Final ELO score: 1633. Final PvP Ranking for Season 1: 4612th Place, Vibranium League.
At certain points in this Season, I did manage to climb all the way into Adamantium League, only to get pulled back down. A number of players here in this Wiki (I'll leave it to them if they want to announce it) also made it to Adamantium and exerted superhuman effort to stay in.
What did I do right, and where did I go wrong? And where did PD go wrong in all this?
Where I Went Wrong
- First, I didn't follow my own game plan of accumulating Challenge Points with the last day in mind. Granted, there was a mitigating factor to this (more on this in Where did PD Go Wrong), but I should have still overestimated my need for additional resources rather than underestimate it. Towards the last few hours, I had very little Challenge Points left with which to fend off the surge of AFK attacks.
- Second, I panicked at the sight of Grief. I went through several failed lineup changes before I settled on Ver. 3 of Blade Rush (seeing P5 Tac Emma instead of Mockingbird). With the Practice function down, I had to live-test all of those lineups, costing me a significant chunk of ELO.
What I Did Right
- I used a reasonably strong setup and ran with it. It could have been improved by a Dark Sigil (for additional damage reach, and so I could have used Emma off the bat and not rely on MB's Critical Insight) as PKB suggested in his Dark Rush setup, but overall I was happy to have been able to utilize a good team and Agent setup.
- I didn't get discouraged by AFK and initiated fight losses. Neither did I get discouraged at the sight of a Griefer Agent going first. The AI can never get it right 100% of the time. A loss is a loss, and we move on to the next fight.
- I set the goal of getting into Adamantium, even though I thought it was impossible for my Agent level. I missed that goal, but landed comfortably in Vibranium League. Several times I did manage to get into Adamantium League, going as high as within the Top 500. So it's *possible.* I just need to make some adjustments to my endgame strategy.
Now, no post-Season analysis would be complete without discussing how badly PD messed it up.
What Did PD Do Wrong
- Match Pairing System - The way by which the PD system pairs me in fights is a mystery. I have seen ranges as large as 1000 ELO (when my account glitched and displayed an 800 ELO rating; at the time I was 1700+, and my opponent was 700+), and Level disparities as high as 25 levels. It is not impossible to win at that rate, but it becomes far more difficult than it should be.
- ELO Structure - The way by which ELO is implemented in this game is heavily flawed. I discussed this in an earlier post, but after having gone through Season 1, I see now that my previous proposal is inadequate. What is needed is to simply remove ELO gains and losses from AFK fights, and to structure ELO gains based on in-fight achievements a player attains. This way "getting lucky" against a higher-rated player will not yield bigger rewards, nor will losing to a lower-ranked player be crippling. This is mainly how the game is structured in PvE (think: Mission Score Bonuses); implemented in PvP there can be a fixed bonus for certain conditions on top of a fixed ELO gain/loss. For example, ELO gain from wins can be fixed at 10 ELO, plus an additional 2 ELO for the following achievements: Perfect Strategy (same as in PvE), Complete Lineup (entire team is intact, even if some damage is taken), Single-hit kills, Overkills and its varying degrees, etc. This ought to promote more strategy for the initiating player. Of course, fight losses will still be penalized with ELO score reductions, along with similar conditions to increase the penalty (e.g. your team member/s was/were Overkilled, you didn't deal any damage, etc.) Although this will likely leads to a "who plays more wins" scenario, that is certainly more welcome than a "whoever is luckier wins" situation.
- Grief - This was a mistake, plain and simple. It was only a month or so ago that PD had to balance out Phoenix Flare because paired with Power of Four, Phoenix Flare just outright won games on its own. You'd think they would have learned from that experience, but Grief is clear proof that no such learning took place, or if it did it was summarily ignored.You just simply do not create weapons that form game-warping combos without giving it some sort of heavy drawback. They did precisely that with Phoenix Flare, so it puzzles me why, instead of designing Grief along the lines of Phoenix Flare, they decided to make it even stronger by giving it True Strike. If I were to redesign Grief, I would simply give it Exhaustive Attack.
- Candy Apples, Taffy, and Toothbrushes - Seriously PD, what the hell? What makes you think that M:AA players want ridiculous consumable item drops instead of Challenge Points and Energy? Horrible move by PD to replace normal Ally Visit drops with those three. My mistake in this was relying on Ally Visit Challenge Point drops rather than accumulate actual Challenge Point recharges. This set me back by about 5-10 PvP fights per cycle easily.
- Proc Rates - I understand that PD is trying to balance things out in favor of the defending Agent, and I have no problems with that mindset. But seeing an AI-driven P5 Emma Frost's Cosmic Power proc every single turn while seeing nary a single proc on my end is almost game-fixing. Multiply that by three, and add other triggered events such as Guardian Force, Tactical Insight, and Coordinated Attack, and you get this PvP Season's go-to Hero teams. It is by no means insurmountable, but losing to what is virtually a dice roll rather than through perfect AI strategy execution is really not much fun.
And really, that's what it all boils down to: PvP Season 1 did not end up being fun. Challenging? Hell yes. But fun? Not for this player.
I don't know if I'll participate in the next PvP Season. But they do need to fix the current PvP system, and fix it badly, to make it worth the effort.