Rank Queue Drama and its oppertunity to redesign Rank/ Quick Play for DM and FFA

Hello my dear Players,

I think by now many People have heard of the Drama around DM leaving the Rank Queue System. I think this Topic is a big chance to redesign the Rank/ Quick play aspect of the game, because qick play seems to be used in a weird way by the devs by now.

I wanna talk about 2 things:
1: Why I can understand the Devs decision and what Rank queue should be
2: What to do now and how to use quick Play
3: My Suggstion

1: Decision and Rank Queue:

The Devs said they wanna remove DM from the rank queue because statisticly noone plays it at all. This decision is understandable, because any Game mode in the Rank Queue needs resources. Resources for the match making system Program running on the server, resources in time of Game designers working out a balanced Map pool for the Rank Queue, as well as Civ changes for Balancing for the Game mod.

By removing it from the rank Queue they save these Resources, which were spend for a very small portion of the Community and now can use these Resources (time and Money) for projects, which might impact more parts of the Community, like more Events, better balancing, new interesting Maps etc.

→ Whats the conclusion of this understanding:

Rank Queue costs the most Resources a Game mode can do, and by this its understandbale to preserve it for the most played Game mods (Rm, and seemingly by the Red Bull success soon EW)

But this doesnt have to mean that only these Game mods are played activly. There are also other Game mods like DM, FFA, CBA and Diplo with a rather active Playerbase.
So what to do with these?!?

2: What to do now (the oppertunity of quick Play):

The Devs introduced quick play a while ago, seemingly to give less popular Game mods a chance to shine and build up a bigger community with a functioning match making system, like they did with EW, which by their words is rising in popularity.

Sadly atm it seems quick play is kinda miss used. By the moving of EW to rank and not moving DM or FFA to quick play, quick play will basicly be RM, EW and Battle Royale.

2 out of these 3 already have a match making queue in Rank and by this dont need quick Play and Battle Royale isnt played at all.

→ What to do now:
Rm and EW are probably the most played Game mods as number 1 and 2, but there are 2 other still activly played Game mods, DM and FFA.
FFA and DM both have a active loyal and competetive Playerbase, which is semingly of similar size, and despite being much smaller then Rm, still being quite bigger then some other mods like sudden death or Diplo for example.
Its hard to judge the exact size in comparison, because FFA always has a lot more lobbies in the Lobby browser, but DM also had the rather inactive Rank Queue, which takes some lobbies away from the lobby Browser. By my experience they seem to be kinda similar in size with both having some active Discord comunitys of big and small sizes.

→ 3: My suggestion:

Knowing the fact that RM and EW are the big 2, these having Rank queue makes sense, but FFA and DM are still the number 3 and 4 playerbase wise and both with a big gap to all other Game mods below.
Because of this, they should have at least a match making queue, so why not use quick play for that.

Quick Play has a functioning (hidden elo based) match making queue, which should be used for the not as big, but still active Game mods like FFA and DM, instead of non played Mods like Battle Royale.
Quick Play also needs less Resources, because Quick Play always uses the same Map Pool as the Rank Queue and also gets less balancing attention.
This way we could make a good compromise. We give FFA and DM a match making queue with a hidden Elo, to enable a competetive match making environment for these communitys, while not costing as many resources as a rank queue would do, making a compromise between these communitys and the overall big RM community.

Last Words:

As the Drama of the last Days has shown these smaller Communitys like DM and FFA are still very passionate for their Game modes, and as an active FFA player who also knows DM players, I know that these Communitys are more competetive and invested into their niche Game mode then some might think, so giving them at least a qucik play queue, to not take to many resources away from the main community, but still respecting their love and efforts for the Game, might be a good compromise in my eyes.
After all these 2 Game mods are small, but still much bigger then a lot of other mods like Sudden death or Diplo. (I also play a lot of Diplo and might enjoy a queue for this as well, but I can accept the fact that Diplo is to small in comparison and by this is belonging into the lobby browser)

It would be nice to hear your Guys opinion on this Topic. What do you guys think of my Idea of using quick play for smaller active Game mods as the bridge between Rank and Lobby Games and by this removing Battle Royale, EW and RM from quick play, and instead adding FFA and DM instead to quick play, to give all big 4 Game mods a place to be without taking more resources then might be fair towards the bigger playerbases.

Please let me know your opinion and ideas on the topic and also write what kind of Player you are in your Comment, so that everyone can see if you might be biased towards a specific Game mod.
(Personally Iam an active 1v1 RM (1600), FFA, Diplo and fun mod player)

Lets have a nice discussion and maybe even start a change to the Game,




You did a great job in explaining your idea, but there are some flaws in your reasoning.

Except it doesnt. This is your major flaw in your suggestion. Quick play match making is ranked match making without looking for a rating by making the matches. As result all the games are pretty much unbalanced. Thus quick play is pretty useless in its current state for whatever game mode. I already made a thread about this when the quick play was just out. Have a look at that thread: How to make Quick Play useful?.

In general a lot needs to be changed to make quick play useful for any game. I dont really know what needs to be changed. I consider two options:

  1. Add a rating to quick play. But then what is really the difference betwene ranked and quick play? For RM and EW it will be the victory conditions only. In ranked it is victory, in QP it is standard. It doesnt really make much sense to me to have two separate queues for almost the same settings, but both have different names. For quickly getting into a game it is also the best to have just one queue, instead of two queues. So i am pretty convinced this isnt the solution for quick play in general.

  2. Remove quick play fully. I personally would think this is the best option. If it is really about the money, they could save some money by removing quick play. They can use this money to put DM back in ranked. I think that is the place it belongs. In the mean time they also can invest in the lobby. I dont really like the lobby browser. It looks so unclear and some features of Voobly are still missing.

About FFA: I am not reall ysure how popular this mode really is. A quick search on aoe2.net gives me the impression it isnt. I found 1 open lobby with FFA in the name (I have no idee how you will find these lobbies otherwise). When looking for ongoing games, i also found just 1 game only. That looks like FFA isnt that great. I dont think it will have enough players so a queue will work. It looks pretty much a niche to me based on this stats.

I totally agree. Moving the DM to quick match mode will be good choice, and about FFA I don’t know even what is this 11. Battle royal is dead, and I suggest to introduce CBA instead of BR, or a new mode that each player for example start with 10 military buildings for each line and 2 castles and same resources in DM mode with Gaya market that generate resources if you take the control of it.

Do you have a source saying that quick Play has no hidden elo?

By what i know its mostly unclear if it isnt using some hidden elo at all, using the unranked elo for match making (the elo from Lobby browser matches) or its own Elo system. I have a Friend who plays quite some quick play and it seems he gets matched against pretty good player generally,which would suggest quick play has its own hidden elo.

The important point was that Rank match making queues have some “prestige” and by this need more attention in making balanced maps, map pools and balance changes. By moving FFA and DM to quick play this wouldnt be needed, safeing the resources that probably should be invested in the wider parts of the community over all.

About your FFA lobby thing. I see FFA lobbies basicly every day in the lobby Browser, often multiply ones, the thing is they are often named differently. Sometimes FFA, Free for all, 1v1v1v1v1 etc.
Ofc its no big community as Rm as said, but comperable to Dm by my observation, after all DM isnt seen in the lobby Browser at all at any time but has around 1k active players per 3 months, which would mean like a few ongoing matches per Day/ Hour, and the same can be sayed for FFA.
But to be fair CBA is probably more active then both of these, but it seems a bit more weird to make a match making queue for a fun mode like CBA.
Match making is normaly for competetive purposes, and seemingly enough Players in the FFA and DM community are competitive about their Game mode. Thats why i sayed quick play would be a good place to give these a room to exist, while still being to little to enjoy the “prestige” of Rank queue and its benefits (additional invested resources).

I think the patch notes are already clear:

Also if it had a rating, then aoe2.net would have showed it. It does the same for games in the lobby: They are also played as unranked. And then i also have my own experience, which i fact checked at aoe2.net as well, to also see the play history on quick match.

So i am pretty sure there is no hidden elo. And i am also sure it doesnt use the unranked elo from the lobby. Games in quick play dont even count for unranked stats.

See also: How to make Quick Play useful?. The same question is discussed multiple times. Based on everything i know there is no evidence at all that points toward using the unranked elo of the lobby or towards an hidden elo. Everythings points towards no elo.

Quick play without elo is useless, quick play with elo is just ranked.

  • If it is without elo, then still no one really wants to play quick play. So new game under quick play doesnt really solve any issue.

  • If it is just ranked, then why dont put is just under ranked? As result you have just one place to maintain and gives you the benefit to queue for multiple game modes as once. Currently you can join for RM and DM at the same time in ranked. But in quick play you have to choice just one game mode. Based on user experience and based on maintainance it looks like 1 place for all match making game mods seems to make the most sense to me.

Match making should in the first place be used for balanced games. If the number of players is too low, then it will never really be balanced. The devs already said this was an issue for DM and i think it will also be the case for FFA and CBA.

I know i just look at the lobbies once. That isnt the full story. But at least it shows to me it isnt that popular. Ofc there will be a community of players that only play FFA or CBA. I wont deny it. But i think those communities are too small to have its own seperate queue.

I just checked the numbers for a second time. There is 1 open lobby and 2 ongoings games with FFA, Free or 1v1v in the name. You cant really have queues for this low number of games.

To compare with DM: There are currently 8 open lobbies for DM games. I cant really check the number of ongoing games in the lobby, since aoe2 doesnt show the type of ongoing games (and DM isnt in most games part of the name, since you can search on game mode). There are also 8 ongoing ranked DM games.

These stats just show DM is larger then FFA by a big margin. Even for DM the number of players is already questionable for having a queue. We dont want to have queues for even smaller communities.

To help this smaller communities grow, i would focus on improving the lobby. They can excel in the lobby and if they really grow big, then we can think about different queues for these communities.

Even quick play with elo would still need less mainteance, because for official Rank Queue people will expect the Devs to make map pools, balance Civs, maps etc. Thats why i sayed rank queue has some “prestige”.

What you say about the lobbies surprises me. I normaly never see Dm lobbies and often see at least 3-4 FFA lobbies. Maybe its just today that not many FFA lobbies were found. Also now with DMWC and the rank queue Drama DM got some attention which probably causes people to host lobbys atm, but its very likely to get back to normal soon, after all before all of this you basicly never saw a single DM lobby in the lobby Browser and only a few played the match making queue. On top of that I know that there are a few DM Community Discords and also multiply FFA discords. By lobby Numbers as well as Discord numbers they seemed very comperable in size (before the temporary Hype atm trough the Drama).

The thing is just that its a question of fairness.

The Aoe2 De team is kinda small. So with any Game mod in Rank they need people to design balanced map pools for the mod, design good maps for the mod, as well as think about balance changes for it, because rank has some “prestige” and needed effort that comes with it.

And just from a perspective of fairness it can be sayed that it would be unfair to give FFA or DM a rank queue, if only like less then 1% of the playerbase use this Rank Queue, but it then take up more of the Devs resources.
These resources could have used for new Events, event missions (like the mongol Invasion), more content in expantions, new exiting Maps for Rm (which is played by most), better balancing for RM and so on.

As an rather competitive FFA player I would love an FFA rank queue, but I can also except that with a playerbase of similar size as Dm it doesnt sound to fair to demand this many resources for a comperable small playerbase.

Thats why I want them to move DM and FFA to quick play, because quick play doesnt get specific Map pools, maps or balancing updates, by this needs less resources, but would still give these small playerbases a match Queue to play their competitive Games. So move DM and FFA to quick play, that sounds reasonable and fair, after all they are both small, but still the 3th/4th most played Game modes (maybe 5th if we count CBA. CBA could be more active then both) of similar size with loyal active members, who want to play their Game mode.

(also could you pls tel me what Game modes do you normaly play, so get a better understanding for your personal perceptions)

There aren’t or at least shouldn’t be separate resources for the different queues - it’s the same meta-servers that should be doing the matchmaking and the same servers that host the games.

In my opinion, they simply didn’t know how to program a third queue into the game because the devs are incompetent and/or have a very limited scope to work with (project budgeting, etc).

If they’re trying to sell the “limited resources” story then I don’t buy it. Not in the age of scalable, cloud based, and contained services.

As for the decision itself - it doesn’t matter if almost nobody plays DM as some people still do which means that decision broke the game for them. The EW ranked ladder is an added feature which no one previously counted upon because it simply didn’t exist. You don’t get to add a feature by removing another - the status quo needs to be maintained by default until they figure out how to program EW ladder into the game in addition to, not as a replacement to the DM ladder.

The additional Resources arent mainly Server Resources, but instead work hours of Game Designers, as I mentioned in my Text.

A rank queue needs a map pool, well designed maps for the mod as well as balance changes. These are as I mentioned before the Resources that I think they want to reserve.

As the Argument of some people play it its a hard argument to use probably, because many different Game mods are played still activly, like DM, FFA, Regicide, Sudden death etc.

I understand that we cant give a Rank Queue for anything thats played, because otherwise it would go overboard.

Thats why I suggested to use Rank and the prestige to get new map pools, balanced maps etc for the mods that are played by a big part of the Community (which atm is only RM, but it seems the Devs are saying EW is on the way).

Quick play would then be used for still active played mods of respectable size like FFA and DM who seem similar in size, and most importantly despite being rather small, still much bigger then other mods like Regicide, Sudden death etc. (CBA might also be of similar size to DM/ FFA)
These mods would then enjoy the benefit of a match making queue to find quick and balanced matches, for some level of competitivess, without getting its own map pool and maps (they would use
standard map pool of Ranked, as quick play does atm as well [quick play EW had the same map pools as RM ranked])

Lobbies would then be for the very niche mods like Regicide, Sudden death, Diplo, 256 tech mod, forest nothing etc., who still have an active community, but are just to small to even have a functioning match queue.

I think this would be the most fair approach, because it would respect the joy and determination of active small communitys like DM and FFA, without selfishly taking away to many resources from the main part f the community, and by this saving work hours of Game Designers for more Events, Maps, Balancing etc.

FFA, diplo, regicide are not ranked ladders, you can use the lobby system for that. DM traditionally has always been a ranked ladder - from the days of MSN Zone to HD to Voobly.

Yes they arent ranked leaders, which is why Iam trying to say FFA should become the same sort of match making system as Dm, because both are of comparable size seemingly, to make it fair.

The fact that something has been in the past should never be a strong Argument and instead we should be arguing on statistics and reasoning. If we wouldnt change stuff because it has been in the past then we wouldnt need Balance changes or new maps and could just let it all be as it is and let the Game die out slowly.

HD and Voobly were much smaller and had no active support. With De we have active support and a bigger playerbase then ever before.

If we want an active community then we should take a look at what the community plays, and support the stuff they play in a reasonable amount to their playersize, to give the support the playerbases deserve without giving more then they would deserve.
Thats why i talked about fairness and quick play for these 2 as a seemingly fair solution for all of the Community.

I agree with you Syl, they also need to not take ELO when you lose before 1 minute or something…

Regicide would be wonderful ranked.
Especially with a castle age start

This is horrible and has been patched out a year ago because players were exploiting it. If people complain about altf4, this is much worse because you add the time it takes for the waiting room, loading all players into the game, etc.

As for the other queues… My solution would be to:

  1. RM 1v1 Queue
  2. RM TG Queue
  3. DM 1v1 Queue
  4. EW 1v1 Queue
  5. Miscellaneous “TG” Queue (Monthly Rotation – FFA, Regicide, Battle Royale)

So if players want to play TG EW or TG DM, they can open up a lobby and use the 1v1 ratings to gauge player’s strength and get to a balanced game themselves. Not having at least a 1v1 rating system will make it impossible to get a balanced TG on either mode.

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That makes sense, I’m being pretty selfish here. I wanted to not lose elo in unranked mode.

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