Season I, starting December 9th – join today!

I’m pleased to announce the first season of the new Seasonal Ladder! (see the previous blog post if you missed the announcement.)

This season will begin on December 9th and run for 60 days, ending on February 7th. If you’re a member planning on joining, it’s a good idea to join it right now to ensure you’ll be in the ladder when it starts. You can join it right now via this link.

Seasons are named using roman numerals, so this season is officially titled Season I. In February we’ll start Season II, then Season III, etc.

For Season I, we’ll use the settings defined by this template. This template is based off of the Strategic 1v1 template, with the following modifications:

  • Light Fog instead of Normal Fog
  • In-distribution neutrals are 0 instead of 4
  • Cyclic move order instead of random move order

The in-distribution neutrals controls how many neutral armies start on each territory that neither player picked. This is usually 4, which makes it more expensive to take bonuses that you didn’t start in. By changing it to 0, it means that bonuses you didn’t start in will be almost as easy to take as ones you did, which makes expansion far easier. Attacking a 0 with even just one army is a 100% success rate, so they can also provide opportunities for easy cards.

The change to Light Fog means that players can see who controls every territory on the map, while still only being able to see army counts for adjacent territories. This change means counter-picks are less effective, as you can always tell if your opponent is on the other side of that neutral.

As an added benefit of using Light Fog, this also allows you to watch other player’s in-progress games. You can’t see army numbers, but at least you can get an idea of who might be winning. There may be times where it’s fun to check up on your biggest opponent’s progress.

I’m interested in hearing your ideas for settings for future seasons! Please post them to the ladder forum.

Announcing WarLight 1.09

On Sunday, November 27th at 1am PDT (8am GMT), WarLight will be upgraded to 1.09.0. While the upgrade is taking place, the website will be down for a short time. If all goes well, the downtime should last for less than 15 minutes.

This blog post contains a summary of what’s changing.

Seasonal Ladder

As announced in the previous blog post, WarLight is getting a new ladder! Once it is ready to join, another blog post will kick off the first season.

Ticking Clock

In real-time games, the clock now makes a ticking sound when it’s under 30 seconds. This helps players who play with sounds enabled tell when they’re getting close to being booted.

Forum Search

The forum now has a rudimentary search feature, which makes it easier to find forum posts. All forum pages will have a search box on the top.

The search is powered by PostgreSQL full-text search functionality. It’s not incredibly powerful, but it should be good enough for the forums.

Graph Improvements

The graphs section under the statistics window is getting some improvements. Previously, you could graph “armies received per turn,” which showed the player’s income for each turn as the game progressed. This graph is inconsistent when it came to cards, as some cards would be reflected in the totals (such as sanction cards) and other cards were not (such as reinforcement cards).

This graph metric is being split into two separate graphs: Base armies received each turn, and armies actually deployed each turn.

Base armies received each turn is the same to the old graph, except that cards are no longer counted in the total. This means it reflects the number of armies that the player would have been getting if cards did not exist.

The new graph, armies actually deployed each turn, shows the number of armies that the player added to the map every turn. Therefore, this takes into account all cards, such as sanctions and reinforcements. What makes this graph extra useful is that it works while fog games are still in progress. It will simply show how many armies that you saw that player deploy for each turn.

This may not match their total income while fog games are in progress, as they could have deployed armies elsewhere on the map that you could not see. However, this makes it easier to see how many armies you’ve seen your opponent deploy without having to navigate through history turn-by-turn and adding up all of the deployment orders you saw.

Map Design API

Map designers who are also developers can now write programs to enter details about their map, which can be easier in some cases than using WarLight’s built-in map designer. This can be used to enter territory names, connections, center points, bonuses, and distribution modes. See Map Details API on the wiki for the details.

2v2 ladder change

As previously announced, the initial armies that each player starts with in the Strategic 2v2 template is being changed from 5 to 4.

Misc Changes

– The automatic refresh now refreshes more often when you’re actively chatting in a game, which makes real-time conversations easier.
– Added a button in the map designer that shows URL you can use to share your map with other players.
– Fixed a bug with the map designer that caused uploading a SVG that had problems to create an empty map that had to be deleted.
– Fixed a caching bug that caused map thumbnails to be very slow at updating when a map was changed.
– Fixed a bug that caused the Favorite Games screen to not show archived games.
– Fixed a bug that was causing total times played with another player to show lower numbers than normal on your invite list.
– Fixed a bug that caused a boot notification that appears in the orders list to come up a turn late when players are set to turn into AIs when booted.
– Forum threads that do not get posted to for more than 6 months are now automatically deleted. Some special threads are immune from deletion, such as The Impaller vs The World ones.
– Improved the analyze window in cases where the offensive kill rate is set to very low percentages. It’s still wrong in some cases, but they’ll be far more rare.

Announcing the Seasonal Ladder

I’m pleased to announce that WarLight is getting a new ladder! The new ladder, called the Seasonal Ladder, works a bit differently than the existing 1v1 and 2v2 ladders. While the current ladders are never-ending grinds for the top spot, the seasonal ladder hosts 60-day seasons, where each season will use different game settings. This will give us an opportunity to explore WarLight’s great wealth of maps and customization options on a global scale.

Each season is ranked independently of each other. At the end of the season, the rankings are fixed and will be preserved for all time, and will appear on winning player’s profiles.

Since they’re ranked independently, it’s easy to sit out a season if you don’t like that season’s settings or just need a break. One could view the seasonal ladder like a sprint, whereas the 1v1 and 2v2 ladders are more like marathons.


Each player that plays in a season will get 15 games*, and will never play the same opponent more than once in a season. Having all players have the same number of games adds even more fairness to the final rankings that the existing ladders don’t enjoy.

On the first day of the season, all players get 4 games. Every 4 days after that, one more game is added until all players have 15. If a player joins the season late or leaves it early, they are not guaranteed to get 15 games. However, the ladder will try to catch them up to the rest of the crowd, and in most cases will be able to.


The rankings are determined using the same ELO scale that the existing ladders use, with one small modification. Players who play fewer than 15 games (due to leaving the ladder early or joining late) get a penalty of 40 rating points per game. It’s best to join the season before it starts and stay in it for the whole 60 days to ensure you do not receive a penalty. The penalty exists to ensure players can’t game the system by intentionally joining the season late and riding to a high-rank by getting a few lucky games.


In order to ensure a winner can be declared and the rankings can be finalized, all games in a season must be finished by the ending date, which is exactly 60 days after it began. If a game isn’t done when the season ends, it will be immediately ended by WarLight. The winner will be determined by adding up how many armies each player controls on the map, then adding in each player’s income times two.

All players are expected to give every effort to finish their games before the end of the season. Players who intentionally drag a game out to a force-finish will bring great shame to their families for three generations. (okay, not really.)


The settings for the first season have already been determined and will be announced in a future blog post (coming very soon). I’m very interested in everyone’s opinions for maps/settings for future seasons! Please submit your ideas to the ladder forum.

Initially the seasonal ladder will only support games with two humans (AIs are possible, though I can’t think of a scenario where it makes sense to use them.) In a future release, I plan to upgrade the ladder to support more than two players per game, which will allow for FFA seasons and random-team seasons.

The first season will start in early December. Like the other ladders, only WarLight members may join. You will be able to join the ladder once the next release is live (v1.09), which should hopefully be live within a week or so.

* Some players may get 16 games, since there are cases where it’s not mathematically possible to give everyone exactly 15 without duplicates. Getting 16 is neither an advantage or disadvantage.

Upcoming 2v2 ladder setting change

As voted on in the previous blog post, the 2v2 ladder will have a small setting change. The initial number of armies that each player-owned territory starts with will change from 5 to 4.

This change will make it more difficult for players to capture a bonus on the first turn. A similar change was recently made to the 1v1 ladder, so this brings the settings more in sync with each other.

This won’t take effect on until the next WarLight release goes live (v1.09). This will only affect games created after it goes live — existing games will not be touched.

The voting was very close! I e-mailed all members of the 2v2 ladder that hadn’t voted, so the turnout was very good — almost everyone in the 2v2 ladder voted. 28% voted to keep it at 5 armies, 32% voted to change it to 4, and 30% voted that they did not care.

Ultimately I’m confident that the change will make the games more engaging. However, the change does require a shift in strategy, so be sure not to let it take you by surprise!

Members: Please take the ladder survey

Please click here to take the ladder survey. Because this survey has to do with WarLight ladders, and ladders are member-only features, this survey is open only to WarLight members.

This survey will help determine if there’s enough interest to create new WarLight ladders. Many options are presented, such as FFA ladders, a 3v3 Europe ladder, and seasonal ladders.

This survey also proposes a change to the 2v2 ladder. The 2v2 ladder currently starts players with 5 armies on each territory. If the measure passes, players would start with 4. If you’re in the 2v2 ladder, make sure you vote!