The WarLight 1.0 release will bring us the WarLight 1 v 1 Ladder. A 2 v 2 ladder will probably come in a subsequent release, and potentially a 3 v 3, FFA or other types of ladders coming after that based on demand.
Ladders are competitive arenas where players compete for the highest spot on the ladder. In the 1 v 1 ladder, players who participate in the ladder are matched against each other in heads-up duels to the death.
The ladders will use an ELO rating system, similar to what is used in professional Chess tournaments, to rank players by their skill level. “Ladder” may not be a perfect name, since often ladder indicates a system where you swap positions with your opponent. But for lack of a better term, we’ll run with this for now.
If you’re not familiar with ELO, I’ll give a basic introduction. Each player starts with a rating of 1500, which then goes up or down as they lose or win games. Each win exchanges some amount of rating points from the loser to the winner. This means ELO is a zero-sum rating system, meaning new points aren’t created or destroyed when a game is played. Beating a stronger opponent gives you more rating points than beating a weaker opponent. Simply ordering players by their rating will determine their rank, starting with #1 for the player with the highest rating, #2 for the second highest, and so on.
The WarLight website will clearly show everyone’s rating and rank, and make it easy to view each ladder game as it finishes for those who like following along. There will also be a new forum for discussing ladder games.
My favorite feature of the ladders is how your rating changes based on how your previous opponents ratings change. For example, if you beat someone who ends up becoming the #1 player, you get the full benefits of beating the #1 player, even if they weren’t #1 when you beat them. This also means your rating changes even when you’re not playing, since someone else’s game finishing can have a ripple effect.
In the WarLight ladder, you don’t get to choose who you play against. Instead, the ladder sets up games for you. You can, however, pick the maximum number of games you’d like to be playing at any given time.
When WarLight creates games, it will attempt to “walk you up the ladder” by creating games with players who are 15% higher than you on the ladder. However, it’s possible to get matched with someone higher or lower than that if the ideal positioned player is not available for a new game.
The exact algorithm that WarLight uses for creating games will be documented on the ladder help page.
Leaving the Ladder
Players are free to leave the ladder and re-join it at any time with no penalty. Leaving the ladder does not delete any on-going games, it just stops new games from being created for you.
Your rating continues to be updated even when you’re not participating in the ladder. However, you will not receive a rank while not in the ladder and, therefore, won’t be included on the leaderboard. This is done to ensure high-ranking players have to actively defend their high ranks, and can’t just get into the #1 spot and squat on it.
If you re-join the ladder, your existing rating will be used to rank you just as it was before you left. This makes it easy to take breaks in case you’re going to be away from WarLight for a while.
More to come…
Stay tuned for part two of this blog post, which will discuss how booting works in ladders, how the ladder will control ratings inflation, and the benefits of first pick.