17 Days 2 Hrs Remaining

After having broken through the 1400 three times and subsequently being forced back into the 1300s and 1200s due to AFK and initiated losses, I've had to rethink my strategy. Here I'll talk about what changes I've made and why I'm making them, plus a few thoughts on the current ELO scoring setup.

The previous incarnation of Blade Rush, for reference:

Attack Team: Agent (Tactician), Modern Colossus (Bruiser), Mockingbird
  • Agent Loadout: Commander Trench, Phoenix Pinion (PP), Chrono Overdrive (CO), Arc Reactor (AR), Quantum Jumper (QJ)
AFK Team: Agent (Infiltrator), Modern Colossus (Bruiser), Emma Frost (Tactician, original suit)
  • Agent Loadout: Commander Trench, PP, Phoenix Flame (PF), Magnetic Field Generator (MagFG), QJ

This has worked out quite well for me, but recent shifts in AFK builds have forced me to reconsider.

Two shifts, in particular, came about and created a lot of problems for me. First was the seeming tweak done to Emma Frost's AI, as now she does Mental Trauma far more often than she used to. This severely limited my ability to one-shot anyone, and at the same time dealt significant damage to my entire team.

Second was the proliferation of accounts utilizing Power of Four (Po4) and either Phoenix Pinion (PP) or Rocket Pistol (RP). This created situations for me where I was caught with more threats than I could handle at once (usually a Generalist Agent with the above setup and Mockingbird).

Apart from these, I was faced with the problem of taking AFK losses while using my Attack config. While that config did win a few AFK matches, it was never designed to function as such, and at times it would lose 5 straight AFK matches to the tune of -100+ ELO. Not the best of things to look forward to after a good night's sleep.

I needed a way to deal more damage to more targets at once, a way to address the problem of threat density. I also needed to make the build more responsive to an AFK situation.

And what better way to answer the use of Po4 than by using a Po4 build of my own?

Attack Team: Agent (Tactician), Modern Colossus (Scrapper), Mockingbird
  • Agent Loadout: Commander Trench, Phoenix Pinion (PP), Po4, Arc Reactor (AR), Quantum Jumper (QJ)
AFK Team: Agent (Infiltrator), Modern Colossus (Scrapper), Mockingbird
  • Agent Loadout: Commander Trench, PP, Po4, AR, QJ

Yup, I decided to use only one team for both offense and defense. The AI has lately been a bit more discerning on when/how to use Po4, and I figure the worst it could do was go Po4-QJ-AR-PP-PP-dead, even so the AR-PP sequence should at least knock out one toon, and the second should harm another significantly.

If anything, Blade Rush it teaching me how to properly time Mockingbird's Critical Intel and how to abuse the Critical Intel buff and Weak Point debuff. The game plan now is a bit trickier, since the decision trees depends greatly on the turn sequence, but I personally love being able to knock off two toons in one go - and still having MB's and Colossus' QJ turns available.

Leaving it on AFK now, and hoping for the best.

15 Days 15 Hrs Remaining

Actually managed to get to 1500+ by grinding the matches, going as high up as 1023. in Ranking. Wound up losing 70+ ELO while AFK, splitting my defenive games 7-8. Still, the takeaway from this is that it is *entirely* possible to achieve Adamantium, even at my level.

This is in part due to a noticable shift in the ELO gap between myself and my opponents. Either PD has fixed the match pairing sytem, or the average scores of players at my level have simply gone up - either way, the result is that losses aren't nearly as painful as they used to be. Consider: going 7-8 under the old setup where wins counted for less than 10 each, I could have easily lost more than 100 ELO instead of just 70+.

These results have been highly encouraging! =)

~ ~ ~

I mentioned earlier that I was going to talk about my thoughts on the current ELO scoring setup. Truth is, I was planning to include that in the original entry, but just forgot. ^_^'

Anyway here goes: Prior to this encouraging AFK run, AFK wins netted dismal ELO gains, while losses meant huge penalties. This, to me, was imbalanced. Losing just for being AFK shouldn't be so heavily penalized.

In another forum, PKB mentioned his vew that AFK wins should net more points (being more difficult to achieve, since we rely on team/Agent setups and the AI), while AFK losses should be toned down (again, disparity in difficulty). I agree, and I think PD should simply apply an ELO score modifier that doubles AFK ELO gains from wins, and halves ELO score penalties from AFK losses. Shouldn't be hard to implement, since it's a straight-up modifier. The alternative is to fix win/loss scores, and adjust the amounts accordingly for AFK wins or losses (e.g. +12 for initiated wins, -12 for initiated losses; +24 for AFK wins, -6 for AFK losses.

Thoughts on this are welcome in the Comments. =)

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