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Anonymous Combat Spars

IocunIocun Member Posts: 3,691 @@ - Legendary Achaean
There have been other suggestions to improve the combat rankings before, but I'll still go ahead and offer an idea of my own.

There currently are a few issues with the combat rankings. They are mainly based on the fact that people can accept or refuse spars at their total liberty, ensuring that they only fight when it is most likely to give them a good benefit. Some examples:

- If you're ranked first with some lead, there's no incentive to continue fighting at all. The greater your lead is, the less you can gain from sparring, and the more likely it becomes that you will lose a great lot immediately from a lost spar - and even the greatest fighters lose spars now and then, sometimes due to entirely random factors such as lag or disconnections.

- If you're still ranked low, but are somewhat known as a fighter, it may be very hard to get any spars at all, because your opponents have little to gain from winning against you, but a great chance of losing something.

- At the beginning of a new combat season, it's easy for mediocre fighters to keep sparring among themselves and obtain a great rank, while dodging the more dangerous opponent entirely.

- People can also very easily pick raisins about which classes they wish to fight. If you do very badly against magi, you simply avoid sparring magi. This rewards fighters who are very specialised against certain kinds of opponents, but not particularly versatile in their ability.

- It can at times be difficult to find opponents for combat spars in general. Once people have reached a position they are comfortable with, they will often stop sparring completely, so for someone new to get combat spars, it can be a long task of continuously pestering everyone on the rankings for spars, which is neither fun for them, nor the pestered ones.

And so on.

There have been some suggestions of introducing requirements to spar a certain number of times to avoid losing your rating, or to introduce systems that allow you to force a spar against a particular opponent in a certain time frame. But none of these solutions deal with the fundamental issue of people strategically selecting the targets that promise the best benefits to their ranking and thus "gaming the system" in some form. I believe one way to really reduce this issue would be to move the system into a more anonymous direction, where fighters face each other without prior knowledge of whom they will be facing.

My suggestion, thus, is to keep the system as it is, allowing people to combat spar each other voluntarily if they like, but in addition introduce an anonymous pairing functionality, which would work as follows:

SPARON C places you on Sparwho, but not by name/level/class/ranking. Instead, it adds an anonymous line to the Sparwho list that there's a person looking for a combat spar. If you check SPARWHO, you will see how many people are currently looking for combat spars. Example:

Adventurers of Achaea seeking sparring partners:

                    % of
                    your  Combat  Combat
Name               might    Rank  Rating Class        Type
Mako                  75    24th     175 Alchemist    spar (in arena)
Iocun                100    23rd     186 Serpent      spar (in arena)
Ruca                  30    16th     213 Priest       spar (in arena)
Omi                   15     ---     --- Shaman       spar (in arena)

There are 2 people currently looking for combat spars.

This SPARON C listing is completely independent from the normal SPARWHO. You can be on the normal sparwho list, but not on the combat spar list, or vice versa, or both.

If you see at least one other person on SPARWHO who is looking for combat spars and the Matsuhama arena is currently unoccupied, you may use the command COMBAT CHALLENGE ANONYMOUS. This will select the person closest to you in combat rank who is currently on the combat sparwho list and send them a message that they have been challenged. This person now has two minutes to ACCEPT CHALLENGE, upon which both contestants will be instantly transported into the Delos arena and a combat spar begins. If the challenged does not accept the challenge in time, his is considered to have forfeited the spar and the spar is ruled as if the challenger had won it. If the challenger logs out from Achaea after issuing the challenge, dies, or is otherwise rendered unable to begin the combat spar, the spar is ruled in favour of the challenged.

To prevent this system from being abused as a means of quick intercontinental travel, you can only issue combat challenges from the Prime Material Plane on the continent of Sapience. The same applies to entering the SPARON C list. Leaving Sapience or dying will automatically remove you from this list as well.

Every ranked fighter has to place himself on the combat sparwho list for at least an hour per RL week. This doesn't have to be in a single go. You might be on the list for a hour at once, or for ten minutes each, six days in a row. Failure to do so will result in losing a quarter of ones rating points. (E.g. a fighter with a rating of 400 will fall to a rating of 300 if he fails to place himself on the list enough.) Participation in an anonymous combat spar will relieve you from having to be on the list for the remainder of the week.

I think a system like this would ensure that all ranked players have to combat spar every now and then, without knowing whom they will be facing, yet still allow them the option of picking the times when they feel up for fighting, without being pressured into a spar while they are occupied otherwise.


  • SylvanceSylvance Member Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    @Iocun: My question (as somebody who doesn't take part in the rankings) is "Does this go far enough to resolve the problem?" I think it's a great idea but I wonder what impact it would have on the final combat rankings. Is one anonymous spar a week enough?
    Tvistor: If that was a troll, it was masterful.
    I take my hat off to you.
  • IocunIocun Member Posts: 3,691 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited September 2013
    I don't know. The numbers aren't definite anyways and would have to be tested. But I also don't imagine that everyone who'd use this would only use it for a single spar per week. Some people would use it much more, the minimum requirement of one anonymous spar per week would be just to ensure that everyone participates at least sometimes. I just don't think it should be overdone and result in everyone wishing to be in the combat rankings having to spar all the time.

    People with busy real lives or many IC obligations may not be able to combat spar every day, but I think a single spar per week should be well manageable for anyone interested in competing in this manner.
  • ShunsuiShunsui Member Posts: 681 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    The only thing I don't really like is the two minute time frame on the anonymous challenges. You could be in the middle of something (testing, house/city meeting, defending in a raid, whatever) and get challenged, then lose your ranking simply because you have other obligations. Maybe give the option to deny an anonymous challenge once per hour, and make it so that an anonymous challenge can only be made once every half hour, this will allow the challenged to know that they need to wrap up or somehow get away from whatever they're doing, while still essentially forcing them to accept the challenge or lose points, as the challenger can challenge again before they can deny again.

  • IocunIocun Member Posts: 3,691 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited September 2013
    Exactly. You should only place yourself on the list when you actually have time to spar. If you get into a house meeting or interview a novice, go "sparoff c" again. The only issue I can see is people forgetting that they have placed themselves on the list and thus forgetting to remove themselves off it again, but I think people would learn to be aware of this pretty quickly. Maybe you could add something visual to the prompt that shows you that you are on the list at all times, so you don't forget.

    I wouldn't ever add myself to that list while I'm doing something truly interesting/important.

    If you make it easy to still avoid some challenges even though you placed yourself on the list, we'll again end up in a situation where people go sparon, just to get their remaining minutes ticking down, refuse the first challenge that comes their way and then go sparoff again, resulting in them never having to spar but still having got their "sparon time" down a bit.
  • ShunsuiShunsui Member Posts: 681 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    oh, I can't read apparently, lol. I thought the anonymous challenge auto-challenged the next person in rank from them, not the closest one on sparwho, whoops!

  • MishgulMishgul Trondheim, NorwayMember Posts: 5,378 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited September 2013
    this is totally the wrong thread for meowls


    One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important

    As drawn by Shayde
    hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae
  • AntoniusAntonius Member Posts: 5,040 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    This still seems like it would be pretty easy to game during the quieter times; just put yourself on the anonymous list, then get a friend to challenge you so you get an easy spar in. Also, would it still be subject to the same ranking restrictions as regular challenges?
  • IocunIocun Member Posts: 3,691 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Yeah, I guess it wouldn't make gaming the system completely impossible. Nothing would, probably. But like this, at least there's still a certain "risk" to the person gaming the system as you suggested to still be grabbed off by somebody other than his friend. And in contrast to how it currently works, gaming the system like that would require conscious collaboration with a friend, which already adds somewhat of a hurdle.

    As for the ranking restrictions - I'm undecided on that. I can see reasons for and against it.
  • NimNim Member Posts: 2,015 @@ - Legendary Achaean

    Also, could the underlying math be fixed up a bit?

    Currently, you're effectively penalized for not gaming the system. After X fights, your rating becomes a lot less mutable. This might debatably be great for a long-term system, but right now, it just penalizes people for being active combatants and fighting people they have a reasonable chance of losing against.

    Unless it changed since I last read it.

  • ShecksShecks Member Posts: 1,043 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    If this was implemented, I would take combat rankings a lot more seriously, and would definitely use it.
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