Update April 2021: HEY! MORTAL! For all the latest info, check out our latest Weekend Ranked blog.
Hello, fellow mortals!
Season 1 has begun, and Trial of the Gods is upon us. The Trial packs players have been earning since May have been distributed, and now those prizes feel real.
We’ve taken a look at the data during the last few months to see how we can improve our Weekend Ranked experience. We feel that things have gone well for the majority of our players, though some players, particularly those at or near the Mythic level, haven’t had the best experience. It’s worked very well for those at the top of Mythic, but with these changes we want everyone to have reason to celebrate.
As we mentioned during the May update, this is an ongoing experiment. We celebrate what works, we deconstruct what doesn’t, and we make changes – which is exactly what’s happening today. Here’s what we’ve found…
Lessons learned from the past four months
We’ve looked at the data and also read people’s feedback about Weekend Ranked. While most were happy, many felt that there was an incentive to derank out of Mythic before the weekend began in an attempt to face easier opponents. This was evident in the data, where a percentage of the lower-half of Mythic players would drop down. This meant they would not have a chance to get the Elite tier prizes, but they probably felt that they wouldn’t get them anyways so it wouldn’t be worth trying. And if their goal was to get an Epic Trial pack (at 16 wins) or a Legendary Trial pack (at 20 wins), dropping was the easier way to do it.
Players dropping rank intentionally is something we want to avoid. It’s a bad experience because it gives other players wins they shouldn’t have. On one side the higher ranked players are facing opponents that are too easy for them, and the lower ranked players are facing opponents that are too difficult! It’s a bad situation all the way around, which is why it’s something we don’t want. It’s against our terms to intentionally lose games, but that isn’t always enough. We need to have our incentives lined up correctly.
List of changes
In order to properly account for the higher difficulty Mythic players face, we are introducing another table of prizes just for them. This means that Mythic players will receive better prizes at the same number of wins as other players, starting at 16 wins. And for Mythic players, they can get Legendary Trial packs starting at 17 wins, instead of needing 20. These changes mean more prizes, for more players, than ever before.
In the regular ranked table, prizes are now capped at the 20 win level. With very few exceptions, whenever anyone won more than 20 games at Diamond, they were a Mythic player who intentionally deranked. With the new prize schedule in place, this is no longer necessary. To put this cap into context: fewer than 4% of players even got to 20 wins, never mind more than 20 wins. This cap allows us to ensure that players are sorting into the correct play groups.
One final benefit of the cap: Even larger prizes for those reaching 21+ wins on the Mythic table! Now, the top prize is three rare, epic, and legendary packs from both Core and Trial!
The prizes you win are based on how many wins you earn in your first 25 games during each Weekend Ranked event. To qualify for our best prizes, you must reach a minimum rank to be achieved before the event begins. For the wins to count, the game must be complete before the time listed in the event.
If you win a prize for which your rating does not make you eligible you will receive the highest prize you could win. For instance: to get a prize for 20 wins your rank must be in Diamond, but if you finish with 20 wins but are only in a Meteorite rank, you’ll receive a prize as if you had 15 wins.
General prizes (Diamond and below)
This prize table is unchanged from the May 2020 update, except that prizes are capped at 20 wins.
|Wins in First 25 Games||Core Rare Packs||Core Epic Packs||Core Legendary Packs||Trial Rare Packs||Trial Epic Packs||Trial Legendary Packs||Minimum Rank Required|
|20 or more||1||1||1||1||1||Diamond|
|19||2||1||2||Solar Gold or above|
|18||3||2||Auric Gold or above|
|17||1||2||2||Midnight Shadow or above|
|16||3||1||1||Twilight Shadow or above|
|15 or 14||1||2||2||Impact Meteorite or above|
|13, 12, 11||2||1||1||any|
|10, 9, or 8||3||any|
|7, 6, or 5||2||any|
|4 or 3||1||any|
Prizes for 16 wins and more have extra packs as compared to the General prize table.
|Wins in First 25 Games||Core Rare Packs||Core Epic Packs||Core Legendary Packs||Trial Rare Packs||Trial Epic Packs||Trial Legendary Packs||Notes|
|15 or 14||1||2||2|
|13, 12, 11||2||1||1|
|10, 9, or 8||3|
|7, 6, or 5||2|
|4 or 3||1|
We have established an additional set of prizes for our most-dedicated, top-performing players. Players in the Mythic tier will be facing harder opponents than anyone else in the event. To compensate them for enduring the toughest challenge, we will award these additional prizes on top of whatever they earn for their total number of wins.
These prizes are only available to those in the Mythic tier, and are given in order of most wins earned out of the first 25 games played. Ties are broken by the player’s peak MMR during their first 25 games.It is possible for someone to finish in first place among Mythic tier but only end up with 18 wins, and not get the top prize on the main prize table. To be clear, this extra prize list is to account for that; getting to the toughest opponents should give you the biggest prizes!
This prize table is unchanged from the May 2020 update.
|Elite Prizes||Core Epic Pack||Core Legendary Pack||Trial Epic Pack||Trial Legendary Pack|
Anyone who wins at least 30 games during the entire Weekend Ranked event will earn a bonus prize. For now, the bonus prize will be a Trial of the Gods Rare Card Pack, but we will change this over time. We will have various bonus prizes of various types and values throughout Season 1.
The bonus prize is awarded for 30 wins overall and not just in your 25-game run, because it’s impossible to win 30 times in 25 games! For people that win half of their games, they’ll need to play 60 games or approximately 12 hours of gameplay to reach.
With the reduced playtime necessary to win prizes, it now becomes important for us to implement an additional rule. Botting is already against the rules, but now it is specifically against the rules to play on two accounts to receive multiple sets of prizes. The old Weekend Ranked schedule really discouraged that. While there will be enough time for people to play 25 games x2, beware that it will forfeit your prizes and possibly lead to an account suspension. One account is more than enough!
Also, if your game disconnects (for any reason) and you fail to reconnect, it will be treated as a loss. That happens using the old system, but naturally when you’ve played 100+ games it didn’t really matter. For now, it will matter a fair amount. Future changes in development will mitigate this, but for now we’ll need some understanding while our event system continues to evolve.
(Updated Rules: Sept 23)
We have the right to pause, shorten, lengthen, and/or cancel the weekend ranked events as necessary. We will attempt to do this in the game client by removing the “Weekend Ranked” banner, but depending on the nature of the error we may not be able to. Please keep an eye on the #announcements channel in our Discord.
Because we currently cannot show the live progress of the event in the game launcher, it is strongly recommended that players play more than exactly 25 games. While we do not anticipate needing to do this, there may be periods of time that don’t count or we may remove results that are caused by a bug that’s affecting our entire server. (Please note that in this stage of the beta, we are not able to effectively resolve individual bugs. Every now and then a user will hit a bug that will cause them to lose, and a roughly equal amount of the time their opponent will instead.)
We strongly encourage players to play their games earlier in the weekend (when possible) to account for the possibility of an event ending early. There’s only been one incident this year that caused Weekend Ranked to be cancelled and, while we aim it to remain as only one, it’s not something we can rule out happening again.
Changes are inbound
As we said during the Weekend Ranked changes in May 2020, this is an experiment. We might need to change the prize structure again, up or down, based on what the data tells us. We might make changes around rank levels or other things. Every week gives us more information, and another chance to make the best experience for everyone. Expect more changes down the line!
Let us know what you think!
Please join the discussion in our official Discord, and share your thoughts in the #feedback channel. That’s all from me today, but I’ll leave you with some answers to questions we get a whole bunch to help guide you through.
Thanks for playing, and good luck this weekend!
~ Andrea “Seeker” Davis, Lead Game Designer
Where can I see my score during the event?
Ideally, we would have a scoreboard in the game. When our event system gets an upgrade, it will. In the meantime, we advise that you keep track yourself, or look to sites like GUdecks and Unchained Stats. While we do not guarantee the accuracy of other sites’ data, they have done a great job during the rollout of these recent changes.
25 games isn’t enough to be a true measure of skill. Why not 50? Or 100?
Competitive TCGs have had between 20 and 25 games as the benchmark for non-professional competitive events for a long time. The typical Magic the Gathering event in their old Pro Tour Qualifier system was 8 rounds, best-of-three, for an average of 20 games to qualify for big prizes. In their current system, it’s 10 rounds (over two events) for an average of 25 games. There are similar amounts of games required in almost every other physical and digital TCG that run these sorts of events — Pokemon, YuGiOh, etc.
We’ve received feedback that requiring 125+ games to get top prizes is just too much to ask for. As a paid event with massive prizes, 20 hours of gaming might be realistic for some. But for now, we strongly believe that this change will get more players in and playing, while still being a measure of skill.
Variance will play a larger factor. Over 100 games, bad matchups will mean less than they do over 25. We don’t believe that increased variance is large enough to impact most players most weeks, and the increased variance is worth the benefit of making an event accessible to far more players.
That said, we’ll look at the data and adjust. We might change it to 30 or 35 or 40 or 50, or even down to 20!, if the data doesn’t match our expectations.
I really enjoyed the big challenge of 100 games. What about players like me?
We’ve added the 30-win bonus prize to account for players who wish to play many more than 25 games. We have decided not to encourage 100-game weekends generally, though we may bring back in for special occasions. We don’t want to require large amounts of play, or encourage players to play too much.
I have multiple accounts that I use to play GU. Do I need to just not use one of them over the weekend?
If you play with more than one account, change the username on all but one of them such that the last three letters are NCP. For instance, Seeker-NCP. This lets us know that you are a “noncompeting player” on that secondary account. This isn’t perfect, but for the tiny percentage of players with multiple accounts this will act as a workaround. We won’t award prizes to those accounts.
It would be possible to use this sort of account to artificially inflate other player’s win results, and we’ll be checking for that. Again, we know this isn’t a perfect solution, but it is a step towards a regular event system in the future.
I have multiple people who legitimately play the game from the same computer. How can both of those players play in the event?
For now, they can’t without the risk of our systems seeing this as a potential issue. This is not ideal, and we’re working on a better solution. We estimate that this impacts a tiny percentage of our users — and a future events update will hopefully reduce this to zero.
Why not reward players based on a 25 game run, and let them retry over the course of the weekend? Look at players’ games 1–25, 26–50, etc? That way those who want to grind feel rewarded for doing so.
We need to reduce the amount of time these weekly events require to increase the likelihood of more players playing in them. I feel the main problem with this approach above is that the system would still be heavily-weighted towards players with lots and lots of time.
Assume that you had two players with the exact same skill. They both go 15–10 in their first attempt, but one of the players can make two additional attempts. (Because they don’t have work or school or kids or whatever.) On this second attempt, suppose they go 10–15 because their draws were bad, their matchups were bad, or they made mistakes, or they misread the meta. On their third attempt it all goes very well and they go 18–7. Is that fair to the player who only had 5 hours to play on a weekend instead of 15? We don’t think it is.