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How do Leaderboards rankings work?

When you play a Quick Match at FantasyStrike.com, the site will attempt to match you with an opponent based on your skill — if your rank is high you will tend to player other players with high ranks and likewise low-ranked players will play other low-ranked players. Rank also determines your position on the Leaderboards. Winning a Quick Match makes your rank goes up, while losing sometimes makes it go down.

The Student ranks

Every player begins as a Student 1 (Flower). There are 10 student ranks, and as long as you are a student, your rank never goes down. If you win enough matches (a few per level), you will eventually get your rank up. This is to encourage new players, since “leveling up” will happen so long as you keep playing. There is no penalty for losing at this point. Note that as a Student, your rank for all characters is the same.

When the Student Becomes the Master

Once you have finished Student 10 (Monkey), you will be a Master. There are 10 Master ranks, then Grandmaster ranks for the very elite.

There are two important differences between Student and Master ranks:

  • Master ranks are more serious: you can lose ranking from losing Quick Matches, and eventually get demoted if you lose too much.
  • In Master ranks, each of your characters has their own Leaderboards ranking.

The second point is important because it lets you try new, unfamiliar characters without fear of losing your main character's ranking. If you are a Rook master topping the leaderboards, you can try playing Valerie for a while, and even if you lose with her, your Rook ranking stays untouched. True masters sometimes top the Leaderboards with several characters, which takes real skill!

Behind the Scenes: Two Statistics

Note: This section is only for those who really want to know the intricate details behind the system - you don't actually need to know any of this. But if you like number-crunching, read on!

Every player has two hidden statistics: “level” and Elo. Your level is similar to an experience level in a role-playing game in that it indicates both your skill and the amount you have played. Elo is purely a measure of skill used widely in games like chess (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elo_rating_system).

Level starts at zero for each player. In Student ranks, it increases for each win and does not change for a loss. In Master ranks, each win causes a big increase in level and each loss causes a small decrease. As your level increases, you gain less for each win, but it is unrelated to the skill or level of the opponent you play against. In general, your level will always tend to increase, even if you lose as much as you win.

Elo is a widely-used system and works at FantasyStrike.com the same way it does in chess. Elo is zero-sum, which means that when you gain Elo, your defeated opponent loses the same amount. If you beat a player better than you (i.e. a player with more Elo), you will get more Elo than if you beat a player with less Elo. Elo is calculated separately for each character you play.

Your displayed rank is the smaller value between your level and your Elo. This means that as you start, it's basically a function of your level (allowing you to keep leveling as long as you keep playing), but once you play enough games that your level catches up to your Elo, it's basically a representation of your Elo. The numbers are such that the "switch" between Elo and level usually happens around when you hit Master 4.

Each player starts with 1500 Elo, and the various Master ranks are designed to reflect Elo amounts. Master 1 corresponds roughly to Elo 1350, and Master 10 corresponds roughly to Elo 1700. The system uses an Elo K-value of 16, meaning that games between same-skill players will trade 8 Elo points, and wildly mismatched players can trade up to 15 Elo points.

Matchmaking is always done through Elo, not the displayed rank, because Elo is a pure measure of skill and we want you to play against players of your own true skill level. Because the FantasyStrike.com community is still growing, you may sometimes find yourself playing against players with wildly different Elo than you, just because the system will try to match you quickly.

Why FantasyStrike.com Uses this System

While the system may sound a little complicated, there are several things that make the complexity worthwhile. First, new players are given an environment where their rank can only go up, encouraging them to play more without penalty for losing. Experts and the matchmaker can still rely on an accurate, Elo-based measure of skill. If new players could see their Elo from the start, it would look pretty intimidating to see the Elo start at the average of 1500 and then go down with each loss.

This also has a nice side effect: since a player must play a lot to get a high rank, it prevents the cases where someone gets lucky and wins 4 of their first 5 games, gets a high Elo from that and is shown on top of the leaderboards, then never wants to play again. This system ensures that the leaderboards's top only has players that have played a reasonable number of games (Elo is a better measure of skill when a player has played a lot of games).

Start Playing Now

So whether you’re a brand-new player or a battle-hardened veteran, the matchmaking and ranking systems at FantasyStrike.com have something to offer you. As a new player you can be guaranteed to gain ranks up to a point, and once you have entered the master ranks you will be presented with the (very challenging) task of topping the leaderboards and seizing the coveted Grand Grand Grandmaster title. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and play!