Theory: Ranking within a Rivals Division Matters. Significantly.

Content of the article: "Theory: Ranking within a Rivals Division Matters. Significantly."

I’m a mathematician that programs statistical models for a living. The more I’ve played div rivals, the more I’ve noticed a certain trend in matchmaking within a division. The quality of opponent that you face at the bottom and top of a division is impacted tremendously by where you are in said division. Far more than you should expect.

I think it’s pretty well understood that Elo is used in WL after the first five games to determine matchmaking pairs. The more games you win, the more likely you are to face a difficult (similarly ranked) opponent.

In Rivals, my thought would be that this wouldn’t be the case. Your division is your division and you should get a random player from within that division regardless of your skill rating.

With that, though, I will give one caveat. Your team ranking almost certainly impacts the likelihood in which you face a certain opponent. If your team has a high overall rating (say 94-95), you are likely to face another another high rated team and vice versa. While I disagree that this should be the case, it’s played out consistently enough in the community where many people believe this to be a hard fact in both rivals and WL. But even if you disagree on this, it doesn’t impact the overall theory.

To the original point…I strongly believe that your skill rating (and possibly some sort of Elo) greatly impacts who you are matched against in Rivals.

I’ve played over 2000 games this year and the following has been a consistent experience for me. I’ll use my most recent run of games as an example, but this general principle has held true all year. I’m D7 right now. I’m absolutely destroying my opponents when I’m in the middle of the division. We’re talking 6-0ish halftime rage quits most games or 9-2 if we go to full time. This is game after game after game.

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The moment, however, I’m in reach of the next division, I end up with the sweatiest games imaginable. I’ll win some, but others I’ll just get crushed. And to a degree, that’s fair. I ran into other similar or better quality player. But the problem, in my opinion at least, is that it kind of devalues the idea of divisions if the matchmaking within the division isn’t mostly random. Especially when the moment you make it to the next division, games become easy again

If you, are on avg, say a D5 player, over time you should naturally rise to D5 and it should happen fairly quickly. What I’ve seen however, is that at the top of a division (say D9) you end up facing the very best players is D9, many of which have self regulated and belong nowhere near that division, which makes it much slower to move up to the next division. Once you lose a couple games, you’ll end up facing the players that actually belong in the division.

This isn’t a huge deal to me, but it is an annoyance. It would be nice if I was usually matched against players of similar skill levels rather than going back and forth between destroying opponents and getting destroyed myself.



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