How I would fix team-game matchmaking, at least preliminary steps

Hello. As most people probably know, matchmaking for team-games on AoE2 is broken. Here are some steps I would take to fix it, what do people think? Bear in mind that this would be a lot more effective with a larger player base.

Remove Steam family sharing:
This is quite an important step to take, because it then helps to prevent people smurfing as easily, which improves matchups.

How to improve early 1v1s:
Maybe if for the first 10 games of 1v1, you only play against other people with less than ten games, that should be the matchmaking priority for the first few minutes, if it takes more than 5/10 mins, then it just matches you against someone with similar elo. This should help stop new players falling afoul of people who are now getting good at the game and are on a 50 win streak coming back from 800 elo or something. For these first 10 games, team games would be locked.

Introducing early team games:
Once the ten single ranked games are complete, it now unlocks team games, where it matches you with teammates and opponents within 50-100 elo of your 1v1 score. You then gain or lose elo points at the end, based on the average of the two teams, which theoretically should be very similar. They matchmaking the team games this way for the first ten games.

Progressing Team Games:
After those ten ranked team games, there should be enough data that they start matchmaking with people of a similar team game elo. If the matchmake process is taking too long, they can start to add pairs of players with different elos. For example, if it is trying to make a 4v4, and it has found three players with a good elo range, it can now search for two other players within 200 hundred elo and within 50-100 of each other, who then get added to the 4v4. In that manner, all players on the team should be of a fairly similar level, leading to a better chance of a balanced game. Naturally this would require a complete reset of the team game rankings, maybe save the current elo’s in case a new system fails.

How other issues might be resolved:
As another couple of things that would be useful to implement to stop people just quitting and ruining the game for everyone, would be team surrender. For this, before anyone is allowed to surrender, the majority of players on their team must be willing to resign. If more than half of the team votes for team surrender, people can now resign. The team as a whole isn’t forced to resign though, and if the remaining players want to play on, they can do so. For the purposes of tie-breakers, the player on each team with the currently highest score counts for two votes, but only if there is a tie. This only applies after the first 20 minutes, because by that point the players should have more distinct scores. If a player drops or is defeated, it counts as an automatic vote towards team surrender.

How to deal with players who have used Alt f4:
Either, any other player the team can now control the resigned player, this is not they take over totally. Instead, this control is shared between the rest of the team, so that they can all share control or resigned players, as well as controlling their own base. The other suggestion would be to have an AI sub in for the resigned player. The Ai could either be an extreme AI, or the game takes the highest AI level ever beaten by any player on this team, which shouldn’t be too hard, seeing as there is an achievement that could be checked. It then adds one level of difficulty to this and subs that in in place of the player, Ie. if the best AI anyone in the game had ever beaten was hard, a hardest Ai would be the substitute. Although giving the remaining players shared control of the resigned player would be more fair, it would be harder for them to manage, and even agree on a course of action. If an AI was subbed in however, it would be almost certainly worse than a player, but it would be able to receive commands from the players to give it instructions on how to play, and it would allow the players to run their own bases.

Other suggestions regarding elo for players using Alt f4, or teams dealing with it:
Players who use Alt f4 in the first 5 minutes of the game, or before the game starts should also automatically lose a set number of elo points, regardless of the actual result. Maybe 14 points of elo. If they use Alt f4 at any point after those first 5/10 mins, they could instead lose 7 points. It could also be implemented that if the team with a resigned player loses, the amount of points they lose is decreased by a fixed amount, such as 7, so that they don’t suffer as much for the loss. They will still lose a minimum of one point each. Anyone who uses Alt f4 should also be effected by the outcome of the match if possible, in addition to losing the set points. The temporary ban on games could be removed, because it tends to annoy people. If players resign, they don’t lose anything though, due to team surrender only letting them resign if most of them want to.

Prebuilt Teams:
After team games are unlocked for a player, they can now also play team games with a prebuilt team. When assembling a custom team, the likely-hood of having largely different elos is quite high. This could be resolved by taking the highest elo person on a custom team, and taking the average of them and all other team members within 200 elo. This is the average that it then tries to match with. Alternatively, the system could look to effectively create a 1v1 match using team elo for each individual player, and then assembling the overall teams based on all these players.

Those are my ideas currently. What do people think?

Ranked lobbies is 100% a better fix to address everything you are trying to describe without limiting family share(which is something advertised to be on the game so it wont be removed).

Look at how much you are complicating yourself for something that was never an issue before.

The only things that needs attention to make ranked lobbies work are fixing the lobby browser and resetting the tg ladder(optional porting the 1x1 since there isn’t better accurate ranks than that)

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What do you mean it wasn’t an issue. It’s a huge issue for a lot of people, or have you not seen all the posts people make about others smurfing and bad team game matchmaking?

Ranked lobbies aren’t a great fix I don’t think, but please don’t start a discussion on that, or it will be reported as off-topic. Family share needs to go because people can just use it to create smurf accounts without actually paying anything (I’m pretty sure, I’ve never actually used family share), which is not a good thing.

I disagree with most changes in your OP, they’re for the most part idealistic changes with good intention but will never work in practice:

So now I can’t play TGs with my friends, because they have to do 1v1 matches first even though we all bought the game just to play together. I don’t think you realize how much 10 games is for the majority of people. Nowadays that’s the amount of matches I play in a month.

Probably pointless, you add another layer of complexity to make Elo supposedly more reliable, but realistically half the people who want to play TGs have thrown the 10 games as fast as possible to get there, and their Elo is skewed already.

What about pre-mades? Can I no longer play with friends 200 Elo away? Great, so you added yet another incentive to throw games. 90% players don’t care about their TG Elo if that’s the only way to play with their friends so I guess they’ll just throw games until they fall in the 100-200 range.

AKA the “Nobody will play flank anymore” change. So if someone gets destroyed early or goes for an all-in strat that fails, he now has to AFK or he gets reported. Nice. What if one player gets defeated? Would he now get a penalty? Because if you don’t add a penalty, then anyone can simply delete all buildings/units to completely circumvent your system. What if 2 guys decide to troll and not resign and extend the game for 15 minutes by walling everything in a corner? Do the other 2 have to keep AoE in the background and play LoL while the game continues?

Sorry to say it like that, but this is an absolutely horrible, insane suggestion. Elo is not a political tool to reward players. It is a tool for matching players by similar skill. If you start gaining/losing Elo based on any other variable than skill, then you completely break the mathematical model behind it. Making someone lose X Elo because they alt-f4’d is pointless, because then the system will naturally place them against lower skilled players in their next matches, and they’ll quickly get the X Elo back, but in the process, they also stomp lower rank players.

Your suggestions are too idealistic and do not take into account any player incentives, which means they will be abused and never look like what you designed them for. People who play this game have not signed a contract with the developers that they will do everything to make their team win and behave like gentlemen, some guys are nice and will try to make the system work, but many guys just want to do what they bought the game for. If they want to play Arabia, they will quit until they get Arabia, if they want to play with their friends, they will throw matches so they can play with their friends, if they want to resign, they will resign, they won’t just play a game they have no interest playing just because you let their teammates vote. By not taking these people into account, not only you screw them and create insatisfaction, but you create unfair games for the whole playerbase because now you have half of the community who play as intended and have a normal Elo, and the other half who has a completely meaningless Elo because they keep quitting/throwing.