Friday, November 19, 2010

WorldWinner Foul, Not Fair Matching System

Before we bash WorldWinner’s competitive fair matching system, we must give "some" credit to the powers that be; WW has made an attempt (and we use the term loosely) at striking a competitive balance on the popular skill gaming site, but there are several factors that still undermine the credibility of the system.

According to unofficial reports from Worldwinner, the current competitive matching system was developed by some of the best of the best at MIT. The MIT credentials (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) are much more impressive than the product thats currently being applied to competitive skill gaming.

Cheaters exist on the site, and the "cheating attribute" undermines the credibility of fair play. Keeping the site void of cheats is surely a challenge, but WW generally fails at removing them in a timely manner. Cheats, although scarce, are stealing from honest players and their actions undermine the credibility of the site, as well as fair matching!

The Win-One, Lose Ten Scenario is difficult to digest, and is another strike against Fair Matching Credibility.  Average skill gamers can sometimes win one decent prize amount, and are subsequently moved up in "skill gaming rank".  Ten to twenty game losing streaks are quite common on the site if you aren’t careful.  In other words, win $20 bucks; lose $40 before you are moved back to a more competitive/fair skill division.   

Multiple entry tournaments (excluding daily delights) can be both good and bad!  If you can afford 5 or 6 entry fees for a particular tournament, then the odds of winning a prize increase significantly.  We call foul on this for two reasons! First, a players bankroll shouldn’t have an affect on the overall outcome of a game.  While some might disagree; skill gaming shouldn't necessarily be about "out-spending" your competition. The “fair” element of a competition is removed when one player can play until they get a certain board layout to win. Secondly, we are not under the clear impression that everyone receives the same game board upon the first entry of a tournament. Ask the big spenders, and they will tell you they love the system as is; ask a budget player, and he would probably tell you that he is being tired of being out-spent by a player who has entered a tournament 5 times. 
Scoring potential boards and game memorization elements weigh heavily on ones ability to compete fairly on the site. Once again, this is another black eye for the “Fair Matching System”!  With enough of a bankroll, you can play some of the games to the point of repetition. For example; if a player were to gain enough experience playing Wheel of Fortune, the player could begin to see some of the puzzles repeat. That is CLEARLY advantageous when you're playing against a player who has not memorized all the puzzles. While memorization can be considered a skill, WW should not “teach the test” so to speak! The FMS uses win amounts as a key metric in determining skill divisions.  A newbie who wins a few games in a lower division will eventually be matched with someone who has memorized all of the boards.  At that point, the fair matching system becomes compromised. Players that compete in the higher skill divisions (elite divisions) have a competitive advantage over lesser experienced players.

We aren’t really big fans of “same scoring potential” boards either.  Two game boards may have the same “overall” scoring potential, but it is certainly possible that one board is more difficult for me, than it is for you. Except in cases where the same boards cannot be offered for integrity reasons, players should receive the exact same board in a given tournament.

Multiple divisions at the same time? It IS possible to be matched in different skill divisions  while playing limited entry games versus unlimited entry games. I'm not a fan of this particular set up because it tends to suggest that WHAT you WIN is more important than your actual skill level.  While it's understandable that unlimited entry games can accommodate wider skill ranges; gamers should be afforded the chance of winning the overall top prize.
As an example, we use a scenario of skill Division I players versus skill Division II players. In unlimited entry tournaments, it is not uncommon for Division I and Division II players to be co-mingled, but the Division II players are unlikely to win the overall tournament. While the number of players that compete in certain games may be limited, we don't necessarily feel like those players should be unfairly matched because of limited participation..
Regardless if you believe the current system works or not, overall, it is unfair to the majority. Arguably, you would want a system that’s seemingly fair to the majority, not the minority! More specifically, the current system should be labeled Foul Matching System! Credit WorldWinner for attempting to develop an adequate system, but the system isn’t working.  It’s great to have tournaments that end in a timely manner, but tournaments shouldn’t end, just for the sake of ending. In other words, gamers should never be out-matched in order to fill spots and close tournaments. While no system is going to be completely fair for everyone, the current system seems to only be fair for players that are in the top 10 percent (a generous assessment) of the site. 
Fair Matching assigns gamers to divisions and or subdivisions to ensure competitive balance amongst players.  The system incorporates factors such as; experience, scoring potential, win percentage, and various other secret, undeclared metrics. WorldWinner guards the Fair Matching Formula as if it is the secret recipe for the Colonels Fried Chicken, but it would be hard to argue against why they do it. In defense of WW, skill gamers would exploit the system if they knew all of the inter workings.  As it currently stands though; WW could try a bit harder to explain why gamers are often over matched in competitions. For this, and many other reasons, we must call “Foul” on WW’s FMS.

**Our content is reflective of our opinions and experiences with the site.  WorldWinner, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation, and hosts daily online skill gaming competitions! 

No comments:

Post a Comment