Developer Q&A - Grand Arena Championship Changes - 12/02

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CG_SBCrumb
680 posts EA Community Manager
edited December 2021
Hi Holotable Heroes,

The team is getting ready for the Q&A starting at 2:00pm Pacific (22:00 UTC) today. We have some new faces and some old ones to answer questions regarding the upcoming Grand Arena Championship changes. They have been hard at work answering many of your questions from the survey and I will start posting those as soon as possible. You can post any new questions in the thread and we will answer as many as we can when we start!

Today's Categories:
This Q&A is dedicated to all the questions related to the upcoming changes to Grand Arena Championships.
Who's Here Today:
  • CG_Jay - Lead Designer
  • CG_shortpaw - Director, Product Management
  • CG_Erik - Producer
  • CG_Coffee - Producer
  • CG_DojaFett - Community Manager
  • CG_SBCrumb - Sr. Community Manager

1:53 PM PT: Getting started shortly! Thanks for all the great questions so far.
2:00 PM PT: Alright starting to post answers and Doja is running through the thread.
2:55 PM PT: We are going to wrap up in the next 5-10 minutes here. Thanks again for all your questions. I will continue to post answers as the come in from the team
Post edited by CG_SBCrumb on

Replies

  • CG_SBCrumb
    680 posts EA Community Manager
    edited December 2021
    TOPIC: General Questions
    Q: What are the plans for fleet arena? Are Crystals moving or are planned to be moved from there as well?
    • A: At the moment, no. Fleet Arena will be unchanged when this update launches. In the future, it depends on the outcome and what we learn from this set of Grand Arena changes. Long term, we'd consider a similar change for Fleet -- but there are clearly a lot of related considerations, including: Fleet scale/diversity of tactics, what "new home" Fleet Arena would find, etc. -shortpaw

    Q: What happens if there is a larger than anticipated break from grand arena? Will we receive crystal compensation for the daily rewards we will miss?
    • A: Following these changes, GAC's schedule should be much more consistent. Without diving into scenarios & specific promises, if we have a major (multi-day) delay to GAC, we'll address with specific make goods. -shortpaw
    Q: DigitalLime here, the one and only. With feats being removed in the updated grand arena, have the devs looked into other ways that we can get portraits and titles? I know last conquest there was a way to get one portrait but other than that.
    • A:We still want to give away cool portraits and titles! We are exploring new ways to distribute these in the future. -Crumb
    Q: Are there any quality of life features coming for Auto-Deploy or Saved Defenses? Is there anything that will help us save time setting this us since it is much more important for us to get right?
    • A: Absolutely heard. We have a lot of Quality of Life and other features to continue improving GAC in the works, and hope to announce them as they're ready. This change was already massive, so many of these improvements didn't make it into this initial release but are still planned for the future. -Jay
    Q: Will level 85 players still be required to do 2 squad arena battle to fulfill daily challenges?
    • A: We are reducing the number of Squad Arena battles required for the 60+ Daily Quest down to 1 per day. -Coffee

    Q: When are we getting GAC/Arena changes?
    • A: These changes will go into effect on 12/08 and the first Grand Arena after that will start on 12/13

    Q: How are you going to address cheating in Grand Arena?
    • A: With the changes to GAC, we're putting more emphasis on competition - and fair and exploit free matches are very important to the integrity of the system. Cheat detection is a key focus, and we're continuing to develop further toolsets to prevent and detect cheating, as well as correcting the situation for those affected by cheating. The new GAC framework and Skill Rating system give us easier ways to detect cheating - and those caught cheating will be severely punished. We'll continue to diligently focus on anti-cheating efforts. -Erik

    Q: A lot of us folks are lower GP who can still take #1 daily and with the new GAC change we're basically getting less crystals income no matter what. Has there any consideration been made to the people who are more efficient in squad arena but don't have the right GP yet to get better rewards with the new GAC change now?
    • A: These GAC changes are about ensuring that every Player has reason and opportunity to compete against an equal foe and earn prizes for doing so. At the same time, this creates a true ranked ladder for SWGOH -- where top Players truly are the best.

      As Squad Arena aged, new "shards" have become dominated by a few multi-million GP Players (often within weeks), excluding the majority of New Players. It became less a "catch up" mechanism than a way to be a big fish in a small pond. The result was often two Players with identical collections competing for radically different Prizes simply based on when they installed.

      These GAC changes do alter the structure of competition in SWGOH, and so there are edge cases. As we called out in the Road Ahead, the Victory and Promotion elements of GAC are where different user states are handled in both Short and Long Term Rewards. Punching your way up to Kyber is about consistently excelling vs. your peer set. If you are "strong for your GP" at launch (eg. high rank in a moderately established shard) you should have quite strong squads vs. your same-GP peers, leading to (short term) "max" rewards and (long term) Promotion to higher-rewarded leagues.
      -shortpaw

    Q: How much testing have you done of the new system? Have you ran multiple seasons worth of the Matchmaking algorithm or is it purely theoretical?
    • A: When we took on this challenge, our first steps were to reach out across EA to find experts in matchmaking and skill systems. Due to the sheer population of GAC, most of our in-house testing has come through simulations based upon live accounts. However, note that we will be watching GAC closely over the upcoming seasons to make sure that it is tuned properly. -Jay

    Q: Since the matchmaking system will be based on "win/loss" ratio wouldn't that mean that there will be a possibility that players with less developed rosters will be matched against stronger opponents? Or there are also other factors in the new matchmaking system?
    • A: Skill Rating (Win and Loss) is the sole determining factor in the matchmaker, and Players should stabilize in the League and Division where they have a 50:50 win rate. In the theoretical case where someone has a "terrible" roster for their current GP - yes, this player may lose their opening matches in their initial League and Division. Skill Rating would then adjust them down to a more suitable league, where they can begin winning matches and earn Round Win and Event Win prizes. This is a problem fairly specific to this initial spin up; new Players coming in after this first season will generally begin working their way "up" from lower leagues and have a better chance to learn what squads are "good." -Jay
    Post edited by CG_SBCrumb on
  • CG_SBCrumb
    680 posts EA Community Manager
    edited December 2021
    TOPIC: Gameplay Questions

    Q: Can you confirm the starting league and division for this first new GAC will be based solely on the GP thresholds from the state of the galaxy last table?
    • A: Yes, starting League and Division will follow the thresholds listed in the State of the Galaxy. There is a much more granular table that will set a player's starting Skill Rating and that will determine who is matched together. -Jay

    Q: What happens if I hit 85 during an off week?
    • A: You'll immediately receive a Skill Rating and be assigned a League and Division (somewhere in carbonite). Your Daily Rewards per that League and Division should pay out as of the next payout time.
      Matchup scheduling is universal, so you'll receive your first match when the next season's matches start. -Jay

    Q: Can you confirm the starting league and division for this first new GAC will be based solely on the GP thresholds from the state of the galaxy last table?
    • A: Yes, starting League and Division will follow the thresholds listed in the State of the Galaxy. There is a much more granular table that will set a player's starting Skill Rating and that will determine who is matched together. -Erik

    Q: Will we have a separate bracket for 3v3 and 5v5? Some rosters may be more geared towards one of the game modes and Win/Loss ratios may vary greatly.
    • A: We are not planning on splitting 5v5 and 3v3 GAC brackets at this time but we will only be running 5v5 Grand Arenas while we monitor the initial tuning of the system. Once we run 3v3 we will keep a close eye on how this performs. -Jay

    Q: How do you intend to make sure players still set GAC defense since you are removing banners from placing defense? Since banners are no longer earned from placing Defense, what measures will there be to penalize players who leave zones empty to increase their attack roster? What happens if no Defenses are set?
    • A: Players facing empty Defenses will receive full credit for Defense or Zone. Not setting a Defense is a pretty surefire way to lose and after a while you'll be dropping Leagues and Divisions which means worse and worse rewards. -Jay

    Q: What happens if there is a larger than anticipated break from grand arena? Will we receive crystal compensation for the daily rewards we will miss?
    • A: Following these changes, GAC's schedule should be much more consistent. Without diving into scenarios & specific promises, if we have a major (multi-day) delay to GAC, we'll address with a make-good. -shortpaw

    Q: In the new format, are league and division sizes limited by A) percentage of active players, B) specific number of players or C) something else entirely? If "something else entirely", can you please explain?
    • A: Players will be evenly split by the population across the 5 Leagues. Inside of each League, Divisions are set to be 10/25/30/25/10%.

      Note this will not be exact, but the intent is to keep it close to these numbers and will be our goal with any future tuning of the system. -Jay


    Q: When you say that initial skill ratings are based on GP, does that mean that your actual GP number itself is your skill rating? Or is just anyone in your division (which is sorted by GP) a potential opponent? In Kyber 1 at launch, could it theoretically be possible for a 7.3M GP account to match against a 10M GP account?
    • A: For initialization, there is a table that looks up a Player's GP and converts it to a Skill Rating. This is much more fine-grained than just the Kyber-1 cutoff to address situations like you cite. The first few matches using this system will be the least tuned to your actual skill and roster, but the matchmaking system will quickly improve after a couple of rounds. While this first season under the new system will have some odd match ups, we expect that this kind of mismatch to be resolved very quickly and should be very accurate after 1-2 seasons. -Jay

    Q: How often will the matchmaking be reviewed to ensure that it is performing as intended?
    • A: Matchmaking will be monitored in an ongoing fashion. That said, an important point to note -- Skill Rating is based on Win/Loss, not a model of your collection. Making key improvements (say, finishing a Journey Guide character) won't immediately bump your Skill Rating -- rather, you should be able to win your next few matches, and your Skill Rating will adjust over time as you do so. -Jay

    Q: Have there been any thoughts on changing the grand arena event layout to be make fleets more active, possibly by moving them to the front line?
    • A: We definitely want to keep GAC's gameplay and strategy fresh. There are lot of ideas we hope to explore following up on these changes. -Coffee

    Q: Will leaderboards, promotion/demotion, and overall rankings be determined solely by skill rating, or will your scores still play a role (other than determining the winner of a round)?
    • A: Ties are still awarded to the higher-GP Player. Other than that, once your GP->League and Divisions seeding is done, your Round Win:Loss is the sole determinant of Skill Rating, and thus Leaderboard, Promotion, etc. -Jay

    Q: How are you handling inactive players? Are there changes to how we join GAC? If we miss the signup day, do we lose crystals for the week?
    • A: Players who miss a GAC Event (the 3-round, 8 person pool) will lose Skill Rating as though they had lost 2 times against an identical Skill Rating opponent (aka this gives 1 match of "miss forgiveness"). If a Player reliably misses GAC, their rating will drop each time. -shortpaw

    Q: Will the skill points be reset at the start of each GAC? If not, how will you prevent a player freshly promoted in Kyber to face the top players of the league during their first event?
    • A: Skill Rating does not reset between GAC's. The matchmaker looks to pit Players of similar Skill Rating within the League against one another. Once the system has run through a Season, we should not see Division 5 Players matched up against Division 1 Players.

    Q: How are ties going to be handled?
    • A: The rules for handling Ties are the same as before:
      If both Players have the same number of Banners, the higher GP Player wins.
      If both Players have the same GP, there is a coin flip to determine the winner."
      -Jay

    Q: Do Omicrons count toward matchmaking GP for GAC/TW?
    • A: Matchmaking for Grand Arena will be solely determined by Skill Rating. -Jay

    Q: Will you keep add slots to the playing fields as time goes by?
    • A: As rosters naturally grow, the amount of slots (and even potentially the map) will eventually need to evolve to keep up. -Coffee

    Q: Why doesn't the Matchmaker consider other factors, like my GP or specific squad compositions?
    • A: If aspects of your collection are meaningful to your strength in GAC, they'll show up in your ability to win. Skill Rating is a practical weighting of hundreds of factors, including your ability to use them effectively, as arbitrated by "Did it win?"

    Q: Can a player with 7,5m gp match with a player 9,5m gp? If so, don't u think it's unfair?
    • A: If the matchmaker pairs these two players, that means they have beaten (and lost to) similar opponents.

    Q: Is it solely win / lose or will it use the ELO system where it's win lost based on getting points for a while where you get more points for winning against a stronger opponent and less for winning against a weaker opponent?
    • A: We are using a modern bayesian matchmaking system, similar to those used by other modern competitive games. The Skill Ratings of both you and your opponent are taken into account in addition to the Win/Loss factor.

    Q: How does the banner per defeated enemy system work for fleets?
    • A: For Fleet, unsummoned reinforcements and unused reinforcement slot (due to low-star capital ships or otherwise) still grant the defeated enemy flag.
      As an example, consider the following:
      Defense Setup:
      Capital Ship
      - 6* Home One
      Starter Ships
      - Biggs X-Wing
      - HMF
      - Ghost
      Reinforcements
      - Phantom
      - Wedge X-Wing
      - <Unfilled Reinforcement>
      - <Unavailable Reinforcement>
      Scenario a)
      If the Attacker joins the battle and loses outright without destroying any defending ships, they should receive 2 banners for the missing Reinforcements. 1 Banner for each unused slot (1 for low cap ship stars slot, 1 for the unfilled slot)
      Scenario b)
      If the Attacker kills all 3 Starter Ships before any Reinforcements are deployed, the Attacker should receive the full 7 Banners for Defeated Enemies.

      (Also defeating a Capital Ship should not grant a Defeated Enemy Banner (e.g. Executor and Raddus))
      -Jay


    Post edited by CG_SBCrumb on
  • CG_SBCrumb
    680 posts EA Community Manager
    edited December 2021
    TOPIC: Reward Questions

    Q: When will the changes go into effect for Squad Arena vs Grand Arena - the daily averages that you give are across a whole season, however if you turn off SA at the outset then we lose the rewards immediately, and won't get them back until end of the GAC season.
    • A: Players will receive a Skill Rating, League and Division the first time they log in after they reach level 85. Once they have this League and Division, they will start getting Daily Rewards, even if a Grand Arena is not currently active. -Jay
    Q: What happens if I don't join / Can I just not join and get the daily reward forever?
    • A: If you don't join a GAC Event, your skill rating will drop as if you took 2 losses against an equal opponent. Effectively, this gives 1 round of "loss forgiveness" (eg 2 instead of 3), but ensures that Players who don't participate are moving down in rankings. This penalty is adjustable, so we'll be watching for irregularity and adjusting. But TLDR -- if you regularly miss Events, you will be demoted.
      (Aside: this is also why higher Leagues & Divisions also put increased emphasis on "Win" prizes)
      -Jay
    Q: What happens to our crystal income during the week that grand arena doesn't run?
    • A: Daily rewards continue during the off weeks. The tables in the State of the Galaxy show the 35 day averages for Crystal rewards (4 weeks on and 1 week off) and account for this week off. -shortpaw
    Post edited by CG_SBCrumb on
  • RESERVED
  • The wording on QGJ Omi has been bugging me. As it stands it literally means the team is unkillable without a GL. Since it says "jedi allies can't be defeated while QGJ is active" and we know from previous statements that you're considered an ally of yourself. I don't think this is how it's intended to work but it's what it literally says currently.
  • Breezy91 wrote: »
    The wording on QGJ Omi has been bugging me. As it stands it literally means the team is unkillable without a GL. Since it says "jedi allies can't be defeated while QGJ is active" and we know from previous statements that you're considered an ally of yourself. I don't think this is how it's intended to work but it's what it literally says currently.
    We are keeping this Q&A to GAC related questions today but since I'm here, it means all other Jedi allies

  • I love the Sqaud Arena being replaced with GAC! I'm only concern is I don't like Fleets included because so Executor can determine a match involving dozens of character sqauds. It's been frustrating win or lose to see that in recent GaCs and I'm bummed to see Fleet battles as part of the sqaud arenas replacement.
    Still good job! I'm glad to see the Arena replaced.
  • If we are a top 5 Squad Arena player every day right now, approximately how many less/more crystals will we be pulling in each day with these changes.
  • TOPIC: General Questions

    1. Can you please confirm that payout for fleet arena will remain as is.
    2. I have twice forgotten to join GAC because life happens. While this was bad, it wasn't devastating. It seems with these changes it will be much more devastating. Any thoughts to having an auto join system with a button to lock your mods and if you forget to lock them it just locks the mods you have at the start of the event?
  • TOPIC: General Questions

    First up, I really like all these upcoming changes. They sound perfect. GAC was always king.

    What I want to know is will people be automatically entered like Arena?
  • Ultra
    9542 posts Moderator
    Can i get 3 wishes on CG_Shortpaw
  • Do you intend to do anything about auto deploying? I can see where a start was made with the removal of banners for deploying and stopping progress, but that doesn't change the difficulty everyone else faces when the opponent's best characters in one team
  • What's the target time spent in game? GAC, LSTB, and Conquest overlapping is looking more and more problematic.

    Could you flip DS and LS TBs so we at least don't get LSTB and Conquest together?

    Will there original promise of being compensated what is lost due to cheaters from long ago be honored now that our crystal income is affected?

    Now that our income is tied to this, and GAC is meant to be an even more fair measure of skill, I assume that means getting rid of 3v3 since that's a gimmick more akin to the old TW bonuses from long ago. Right?

    Has there been a push to deal with crashes? They could potentially be more impactful than arena where you can just try again

    Is there any way to actually test the impact of any omicrons that are only useable in GAC/TW?
  • Rurik999
    2 posts Member
    edited December 2021
    TOPIC: General Questions



    1. In regards to initial seeding by GP. Will the the initial seeding by GP for GAC be on Dec, 13th when we hit join? When exactly is the seeding?

    2. Do you have plans to remove crystals from fleet arena within the next two years?

    Thank you.
  • First of all, I do really like GAC, yet sometimes will not always attack. With crystals shifting to GA, will GA be daily, so busy RL folks time their attacks on a normal human being, just like in Squad Arena?
  • Ultra wrote: »
    If CG is considering auto-joining, then autoset defense should set the weakest GP toons of a roster instead of top GP imo

    Hallelujah please devs give us this
  • How are new players (who reach level 85 after this GP-distribution) be placed in the Leagues?
  • TOPIC: Gameplay Questions

    Are we finally going to be allowed to fix defenses during the setup phase? It’s maddening that we still can’t do this. Also if people auto deploy will they finally have their weakest toons places? Facing a wall of their top end toons is ridiculously unfair now more than it ever was
  • Joebo720
    406 posts Member
    edited December 2021
    With the removal GP divides, what are the long term projections of how GAC player placement ends up? No matter how "skilled" you believe you are someone with 20% more GP just has a better roster plain and simple. Logic says you will hit a ceiling and be 50/50 and just stay there. Is this really the design intent?
  • Can you go into more detail on the GAC matchmaking?

    Besides a player's League, Division, and Skill Rating, are there any other factors that determine their matchups (GP, roster construction, number of Galactic Legends, etc.)?

    For example, a few GAC seasons down the line, will a skilled, 4 million GP player with 0 GLs realistically be matched up against players with 6 million GP and 2+ GLs under the new matchmaking system?
  • Do you get more skill points based on total “banners” in a win vs opponent? Do you get more skill points based on margin of victory?

    Or are skill points pure win loss?
  • TVF
    31752 posts Member
    edited December 2021
    Ultra wrote: »
    If CG is considering auto-joining, then autoset defense should set the weakest GP toons of a roster instead of top GP imo

    Is this a Q?
    The CGDF is no more. Now we hate CG because of the change to the shipment tab. Say hi in our Discord! https://discord.gg/AmStGTH
  • Ultra
    9542 posts Moderator
    TVF wrote: »
    Ultra wrote: »
    If CG is considering auto-joining, then autoset defense should set the weakest GP toons of a roster instead of top GP imo

    Is this a Q?
    Good question

    but we are keeping this Q&A to GAC related questions today
  • TVF
    31752 posts Member
    Ultra wrote: »
    TVF wrote: »
    Ultra wrote: »
    If CG is considering auto-joining, then autoset defense should set the weakest GP toons of a roster instead of top GP imo

    Is this a Q?
    Good question

    but we are keeping this Q&A to GAC related questions today

    I wasn't expecting an A.
    The CGDF is no more. Now we hate CG because of the change to the shipment tab. Say hi in our Discord! https://discord.gg/AmStGTH
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