From our Feature Producer:
We’ve been spending a lot of time internally looking qualitatively and quantitatively at player interactions with Grand Arena over the last several months in preparation for the release of Grand Arena Championships. While we’ve mostly focused on adding a layer of progression, variety and competition to the existing feature, one thing we’ve gotten plenty of feedback from players about is making changes to matchmaking.
Over the last few months, we’ve leaned much more heavily into Galactic Power as a matchmaking component because we saw that many players were concerned about the fairness of going up against a player with a meaningfully different collection size. This has resulted in a lot of fun, close matches, and very few “blowouts”, but it has also led to a bit of a disconnect in some players’ expectations, and resulted in some degenerative behavior patterns as a result.
Specifically, we’ve heard a lot from players who feel that GA matchmaking penalizes them for “going broad” – for building out a wide, diverse collection of characters and ships – and reduces the incentive to explore building up new squads, new mod sets, and new priorities. This is not something that we want to proliferate, and starting with the next update, we’re going to address it.
Starting with the first Grand Arena Championship, we are going to slightly reduce the weighting of pure GP in the matchmaking system for GA, in favor of a larger set of variables intended to make players feel less like Grand Arena is punishing players for going broad. If you are working on newer or lower-powered squads, the matchmaking system will be much less likely to count those efforts towards matching you with an ideal opponent, and you will be less likely to be paired up with a player who a) looks just like you GP-wise, but b) has instead spent all of their efforts optimizing a smaller handful of squads. (Those players will still be rewarded for their strategy in Grand Arena, but they’ll be matched up against someone who looks more like them.)
The change won’t be drastic – in most cases, players should still have GP that is pretty close to that of their opponent – but now several other factors will be in play. We’ll then look at GA results and player feedback and iterate on the system after future Grand Arena Championships (more on the Championship structure and length soon!)
Finally, we’ve also been looking at the number of defenses required in several GP brackets, particularly for players with smaller collections. If we end up making adjustments there, we will write up our intent and planned changes in a separate post.
Thanks to all of you who have provided constructive feedback on matchmaking – in closed betas, playtests, in-game and in the community at large. We’re looking forward to consistently improving our matchmaking so that Grand Arena remains an exciting and evolving new mode within the game!