Vainglory News

Matchmaker Part Deux: With a Vengeance


Patch 1.6 is here and with it comes two new match queues–Casual and Ranked.  Much has changed since my last article on matchmaking, so I thought it was time for a new article. We’ll discuss how each queue works and the differences between before and now. In the wise words of Mario Mario, “Here we go!”

How Matchmaking Works (Recap)

Everyone’s account has a hidden score called an Elo rating. This rating goes up and down depending on your opponent’s rating and whether you win or lose. Matchmaker tries to match everyone with the closest ratings together, for the most “fair” match. When you win, you gain Elo, when you lose, you lose Elo. The amount gained or lost depends on the difference in rating between your team and the opposing team. How it is different in 1.6 is that you now have two Elo scores. One for ranked and one for casual. For existing players, your 1.5 skill tier immediately became your ranked Elo rating and skill tier.  Your casual Elo starts at your 1.5 skill tier as well. For new players, both ratings start at zero. Games in casual mode will affect your hidden casual Elo, while games in ranked queue will affect your skill tier.

Casual Queue

The intention for casual queue is to have a way to learn new heroes, play experimental builds, and have a fun time with friends. You’re now able to do all of that without worrying about losing your precious skill tier. All new players start out here as well. This is why you might add someone after a casual match and see they are “Ask again later”, but in reality their casual Elo may be Pinnacle of Awesome if they’ve consistently won games in casual queue. Casual queue has all the same rewards as ranked. You can get your First Win, Third Win, and Sinister Seven glory bonuses from casual queue. You still get cards, experience, and karma as well.

Ranked Queue

This is for the tryhards. This is where you play competitively. Your objective here is to win, every time. You get the same rewards as casual queue, except this time it affects your skill tier. There are three requirements to play ranked:

1) You must be account level 10

2) You must be karma level 10

3) You must own at least three heroes

What’s new in 1.6 is that you can now see your exact skill tier via a progress bar. This updates after every match! You will know exactly when you go up or down, no more waiting for 5 matches!


Another difference in the new ranked queue is that you cannot enter ranked with a party member that is more than 1 skill tier away from you. This is to ensure matches are more even.

Interview with SupriseBirthday

I had the pleasure of getting some of my questions answered by SurpriseBirthday, one of the co-founders of SEMC.

keldegar: In ranked, is there a “2:57” mechanic? LostBoyToph told me that their party queues at Vainglorious skill tier have always popped after 9:50. Is this the new “2:57” for ranked?

SurpriseBirthday: [Yes], I believe 9:50 is the new 2:57 in ranked. We increased the timer to force higher quality matches via longer wait times. But we may adjust this if that number isn’t right.

keldegar: Why are some people getting queues longer than 10 minutes? Reference: (12 & 18 minute queues). DeiNomine also had a queue longer than 10 minutes as well at tier 8 bronze.

SurpriseBirthday: We’ve been running matchmaker experiments at different times of the day. 9:50 is default, but maybe another config was running at that time?

keldegar: In ranked, does it try to match full teams more aggressively against teams than the old matchmaker? My friends who have been having very odd skill tier match ups primarily solo queue. For example, DrEvil had a solo queue ranked match at tier 9 bronze, and his teammate was tier 1. No joke. Sorry I don’t have a screenshot, it was probably too long ago. People who are in a full party seem to have less issues and faster queue times.

SurpriseBirthday: Sounds like a straight up bug….that really shouldn’t happen. Our two chief Matchmaker engineers have been working on it all week. This could be the result of their tinkering, but we are definitely tinkering with it.

keldegar: Are most of the issues right now with ranked play due to people just not playing ranked? Low population is causing these bad match ups and frustration?

SurpriseBirthday: Yes, having too few users in the Ranked queue is definitely a source of problems. But it seems very sporadic. Most of the time I am matching quickly across various Elos (I can set my Elo to whatever I want and test how long matching takes)

keldegar: Is there anything else regarding matchmaking that we players should know about?

SurpriseBirthday: Please be patient with us. This is a challenging piece of tech. Too few players and you lack volume to make good matches, too many players and the machine collapse[s] under sheer volume. It’s a vital piece of engineering that we take as seriously as say, making a game engine, but the matchmaker is much newer than our game engine.

Final Thoughts

I am loving the new casual queue. I played so many games during the double glory weekend in casual queue, and it was a blast! I haven’t had much luck in ranked, so I’ve been avoiding it for now. However, I am seeing many of the players on my friends list climb in skill tier, so something is definitely working for them. One thing is for sure, with the new queues and skins, I have definitely stopped playing my other accounts. There’s just no reason to have multiple accounts anymore.

SurpriseBirthday also asked for patience, as they are working out the bugs and see how the population shakes out. A bit of good news, during the Android launch, we found out that there were 1.5 million monthly users on iOS alone! That’s amazing! We just officially launched and we’re already at that number. Things are definitely looking good for the future of Vainglory. I can’t wait!

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