Dragonflight Season 1 Rated PvP Rating Discussion

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WoW Developer
#1 - Feb. 15, 2023, 1:51 a.m.
Blizzard Post

Clarification on Ratings and Titles for PvP Dragonflight Season 1

We’ve seen a lot of discussion about ratings in the 2v2, 3v3, Rated Battleground, and Solo Shuffle brackets over the past few weeks and we wanted to clarify a few points, especially about “rating inflation.” We have alluded to a “rating inflation” system in rated PvP before, but we’ve never explained what it is, how it works and why we like it.

Rating inflation allows us to increase the “mean rating” over time. What is the mean rating? Well, it’s probably easiest to say that a player with exactly average skill will have a “mean rating”, due to how the math of rating calculations works. Players above the mean rating have above-average skill, while players below the mean rating deserve our love and support. Under the hood, rating inflation increases that mean rating over time, meaning that while at the start of the season an average player will quickly gravitate toward a rating of 1500, towards the end of the season their rating may rise to 1800. Originally, this system was developed to counterbalance the effect of players who earned a high rating early in the season then opting out of playing the rest of the season.

We feel like every PvP season has three stages:

  • Early season - When most players are earning Conquest on a weekly basis to acquire gear.
  • Mid-season – When most players are finishing their gear sets, gearing up alts, and trying out different classes.
  • End of season – When a lot of players are pushing for seasonal milestones or titles.

Rating inflation was meant to ensure that the real action for titles happened at the end of the season. However, it also benefited other players, who could feel progress over the course of a season as they pushed their rating. One downside of this system is that when the season rolls over, rating inflation resets, and players feel unable to achieve a rating that they had only the week before. Another variable here is the rate at which we inflate the rating. We’ve tried a lot of different numbers over the years. What we’ve learned is that increasing the mean rating at a rate of less than 15 points per week doesn’t allow people to overcome those early season ladder squatters. But increasing inflation at more than 20 points per week results in feeling like no rating is safe. It also can lead to super-inflated ratings at the end of the season.

Something we decided to do for Dragonflight Season 1 was to delay the start of inflation until week 10. We didn’t feel like inflation was necessary during the early season when players are playing to earn Conquest to complete their gear set. Chasing titles and end of season rewards isn’t entirely relevant yet. But now at week 10, players will be completing their Conquest sets, so inflation will kick in at 20 rating per week to help dislodge people from the top of the ladder and reach whatever their seasonal goal might be. Since we’re starting it later in the season at this aggressive rate, we won’t reach ratings that are highly overinflated. In retrospect, we think this delay was too long and we’re considering starting it earlier in the future, perhaps at a reduced rate.

While we have you here, we also want to address faction-specific titles. Originally, these were added to encourage players to play both factions and this was largely successful. Prior to cross-faction groups in Arena, social dynamics were the primary driver behind which faction got the most player in organized PvP. Players decided which faction had the racials they preferred and flocked to that side. If you wanted to play with those players, you needed to join that faction. Now, players can play whichever faction they prefer and cross-faction titles are no longer necessary. We’ve decided that end-of-season titles will once again be faction agnostic in Dragonflight Season 1.

Thank you and we hope this provides answers to some of the feedback you have delivered regarding this PvP season.

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WoW Developer
#10 - Feb. 15, 2023, 2:35 a.m.
Blizzard Post

We understood the risk here with Solo Shuffle and its impact on 2v2 and 3v3, but felt it would lead to more people participating in Arena overall. For many players, earning Conquest to complete a full set of gear is their primary form of progression and they have no aspirations of earning Duelist much less Gladiator. They queue up, cap conquest each week, then stop playing. Their presence in 2v2 and 3v3 lifted up the ratings of all of those people really striving for end of season titles. Now, those players are able to get their Conquest in Solo Shuffle instead. We’ll look for ways to make 2v2 and 3v3 worth queuing for that player type.

Fun tidbit: One of the surprising beneficiaries of Solo Shuffle has been Skirmish, where it appears players often spend their time while waiting for their Solo Shuffle queue to pop.