The stupidity of the ranking algorithm

I always worry about this game losing players and/or not keeping new ones. One issue that makes myself thinking about quitting is the Ranked Ladder. A couple of weeks before I was around Platinum I and Gold III - so a pretty bad player, but that’s not going to change much - different topic. But now I dropped down to Gold II, even if I improved a bit as a player. Opponents got gradually harder in the past weeks.

It is very demotivating if you improve your playing style - or at least you stay about the same - but you lose rank. And not just to a bad streak. Those exist, I know. But then I could always fight my way back up.

I don’t see how player skill improving is related to the ranking algorithm being stupid. To gain rank, you have to increase your skill faster than the average at your level. I almost exclusively play co-op against the AI, but the level of skill of the human players in my games is much higher, on average, than 6 months ago, so I assume the same thing has happened in ranked games.


I think besides the ranking algorithm OP is alluding to the collapsing of variety among player skill levels due to not enough new players coming in, or new players quitting quickly; leaving just old, experienced, skilled players in the pool. Could be the same explanation for why your games, 6 months later, are with more skilled players. The player base is extremely small and apparently comprised of mostly players that have been playing the franchise for over a decade. It’s definitely going to suppress less-skilled players if we can’t get over a point where there are enough new people coming in for people to match up with at their skill levels.

Last day played a ranked and I got paired with a Diamond I, being me right now Gold III.

I ended in Platinum I the last season, but why would the game pair me with 4 ranks above?

I got defeated, but game was pretty balanced (but he was slightly better). But how? It pairs with elo too? Maybe my elo was close to the Diamond guy?

There are only a few days left in the season.
Lots of people stopped playing ranked in the last couple of weeks so they could lock in their rank and receive the associated rewards. This results in fewer people playing ranked and more unfair matchups will result for those still playing.
There is a long thread on the subreddit with people saying that they are doing precisely this.

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Pretty sure it pairs with elo only. Not ranking.

Ranking is supposed to be tied to elo somehow though.

On average, I think basically rank points = elo + (games played * k), i.e. you gain more rank points for a win than you lose for a loss, so the more games you play, the more your rank points increase relative to your elo. This was my understanding from what they published on how it works, after they fixed a bug in it last season. So it’s intended to provide an incentive for people to play more games.

I thought the bug was that it was giving more points for wins than losses and that inflated everything, and that is what they fixed.

No, it was the other way round, it was pushing rankings ever downwards by taking more points for losses than it was giving for winning. They changed it to be the other way round. Just searched for it, it’s here:

It did that first for a while in season 1, which everyone complained about. Then they “fixed” it and everyone started getting very inflated ranks. Then they supposedly fixed that for season 2.

If you can find something that describes it changing again from what I linked above, I’d be interested to see it.

Somewhere there were more discussions about it and how it specifically fixed the inflation issue.

But there should be some match between elo and rank, because I am paired with Diamond being at gold, it means I have more elo than the average of gold/plat people, but still gold. So, if I lost, I will lose points and will get to gold II, then gold I, etc… While I keep paired with people in higher ranks than me.

If there is no pair between elo and rank it means it will be much difficult to get to diamond because there’s a missmatch between my elo and my rank.

it’s all about the hidden elo
if you lose a game, you lose fewer points
if you win a game you get more points
until you reach your hidden elo

The ranking system in AoE4 is truly bad, imo. I played Starcraft II for a long time, and there it really felt that your rank represented your skill. A bit up and down, some bad or lucky streaks here and there - but all in all great.

In AoE4 it just feels totally off. In the same league the skills of the players can differ vastly. I play in Gold III. Sometimes I am paired with players from the same rank or one lower, who play truly bad. I can’t learn anything from those games. Then I play against some who are so overwhelmingly better, that the effect is the same. Still they are Gold III. Unless the latter are all smurfs, it doesn’t make sense. I rarely play games where I have the feeling of an almost equal pairing.