AW - Alliance Swap Strategy, AW Rating, and Competitive Balance

Within the last week, I've learned and personally witnessed a strategy employed by some players in which, to start the AW season, the entire alliance moves to a different alliance with a lower AW rating than the one they competed in previously. The thought behind the strategy is for that alliance to face weaker opponents, obtain much higher scores, and rack up easy wins, all in an effort to go 12-0 during the season.

For example, my alliance has about a 2600 rating and fights regularly between tier 3 or 2. Wins and losses against like opponents are often within razor thin margins. In the most recent AW, my alliance faced an alliance that had virtually the same AW rating (over 2600), but, for season 5, that alliance was noted as having achieved "Participation." A closer examination of every player's profile revealed that each one of them had a War Elite title for placing in the top 20 of last season's AW, i.e., each one did not received "Participation" but rather received at least top 20 rewards. As became clear, the strength of our opponents' defense, based on having the resources from top 20 rewards, was so much greater than our own that we did not belong in the same AW. They were clearly much better than us on defense and offense, and we got our butt kicked.

This is but one example. I'm aware of many other alliances that are employing this strategy. And while I am not aware of anything that expressly prohibits this strategy, it feels like an end around the purpose of matching like opponents with like opponents based on rating. Even though we each had a 2600 rating, the reality is that we were fighting an alliance that had more like a rating over 3000 based on the strength of their roster and their offensive skill. The end result is that my alliance fought in an AW where we had no true chance of success based on the level we are at in the game, and a much more advanced alliance obtained an easy win.

There are many aspects to this strategy that feel like the equivalent of a college sports team choosing an easy schedule over a hard one in an effort to have a better looking record. The difference, however, is that there is no form of competitive penalty for the team that goes for the soft schedule. To be sure, the multiplier that exists does not necessarily close that gap.

For instance, assume one team is in tier 1 all season and goes 9-3. Those 9 wins net 3,150,000 additional points (50,000 * 7 * 9). If another team in tier 2 goes 12-0, those 12 wins net an additional 3,720,000 (50,000 * 6.2 * 12). The tier 2 team thus earns 570,000 more than the tier 1 team.

More than that, the converse is that the alliance that faced the much stronger alliance suffers potentially brutal consequences. In our matchup, as an example, we did not obtain 3 boss kills. That never happens when we face an evenly matched alliance. It happened in this case, however, because the depth and strength of the alliance's defense we were facing created some awful roadblocks. The end result is that we lost crucial points based on a disproportionate matchup. Put simply, a plat 3 alliance should not be matched up with a war elite alliance the second match of the year.

Of course, I know this could sound like sour grapes, but I think it actually speaks more to another current flaw in the matchmaking system that should be addressed. Like alliances should be fighting against like alliances. This new strategy goes directly counter to that principle.

In the past, issues like this were eventually addressed. So, for example, prior alliance swapping issues in aq were addressed with black out periods. Piloting has supposedly been addressed with various penalties. It feels like this new strategy (as well as the strategy to deliberately lose in the off season to drop ratings), requires some form of solution. Perhaps one way this could be solved is by rewarding alliances that stay together with some form of bonus that negates any incentive to alliance swap. For example, any alliance that achieves P3 in back to back seasons gets some extra rewards. Same for each tier such that the incentive to stay in an alliance to get those rewards outweighs swapping.

Or another way is to alter the war rating formula to account for the prior season's standings. If an alliance is one that is "participation," then their aw multiplier should match, i.e., they start with a tier 22 multiplier.


The bottom line is that this new strategy feels like one that should not be rewarded because it runs directly counter to any notion of competitive balance.
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Comments

  • Mainer123Mainer123 Posts: 527 ★★
    What about a score bonus for the time the alliance has benn active. The longer your a team the better the rewards.
  • DemonzfyreDemonzfyre Posts: 13,112 ★★★★★
    Mainer123 wrote: »
    What about a score bonus for the time the alliance has benn active. The longer your a team the better the rewards.

    Theres no such thing as what you just said.
  • DemonzfyreDemonzfyre Posts: 13,112 ★★★★★
    So if I'm understanding you correctly, you don't think anyone in the top 20 of AW should move to another alliance because they'll get easier wins?
  • TheBSC20TheBSC20 Posts: 4
    Demonzfyre wrote: »
    So if I'm understanding you correctly, you don't think anyone in the top 20 of AW should move to another alliance because they'll get easier wins?

    I do not think an entire top 20 alliance should swap to a "shell" alliance so that they can easily get wins to stay in the top 20. I think that meriting those rewards should require facing the best alliance and beating them. To do otherwise, distorts competitive balance by having disproportionately teams matched against each other.

    Another way to look at this is by assessing the merits of the wins. So, without naming names, there are certain alliances that do not do the alliance swap and maintain in the top 20. Those alliances seem to earn that distinction far more than an alliance who swaps to a lower rating to pick up easier wins. IMO, it is far more impressive to go, let's say 9-3, against all top 20 alliances than it is to go 12-0 against the top 200.

    If entire alliances are gaming a system so they can get rewards because to not game the system makes it much harder to achieve those rewards, then the action of gaming reflects a flaw in the system. I do not know what the solution to that flaw might be, but I think it should be addressed because it has created perverse incentives, which have the effect of creating imbalanced match-ups.

  • DemonzfyreDemonzfyre Posts: 13,112 ★★★★★
    Its not illegal to switch alliances. They did nothing wrong. They made a choice to move into a lower rating for who knows what reason. Thats like saying since you play in tier 2 and 3, you can't go any lower because it would be unfair. What happens if you want to do AW but not compete at a high level? Sorry you lost but everything is on the up and up here. You can't prove anything other than they are in a different alliance than before.
  • TheBSC20TheBSC20 Posts: 4
    @Demonzfyre I expressly said that I do not believe what they did violated any rules. I think it is a loophole that should be closed.


    As for your question, that's erecting and attacking a straw man. The issue isn't about not wanting to compete at a high level. If folks don't want to do that, fine. The issue is wanting high level rewards at a low level of play. If you want top 20, I think you should have to earn them by beating the top 20. The entire point of the match making system is to match like alliances. When alliances use shells, you aren't actually getting like match ups.
  • AW system is flawed because cheaters gonna cheat... sucks for us good honest people but that’s life. Either jump on the bandwagon or get left behind and lose rewards... Kabam is raking in $$ due to these top teams so why change when the profits are high. They pay for heroes you pay for AW potions to try to stay in platinum 2 or 3 or even gold 1 due to them rigging a system that allows them to cheat because it’s profitable. 💰💰💰 welcome to high level gaming.
  • Markjv81Markjv81 Posts: 808 ★★★★
    We also faced a 2550 point alliance with season 5 participation placing, multiple legends tags, 3-4 r5's vs our 1-2, needless to say we got destroyed.
  • DemonzfyreDemonzfyre Posts: 13,112 ★★★★★
    @LeNoirFaineant @TheBSC20 Since both of you seem to know so much, what's the solution?
    Let's say the leader of alliance A gets banned.
    Kabam won't remove him/her for at least 30 days.
    Season starts in a week and you can't afford to be 1 person short because you are in tier 1.
    So you have a chance to move to a abandoned alliance with a gold 1/plat 3ish rating giving you the opportunity to be able to stay competitive since someones 2nd account is holding it (completely legal).

    So if I'm understanding what both of you are saying, high tier players shouldnt be allowed to do this because its unfair to you? They shouldn't get to do what the rest of the player base does on the regular just because you lost a war to a stronger alliance?

    There isn't any rule against switching alliances or taking over a abandoned alliance. What if they are working their way back to the top? Do you have a spreadsheet with names on it with top tier players and are tracking what allainces they've been in?

    If there is a "loophole", what is your solution to fix said loophole? What makes it fair for you and them if they are doing it legitimately?

  • CobsCobs Posts: 103
    Ever think that maybe its alot of stress, time and resources to compete at the top. So maybe a group wants to stay together, you know because they like playing together, but doesnt want to compete in master anymore because of the expense. So what should they do? Just lose a bunch in there alli because they need a break or move to another alliance that is better fit for the level they want to compete at. Why should anyone be punished for putting there all in one season and then wanting to take a break the next but being able to win at thst lower level. Where in the TOS does it say “once you compete at the top you must stay there”.
  • Is it swapping or tanking? Is there any way to tell which? Either way, it is disgusting behavior when alliances feel the need to cheat the system in order to get easy matchups in war. I have no respect for alliances that employ such strategies.
  • ShrimkinsShrimkins Posts: 1,479 ★★★★
    The larger issue is the seasonal scoring system that promotes wins over tier. This isn't effecting only top alliances.

    Gold 1 and plat 3 are completely broken by tanking alliances that lower their WR on purpose to get easier matchups and thus more wins.

    Winning in tier 5 is always better than losing in tier 3 so there are alliances with 2000 WR getting into plat 3 while alliances with 2400 WR placing in gold 1.

    The scoring system is broken.
  • DemonzfyreDemonzfyre Posts: 13,112 ★★★★★
    Werewrym wrote: »
    Is it swapping or tanking? Is there any way to tell which? Either way, it is disgusting behavior when alliances feel the need to cheat the system in order to get easy matchups in war. I have no respect for alliances that employ such strategies.

    So what's the solution then? How do you prove when an alliance is swapping to get easier matchups or swapping to get away or start fresh? Just punish everyone?
  • Demonzfyre wrote: »
    Werewrym wrote: »
    Is it swapping or tanking? Is there any way to tell which? Either way, it is disgusting behavior when alliances feel the need to cheat the system in order to get easy matchups in war. I have no respect for alliances that employ such strategies.

    So what's the solution then? How do you prove when an alliance is swapping to get easier matchups or swapping to get away or start fresh? Just punish everyone?

    There isn't an easy solution and any potential solution is going to have flaws. I would hazard a guess though, that if an entire alliance is swapping to a different alliance they aren't swapping to get a "fresh start." The ideal solution to tanking and swapping is that people start acting like decent human beings without feeling the need to cheat their way to better rewards. That is asking quite a lot though, so I think it is unlikely for us to expect people to change. I am adamantly against punishing everyone because you inadvertently end up punishing those who aren't guilty. However, Just because a solution is difficult doesn't mean we shouldn't work towards it.
  • CobsCobs Posts: 103
    Theres no solution because there is no problem. Outside of like 5 top alliances Everyone gets mismatched eventually, it happens. You move on to the next one. Being a punching bag for the top alliances is equally unfair so the player base who is smart has tried to solve that for themself. There is nothing stopping other alliances from doing the same.
  • ShrimkinsShrimkins Posts: 1,479 ★★★★
    Demonzfyre wrote: »
    Werewrym wrote: »
    Is it swapping or tanking? Is there any way to tell which? Either way, it is disgusting behavior when alliances feel the need to cheat the system in order to get easy matchups in war. I have no respect for alliances that employ such strategies.

    So what's the solution then? How do you prove when an alliance is swapping to get easier matchups or swapping to get away or start fresh? Just punish everyone?

    The answer is to redesign the scoring system. 50k per win no matter the tier is too many points.
  • DemonzfyreDemonzfyre Posts: 13,112 ★★★★★
    edited December 2018
    Werewrym wrote: »
    Demonzfyre wrote: »
    Werewrym wrote: »
    Is it swapping or tanking? Is there any way to tell which? Either way, it is disgusting behavior when alliances feel the need to cheat the system in order to get easy matchups in war. I have no respect for alliances that employ such strategies.

    So what's the solution then? How do you prove when an alliance is swapping to get easier matchups or swapping to get away or start fresh? Just punish everyone?

    There isn't an easy solution and any potential solution is going to have flaws. I would hazard a guess though, that if an entire alliance is swapping to a different alliance they aren't swapping to get a "fresh start." The ideal solution to tanking and swapping is that people start acting like decent human beings without feeling the need to cheat their way to better rewards. That is asking quite a lot though, so I think it is unlikely for us to expect people to change. I am adamantly against punishing everyone because you inadvertently end up punishing those who aren't guilty. However, Just because a solution is difficult doesn't mean we shouldn't work towards it.

    Well... My current alliance did just that. We were in a alliance called Fap+ and plat 3. 2 BGs excelled and the 3rd (original to the alliance) fell behind. We wanted to keep the alliance because of the war rating but the leader wouldn't let us have it. We had a member with a 2nd account in an alliance with a 1000 war rating so we moved to that alliance and picked up an extra BG to make 30. 2 seasons later we compete in plat 3/gold 1. So by your judgement, we should be punished or never have been allowed? What about mergers? Should those be disallowed as well? Where does it end?
  • UltimatheoryUltimatheory Posts: 483 ★★★
    When this happened in AQ the blackout period was implemented. I'm not saying it's a good solution, it's just what happened as a result.
  • Demonzfyre wrote: »
    Werewrym wrote: »
    Demonzfyre wrote: »
    Werewrym wrote: »
    Is it swapping or tanking? Is there any way to tell which? Either way, it is disgusting behavior when alliances feel the need to cheat the system in order to get easy matchups in war. I have no respect for alliances that employ such strategies.

    So what's the solution then? How do you prove when an alliance is swapping to get easier matchups or swapping to get away or start fresh? Just punish everyone?

    There isn't an easy solution and any potential solution is going to have flaws. I would hazard a guess though, that if an entire alliance is swapping to a different alliance they aren't swapping to get a "fresh start." The ideal solution to tanking and swapping is that people start acting like decent human beings without feeling the need to cheat their way to better rewards. That is asking quite a lot though, so I think it is unlikely for us to expect people to change. I am adamantly against punishing everyone because you inadvertently end up punishing those who aren't guilty. However, Just because a solution is difficult doesn't mean we shouldn't work towards it.

    Well... My current alliance did just that. We were in a alliance called Fap+ and plat 3. 2 BGs excelled and the 3rd (original to the alliance) fell behind. We wanted to keep the alliance because of the war rating but the leader wouldn't let us have it. We had a member with a 2nd account in an alliance with a 1000 war rating so we moved to that alliance and picked up an extra BG to make 30. 2 seasons later we compete in plat 3/gold 1. So by your judgement, we should be punished correct?

    No, as I said, I'm not for punishing everyone because I know there are exceptions. The point is that most of the time alliances that move to a different alliance aren't making an honest change as your alliance was doing.
  • LeNoirFaineantLeNoirFaineant Posts: 7,037 ★★★★★
    Demonzfyre wrote: »
    @LeNoirFaineant @TheBSC20 Since both of you seem to know so much, what's the solution?
    Let's say the leader of alliance A gets banned.
    Kabam won't remove him/her for at least 30 days.
    Season starts in a week and you can't afford to be 1 person short because you are in tier 1.
    So you have a chance to move to a abandoned alliance with a gold 1/plat 3ish rating giving you the opportunity to be able to stay competitive since someones 2nd account is holding it (completely legal).

    So if I'm understanding what both of you are saying, high tier players shouldnt be allowed to do this because its unfair to you? They shouldn't get to do what the rest of the player base does on the regular just because you lost a war to a stronger alliance?

    There isn't any rule against switching alliances or taking over a abandoned alliance. What if they are working their way back to the top? Do you have a spreadsheet with names on it with top tier players and are tracking what allainces they've been in?

    If there is a "loophole", what is your solution to fix said loophole? What makes it fair for you and them if they are doing it legitimately?

    Several ways you could fix this. AW rating could be an aggregate of the alliance members. Shell alliances could have war rating drop to zero making it much less attractive to jump. There are other possible solutions. What’s not a solution is just to point to a few extreme cases and conclude that nothing should be done while groups continue to manipulate the system by matching primarily against lower groups.
  • DemonzfyreDemonzfyre Posts: 13,112 ★★★★★
    Also @Demonzfyre you wrote “So if I'm understanding what both of you are saying, high tier players shouldnt be allowed to do this because its unfair to you? They shouldn't get to do what the rest of the player base does on the regular just because you lost a war to a stronger alliance?”

    Lol it’s almost like you made some random **** up and then wrote “so this is what you are saying”

    WTF..... Read the OP. He is literally complaining about just that. Damn man, here I thought you were smart. This is obviously going nowhere. Ive said my peace but you are turning it into a personal attack. Want to attack me, PM me.
  • RektorRektor Posts: 674 ★★★
    Shrimkins wrote: »
    Demonzfyre wrote: »
    Werewrym wrote: »
    Is it swapping or tanking? Is there any way to tell which? Either way, it is disgusting behavior when alliances feel the need to cheat the system in order to get easy matchups in war. I have no respect for alliances that employ such strategies.

    So what's the solution then? How do you prove when an alliance is swapping to get easier matchups or swapping to get away or start fresh? Just punish everyone?

    The answer is to redesign the scoring system. 50k per win no matter the tier is too many points.

    Win bonus and your score multiplier should be dependent on your opponent’s war rating/tier/prestige rather than your own.

    Imagine having 7 r5 champs and being able to get uncollected rewards after fighting beginner opponents and then thinking you accomplished something. Cool story, kabam.
  • BeerDragoonBeerDragoon Posts: 51
    The point multiplier you start the season with should be the one you keep all season. This didn't make sense with the long seasons we had before, but I think with these new shortened ones it could work. It would remove the incentive to tank or swap alliances in the off season. It also makes the pre-season matches actually mean something.
  • Deadbyrd9Deadbyrd9 Posts: 3,461 ★★★★
    edited December 2018
    I think the points from winning should be removed altogether. This would allow all seasons standing to rely solely on diversity and attacker bonus points. Tanking and shell swapping will be moot when tier multipliers make a larger difference than the amount of wins.

    Also a system where you stay within the same bracket all season and the top/bottom teams in that bracket get promoted/relegated like in the English Premier League. Alliances within the same bracket only match with other alliances in that bracket. So master vs master, plat 1 vs plat 1. At the end of the season the best plat 1 alliances will be in master the next season and the worst master alliances move down to plat 1
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