[Primer] Basic explanation of Trophies or Where do Trophies come from and why do I lose them?
[Elo Primer] Where do Trophies come from?
[Typist: “See, when a mommy trophy and a daddy trophy…. “ grabs computer away from The Typist Ahem.]
Trophies in Empires use a method called the Elo rating system. The system is named after physics professor Arpad Elo. It originally designed for use in chess tournaments staring in 1960, so it has been fine-tuned for over 57 years.
==Predicting the Future!==
The Elo rating system is designed to predict the future! Similar to seasonal weather forecasting it assumes any trend will continue. So it will get warmer in the summer (gaining rating) or get colder in the winter (losing rating). Each time Elo rating math fails to predict the future, it will self-correct.
In weather forecasting, there will be a range of temperatures for any given day. However, you are unlikely to get snow on the Summer Solstice [Typist’s Note: “In an area currently experiencing the Summer Solstice, at a latitude that should not have snow at such time. Let’s be exact about this, eh?”] To clarify for the Typist, Summer Solstice in Miami. This is why your rating can fluctuate wildly even without your opponent messing with their Elo rating (see below) but will usually stay within a minimum and maximum range.
If Elo rating’s very complex math says +30 Trophies for a win and -30 Trophies for a loss, then based solely on your current rating and your opponent’s current rating, it thinks you have a 50% chance of winning. This is similar to knowing it will rain on half of the city, but not knowing where the rain clouds are and whether a particular person will need an umbrella.
If the win bonus is huge and the loss penalty is small, it predicts you will lose [Typist’s note: “Try anyway!”]. This is similar to it raining on 90% of the city. It thinks you will get wet! If the win bonus is small and the loss penalty is huge, it predicts you will win. This is similar to it raining on 10% of the city. It thinks you will stay dry.
This is literally that same as 2+2= 4 and 6-2=4. Elo rating math compares your two current ratings and makes a prediction. Every time two opponents with those two ratings match, it will always give the same exact win bonus and loss penalty. It does not care if either team deserves it’s current rating (see deliberately messing with your rating below). It does not care about your board during the match (summer will generally be hot and winter generally cold, but any day can be either). Elo rating cannot actually see the future, it is only math.
==Elo rating swings==
As a general rule, the weaker your team, the smaller your changes in rating. Too many higher teams are simply unbeatable and too many special skill are only available to higher teams. The stronger your team, the larger your changes in rating. You will fight powerful teams helpless against your special abilities and vice versa.
This is even more true if maxed out players drop in and out of player versus player (depending on special events in the game). Also a constant influx of new players caused by the game winning an award or an especially effective advertising campaign will also reinforce this general rule.
However, this becomes less true the more unbalanced the available heroes and the smaller the influx of new players. If Tiamat automatically wins raids for her team [Typist’s Note: “Hey, Devs. Can I have a Tiamat? Pretty please?”], only players who acquire, and fully level, Tiamat will have the highest Elo ratings. If their are no new players and thus no new teams, even the lowest rated team will level up their heroes.
==Deliberately messing with your Elo rating==
Just like a billiards hustler pretending to be a beginner until the mark bets a lot of money, players can deliberately mess with their Elo rating which messes with the system’s ability to predict the future.
Inigo Montoya: I admit it, you are better than I am.
Man in Black: Then why are you smiling?
Inigo Montoya: Because I know something you don’t know.
Man in Black: And what is that?
Inigo Montoya: I am not left-handed.
[switches sword to his other hand, and begins to fight far more successfully]
Man in Black: You are amazing.
Elo rating assumed a bunch of stuff (see assumption section) similar to the weather forecast assuming you are staying in your city and are outside a building. If you fly to the arctic from the tropics this is similar to using a 1* 2.20 defense team when your previous raid team was 5* 4.80. If you go inside your house and turn your cooling unit on maximum at midnight on the winter solstice this is similar to fleeing the raid when you have five heroes at full health and your opponent’s team has one hero at 2% health. Elo rating is totally useless, since a bunch of stuff happened it could not predict.
Elo ratings will always be worse than your morning weather forecast because players are always mucking with its basic assumptions.
==Elo rating deflation==
Whenever the players get access to more powerful teams, the game will experience Elo rating deflation.
For example when the Devs added the Barracks, players that did nothing lost Elo rating and those who maxed out their troops the fastest got (temporarily) a large increase in Elo rating.
This creates a temporary race to see who can max out the new advantage first. But eventually it will settles down as all players gain the new advantage. New players will have something else they need to increase their rating. So new player Elo ratings will tend to be lower, and increasing their rating will take longer than before the change.
==Switching from weather metaphors to sports metaphors==
Elo ratings in an MMO are usually designed so a person first starting out has a rating of zero. This is similar to a person playing football for a club. You know the basic rules, have the basic equipment, and have practiced with others. Elo rating of 1000 usually means you can qualify to play for a top-division football league. Elo rating of 2000 usually means you can qualify for the World Cup finals. Elo rating of 3000 usually means you were one of the players on the winning team for the World Cup.
==Why use Elo rating at all?==
Even when players deliberately mess with Elo ratings, your account’s highest Elo rating will be a pretty good indicator of how well your can raid using your best team. So all players trying to get the highest ratings in the game will tend to get matched with similar rated players if those players are also trying to get the highest rating.
No system is perfect, even with players not messing it up. [Typist’s Note: “It worked fine in Beta! How did they break it so fast?”] But Elo rating has many years of success under many player versus player and teams versus teams sports and games. Like weather forecasting it cannot predict the future, and it has its problems, but it gets the job done.
Elo math assumes:
There is significant punishment for not trying to win every match. Several systems have evolved to deal with this since Elo ratings were introduced in 1960, because humans.
Each player plays the same number of matches. This is just not practical for a MMO, so you will get some weird numbers from frequent raiding players and infrequent raiding players.
Nothing has changed since the last time a match was played. This actually loses an MMO money, so you will get some very very weird spikes in Elo rating (up or down) from week to week.