Thursday, April 2, 2009

Poll results - New ranking system in GoW2

So here's the poll results:

What do you think of the new ranking system in Gears of War 2?

Love it! = 3 votes
It's okay = 1 vote
Hate it! = 0 votes
I don't play Gears of War 2 any more = 2 votes

I have to admit that it's nice to finally see some progress for all the hard work I put into Gears matches. That being said I will admit that I voted for "It's okay" and not "Love it!". I'll tell you why.

The reasons why I like it is the fact that you actually get to see what you're working towards. There's your progress. There's a goal. And there's a sense of accomplishment when you level up. Yes, I know there are people who'd play Gears online just for the fun of it whether there was a ranking system or not. I'm not one of them. Mostly anyway. I do enjoy playing online with my friends but sometimes the monotonous nature of online matches can get boring after awhile. When that happens I'd turn the game off and probably never come back. With a ranking system (and one you can actually see working and you understand) it's nice to come back to the game and see if you can "level up" one more time before going to bed.

Just the other night I was 7 points from leveling up and we were about to call it a night. Well, I just couldn't leave my rank that close and just go to bed so the group decided to play one more match so I would hopefully get those 7 points. Unfortunately the match we were in didn't turn out very good. We had 4 people in our party so we picked up a "FOUND PLAYER" and started the match. By the second round all players on the other team had dropped out and we were running around shooting bots. We were cruising to a very easy victory when with 1 win away from winning the whole match we got the "host disconnected to the game" message. Apparently that "FOUND PLAYER" was the game's host and he didn't want to stick around for 1 more round and an easy win. He would rather take a 1,500 point loss than play another minute against bots. Game over.

Unfortunately that meant I didn't get my 7 points to level up. We all wanted to see if we'd be penalized the 1,500 points for "quiting" the game just because the host quit. We stuck around for one more match and I was able to level up. We also found out that we didn't lose the penalty for dropping out. But that's not always the case.

I've played a couple of games where I've left early. One I willing took the penalty instead of sticking around in a laggy game. The other times I've lost connection to the host or that other error message (something about timing out). Sometimes I've gotten the penalty and sometimes I haven't. After talking to my friends that's happened to them too. One of them lagged out of a game due to his internet connection and got the penalty. It's wasn't his fault, but I guess a computer system wouldn't recognize that.

As much as I like the fact that you can now see where you stand, the random penalty assessment is very annoying. But does it matter anyway? If you play long enough everyone will be able to max out their rank in the game. A higher rank doesn't necessarily mean you're better than the person next to you, it just means you've played it long enough to accumulate a lot of points. Now, for some people it might take them one month to get to rank 20 (like me) when someone else can do it in a couple of days. That is a differentiation in rank but that doesn't show up when you get into a public room. You don't know if that "15er" has been playing a couple of days or just a couple of hours. I know the system that everyone has compared the new ranks in Gears 2 to is Call of Duty. But with Call of Duty it's the same way. I'm on my third level of prestige in COD4 and I'm not that good of a player.

Even though we have the "experienced" based ranking that you can see in a game lobby the developers said they still kept the "true skill ranking" for better matchmaking, but it just stays in the back ground. While I like the idea of playing against similarly skilled players instead of facing a room full of zen masters, it bothers that they say "you're a 13 ranked player but we're going to treat you like a 2 ranked player because of your skill". If I'm a terrible shot than just all me that. I can handle it.

And how can we be sure that "true skill" rankings are accurate. My friend Genghis Khan leads all friends in almost every single category on my friend's leaderboard, but he never achieved a gold stripe in the original ranking system. Evil Ric, who's not far behind Genghis on many of the boards, got a gold stripe and kept it for a very long time before losing it and then never being able to get it back. Then there's other players that got the stripe, lost it, got it back and lost it again. And they couldn't figure out why. Where's the consistency in that?

I think this new ranking system is a huge step in the right direction, but I don't think it's perfect. The "true skill" ranking is too much like Halo's system (which is Microsoft's baby) so there should be no surprise that it's used in this game. But it's a system that I don't think anyone's ever really understood. It's just now that the gaming population has cried loud enough for someone to do something about it. And while I will probably never max out my prestige levels in Call of Duty games there is some hope that I can max things out in Gears of War 2. It just might take me until the next game comes out before I do. Another year or two should give me enough time.


metallicorphan said...

your new poll,i am none of those Penny

i use (semi)/automatic Rifles(SKT-40 Russian in COD5 and M1 in COD4) all the time..throwing the occasional grenade,using the occassional melee and using the occasional bouncing betty/C4

i am not a sniper,and never use a shotty

i run and gun

Pengwenn said...

I knew I forgot a shooting type. At least you've found something that works for you.