[2019-09-16] Dev Blog PI header

Dev Blog: Playlist Improvements

16/09/2019 12:00 PM

When we announced our Y4 roadmap, we revealed several major playlist changes with the addition of the Newcomer Playlist, updates to Ranked Playlists and Casual, and more. For this purpose, we created the Playlist cell, a multidisciplinary team dedicated to working on the Playlists. With the playlist changes, our goals were to provide more guidance in the onboarding experience for new players, foster a healthier competitive scene at the higher ranks of play, while also finding better ways to disseminate information to ease the leap between casual and Ranked.

This dev blog aims to provide insight on the changes and improvements that have been made to Playlists throughout Y4, and will shed some light on the decision process that goes into helping us look for ways that we can improve the player experience for all types of players in our community.


GUIDING NEW PLAYERS

Rainbow Six Siege is a complex game to pick up. Even for experienced FPS players, Siege requires more than just shooting, as there is an expanse of game knowledge that can and should be learned as you grow as a player. As the game continues to grow, we realized that we had to begin developing initiatives to ease the learning curve and better guide our players.

Entering a casual PvP game as your first Rainbow Six experience is daunting and can easily turn into a frustrating experience for new players. The creation of the Newcomer playlist aimed to offer a compact experience for new players. So with only three bomb-only maps, and a maximum Clearance Level of 50, we sought to create a space for newer players to learn among themselves in a more controlled environment.

The Newcomer playlist is just one step in our plans for improving the onboarding process, and we are continuing to search for more ways to inform, guide, and educate players. The Operator selection screen now contains difficulty ratings and full loadouts. We also added in default loadouts for new players as well. Furthermore, we have been monitoring feedback and understand that the Clearance Level cap prevents new players from playing with their friends. Part of the solution to this is the upcoming Unranked Playlist (read for more on this below), but we are continuing to look into ways we can improve the Newcomer playlist further while keeping our core purpose of the playlist intact.


FOSTERING COMPETITION

At the other end of the spectrum, we also wanted to focus more on creating a better Ranked experience for our highly dedicated competitive players. We wanted to provide an experience that more closely mirrored Pro League, improve Ranked competitive balance in all aspects, and develop long-term engagement with players and Ranked. It was time the Beta tag came off ranked.

We first began with the introduction of Ranked Pick and Ban as a first step to bring Ranked closer to Pro League. A logical next step with our pool of Operators increasing season by season, Pick and Ban has helped to shift the meta, act as a balancing check, and refresh gameplay experience from one match to another. With the next season, we’re taking one more step closer to Pro League by changing the plant and defuse timer to 7 seconds, forcing teams to plan and commit more in order to plant.

Next, we turned our eyes towards shaking up the Rank distribution. While the average player placed in Gold, what we knew from feedback and what our data was telling us were that progression in lower ranks felt very difficult and led to diminished motivation to rank up. As a result, we added an additional fifth Rank to Copper, Bronze and Silver and removed the fourth Rank in Gold - making movement for players at lower Ranks feel more progressive as they climb up the ladder.

Additionally, we’ve added a new Rank for our top skilled players. Any player that reaches 5000 MMR will enter the Champions Rank and maintain a leaderboard position. The more MMR you have, the higher your Champions positions. We believe this will help ignite the competitive spirit at the top, and drive our best players to show they are at the top.

Further changes coming to Ranked in Y4S3 bring the focus on improving competitive health, balance, and integrity. The Rank restriction will prevent players with greater than a 1000+ MMR gap from playing with each other as a means to prevent boosting, and the new Ranked map pool will be reduced from 14 to 12. We will be looking at feedback on these changes with the new season to see what tweaks and further improvements can be made.


BRIDGING THE GAP

The leap from Casual to Ranked can be overwhelming due to the stark difference between competitive and casual players in terms of mentality, playstyle, and even personal comfort level. This gap was the driving motivation behind the new Unranked playlist.

The Unranked playlist maintains all the same rules and settings of Ranked, but without the pressure of Ranks, MMR, and importantly, no Rank restrictions. Players can warm up in a more focused environment, create pre-made squads with friends without restriction, and familiarize themselves with Ranked to prepare themselves for the next step up.

Unranked is a new playlist, and we hope it will be the answer to players’ needs. We will be gathering data during this Season to see if we achieve the results we are aiming for!


PROVIDING MORE AND BETTER INFORMATION

Finally, information and knowledge is everything in Siege, but sometimes finding that information can be difficult. To better disseminate this wealth of information and to keep our players updated on any and all changes, we’ve made a couple of improvements.

In the Casual Playlist, we’ve enhanced player comprehension by adding the “Locations” screen by allowing players choose their Attack spawn point and highlighting the objective room for Defenders. For Ranked, we’ve created the Ranked Guide which provides Ranked rules, ban policies, the current map pool rotation, information on ranks and rank distribution, and more to prepare and inform players before queuing up for Ranked. 

With all the Playlist changes, we feel that they will all contribute to improving player experience, no matter what type of player you are. These changes are by no means the end and we look forward to your continued feedback as we move towards even more improved Playlists.


Stay tuned for more future updates from our Playlist cell!

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