From our Feature Producer:
(This is a continuation of information about Grand Arena Championship. If you haven’t read them already, please read the previous posts here and here, as some presumptions are made about understanding their context in this post.)
Grand Arena Championships are a five-week series of Grand Arena events and Feats. Our goal is for the experience to feel like a normal Grand Arena event with a few bells and whistles, and then gradually ratchet up the competition and drive for the players who make it up to higher leagues in later events, until by the end of a Championship, it feels like the sharpest competition that the game has to offer. In this post, we’re going to talk about GP Divisions, a feature that enables us to curate the best experience (AND relevant rewards) for all Grand Arena players regardless of their time in game or collection size.
Your Division is simply your GP bracket at the start of each Championship. Divisions are set the rules and rewards that you are chasing each Championship. Your Division will be reevaluated at the start of each Championship and you’ll receive greater overall rewards the higher the Division you qualify for. You can’t change your Division until the next Championship, but you can reach higher leagues (Bronzium, Chromium, Kyber, etc) within that Division during a Championship to receive better rewards. As your GP creeps up across the five-week championship, your Division will still not change. Leagues are fundamentally the milestones for you to focus on as a player within a Championship. Also note - your inventory is not locked during the Championship (inventory locking per Grand Arena round still follows the same rules), but your Division is.
This is essentially because we want to provide different rewards and different scoring mechanisms for players, more or less based on the number of squads they are able to field and the rewards and tradeoffs that are relevant to them. And now that matchmaking is less directly impacted by overall GP (see our earlier post on this), this essentially means that outside of optimizing the squads you are using in Grand Arena, your GP is something that you can still work on in the long-term without worrying about its impact on your Championship progress.
What does this mean practically? Essentially, Divisions allow us to do a couple of things:
- Divisions allow banners to matter at all GP levels towards Championship Score – enough to create a small amount of pressure to optimize attacks & defenses, but not too much pressure to take the focus off of winning the match. A 2M GP player and a 5M GP player are very different in terms of their ability to be flexible and optimized on earning the most banners – we need to be able to treat their banner scoring differently so that it doesn’t feel unbalanced on either end. (We’ll be paying close attention to this balance and will likely make adjustments after our first “exhibition” championships.)
- Players will get a set of rewards that are a better fit for their lifecycle needs. A long-term goal of ours to get players more relevant rewards based on how far along they are in the game and what specific grinds they are facing. We are starting to pursue this conservatively at first in our Promotion Feat Rewards (consisting of crystals and a set amount of gear), but over time the Division system allows us to begin executing against this long-term goal to create a better sense of progression through various resource management challenges. (E.G. those of you who are over the Holoprojector hump get less bogged down in rewards you can’t use.) Again, we are only just beginning to execute on this goal, and we’ll be able to share more in the future after this update is in players’ hands.
- Players should never feel incentivized to tank their GP before or during a Championship, since a higher GP division means better rewards. This, combined with the move away from raw GP in matchmaking, should result in less last-minute weirdness and closer, fairer matches.
- If the GP difference across players is great enough, the matchmaking will also default to the lowest-number of defenses required by division between the two players (Note: only the very best-performing low-GP players are likely to encounter this, however). Players who are good enough to end up getting matched with higher-GP players will be able to do so on a more level playing field.
- Most importantly, Divisions should create a long-term goal for players and their collections, so that we can reward elite GAC players regardless of the size of your collection, while still encouraging the newer players to build out more and more teams, chase PvE content, and master more characters/ships/squads. We don’t want the only players hitting Kyber League to be the ones with the biggest collections - younger players who consistently beat their opponents, complete Feats and optimize their play should have a shot at glory too.
We have tried to match the number of defenses required and the League Promotion thresholds to fit each Division effectively, and are looking forward to seeing how players clear these hurdles across all GP levels.
Alongside Grand Arena Championships, we’ve invested heavily in leaderboards, in order to provide a strong competitive background that does not simply just recreate the dynamics of Squad Arena and Fleet Arena, but still essentially feels like a competition. GAC will launch with four leaderboard types – Global, My Ranking, Guild, and Ally.
The Global Ranking is just that – a snapshot of the top 50 players in each League, per Division, ranked by Championship Score. It updates in near-real-time as players get promoted into higher and higher Leagues, and resets at the start of each Championship. Your ranking and basic stats will always be visible in GAC Leaderboards so that you can compare your progress against the very best across Leagues, rankings and even Divisions.
My Ranking is the same ranking as Global, but extending down to where you are in the ranking of Championship Score, in your rank and Division. (Unless of course, you’ve hit the Top 50, in which case you’ll show up in Global too. Congrats, by the way.) This way, even if you are not one of the top players, you can see what you have to do to climb the ranks into a higher ranking. We should also note that reaching certain rank thresholds in a League result in slightly higher rewards – and we have plans to eventually further reward the very highest players in Kyber in each Division.
Finally, Guild and Ally leaderboards operate across Divisions and Leagues and provide a bit of friendly competition between you and your guildmates, or you and the list of allies/friends/shardmates/nemeses that you can customize. We’re not rewarding based on these leaderboards at this time but are looking forward to incidental competition and fun amongst friends separate from the hard-edged competition of the global leaderboard!
Thanks for sticking with this long, detailed post, and stay tuned for more information on the Grand Arena Championships schedule and Exhibition Championships in the next couple of days!