Apex Legends: Major changes announced for Season 3 Ranked Play - Dexerto
Apex Legends

Apex Legends: Major changes announced for Season 3 Ranked Play

Published: 19/Sep/2019 20:50 Updated: 19/Sep/2019 21:12

by Albert Petrosyan

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Respawn Entertainment have revealed some of the major changes they’ve made to the Ranked Leagues ahead of Season 3: Meltdown in Apex Legends.

Respawn revealed the first official look at the highly anticipated Season 3 of Apex Legends on September 19, giving players what they had been desperately waiting for quite a while now.

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A large part of that announcement was Ranked play, which has had several aspects of it overhauled from the Ranked Leagues Series 1 held during the currently ongoing Season 2.

The developers have acknowledged that their first attempt had both its good sides and bad, and that there were some things that needed improving prior to the launch of Meltdown.

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That said, here are some of the major changes made between Series 1 and 2 of the Ranked Leagues. 

Respawn EntertainmentApex Legends Season 3 will kick off on October 1.

Soft Reset

Once Series 2 starts at the launch of Season 3, players will see their ranked position undergo a “soft reset,” which will drop them 1.5 Tiers down from their current position. This allows players who achieved a high rank during Series 1 to not have to spend all that time to get back to that position.

Scoring Change

RP rewards will now be multiplied by 10, so players will now be given 10, 15, 20 RP instead of one and two. This gives Respawn “flexibility” in offering RP rewards.

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Scoring System

Here is what the new scoring system looks like for Series 2 of Ranked Leagues.

Respawn EntertainmentScoring breakdown for Ranked Leagues Series 2 in Apex Legends.

Event RP Cost

As a result of the scoring change, the RP costs to enter ranked matches have also been adjusted according to the following breakdown:

  • Bronze matches are still free
  • Silver matches cost 12RP
  • Gold matches cost 24RP
  • Platinum matches cost 36RP
  • Diamond matches cost 48RP
  • Apex Predator matches cost 60RP

Assists and Multipliers

Assists are being added to the kill count score, and will register when dealing damage to an enemy player within five seconds prior to them being knocked. Players can not earn assists if they end up getting credit for the kill, or if the downed opponent gets revived. 

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Respawn EntertainmentAssists will be added to the scoring in Apex Legends Ranked play Series 2.

Rewards

With the launch of Series 2, players will also receive the cosmetic rewards they unlocked from their performance in Series 1. Those who achieved Platinum or higher will receive a gun charm indicating their highest level, while Diamond and Apex Predator players will get a custom dive trail, also for their highest rank reached. 

All players will receive a special badge marked with the highest level they managed to achieve.

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Penalties

Penalties will be enabled for the start of Series 2, after they were disabled in Season 1 “to be overly cautious on false positives.” 

This means that players who leave a match midway and abandon their teammates will be hit with a matchmaking penalty in bot the Ranked and casual playlists, so they will be unable to queue in to a new match for a select amount of time.

That time will continue to increase for players who accrue several abandonment penalties. 

Respawn EntertainmentLeaver penalties will be enabled again for Season 3 Ranked play in Apex Legends.

What’s staying the same from Series 1

Aside from the changes listed above, Respawn have opted to keep the remaining facets of Series 1 the same for Series 2. This includes Tiers and Divisions, keep the level requirement for ranked play at 10, and party matchmaking will be based on the highest ranked player. 


You can check out the full Ranked Leagues Series 2 post from Respawn HERE.

Make sure to check out everything there is to know about Season 3: Meltdown, including the official trailer, new weapon, Crypto details and more.

Apex Legends

Apex Legends SBMM controversy: Is EA rigging your matches?

Published: 8/Oct/2020 14:06

by Calum Patterson

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In the midst of Season 6 in Apex Legends, the controversy about SBMM (skill-based matchmaking) has reared its head again. A 2017 paper from EA researches appears to show a nefarious matchmaking algorithm, leaving players both concerned and angry.

But, before you grab your pitchforks, there are a few key facts that have been lost among the debate on social media.

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In an attempt to better explain what we know about matchmaking in Apex, the research from EA, and what it all actually means for you – the player – here is everything you need to know.

First, though, if you don’t know what SBMM even is, here is a quick recap.

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What is SBMM?

Skill-based matchmaking is the name for the predominant system used (or allegedly used) in the majority of online, PvP, multiplayer games. Respawn, the developers of Apex Legends, have confirmed that their system uses skill level as a factor in matchmaking.

They’ve said that this system has always been there, will stay, and that they are constantly trying to improve it. The say SBMM is better for the long-term health of the game, and for keeping players playing and having fun.

However, this 2017 paper, written by a handful of researchers from EA, appears to argue the opposite; that fairer matches are not actually best for ‘engagement’ (i.e. keeping you playing or spending). Instead, another system called EOMM is apparently better. So, is SBMM not actually a thing at all?

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SBMM in Apex Legends
Respawn Entertainment
SBMM has been a hot topic in Apex for ever since launch.

Is Apex Legends rigging you to lose?

The short answer: No.

Respawn’s Principal Coder Michael Kalas has confirmed that Apex Legends does not use EOMM, and said “no one working on Apex matchmaking has read the patent.”

“Apex matchmaking is designed off skill. It’s not literally designed to make you lose, spend, nor play longer,” Kalas confirms. “Apex features are designed and measured to result in fun, entertainment, accomplishment, playing longer, etc.”

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Some players, even professional players, have said based on their own feeling and experience, that there is some kind of system working against them in matchmaking.

Perhaps players are right to feel this way, perhaps not. We will probably never know for certain, as publishers like EA and Activision will never reveal the inner-workings of their matchmaking algorithms. This is because, once known, players could deliberately attempt to game the system. 

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What is the EA research paper?

First, remember that this 2017 research paper is not linked to Apex Legends. After all, Apex was released two years after this paper was published.

It is simply a study, testing if such a system is successful at increasing player retention, and in turn, spending. This system is not SBMM. In fact, it argues that SBMM is actually worse for increasing player retention.

The system is called EOMM = engagement optimized matchmaking. Rather than matching players randomly, or based on their skill level, it combines a number of different factors, to try to increase ‘engagement.’

The paper concludes that “EOMM significantly outperforms all other methods in the number of retained players.”

What is EOMM?

Engagement Optimized matchmaking (EOMM) “aims to match players in an optimal way that maximizes overall player engagement.”

Based on a player’s last 3 outcomes (W)in, (L)ose, or (D)raw, the risk of them quitting changes. The paper presents this table, showing that three losses in a row, or two wins and a loss, will result in the highest risk of quitting (4.9% – 5.1%).

However, if a player has DLW, LLW, LDW, or DDD, their risk of quitting is almost half (2.6% – 2.7%).

A simplistic appraisal of this system then, would be, if you get a win, you might get a harder opponent the next match. If you lose, you get an easier opponent. Keeping the balance of wins, losses, and draws, is core to the EOMM system.

The fear is that the game could be “rigging” your matchmaking, to make you win or lose in a certain pattern. The goal of this system is to increase player engagement; things “such as time or money spent in the game, the number of matches played within a time window, or churn risk.”

But, the research paper was based on 1v1 matches, which might apply to a game like FIFA, but not Apex Legends. However, it concludes that EOMM could easily be applied to other, more complex matchmaking.

AC Milan FIFA 21
EA SPORTS
Games like FIFA could use EOMM, because it’s based on 1v1 matches.

Of course, EA and Respawn want players to be engaged with their game. They want players playing, staying to play more, and hopefully, spending money. So, it stands to reason that they would employ some matchmaking algorithms to optimize this.

But, this study was based on 500 players. Not the tens of millions who play Apex Legends. In the real world, there are countless other factors to consider, including ping, server location, partying up with friends, and much more.

What about SBMM?

The paper on EOMM argues that SBMM doesn’t work because of one key reason:

“Consider a cautious player who cares about protecting his rank among friends, and a risk taker who enjoys difficult matches. Pairing them with similarly skilled opponents will affect these players very differently. Even for the same player, their expectation on the coming match when they just lost three games in a row can be very different from that when they recently performed well.”

In their testing, EOMM retained 0.7% more players compared to SBMM, after one round of matchmaking. This might not seem like much, but over more matches, this number will increase: “For players who play 20 rounds of matchmaking games within eight hours, there will be 15% more players retained by EOMM” than SBMM.

But, the dislike of any system that is not purely random and based totally on connection, cannot be denied. It became a massive issue during Call of Duty’s Black Ops Cold War Alpha recently, where even pro player Scump pleaded with developers to make changes.

We can only hope that the developers take into consideration players’ concerns, and promote having fun in the game, and not just “engagement.”