One thing I’ve found interesting is my feelings towards players that dominate a match in the two MOBAs I’ve been playing.
League of Legends Ranked
In League of Legends, I play mostly ranked and while I’m not that good of a player, I have an expectation that in a ranked game, people are gonna have relatively equal skill. I mean you figure Riot has set up millions of matches, they surely know how to set things up so players of similar skill are matched up with each other.
Sadly, it seems that isn’t the case a lot of the time. Even with 6 champs banned, many games still end up with a player rolling over their opponents. Matches with a 16–2 Yasuo or 13–1 Darius are abundant. Perhaps it’s bad bans or someone having a bad game, but you’d expect Riot would see people banning inappropriately or notice that someone is on a serious losing streak – I mean, supposedly you’re gonna win 50% of your matches when placed at the correct MMR. But I’ve seen plenty of times Riot will put me on teams where the other 4 players were on losing streaks of 5 or more games.
The problem I have with this is that Ranked is supposed to mean something , but it seems to only mean Riot has no idea how to set up match making to get players and teams of similar skill levels.
SMITE in Normals
SMITE seems to have a somewhat similar issue, but I don’t fault them as much since I’m only playing Normals and I’ve only turned level 15. Yeah, I don’t expect much from HiRez since I’m still learning the game, but while I do see games where someone will roll with a 24–2 god or something, there’s also a bunch of players I figure are newbies who lay down a 0–14 disaster.
These dramatic discrepancies among skill levels are to be expected when people are learning the game. You’re gonna see people who are new to the whole MOBA experience and others who came over from League or DOTA and have some experience. Some gods are easier to play or are over powered and in Normals, you don’t get any bans. This leads to people taking advantage of OP situations or hyper counters that are unbannable.
At least at this point in my SMITE gaming, they’re meeting my expectations. Riot, in my view though, has failed. Playing Ranked in League, I have a higher level of expectation because there are barriers to entry. Having to level up to 30 to get into Ranked would be one thing, but also you have to select Ranked and know that your gameplay is going to be judged accordingly. But while those are related to the people playing Ranked, Riot has to meet expectations of setting up proper matches and that’s where I think they fail. Riot shouldn’t be allowing their Matchmaker set up so many divergent skilled players in the same match. And not only that, it seems they place the higher skilled players on the same team set to dominate the lower skilled players…and this is Ranked.
Patch the Matchmaker
Both these games update on a biweekly or monthly basis…it’s pretty quick. Every other week you can read thousands of words for each detailing the in depth modifications made to champs, gods, items, and maps. The one thing I don’t think I’ve ever seen though, is any modification to the Matchmaker being discussed. Maybe it has, maybe not, but I haven’t seen one word about how they are making sure things are balanced in game setup. They won’t even discuss the process of match making except that there’s some sort of amorphous MMR or ELO that is assigned based on games you’ve played.
The bottom line is, I have lost the belief that Riot is doing their job in making sure games are balanced. Sure, sometimes it benefits me but when it comes down to it, I’d rather lose balanced games than win matches because Riot put a ringer on my team.
I’m still playing League, but these days you’ll more likely find me battling gods in SMITE than champions in Summoner’s Rift…just based on the fact that I trust HiRez to be fair right now.
Hopefully both games will become more transparent though.