Introducing the new rankings formula

It’s no secret that the current rankings formula used for KoWMasters doesn’t truly suit the UK Kings of War organised play community.

It was originally written based on the old WHFB community which revolved largely around two day events. These events would usually have 40+ players. Anything smaller or was a one day event was largely seen as a practice event.

In reality, the KoW Community has evolved to have largely one day events with lower player counts (and a smaller scene overall). In the 2018-2019 season, there have been 35 one day events and just 6 two day events. The average number of players was 16 at one day events and 24 at two day events – far below the player cap that the formula takes into account.

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Only two events in the season hit the player cap, and therefore the max ranking points; Four Foot Snake GT and Clash of Kings GT.

With one day events being worth only 60-80% of a two day event and the double hit of a lower player count, this meant that it often felt like the rankings reflected a person’s ability to travel rather than their skill at events. Clash of Kings in particular had a massively disproportionate effect on rankings. This year Ed Herzig fell from 4th to 11th basically because he wasn’t able to attend Clash!

So, it’s not ideal.

I did propose a new method last year, however there was no-one “in charge” of rankings who could make the switch – even though the community was unanimously in favour of the change. This lead me to set up the Masters Committee and launch KoWMasters.com, so that there would be a group of us who could approve the changes.

The New Formula

So let’s dive into what we’ve now unanimously approved for the formula for the 2019-2020 season.

We’re only changing the formula for determining the maximum score at an event – we’re not changing that each player receives a percentage of that maximum score based on their final position nor that it’s your top 4 scores that count towards your rank.

  • One day events maximum score: [No Players] + 60
  • Two day events maximum score: [No Players] + 70
  • [No Players] is capped at 30

That’s it. No percentage modifier applied based on number of rounds. A one day event will score between 70 and 90 points (since there is a minimum of 10 players). A two day event will score between 80 and 100 points for the top player.

This is what the scores will look like at typical events:

What it’s done

It’s achieved a couple of things:

  • The gap between a typical one day event (4 games, 16 players) and a two day event (5 games, 24 players) has been greatly reduced, from 38% more points for two days down to 24%. This means that one day events have a much larger influence on the rankings and you can qualify for Masters (top 16) through strong performance at one day events.
  • Removing the number of rounds modifier opens up the scene to different formats or events that can’t run a large number of rounds. If you can only run three rounds, perhaps due to time constraints or points limit, then the ranking points for your events will not be negatively affected.
  • Conversely this means that events which “game” the formula (not deliberately, I know) by running a lot of smaller games (e.g. 5 x 1200 points in a single day) will not gain a disproportionate amount of ranking points for a one day event.
  • The player cap means that the disproportionate effect that Clash of Kings has on the rankings will be greatly reduced (it will still be a significant influence though). More two day events in particular will hit that player cap and 100 points limit.

This will lead to some winners and losers over the next year, with slightly less incentive (or requirement) to go to two day events or multiple small game events. However, due to the likelihood of player counts increasing across the board due to 3rd edition, we feel that it’s likely that the effect will still be a net gain of player counts overall.

Seeing it in action

I’ve recalculated this year’s rankings based on the new formula to use as a demonstration. You can see it here, or by adding “&test=1” to the end of a KoWMasters url.

Note that the main leaderboard page will take you to the player page with the recalculated points, but any links after that won’t have &test=1 on the end so will revert back to the current rankings system.

We’re not using the formula for the current season and won’t be making this recalculations live. They’ve simply been done so that you can see what the current season would have looked like under the new formula. This demonstration also doesn’t show how it would affect player behaviour – i.e.  attendance at events.

You’ll notice that there have been some major shakeups and generally the players with more podium finishes sit further towards the top (note that Masters 2018 was removed altogether so all those podium players have -1 podium). A couple of interesting examples:

  • Tom Robinson rising from 7th position with 6 podiums to 4th.
  • Ed Herzig who had been hit hard by his lack of Clash attendance rising from 11th to 5th.
  • Dominic Stavacre has seen his strong performance at a couple of one day events (Erit Bellum and Surge of War 2) overtake upper-mid table performance at two day events.

You’ll also note that the Masters cutoff is 290 points, which is an average of 72.5 qualifying points per contributing event (your top 4 scores). This is doable with one day events with a typical event having 76 points on offer (though you will need to consistent win or come 2nd). Realistically you’ll want to top up your points with a larger one day or a mid-sized two day event to be certain but it’s not an effective requirement for Masters qualification.

A Specific Example

Simon Heaney is a perfect example of what the new formula is trying to address.

Simon has done really well at one day events, achieving first at 3 events and then had a really strong showing with 5th at Clash of Kings. He’s undoubtedly a very strong player.

However the events in Scotland are run with three rounds in a day, rather than four, and so his score is already 20% lower than most one day events. His showing at Clash at Kingston, with four rounds, did get him a bigger score however it was still only 2/3s of what he got his (admittedly stunning) performance at Clash of Kings.

Despite winning 3 events and having a very strong performance at the biggest two day event, he was only ranked 18th. Ed Herzig is ranked 11th, 7 spots above Simon, but hasn’t won a single event (no offence Ed!). That doesn’t feel right.

However, under the new scoring system he jumps all the way up to 8th overall. With 319 points he’s very comfortably in the Masters cutoff of 290 points. With those three wins under his belt, he could replace his Clash result with a 4th place result at another one day event and still qualify for Masters.

I feel Simon is the perfect example of what we were trying to achieve with the new formula and he shows that it works as we intended.

Ranked Doubles

The other big news is that doubles events are going to be ranked next season.

Rather than using the number of players for the rank formula, we will use the number of teams instead. Each player in a doubles pair will receive the same amount of points.

There have been concerns that a less skilled player (no offence) could “piggyback” onto a better skilled player and achieve a higher ranking. Do it enough times and they could get into Masters without doing well at singles events.

We don’t think this is likely, nor should high and low skill pairings at doubles be discouraged.

For someone to do this, they would have to go to multiple doubles events with the exact same partner and between them they would have to win nearly every single event.

Realistically there probably won’t even be enough doubles events in the calendar for someone to do that. Add on that if they’re playing with the same partner in that many events then it seems likely that they’re getting practice games in against that partner anyway (they’ll be a close friend) so won’t exactly be bottom of the pile.

Regardless, it is a concern that the system could be gamed this way.

We’re going to allow doubles to be ranked normally for the 2019-2020 season and see how it affects player behaviour. If we see things we don’t like over the next year then when we’re gearing up for the 2020-2021 season we might change the rules a bit (e.g. maximum of one doubles event counting towards your rank).

For next season though, they’re all counting.

Implementation

We will be implementing the new formula and doubles rankings for the new season starting 1st November. Any events from 1st Nov onwards will be scored with the new formula, not the old. We will not be recalculating the current season – the recalculated leaderboard I’ve created is purely to demonstrate how the new formula will work.

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