 times)
Mt-Wampus
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« Reply #30 on: October 17, 2010, 00:15 »

IMO there should be no "ranking system" at all for MULE, only a high score list.. just like most other games from the 80s.  I think it creates too much animosity.


Couldnt agree more!
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rodz
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« Reply #31 on: October 17, 2010, 07:39 »

the reason for my comments on changes if new system is adopted are

if we are to make the ranking system skill related then skill not luck has to be foremost and this is not always the case with plots sales on 1st round and losing plots early.
i really can't see the new system making a lot of difference but will cede to the majority

maybe the easy way is to divide players total score by the number of games played and this will give a average score and rank on this. every player will continue to try even when in last to keep their average up.( just another thought) and it did hurt as much as last time.

in the meantime i will just enjoy playing mule
thanks again
« Last Edit: October 17, 2010, 07:49 by rodz » Logged
mikman
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« Reply #32 on: October 18, 2010, 02:50 »

I definitely like the idea of a high score list. Keeping it simple is always the best way in my books :-) That being said,  I also really like all the stats that the current and new ranking system have.  I like to look at the numbers and compare different stuff and come to my own conclusions about who is really ranked the highest ;-)
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dynadan
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« Reply #33 on: October 25, 2010, 22:32 »

While I respect where the "High Score List" requests are coming from....It makes no damn sense.  High scores are already listed....and of the scores listed almost all the high scores are collusion games in 1 form or another.

Stats are fun.  The more stats and ability to study them (graphs, charts, etc.) the more fun people have with them.  Change is also fun.  That is the reason the old system is so unsatisfying to people.  The people at the top can not be challenged for months or possibly years at this point.  I think a system where positions are changing all the time is the most exciting for people to keep track of and to compete in. 

I think the true skill system works pretty good, although i do understand people who say only 1st place should be awarded.  The problem i see with that is it is too easy for people to "screw around" or purposely mess up the game if they think they are not going to win.  A full position based ranking system will help people stay motivated and competing even though 1st place may be out of reach.

I don't think Rodz suggestions were to change the game to help the ranking system, but merely to improve the game.  The plot take away/give event would make the game much better if it was addressed.  Although, we are all bound by the same rules of chance and in the long run skill will be the predominate factor.  I actually think the 1st round auctions make the game more interesting and closer to the original and while i was against it at first, I have since changed my mind.

I don't think the stats should be reset to zero.  First, I think its neat that every game ever played can be looked up and studied.  We have all that information still why not use it.  Second, a TrueSkill ranking system takes a lot of games to start giving accurate numbers, we already have a pretty good base why not use it?  As part of the stats not getting reset it is imperitive that we alter the system to provide a more dynamic system with recent games mattering more than older games and/or letting the ranking diminish with time....this serves two purposes.... It doesn't punish people for the learning curve that everyone must go through when they start playing, but no longer affects their current quality as a player.  And secondly it keeps people from "camping" at the top of the leaderboard resting on their previous accomplishments (whether gained fairly or not).  The more movement a leaderboard has the more people will be enjoying it.

Doktor Buzzo also had an interesting idea on everybody's ranking for the 1st turn, but i think that is a very different issue and should be continued in another thread.
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C64 nostalgia
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« Reply #34 on: October 26, 2010, 20:41 »

My ideal ranking system...

A player's ranking can go up or down based that players own performance

Number of games played has no direct relation to rank

First place wins are much more important than other places

Colony scores have an influence on ranking but only weakly (applies to all players in a game)

The skill of your opponents affects the importance of your win or loss

Make games that start with AI's worthless


The previous record of play is not congruent. The wins and losses are a result of many different versions of Planet MULE. Some versions of Planet MULE radically changed play from a previous version. A classic example are the versions where smithore and crystite never spoiled. These never-spoiling ore games are what account for a majority of "high scores." A new ranking system needs to start fresh (and potentially "reset" every major gameplay change). As far as older games not being counted as much as newer games: if a solid ranking system is picked and "reset" periodically, this aspect should not matter much to current rankings. The old games would really only matter to statistics such as win/loss and related... the yummy stats. (Notice the quotes around reset. Reset is a flexible term.)

I still maintain Planet MULE should become more like the original M.U.L.E. -- as much so, as possible. So to change Planet MULE purely to accommodate a ranking system is an anathema. (Luck is random boys. By definition, it affects everyone equally over time. Random is good because it creates variation, especially in those snobby high-skill games. M.U.L.E. has never tried to be consistent outside of the boundaries created by its rules and the "luck" inherent to its design.)

HOWEVER, in the spirit of the beginner's species. A handicapping system would be an awesome (rocket-ship-awesome) addition. This system ought to be more important than a ranking system. Our player pool is small. Highly skilled players regularly play low or unskilled players. You either wait (sometimes for hours), or you play as soon as you have 4 players who at least know the basics (again, sometimes for hours)... Handicapping could help equalize players -- making play more enjoyable for everyone. Equalizing players would have a cool side effect, as well. Other plays could open up beside the standard ore then crystite flow. A compensated lower skilled player could try novel strategies and in doing so affect the dynamic of the game. And, this is good because the standard ore then crystite flow is becoming boring. This method is about as refined as it can be... reliable, straightforward, and somewhat tiresome wins.

The ranking system should follow a handicapping system. If we have a good handicapping system, something like a modified TrueSkill could actually work to create a leaderboard here.

"We term a match “uninteresting” if the chances of winning for the participating players are very unbalanced – very few people enjoy playing a match they cannot win or cannot lose. Conversely, matches which have a relatively even chance of any participant winning are deemed “interesting” matches." [1]

This is the paradigm of TrueSkill. But, the way Planet MULE is now, where players regularly play opponents way above or below their skill level, will not fit into a system designed to track players playing in games with evenly matched opponents. Planet MULE using TrueSkill will lead to wild (and infuriating) changes in rank. It will also scare highly ranked players away from playing much lower ranked players. As I have said before, we do not have enough players to use this idea. Handicapping is the only way to make "interesting" matches within Planet MULE's players.

I actually really wanted to support TrueSkill (or anything really) because it would be relatively simple to push it through to replace a very flawed ranking system. Unfortunately, TrueSkill and Planet MULE as it is now would be a bad match.


[1] http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/trueskill/details.aspx



[edit: Added "Make games that start with AI's worthless" Big mistake forgetting this one. I can't believe I left this one out.

As no replies have been made, I ending up rewriting parts of this post.]
« Last Edit: October 27, 2010, 01:19 by C64 nostalgia » Logged
dynadan
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« Reply #35 on: October 27, 2010, 22:04 »

@c64 nostalgia

Your ideal ranking system seems to be almost exactly what the TrusSkill system does except for taking into account the colony score.(which i think is a good idea, I just don't want to be the one to figure out the exact formula)  AI games aren't completely worthless but they certainly are valued much less than 4 human games.

I still don't understand why you think the TrueSkill system discourages better players from playing worse players.  A top player doesn't lose to a bottom player very often, and when it happens I don't see the problem with losing more rating points.

One last thing, the handicapping idea is an interesting thought, but it really seems like it should have been suggested by someone who hasn't been bashing others for trying to change the game to accommodate a ranking system.  I can't imagine a bigger change than a handicapping system to the original Mule.

I realize that TrueSkill was designed to help with match-making, but that does not mean it doesn't work equally well as a ranking system... again i think the only change it needs is for a players rating to gradually drop if they do not play.  (this hurts me as much as anyone, since due to the arrival of my baby I no longer have the time to play like i used to)
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C64 nostalgia
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« Reply #36 on: October 28, 2010, 09:56 »

Has anyone actually read Microsoft's TrueSkill webpages and any of their links for more information? Collective Choice: Competitive Ranking Systems is a good overview that's pointed out.


@c64 nostalgia

Your ideal ranking system seems to be almost exactly what the TrusSkill system does except for taking into account the colony score.(which i think is a good idea, I just don't want to be the one to figure out the exact formula)...

My ideal ranking system... with an *addition meets TrueSkill


A player's ranking can go up or down based that players own performance Yes

Number of games played has no direct relation to rank Yes

First place wins are much more important than other places NO

*Margin of a win affects importance of win NO (Technically it could be yes depending on implementation, but for what I want NO.)

Colony scores have an influence on ranking but only weakly (applies to all players in a game) NO

The skill of your opponents affects the importance of your win or loss Yes

Make games that start with AI's worthless Not applicable


TrueSkill isn't even close to my ideal ranking system.


I still don't understand why you think the TrueSkill system discourages better players from playing worse players.  A top player doesn't lose to a bottom player very often...

Why do you think players are complaining about luck-based elements of M.U.L.E.? Luck makes any player a wildcard.

One last thing, the handicapping idea is an interesting thought, but it really seems like it should have been suggested by someone who hasn't been bashing others for trying to change the game to accommodate a ranking system.  I can't imagine a bigger change than a handicapping system to the original Mule.

Cool, someone called me on this. I wanted to explain this. Again, I still deeply believe Planet MULE should be as similar as possible to the original M.U.L.E.'s. But there are certain things that had to change... such as lag related issues and the creation of internet play. (A quick aside: if Planet MULE makes changes from the original, the change should be systematic and not isolated. So if you raise one price, all prices should rise to preserve the original balance in gameplay.) Original M.U.L.E. had a beginner species designed specifically to handicap players. Planet MULE's omission of any equivalent goes against the original design. The irony is Planet MULE has a vast record of player information. The C-64 version played in less than 64 kilobytes and knew nothing of a particular player at the eve of a game. Handicapping is specifically an area where the amazing improvement in computers could be a highly beneficial and appropriate change.

I realize that TrueSkill was designed to help with match-making, but that does not mean it doesn't work equally well as a ranking system...

If this is true, please tell me why? This request goes to anyone, not just dynadan. Feel free to explain it slowly and carefully. Maybe, I misunderstood something or completely overlooked an important bit... I am sincerely interested in learning about ranking systems in general.





And finally to leave you with something I found funny. A question and answer from the TrueSkill FAQ:

"Q: I am among the top 100 players in the world in my game mode. Why do I usually wait longer in the matchmaking lobby than my friend JoeDoe who is an average skill player?

A: This has an easy explanation: There are simply not enough players of your calibre available at any time! Remember that Xbox Live is a worldwide service, so there are perhaps only 1000 players that would be a perfect match for you. Living in 24 different time zones. The only alternative is to match you with players who are much less skilled and sacrifice match quality for waiting time. And this would ruin both their and your experience on Xbox Live. You see: being a top player has its price!"

I wonder what the questioner would think of wait times on Planet MULE.



[edit: expanded "If this is true, please tell me why? Maybe, I don't understand or missed something..."]
« Last Edit: October 28, 2010, 19:06 by C64 nostalgia » Logged
dynadan
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« Reply #37 on: October 29, 2010, 23:43 »

Ok C64 Nostalgia, I think we are actually very close on our opinions here, so hopefully we can get on the same page.  Please excuse the lack of quotes in my post.

Yes I have read the majority of the info on the TrueSkill system.  (although i must admit a lot of the math simply makes my eyes unfocus)  I have been involved in several other projects similar to planet mule as far as trying to come up with fair leaderboard systems, and everyone (including me) always assume that implementing a fair system is easier than it actually is.  The TrueSkill system may not be the absolute best system possible, but as far as I know it is the best system that actually exists in the real world.  Please feel free to check out the other systems listed on the xbox website, there were none that suits planet mule better.  Systems like ELO are not really appropriate because they deal with games that are 100% skill like chess.

I am fairly sure that the TrueSkill system does award 1st place finishes much more than other positions.  Although it is possible to still gain rating points for finishing 2nd depending on the skill of your opponents....it is also possible to lose rating points for 2nd, again depending on the skill of your opponents.

I agree that in a perfect system margin of win should also have a small affect on your rating.  I also agree that giving total Colony score a weak affect on rating would be nice as well.  However, I haven't the slightest clue(I doubt you do either)  how the developers would add this into the current TrueSkill formula.

Still seems to me that the TrueSkill system is very close to what you actually want.  If you can figure out how to implement those 2 great suggestions into the formula please post the math and maybe the developers can try it out.


I disagree with your assertion that people complain about the "luck" elements of Mule.  The luck elements are what makes Mule such a great game.  Without the luck elements there would be very little replayability to the game.  i.e. are the pirates going to come this turn, where is the crystite, what price will crystite be the last turn, is a mountain going to move in a quake.  Mule behaves like many combo luck/skill games (Poker, Risk, etc)  On any given game there is a chance that anyone can win, but in the long run the more skillful player will always end up winning more.  The plot take away/give event to me is a very different issue, and we should debate that in another thread.


The TrueSkill rating system was designed to solve the problem of fairly matching up players, but in doing so it also created a fair way to rank players on a leaderboard.   Basically the idea was to create a rating system so that the 1000's of players playing games on the xbox or playstation wouldn't just join a random sampling of players, but instead would be able to join people close to their skill level.  In effect creating an enviroment where the new players weren't destroyed by the veterans until they quit, and to keep things interesting to the veterans by testing their skills against other veterans.  Most of the games it was made to use in had a very high skill to luck ratio.  Halo or Call of Duty are much more skill based games than games like Mule, Civilization Revolution, or Poker.  But even with high luck factors given enough games the better players will be listed at the top of the TS rating system.  I don't really know what else I can add...Think of it like a chess rating system, the highest rated player is considered the best player.

As far as the question and answer from the TS FAQ:  This IS a problem with the TS system in regards to matchmaking.  I have been near the top of several xbox leaderboards that use the TS system and as many of you know I also tend to play at a lower volume time of day, so I have experienced this issue and can tell you it is really flawed.  However I don't know how this creates any sort of issue for us since we are only interested in using TrueSkill for leaderboard rankings.


In regards to your handicapping idea:  I am neither for or against the idea in principle.  I think this is definately an idea that could at least be debated for Mule2.  But I think trying to do this to the original version would be opening up a new can of worms.  I would enjoy seeing some specifics on what you had in mind.


Ok now here goes what I would specifically do to improve the TrueSkill system as a ranking system for Planet Mule:
I really liked C64Nostalgia's 2 suggestions to add very small weight to margin of victory, and the colony score.  I don't know how you would fit this into the rating formula however.  Maybe some of you math geniuses can figure it out?
My number one request (and one that i think can be easily put into the formula) would be for every week of inactivity drop the players rating by 2 points.  2 points is not a lot but over time if a player stops playing it will drop him off of being relevant on the leaderboard.  These points should be dealt with separately than the TrueSkill rating points, and if a player returns from a long absence they should be able to earn them back at twice the rate they were taken away.  (example:  if a player does not play a game for 10 weeks he will have lost 20 points, if he then plays a game he will get 4 of the points back.  The next week if he plays 5 more games he will still gain only 4 more points back.  If he plays at least 1 game a week for 5 weeks straight he will have regained the entire 20 points he lost due to inactivity.)  This will help to give the current batch of players the ability to climb the leaderboard, and prevent people that only played in the 1st month or two that planetmule was created and haven't played since from being eternally in the top 20.
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C64 nostalgia
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« Reply #38 on: October 30, 2010, 06:58 »

Hmm... where to start...

On further thought:

My ideal ranking system... 10/29/2010 version
A player's ranking can go up or down based on individual performance

The skill of your opponents affects the importance of your win or loss

Number of games played has no direct relation to rank

First place wins are much more important than other places

Margin of a win weakly affects importance of win

Last place finish has a very weak penalty

Colony scores have a weak influence on the rank calculation (for all players)

Make games that start with AI's worthless

Yes I have read the majority of the info on the TrueSkill system.  (although i must admit a lot of the math simply makes my eyes unfocus)  I have been involved in several other projects similar to planet mule as far as trying to come up with fair leaderboard systems, and everyone (including me) always assume that implementing a fair system is easier than it actually is.  The TrueSkill system may not be the absolute best system possible, but as far as I know it is the best system that actually exists in the real world.  Please feel free to check out the other systems listed on the xbox website, there were none that suits planet mule better.  Systems like ELO are not really appropriate because they deal with games that are 100% skill like chess.

I am fairly sure that the TrueSkill system does award 1st place finishes much more than other positions.  Although it is possible to still gain rating points for finishing 2nd depending on the skill of your opponents....it is also possible to lose rating points for 2nd, again depending on the skill of your opponents.

I agree that in a perfect system margin of win should also have a small affect on your rating.  I also agree that giving total Colony score a weak affect on rating would be nice as well.  However, I haven't the slightest clue(I doubt you do either)  how the developers would add this into the current TrueSkill formula.

Still seems to me that the TrueSkill system is very close to what you actually want. ...

Did you read Collective Choice: Competitive Ranking Systems? The TrueSkill FAQ points it out after it lists other ranking systems.

From the above article: "The various lessons learned at Days of Wonder underline two basic ideas about rankings. First, even with a well-studied system like ELO, there's still a lot to understand, and, second, any ranking system needs to reflect the specifics of what it's ranking -- and what its purpose is."

Days of Wonder modified ELO to suit their game. So for us, we have to decide what in a MULE game we want recognized and what our ranking are for... My ideal ranking system lays out what I want recognized. And, the purpose for our ranking system: We want our rankings to show who is better.

So, let's take TrueSkill... TrueSkill's purpose is to find similar players to make "interesting" matches. TrueSkill's specifics are almost only who wins or loses (with many winners and losers in a multiplayer game). It has no weighting for first, second, third, or fourth place. In a four player game (assuming everyone has a equal skill points and uncertainty), first will gain the most skill points, last will lose the same amount, and second and third not so many in between. TrueSkill is very simple in terms of its inputs from a game. It's designed to be general purpose.

I want Planet MULE's ranking system to take more data and do more with that data than TrueSkill does with its games. I don't know if it's possible to modify TrueSkill to do what I want. I guess you could modify the skill points after the calculations. But to do that right, it seems, you would have to make a piggy-backed system that adds extra points for first place, takes away a much smaller amount for last place, adds bonus points for a big win, and adds or takes points for a particular colony score. Although, it seems if you play with skill values that much, something has to break. Quick aside: ELO, glicko, and TrueSkill are all popular skill-based ranking systems.

This is a call to all mathematicians, statisticians, and the like. Can TrueSkill be modified, does a better system exist to start with, or can you make Planet MULE something nifty that does everything on my wish list?

I disagree with your assertion that people complain about the "luck" elements of Mule.  The luck elements are what makes Mule such a great game.  Without the luck elements there would be very little replayability to the game.  i.e. are the pirates going to come this turn, where is the crystite, what price will crystite be the last turn, is a mountain going to move in a quake.  Mule behaves like many combo luck/skill games (Poker, Risk, etc)  On any given game there is a chance that anyone can win, but in the long run the more skillful player will always end up winning more. ...

I very much agree with you here...

In regards to your handicapping idea:  I am neither for or against the idea in principle.  I think this is definately an idea that could at least be debated for Mule2.  But I think trying to do this to the original version would be opening up a new can of worms.  I would enjoy seeing some specifics on what you had in mind.

Basically, simple ideas like giving lower ranked players more money and/or goods to start; more time for turns (greater total time and each unit of food gives them more time)... very much in the spirit of the classic beginner's species.


To all: Please don't feel like you can't join the discussion because the recent posts have been replies between dynadan and me. I would love to hear interesting ideas and thoughts.



edit: many changes -- most recently I added, "Quick aside: ELO, glicko, and TrueSkill are all popular skill-based ranking systems."
« Last Edit: October 30, 2010, 23:23 by C64 nostalgia » Logged
C64 nostalgia
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« Reply #39 on: October 30, 2010, 23:51 »

I've made many changes to my above post... it's worth rereading if you already had.
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dynadan
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« Reply #40 on: November 01, 2010, 06:58 »

I am not an expert on rating systems, but as far as I know ELO is specifically used in 2 player games.  I did read that article you listed before i posted my last post but since I was unfamiliar with the game it was citing I didn't take very much away from it.

Again I am on board with most of the things on your wish list, but I have no idea how to stick them in the formula in a fair way.  The one thing that I have a problem with on your list is the number of games has no direct relation to rank.  This will make any system very easy to manipulate.  Even with the TrueSkill system (where it takes 50-100 games to build rating) it is obvious we have problems that should be addressed.  Thus leading me to my next point.

There is obviously something wrong with the TrueSkill system.  But i think putting our heads together we should be able to solve it.  Here is the problem....look at the top 20 players in ranking.

1 288 kipley 229 220 137 62 % 11 46693 158401 7305561
2 279 piete 155 147 91 62 % 34 81240 195258 5090293
3 271 dynadan 364 356 183 51 % 57 67558 196567 10309267
4 265 Rhodan 583 577 271 47 % 64 50143 167668 16867586
5 258 DandyDan 185 182 78 43 % 21 55363 167668 5371988
6 257 BaronHelix 100 93 49 53 % 39 68447 188880 3035048
7 256 maskdbandt 51 48 31 65 % 13 66541 181512 1629263
8 256 Mute 227 226 99 44 % 23 41720 156171 6177059
9 253 mountainwampus 84 79 43 54 % 10 48858 150664 2471496
10 253 fever66666 124 120 59 49 % 14 43963 164268 3645848
11 249 Wahnsinn 313 308 121 39 % 30 44123 196567 8656907
12 249 Mikusch 302 297 114 38 % 29 48455 156780 8538752
13 249 rodz 687 674 303 45 % 67 45043 196567 18557308
14 248 WhosYourBuddy? 268 267 122 46 % 39 73187 198412 7665367
15 245 Gunnar 87 82 48 59 % 27 108612 217391 3015259
16 245 cyounghusband 66 63 37 59 % 14 73988 189719 2048018
17 244 Bumbes 394 389 153 39 % 45 51203 161334 11002284
18 242 Govt Mule 92 88 44 50 % 5 41610 157261 2660026
19 241 dude2005 101 89 54 61 % 15 64364 214110 3272062
20 240 UnMortal

half of the players on there i don't think should be there, or are no longer active/relevant.
i.e.  Baronhelix, MaskdBandt, mountainwumpus, fever66666, Gunnar, cyounghusband, Govt Mule, and dude2005.
The problem is they are all inactive players.  They also do not have very many games (between 50-100).  All of their games were played when being the host had very HUGE advantages that I am sure were abused.  Almost all of the players on my list hosted well over 50% of their games.  They also got all of the rating points playing early on before the field had really been established.
Take Maskdbandt as an example....he is ranked number 7 all time, he played 51 games total (48 legally) of those he hosted 31 of them.  His last played game was january 28th.

So there's the problem i have with the current ranking system, and hopefully we can think of a solution.  I just don't see how you can have a system that has baronhelix and maskdbandt in the 6 and 7 spot and have Brad1867 not even in the top 20.

I know C64Nostalgia has come up with some good suggestions he wanted added into the ranking system, and while i think they would be good additions, I realize how much work it could turn into for the programmers and they would also not solve the problems i just described with the top 20 (and the entire list, I just happened to study the top 20).

So here is my solution again, now that I have described why we need it in a better way.  This should be fairly simple to add onto the trueskill formula.  In fact it shouldn't be used with the formula at all, but should only be done after the fact to show a more accurate list.  If players decide to come back from an absence they can regain their points fairly fast.

SUGGESTED ADDITION

For every week of inactivity drop the players rating by 2 points.  2 points is not a lot but over time if a player stops playing it will drop him off of being relevant on the leaderboard.  These points should be dealt with separately than the TrueSkill rating points, and if a player returns from a long absence they should be able to earn them back at twice the rate they were taken away.  (example:  if a player does not play a game for 10 weeks he will have lost 20 points, if he then plays a game he will get 4 of the points back.  The next week if he plays 5 more games he will still gain only 4 more points back.  If he plays at least 1 game a week for 5 weeks straight he will have regained the entire 20 points he lost due to inactivity.)  This will help to give the current batch of players the ability to climb the leaderboard, and prevent people that only played in the 1st month or two that planetmule was created and haven't played since from being eternally in the top 20.

I would be happy to hear other people's ideas on the subject.  I am not married to my idea, it was just the best and most fair addition I could come up with.  Resetting stats to zero is also a possible solution, except we will just have the same problem again in 6 months.  And it really would be a shame to get rid of all those recorded games.


edited: Dropped the "E" bomb.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2010, 09:44 by dynadan » Logged
C64 nostalgia
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« Reply #41 on: November 01, 2010, 08:24 »


A new addition to my ideal ranking system:
Slight penalty for hosting (dyandan gave me this idea)


TrueSkill is a matchmaking (ranking) system designed for Xbox Live. Microsoft wanted it to apply to as many games as it could. According to Wikipedia, "150 Xbox games use TrueSkill" -- games with hundreds of thousands and millions of players. The general-purpose nature of TrueSkill makes it, by definition, not suited to M.U.L.E. TrueSkill isn't necessarily unsuited, but it definitely doesn't reflect most of specifics that makes for a good win and thus a good M.U.L.E. player.

From TrueSkill's home page, "the TrueSkill ranking system can identify the skills of individual gamers from a very small number of games." Microsoft states for a 4 player game: as little as 5 games are needed to identify a skill level. The maximum is still only 15. So, when I stated "Number of games played has no direct relation to rank," I wasn't including the uncertainty part of a ranking system. The uncertainty part is indirect. The main reason I brought up "number of wins" is it is one of the chief problems of the current ranking system.

The very simple fix to the stale-player-in-the-top-20 problem is reseting the ranks every major version/gameplay change or every specified amount of time. Then, allow us to see all the old ones, and compile other great-player-type boards from them. Regardless, a ranking data reset for whatever replacement is almost mandatory anyway -- so much of the old data is effectively corrupted with bugs and gameplay changes from old versions.

I maintain we need our ranking system to use more information from our games. If this can be added to TrueSkill, all the better. Although, I still think TrueSkill has inherent problems when used on Planet MULE. I plead for better solutions... Please math gods, Help Us.
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dynadan
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« Reply #42 on: November 01, 2010, 11:27 »

I considered punishing hosts, but it would just lead to fewer hosts and fewer games.  The developers have done a fantastic job removing the host advantages.  There are no longer any actual play advantages for the host.  So I don't think i can endorse a system that punishes hosts.

Maybe you guys are right about resetting the stats.  I just thought there could be a more elegant solution to phase out the older games.  It's not that they were unfair or meaningless games, everyone was playing under the same rules.  But since a lot of smurfs have appeared lately maybe people are ready to start over anyway.

I am not sure colony score is a good indicator of how good a mule player you are.  The best players I know are the ones that can choose the side of things that will give them the biggest advantage.  Often times the best players are fighting to keep the price of ore down rather than up.  In fact 4 bad players are much more likely to have a high scoring colony than a game with 4 very good players.

Margin of victory is still probably a good stat, although it may be easiest to manipulate by cheating.  In games with huge margin of victory you can almost guarantee there was some (sock)monkey-business going on.  Maybe cap the amount you get credit winning for at 5k?  This would certainly change the way i play the game if this stat was used.  I tend to try not to handicap a player if i think i am going to win anyway. 

I just had a thought....Maybe instead of a ranking system you could come up with a format for a tournament using the stats that you wanted.  It would help solidify in your mind what is important and start helping to work out the bugs.  Maybe a tournament is a good idea anyway whether or not you use a new system at all.  Sounds like fun.....maybe a double elimination bracket?
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piete
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« Reply #43 on: November 01, 2010, 12:03 »

Sorry, only a quick comment, too busy at work...

First versions high scores were obtained with non-spoiling smithore, therefore at least they should be reset after every version change.

Victories obtained then are still victories, and you can never tell when the playing field is totally established. I got the first position by playing total of 50 games, and by that time I had played the most games of all! And it really felt like I had played a lot. So in my opinion, only decrease their weigh, you don't need to remove them. Or then reset the victory scores after every new version, too. Not a big deal anyway for me.

When we talk about colony high scores, at least in the original game it is very difficult to drive the score a lot more higher by a co-op play than by a good competitive game. And if you get it, it would only be a prove that socialism works better than capitalism (at least in the Mule universe Wink ). Cannot tell if this version is equally balanced since I never played a co-op game here. Anyway, in this sense, colony score is a good indicator of at least something.
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Mt-Wampus
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« Reply #44 on: November 01, 2010, 14:11 »

I have a easy solution for the rankings system. DONT HAVE ONE!
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