The Reason Why Previous Individual Rating Suggestions Haven't Been So Hot:
Over the years we've seen many suggestions based around the idea of individual rating, but none of them have really panned out well for how the game of conquest is designed. The biggest reason why previous suggestions haven't panned out well is because the suggestions that were made would have encouraged the idea to play for your individual rating and not necessarily for winning the match. This would obviously defeat the purpose of the conquest match to begin with and the glicko algorithm rating system that is behind it. As much as we've wanted these ideas to work, our suggestions haven't been very practical for implementation set on top of the algorithm and its rated seasons.
But now hold on there. All of our suggestions have been based around the idea of sculpting an individual rating system around the algorithm and rated seasons. None of our suggestions were based around the idea of seeing past it, or possibly devising an entirely different system that is set next to it that doesn't effect it at all. I'll explain what I mean shortly here, but first it is more important to explain why the current design of ranked encourages ridiculous levels of completely unnecessary toxicity, and why it is failing in 2020.
The Reasons Why Ranked 5v5 Seasons Are Overly Toxic, Failing, And Driving Off Player Base:
All of this has continued to result in lower and lower population at an exponential rate, each passing season, which is why the mode is failing. These problems have mainly been enabled due to the decision to implement and then maintain solo/duo only format. Keyword there is "mainly" this is not the only reason, but it is the seed reason, where the great decline in population began. This is when people started to slowly realize how bad the system was being gamed by players, when they were forced to play with PUGs and began to witness obvious throwing in their games. This isn't to say that Arenanet could have even avoided the decision to go solo/duo only, even if they wanted to. And this discussion isn't about solo/duo vs. 5 man que in ranked, so let's avoid that discussion entirely.
The thing about all of this, is that players who aren't so social, who don't get into discords, who don't talk to many people, they have no idea what's going on. They queue games and blindly believe the games are clean. And even the people who believe the games are clean, they are still able to "feel" that something is wrong with the matches. Even though they cannot explain what is happening, you often hear these people making comments in-game or posting in the forum with statements indicating that they believe the match maker and class balance is completely responsible for the strangely frequent turnouts in ranked games that look like 500 to 50. But those of us who are deep into the game and its community, know that the problems with match making aren't really problems with the algorithm or "match making" at all, but rather "match outcomes" which goes a great deal deeper than algorithm functions or class balance. As much is obvious when a player queues Unranked or ATs for 20 games in a row and doesn't see a single DC or AFK, but they see a DC or AFK in just about 1 out of 3 or 4 Ranked games they queue. As much is obvious when a player queues Unranked or ATs for 20 games in a row and every time the queue box pops people accept and the match starts, but when a Ranked queue box pops there is often a decline and it goes back into queue again, and then the box pops and there is another decline and it goes back into queue again, box pops 3rd time and finally all accept and the match starts. <- That's people declining when they aren't getting into the same match as their synch queues. And as much is clearly obvious, when an AT team of plat 1 players happens to beat an AT team of top 20 players, although the top 20 players somehow play 300 to 400 rating higher than they do, each and every single season without ever dropping out of those margins.
And this brings me to the final effect & reason of why the population is shrinking so quickly. Simply put, there is no reward for legitimate competitive players in this system, there is only loss. What I mean is that, the reward in pvp for competitive players was never gold or gems or precursors/legendaries. The reward for competitive players in any game including Guild Wars 2, is was and will continue to be seeing the progress of their own personal skill value and skill status amongst the community. In the long term, competitive pvp players will continue to play a game like Guild Wars 2 for as long as the servers remain live, so long as they are able to maintain the relevance of their peak skill within community status. This is because it feels good to do something you are familiar with, that you know you're good at, and other people can see that you're good at. However in Guild Wars 2, due to all of the reasons I've mentioned about why the ranked system is failing, you have this effect now with low population where old P3/P2 players are dropping down into P2/P1, old P2/P1 players are dropping down into bottom P1 and touching Gold, and old bottom P1 players are dropping down into G2 and getting uncomfortably close to the Silver division. This is where players are feeling nothing but loss. There is no psychological reward for seeing yourself go from an old P2 player down to a bottom P1 player who struggles to fight out of Gold each season, and there certainly isn't a psychological reward in being an old P1 player who now plays kitten near down into G1. This effect removes everything that would normally feel rewarding to a player who has been a regular competitor and stuck with a game title for nearly 10 years. It is actually incredibly abnormal in any game, for the oldest veterans in that game to be suddenly dropping through the floor with their ratings or wins, if they didn't chose to stand on the right side of the fence. In all of the games I've played over the years, the opposite happens, where the veterans who stick around play higher not lower. Arenanet should take 2 steps back to seriously consider why their game is different. Special shout out to: Solo/Duo Only - F2P Accounts - ALT Accounts - Unchecked Match Manipulation - Leaderboard Blockades - And Shrinking Divisional Rating Margins Due To Low Population Which Makes It All Worse. Point being is, all of this makes players leave when they only feel psychological loss. The tragic thing is that none of this needed to happen in Guild Wars 2 ranked and it certainly didn't need to go this far. But again, that's not really what we're talking about here.
What we're talking about here is that we need something new, a change, for the longevity of our enjoyment playing Guild Wars 2 pvp. It is my firm belief that for a company to maintain healthy player base in a game while approaching the 10 year bench mark, the game needs to provide that hardcore player base with the feeling that they are "progressing" or at least "maintaining" their skill values & standings within competitive modes. That feeling of progression or maintaining could even be an illusion entirely, but it needs to be provided or legitimate players will lose interest and leave when they are being forced out of competitive margins, especially if they know it is happening due to shenanigans which cannot be avoided. What we're talking about here is a need for an individual rating system that actually works. So regardless of seasonal rating and badge icon, a player can always judge himself, judge others, and be judged by others, through the individual player rating. By doing this, we can give the game back the quintessential feeling of progression or ability to maintain the real reward, which is psychological clout. And then people would feel good while playing again rather than just feeling loss.
A Call To Arenanet And All API Designers - We Need An Individual Rating System - Let's Talk About It
Please read this particular part of the thread:
I think that where the community has gone wrong with previous suggestions for individual rating systems, including my own suggestions, is that we've all imagined the idea that an individual rating system would replace the current seasonal rating system, which would intrinsically come with many complications to implement and many potential problems as to if it would even be practical to implement at all. So I've been looking at this differently lately, and I believe a strong & simple remedy for many of the problems that Guild Wars 2 Ranked is facing, lies within an individual rating system that is actually completely separate from the normal seasonal rating system. The separate individual rating system could still be completely based around a player's performance during the ranked season, so it would be synonymous with the ranked season but be displayed on a completely separate leaderboard. If Arenanet would not be interested to implement something like this within the game's actual UI, I believe the answer to be within an API design if API was able to access pvp stat data. Without getting too crazy on suggestions just yet, let me give the easiest possible example of how something like this could work:
The beautiful thing with this, is that regardless of if a person is win trading or throwing or playing legitimately & fairly, and regardless of what normal seasonal rating they actually play at, none of that matters at all. An individual rating system like this, is designed for players to be able to see who is playing hard and who is sort eking by in their matches, regardless of actual rating, which many players now, including old vets, would tell you really doesn't matter in 2020 with how botched the queues are, for all of the reasons I've already mentioned. It could create a massive iconic shift in how players view their progress & maintenance of clout within the community, which is the real psychological reward that competitive players are seeking. Something like this could keep many players satisfied for many years to come. This is what this game mode is really missing. It isn't class balance or new maps. It's missing "the feel good" alongside of a reason to run bottomless queues and have fun again, without worrying about camping that peak rating and avoiding shady queues. With a system like this, it wouldn't matter if you were losing a match 500 to 50. If you were the strongest player on your team, you'd still be achieving a strong rating value for that match played. With a system like this, players don't get fudged out of ranking positions they deserve, because multiple players can share the same exact individual rating. A system like this is all about how hard you are playing in the match. A system like this discourages all forms of cheating and match manipulation because a player could have a 100% lose rate in every match he played during a season, but still be the strongest individual player because he played that hard during every match that he lost. A system like this even discourages rage AFKing because there is always incentive to get the top stats. It would help discourage toxic communication because players will care less if they know they're individually playing well. It discourages every single thing that makes the ranked game mode toxic. A system like this is exactly what Guild Wars 2 needs to keep the pvp game mode alive, if not actually grow in popularity again. Late blooming game modes have happened plenty of times to plenty of games in the past, when monumental changes are made. And Guild Wars 2 is a game that people WANT TO PLAY and I don't think Arenanet takes that seriously enough. It is still highly highly regarded as the best MMORPG engine, even in pvp. All people needed to see was a fix to the platform. And I truly believe the platform that needed fixing was the psychology of how this game was making them feel.
Why hasn't something simple like this happened yet? I don't know, maybe it isn't possible. But if it is, this is a shout out to API Designers who are interested, and god willing Arenanet if they were so inclined to implement something new into the actual UI. If anyone knows the names & contacts of any API designers who like to work with Guild Wars 2, please drop them a link to this thread. If we were ever to get an individual rating system, this is more than likely the way that that we'd have to do it.
~ Thanks to anyone who took the time to actually read this thread. I'd say this is the most serious suggestion I've ever made, and the one I've cared about the most.
~ Give any feedback you want, even if it's nasty. Just brainstorm.
~ If API wouldn't work for accessing pvp data, if anyone knows their stuff about API, could you drop the facts into this thread please?
Druid - What's Wrong With It - Competitive Buff Suggestions
API Designed Individual Rating System - Suggestions - Why Ranked Mode Needs Healing
Contact me via discord @ TSBoyer#3149