The Many Benefits of Ranked Playlists in Modern Video Games
The Esports Revue, Episode 5 with hosts, Ben Sizemore & Patrick Ryan. Our guest, Luke Bieber, master of all games and grad student at Xavier for Clinical Psychology.
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Why Play Ranked
Competing at a high level in a video game you have spent hundreds of hours playing can be an extremely rewarding experience. Individualized ranked play in these games adds an additional layer of competition. It helps spectators better understand the importance of each match. But, most importantly, it creates an aspirational community, one always striving to improve.
To be clear, ranked play does not just mean an underlying system that tracks a players progress. A true ranked experience requires some type of public ranking system (leader board) that is maintained and improved by a committee or the game developer.
History of Player Ranking
It would seem as if one of the first systems of ranking players was Elo. From Wikipedia: “The Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in competitor-versus-competitor games, such as chess.”
Growth of Ranked Play
Many developers such as Blizzard and Riot Games have done a great job at maintaining their leaderboards. Riot has even so far as to add new tiers to their system.
Unfortunately, this idea has not been improved much beyond the short term seasonal goals set forward by developers. Ideally, ranked play will eventually lead to new levels of competition for competitors at all levels of play. (Some type of chaperon system to incentive veteran gamers to help neophytes in a game like League of Legends is in my mind the next most realistic step.)
How Does Ranked Work?
Most ranked systems place players into different categories typically broken down into a smaller subset of players within each category. The MMR system in League of Legends goes from Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master and Challenger. Most professional League of Legends players are in the challenger division.
Modern Videos Games with Ranked Playlists
- League of Legends
- Counter Strike: Global Offensive
- Call of Duty
- DOTA 2
- Rocket League
If you can think of any other examples of ranked playlists, please let us know in the comments!
Examples of Ranked
Many games make use of the ranked playlists. Below are some of the more famous examples.
League of Legends
Counter Strike: Global Offensive
Understanding the Science Behind Ranked
If you would like to better understand ranked play there are some great resources below. Highly suggest checking out, “Rethinking Carrots: A New Method For Measuring What Players Find Most Rewarding and Motivating About Your Game” discusses The Player Experience of Need Satisfaction model (PENS). Here is an excerpt:
“PENS outlines three basic psychological needs, those of competence, autonomy, and relatedness, that we have demonstrated lie at the heart of the player’s fun, enjoyment, and valuing of games. By collecting players’ reports of how these needs are being satisfied, the PENS model can strongly and significantly predict positive experiential and commercial outcomes, in many cases much more strongly than more traditional measures of fun and enjoyment. And despite the simplicity of the model conceptually, it shows promise as a “unified theory” of the player experience by demonstrating predictive value regardless of genre, platform, or even the individual preferences of players.”
Ranked Play in Video Games Resources
- Comprehensive Starcraft League and Ladder Guide
- Creating a Better Context for Competitive Play and Mastery: Critiquing Starcraft and League
- Rising from the Ranks: Rating for Multiplayer Games
- Rethinking Carrots: A New Method For Measuring What Players Find Most Rewarding and Motivating About Your Game
- TrueSkill™ Ranking System
- The 2016 ranked season is now live!
- [Video] Competitive Ranks Explained! (CS:GO)
- [Video] 15 Tips To Getting Higher ELO – Preparing For Season 6 (LoL)
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