Why You Should Be Happy You’re in Bronze League

Despite the title, this article is written for anyone Platinum and below. Just replace Bronze League with your own league. The message will be the same.

With Patch 0.13.2.0, league percentiles were redistributed.

At Season 4’s end, we saw that Gold was the most populated league followed by Platinum and Silver, creating something of a bell curve: players gravitated towards the middle. With Season 5, Stunlock wanted players to gravitate downwards. Bronze is now the most populated league, then Silver, then Gold, and so on. No more bell curve.

Solo Queue actual league distribution for Season 4
Solo Queue expected league distribution for Season 5

For a lot of players, this sudden downshift may be discouraging. Maybe you went from Diamond to Gold, or even Gold to Bronze, and maybe you’re pissed off about it. But in the long run and in the big picture, this is actually a good thing!

The purpose of matchmaking is to make fair matches.

Imagine if we only had Casual Matchmaking: no leagues, no ratings, no ranks. When you queue, the system has no information about your skill level. Its only option is to throw you together with the next five players in queue. You might be far better than them, or maybe far worse. Who knows? It’s random.

To remedy this, the system needs more information.

So after every match, let’s say the system grants points to winners and deducts points from losers. Over time, winning players accrue more points, losing players have fewer points, and point values become correlated to consistency of wins. It won’t be accurate at first, and there will be variance from time to time, but now the system has a rough way to gauge every player’s skill relative to everyone else. Players are matched with and against others with similar point values. This ideally leads to fairer matches. The longer the system runs and the more information it gathers, the more accurate the matchmaking becomes.

In Battlerite, these point values are disguised as Leagues.

Matchmaking is NOT meant to be a progression system.

At least, not in the traditional MMO sense where “spend time = level up.” If you’re in Gold 5 and play 100 matches and find yourself still in Gold 5, this means the system is working. You aren’t “stuck.” The matchmaking isn’t “broken.” You’re exactly where you belong and the system will keep matching you with players around your skill level.

Don’t think of leagues as a grind, as if you’re entitled to be a Grand Champion just because you sink enough time into the game. That’s NOT how a matchmaking system should work. If everyone can be Grand Champion, then leagues are meaningless. Rank inflation actually causes imbalanced and unfair matches because the system loses its ability to differentiate between players. Your league simply identifies your relative skill level compared to everyone else.

It’s a matchmaking system, NOT a leveling system.

If you’re in Bronze League, enjoy it while you can!

You should want to be matched with other beginners when you’re new. Sure your teammates might suck, but your enemies will too. If you’re a Bronze-level player, then being in Bronze League and getting matched against other Bronze players will actually make for a more fun overall experience.

Would you rather be in Gold League, facing two Gold enemies who can outplay you at every turn? If you don’t deserve to be in Gold, it’ll be a nightmare trying to play against players who are literally out of your league.

Another reason to be happy: faster queues and more games!

Since the league distribution is now bottom heavy, we can expect most players in queue to be Bronze players. As a Bronze player, you won’t wait long to find matches.

The best way to get better is to practice. Faster queues means more games per hour. More games equals more practice. Therefore, if you’re new, being in Bronze League is actually better for improving: you spend more time playing than waiting. And since your matches are against similarly-skilled opponents, you have ample room to learn (instead of just getting stomped).

The face of one sick of carrying and losing

“But the system misranked me and I belong in a higher league!”

Everyone wants to believe they’re better than they really are. We as humans overestimate our strengths and underestimate our weaknesses. We remember our best-played games and believe that they represent our “true” skill, and then brush aside all other poorly-played games as flukes.

In truth, our best-played games and our worst-played games are both anomalies. If you’re Gold, does having one bad match justify dropping you to Silver? Of course not. In the same way, just because you “play like a Platinum” in one match doesn’t mean you belong in Platinum League yet.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Ranks are relative. “Platinum League” doesn’t mean anything on its own; its value comes from its relative standing to other leagues. If you’re in Platinum League, it just means that you generally play better than those in Gold League but not quite at the level of Diamond League. If everyone improves but you hit a plateau, you should actually expect to fall into a lower league!
  • Consistency is key. Just because you’re a Gold player who beat a team of Platinum players in solo queue doesn’t mean you deserve to be in Platinum League. Proper matchmaking systems don’t care about one-time results; they look for trends, patterns, and consistency. The more you play, the more accurate your ranking becomes.
  • Everyone is in the same system. If you think you deserve to be in Champion League but you’re “stuck” in Diamond League, take a hard ponder at why you’re an exception. Everyone else is playing with the same exact algorithms — if the system is buggy, everyone is playing with the same exact bugs. No, the system is not out to get you. You aren’t the only one getting “bad teammates.” If after many games you’re still “stuck” in Gold League, you deserve to be there.

I believe misrankings can happen, but only after placement matches in a new season. The more you play, the more you’ll arrive where you truly belong. And that’s how a functioning system should be.

If there’s only one thing you take away from this post, let it be this: the matchmaking system is not a progression system. “Grinding” for that next rank, next division, next league is a huge source of frustration for people, but it makes no sense if you really think about it.

The system isn’t meant to be a grind!

At the end of the day, we all just want to have a good time. In Battlerite, that should mean matches that are as fair and even as possible. If your most fun matches are found in Bronze League, then who cares? Avoid getting caught up in ego and enjoy Bronze League while you can.

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Zanetski

He is the lead writer at Battlecrank. You can find him on the Battlecrank Discord.

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