Hello Community!

A major part of online play is online matchmaking. How the game decides who plays together can make or break the fun and challenging experience Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition players have come to expect from competitive matches.

That’s why today we’re making some changes to the way ranked ELO works in Team Games (TG) in Age II: DE. This change is specific to how ELO is awarded after team games, but we want to be clear: this is just the first of several changes we’re investigating to improve the competitive experience. Your feedback, as always, is vital, and we will continue to listen to your voice on our forums, Discord, and social channels to find new ways to give you great matches.

We’ve been tracking the issues you’re seeing in imbalanced Ranked Team Games, which has its root in how ELO wins/losses are currently calculated and distributed. The system can get pretty complicated, and an undesired ELO distribution can be more or less of a problem depending on the makeup in a given match. Part of how we wanted to address this was by simplifying both the solution and the conversation– here’s a simplified summary:

Ranked RM TG ELO – HERE’S HOW IT WORKS ALREADY:

Currently, if a team has a wide range of skill levels between players, the system awards ELO ranks based on the highest-level opponent on the other team. In the example below, Team 1 (with a wide ELO spread: one player at 2000 and the other at 1000) matches up against Team 2 (who have similar ELO to each other). There are several ways this could play out:

  • Team 1:
    • Player-A at 2000 ELO
    • Player-B at 1000 ELO
  • Team 2:
    • Player-C at 1500 ELO
    • Player-D at 1500 ELO
  • If Team 1 wins:
    • Player-A gains 1 ELO (as if a 2000 ELO player beat a 1.5k ELO player)
    • Player-B gains 100 ELO (as if a 1000 ELO player beat a 1.5k ELO player on their own)
    • Team 2’s loss is calculated against Player-A only, so both players lose only 1 ELO (as if losing to a 2000 ELO player)
  • If Team 2 wins:
    • Player-A loses 100 ELO (as if a 2000 ELO player loses to a 1500 ELO player)
    • Player-B loses 1 ELO (as if a 1000 ELO player loses to a 1500 ELO player)
    • Team 2’s win is calculated against Player A only, so both players gain 100 ELO (as if they’d each beaten a 2000 ELO player by themselves.)

In this example, a win for Team 2 will cause their ELO to rise more than it should… that might sound great for players who are trying to rush to an ELO of 2000, but in practice this means that Team 2 will face much tougher matchups than they should at their skill level, meaning they can look forward to a lot of losses in their future! If Team 1 wins, that’s still bad news… for Player-B, who probably isn’t ready to play against 1100 ELO players on their own yet! This causes bad matchups, and we have heard from some players that they’re hesitant to play ranked TG at all because it may inflate their ELO beyond their actual skill level.

So, how do we fix this? In our new system, ELO is awarded based on the average skill level of both teams, which produces much more appropriate adjustments. Here’s an example using the same players as before:

Ranked RM TG ELO – HERE’S AN EXAMPLE OF THE FIX:

  • If Team 1 wins:
    • Both players on Team 1 gain 16 ELO (as if a 1.5k ELO player beat another 1.5k ELO player)
    • Both players on Team 2 lose 16 ELO

In the example above, ELO wins/losses are based on the appropriate average ELO of each Team and then calculated accordingly, avoiding the inflated ELO that results in matching less experienced players with more experienced ones. Over an extended period of time, this will have the effect of normalizing ELO ratings naturally, though we’re still discussing solutions for inflated TG ELO and may take additional steps to resolve that in the future.

For now, we’re thankful for all of your feedback and some really impressive analysis on this issue, and we’re glad to be delivering this fix today. Please keep sharing your thoughts!

The Age of Empires Team

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