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Archive: Player Ranking Report

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Another page resurrected from the Archives. This report was compiled at Blizzard North's request, to organize the wishes, hopes, and thoughts of players about how a Diablo II ranking system would/should work. We know that Blizzard looked it over, but whatever they thought of it, or whatever ideas they had for player rankings themselves, there wasn't time to implement anything more than the simple level ranking ladder system before the game's release.

Payer Suggestions for Player Rankings

Report for Blizzard North - 25 September 1998

From analysis of all input, it has been decided that the ranking system would be best served by being divided into two separate sections. One for Player vs. Player combat in the arena, and one for Player vs. Monster combat in regular games.

Arena Combat

a. Regular and Ladder games, like in Starcraft. (Regular for practice and to gain sufficient wins to be ranked via ladder games.)

b. Ladder game rankings would be much like SC ladders, with weighting for current player ranking, and perhaps class (if they prove unbalanced).

c. Class specific ladders. (Unless characters can be balanced for pvp combat as well or better than Terran/Zerg/Protoss were.)

d. Level segregated ladders (1-30, 31-40, 41-50+? Smurfing will be a bigger problem than in SC, with the perpetual characters and the ability to load up a new character with extremely good items/elixirs, etc.)

e. Numerous tile sets. [option for random generation (within limits, as a island sort of set would be nice for Sorceresses, but less useful for Paladins) multiple starting points, variety of terrain/obstacles/appearance/size, perhaps some with minor monsters for annoyance/strategy.)

f. Safe starting areas. (Fair combat impossible if Quake-style 'camping' is possible.)

g. Support for teams. Would require a separate ladder with permanent teams of 2 or more. (As games will be much quicker than SC games, alliances need not be supported in FFA games, and I don't see any easily accomplished way to fairly rank individuals in FFA games.

h. Free For All options for less-organised pk fun. (Informal alliances would rule here.) Game creation options to set item drop/no drop. (If everything is dropped, arenas would be seen as too risky and therefore be under-utilised. Perhaps drop 1 random equipped item upon defeat depending on game creation setting?)

i. Setting for 2 out of 3 falls (or 3/5, 4/7, etc) per game in 1 on 1 combat. (Players would have some option to revert to entry for round 2+ several seconds after one was dead. Provisions for rearranging equipment, restocking belt and inventory, etc, would be needed.) This is needed as combat is so much quicker/chancier in D2 than SC, and 2/3, 3/5, etc games are popular in SC anyway. Also, with games so much faster and new accounts so easily created, ladder abuse will be even more rampant than in SC, and this will give people a chance to have a real competition between 2 characters before the winner is decided and ladder points awarded.

Comments on arena games

a. Only the top level ladders will be legit, with smurfing, attribute maxed and skill-tree specialised chars camping at lvl 29, etc.

b. Exp requirements for equipping top quality items would help with smurfing and game balance. (IE, lvl 40+ required to equip the best uniques and items, lvl 30 for very nice regular items, etc. Include greater likelihood of the game seeding quality-drops when created by high level chars, rather than the random time generation of D1?)

Other fun things not directly related to the ranking system

a. Other arena type games. Capture the flag, defend an area (with appropriate castle/fortified tile set).

b. Divided arena games, for team or 1 on 1 play. IE a curtain (can't see through even with infravision type spell) divides the arena (into 2 or 3 or 4+ sections) for some set time, allowing for defensive positioning, ambushes, potion/weapon caching, etc. Divider vanishes either randomly or after a timer countdown.

c. Be great to have some option to view arena games for non-participants. This is greatly desired in Starcraft for championship games, and would seem easier to implement in D2 with the much smaller arena sets and much shorter games.

d. Be nice if pvp damage was adjusted from pvm damage. Dueling in D1 was less-than-satisfying due to extremely short battles. Stun lock from arrows, 1000hp fireballs, etc, could turn duels into '1st hit always wins'. Damage was designed to work perfectly with monsters, not so well with players. Say all damage from pvp is cut by 1/4 or 1/2, or more finely adjusted, to allow for strategy and possible escapes in combat, rather than 3 hits = dead?

Game (PvM) Combat Rankings

a. Things to count for rankings: Monsters killed, time elapsed out of town (Counting time spent in town would penalise for socialisation and player interaction, and D2 shouldn't always be a race.), Potions Consumed/Heals, Deaths. (Counting speed and potions/heals is necessary to defeat the exploits of scoring very highly from extremely cautious/slow play, or very rapid, high-risk/death-intensive play. This also assumes no res-penalties, which would provide sufficient penalty for overly-risky play if they were implemented.)

b. Weight everything by difficulty level, Act #, Monster type, Players in Game, Character level.

c. Like the ladder and regular Arena games, there should be ladder and regular PvM games, though I don't see any need to require 10 of them to be played before they could start to count towards your char's ladder ranking.

d. Penalty for 'pvp switch' [If it is included in any form (including game creation option) there should be a penalty in exp gained per kill, AND especially in any sort of player ranking derived from the game, to compensate for the easier game play and no-worry of friendly-fire or other types of pk'ing/player interference.]

Comments on Game Rankings

a. Healing others, resurrecting others, and pvp combat (In-game, as opposed to Arena) should not be ranked due to the ease of exploitation.

b. Quality of items found, equipment being used, quests completed, bonus for killing bosses, and many other suggestions can't very fairly be computed due to the random game generation process and ease of exploitation.

Other related comments

a. Award exp and the derived player ranking stats from % damage done to each killed monster, with special provisions for stone curse and golem type spells.

b. Keep permanent player records of monster's killed, time in game, gold possessed, and swing/shot accuracy. [MK records like in D1, but NOT-resetting each new play session, though monster resistances/hps displayed should reset. Gold possessed ever, IE from picking it up or from selling items, since even with some bag of holding, carrying all gold will not/should not be possible. (Only 1st person to hold gold/item-sold for gold gets credit, but other exploits would be buying items, giving to other players, they sell them, then get credit for the gold?) These stats more for fun than any sort of official ranking.]

c. Include some in-game pk-counter that would be displayed in bnet channels also. (Not including Arena games; including hits on other players and kills of other players.) This would give people some information on who pk's are and aren't w/o needing pvp switch. Need hits/kills ratio to determine friendly fire from pk'ing, and since magic and missiles are easier to accidentally get hits with.

d. Use pk-counter to create notoriety system with titles. Easier than reading pk-counter stats.

e. Some player ranking stats displayed in bnet chat, (IE favourite levels, frequency of deaths, etc). This would make it much nicer to pick someone to play with who was near your play style/ability level.

f. Draconian punishments for known cheaters. Bnet banning for a time/permanently, character deletion, etc. (Blizzard employees could spot check by going undercover in public games, and/or implement some sort of game scanning device to detect cheats. With char data stored on Server, account/character deletion would be easy and if no exp+ hacks are utilised, deletion of a lvl 40 char would be very effective punishment.) This suggestion has received heavy and unanimous support.

g. Semi-public games. Some sort of "friends/enemies" list kept for players, where known cheaters, pk's, etc could be put on a list by the game creator, and enemies banned from joining the game, or the opposite sort of list, where only people on the game-creator's good list could join the game.

Final comments

This list has been compiled from numerous player emails, observations of public forum activity, and other research. It is believed to be complete, in terms of possessing (or at least referring to) all current established ideas and arguments, not including every minor variation. If you have any comments or well-thought out additions, send them in asap, as this article and the supporting emails it is largely based on will be submitted to Max Schaefer, Blizzard North VP, quite soon.