Gears 4 Ranking Explained
The Ranking System in Gears 4 exists to provide accurate Skill Rating judgments on players in order to provide higher quality fairer match-ups as much as possible.
We’ve seen an extreme improvement in this area vs Gears 3 thanks to the accuracy of our Skill Rating system, but we also know that – in it’s current form – it can be a user-unfriendly experience that can be confusing and frustrating at times.
To try and help you understand the Ranking System, we’ve put together our must-know guide below. Have unanswered questions? Tweet us @CoalitionGears with what you’d like to see added to this guide.
The Hard Truth
Ranks exist to accurately measure your Skill against the population to create better matches
The goal of any good Ranking System is to accurately understand the Skill of it’s players in order to produce fairer higher-quality matchups.
Ranks do not follow the rules of linear progression, like getting your next Re-Up. As you play, you may find your Rank settles as it becomes accurate and – without a notable improvement in your performance against higher Skill opponents - progression becomes extremely difficult. This is intentional and integral to any Skill Rating system.
The Ranking System in Gears of War 4 is a combination of Skill Rating (SR) and Tier Skill Rating (TSR).
Skill Rating (SR) is a consistent behind the scenes rating of your Skill against the population, per playlist, using a complex cloud-learning algorithm. This is the most important measurement of your skill. Every Season, you carry Skill Rating into the next Season with some adjustments based on the population curve.
Tier Skill Rating (TSR) is what determines your current in-game Rank (ie. Bronze 3) per playlist. Skill Rating influences your initial placement, though we do reduce your initial Tier Skill Rating from your Skill Rating so Ranks must be earned.
Your TSR is constantly trying to move towards your Skill Rating to become an accurate reflection of your Skill in-game as you play matches.
WHAT DETERMINES MY SKILL RATING?
As you play other players, your performance will be measured based on your opponent’s Skill Ratings, that of your team and other factors.
Every round you finish has the potential to impact your Skill Rating based on these calculations. It’s important to remember that some wins are worth more than others based on these factors. The same applies for personal performance.
TSR is a visual representation of Skill, but your behind the scenes Skill Rating is CRITICAL to raising your TSR. Your TSR cannot exceed your SR and will always move to be as closely aligned to it as possible.
TSR can also only go up with a win or down with a loss – however, your behind the scenes Skill Rating does not obey those rules. If you pick up rounds against a much higher rated Squad, you may see a slight hit to your TSR but your Skill Rating may have seen significant gains – making future TSR gains from wins all that more potent as it tries to move you towards your actual Skill Rating.
HOW DOES THIS WORK IN-GAME?
Skill Rating is measured and tested on a round basis, NOT by match. This means every round is important in Gears of War 4.
When we form teams for a match, we use a combination of Skill Ratings to produce the closest matchup possible (ie. Team A has a Skill Rating of X, and Team B also has a combined Skill Rating of X is a perfect matchup). We also modify your Skill Rating evaluation based on the size of squad you are playing with, given the power of coordinated teamwork, so with more people in your Squad also ups your squad’s overall Skill Rating.
We then use those Skill Ratings to predict your expected results. If Team A has a Skill Rating of X, but Team B has a Skill Rating of X+20%, then we would expect Team B to beat Team A in more rounds by a 20% margin (ie. every 10 rounds they play against each other, Team B is expected to win 7 while Team A is expected to win 3). The ideal to achieve a balanced match is to be as close to a 50/50 expectation as possible.
Exceeding that expectation and winning lots of rounds shows your Skill Rating may be higher than where you currently are, and so it begins to move up. The reverse applies for losing when you are expected to win more than your opponents. Each round you play will then by measured against the system’s expectations based on all these factors. If you exceed them, your Skill Rating may increase. If you underperform, your Skill Rating may drop.
Additionally, if someone Quits on your team, your team’s Skill Rating for the rest of the match will be calculated at the value of your team as a 4 Person Squad. In other words, this is a major opportunity to play well and potentially up your Skill Rating! Conversely, any round you drop as a 5 man team against a 4 man team could have negative implications on your Skill Rating.
HOW MUCH DOES PERSONAL PERFORMANCE MATTER?
It can matter a lot. While winning and losing rounds are usually the most impactful, the system also takes into account personal performance and your contribution towards the victory.
If you tent-pole a team to victory, you may impact your Skill Rating significantly – conversely, your team mates may see a much more minimal gain to Skill Rating due to being tent poled by a player.
Each stat’s importance towards victory contribution (ie. Kills, assists, caps etc) is weighted individually per game mode, using a cloud-computed algorithm that’s constantly being updated based on the most successful players in the population.
Remember, if you do exceedingly well and lose, you may have gained Skill Rating behind the scenes and just lost a little TSR for losing. Note that this isn’t guaranteed and depends on a lot of circumstances, so being MVP of a losing match isn’t necessarily going to be good for your Skill Rating every time.
At the start of each Season, your Placement Matches help us build a picture of your ranking in combination with your past Season performance. As part of building a compelling Season experience, (e.g. working your way back up to the top). almost all players will find their initial placement lower than where they finished last season. This lower placement also allows us to accurately gauge your skill over time to ensure you still fit within the same expected ranking tier.
We show this as Tiers, like Gold, Onyx, Diamond and so on. However, behind the scenes, this number is actually a value that matches the same values we use for Skill Rating. As that number reaches certain thresholds, which is a pre-defined percentile of the population skill curve, it tips you into a new visual Rank. Getting into Diamond 1 puts you in the top <1% for example, whereas Onyx 1 is more like the top 25%.
As the system becomes more confident in your ability, it will place you closer and closer to your actual Skill Rating by moving you up or down the Tiers. As your Skill Rating settles (ie. doesn’t move much), at some point your TSR and SR will generally meet and progression will slow dramatically.
Each Tier banding (ie. Gold, Onyx, Diamond) has a limited percentile of the population allowed within. If the population has reached these limits, you’ll need to consistently perform well in order to overtake higher skilled players within the banding. The best time to progress quickly within the system is during the early stages of a Season as later in the Season, that bar will be higher and higher every day that passes.
WHY AM I WINNING BUT NOT SEEING ANY TIER PROGRESSION?
Winning the match doesn’t always guarantee progression of your Skill Rating. Gears 4 uses a round based system, so every round you win or lose ultimately matters. Winning an Escalation 7-0 is much more beneficial than a 7-6 win. The quality of your opponents also makes a difference too!
Your personal performance towards the victory is also assessed, so be as impactful as you can out there on the battlefield. Additionally, if you squad up with teammates of a higher Rank and they outperform you, the system knows this and will make wins much less impactful to your Skill Rating.
Remember, the goal of a Skill Rating system is to accurately reflect your Skill. If you’re finding you’re not moving up or down, you are likely in an accurate spot for your current Skill until you improve further.
WHY DID I LOSE SO MUCH TIER PROGRESS FROM ONE LOSS?
While your behind the scenes Skill Rating is generally pretty stable, losing badly to weaker opponents you’re expected to beat or underperforming against those types of opponents may impact your behind the scenes Skill Rating.
Tiers are constantly trying to reflect that Skill Rating and your Tier Progress will move more sharply the further away they are from your actual Skill. You can recover by proving your skills again through play, but progress may be stunted for a time while you re-demonstrate your Skill Rating.
If you are in the Diamond 1-5 Ranks, you are among a population with extremely high skill with decimal point Skill differences. If you want to make it to the high Diamond Ranks, you need to win almost every round you play and perform extremely well.
WHY ARE MY SQUAD MATES RANKING UP HIGHER THAN ME?
The Skill Rating system can assess the impact a player had towards a victory. If you are being outperformed by your team mates, they will have higher Skill Ratings than you and so their progress will be more pronounced than yours.
If you are up there with your team mates but not seeing much progression, try splitting into a smaller squad or playing with different team mates to see more notable changes to your Tier Progression (provided your Skill Rating is high enough to see progression).
I GOT MATCHED AGAINST HIGHER SKILL OPPONENTS. HOW IS THIS FAIR?
Gears 4 has a skill band we allow to match you within, which we recently tightened to a much stricter degree for 5 Player Squads. As the search time increases, we slowly increase from a strict starting point to the widest part of our allowable skill band. We then do the same for ping to our allowable limit.
While we always try to place you in the best match possible, sometimes you will be in a slightly less even matchup. If this happens, don’t worry – try your best and fight it out.
While the loss may cause you to lose some Tier Progress, your Skill Rating may increase if you perform well – even if you lose – against higher skilled opponents. Every round you win also may have a big impact. If your Skill Rating progresses, future wins should give you more Tier Progress than usual which is a net benefit! It’s also a huge opportunity to upset the enemy team and prove your Skill to the system.
Don’t forget, after a seasonal Rank Reset, players have to earn their accurate Tier Rank again through play so Ranks don’t always reflect the behind the scenes Skill Rating of a player – especially near the start of a Season.
WHAT HAPPENS TO RANKED QUITTERS? WHY DO I GET PUNISHED FOR LOSING 4V5?
Quitters suck, we agree. For the Quitter, every round they miss will be considered an outright loss as a 5v5 with no performance as an individual, which should impact their Skill Rating behind the scenes.
For quitters who quit often, we hand out severe time out suspensions, an increasing XP Debt and even Credit debt (all of which we recently made even harsher).
We do need to keep the integrity of the match because – up until your quitter left – you were playing a fair fight. Disregarding the result because someone left is open to abuse and also isn’t fair to the opposing team’s Skill Rating calculations (besides, most people quit because they think they will lose).
Any time after the point a player quits, Skill Ratings are calculated in a 4v5 match. What this means is any rounds you lose or poor performance in this situation will almost certainly not count against your behind the scenes Skill Rating, even if losing ends up dropping some Tier Progression for you.
However, perform well or pick up any rounds, and you’ll be seeing big Skill Rating boosts behind the scenes because you are winning in a very hard to win scenario. Even one round can do big things for your Skill Rating calculations. Fight hard and fight to the end, because it might get you big Tier Progress gains for your future wins!
WHY AM I FINDING IT TAKES LONGER TO FIND MATCHES AS I RANK UP?
As you Rank up, the pool of available players within the allowable Skill Banding is reduced on one end. In other words, as you reach the top end Tiers like Onyx 3 and Diamond 1-5, you may have to wait longer to find opponents that fall within your Skill range.
If you want to reduce wait times, searching in smaller Squads reduces your team Skill Rating (as we calculate higher skill ratings dependent on Squad Size). Make sure to search at peak times in your region for the shortest possible wait times.
In 5 Player Squads, we have even stricter rules for the allowable Skill Banding to ensure we provide high quality, competitive matches where you have a chance to impact your Skill Rating. You can read more about that here.