I know I’m beating a dead horse here.
The debate between 2v2 and 3v3 has been going on for years. Even before Battlerite was a thing, we debated it constantly during the days of Bloodline Champions. Can’t I just let it go? Is it really that important? I think so. There are many reasons why picking a main format is necessary.
But let’s set aside opinions and look at data. Regardless of what you think is more fun or convenient, there is one true reason why 3v3 is objectively better than 2v2 for competitive Battlerite. The numbers prove it, and numbers don’t lie.
The Key Ingredient in Competition
There is only one thing that truly matters in any competitive activity. Sure we can talk about overall balance, fun and evolving metagames, a rewarding tournament system, a proper spectator experience, and all the other good stuff that goes into making an esport that people will adopt. But one thing reigns over all of that:
When two players go head to head, we should expect the better player to win most of the time. The same holds true when two teams compete. The converse is true too: we can judge which team is better than another by seeing how often they win against each other. If Team A beats Team Z over 90 percent of the time, the result is clear. If they share a 50 percent win rate, then we might say they’re on equal ground.
This is why RNG (random number generation) is so frowned upon in games aspiring to be esports. Randomness injects uncertainty, and uncertainty impacts consistency. When consistency drops too low, it becomes harder to take results seriously. Did Team A beat Team Z because they’re better or because they rolled a game-winning critical hit? Fluke wins are okay but they should be rare, not the norm.
Any mechanic or design decision that skews consistency should be frowned upon. Likewise, mechanics or designs that promote consistency should be encouraged.
Hence why the Grand Finals of any serious esports event increases the number of maps/matches played to determine a winner. Thousands (or millions) of dollars should never hang on a fluke win. When declaring a winner, you really want to make sure they earned it and deserve it.
For an esport to be taken seriously — by players and fans — it must hold consistency of results as its highest priority.
Why 3v3 Is Objectively Better
Most players intuitively know that 3v3 is more balanced and consistent than 2v2 in Battlerite, and we can point at all kinds of reasons why this might be true. Others disagree and think 2v2 is consistent enough for competitive play.
But what does the data say?
I went through battlerite-stats.ru’s leaderboards and combed through dozens of player profiles, looking specifically at win rate differences between 3v3 and 2v2. These are all top- and mid-tier players with significantly positive records, so we know they’re more skilled than the majority of players they encounter in queues.
Here’s what I found. These numbers are from the Season 5 Solo Leaderboards, only using League stats because Casual is itself inconsistent:
What we see is a significant difference when top players queue for 3v3 versus 2v2: their win rates are regularly higher when playing 3v3.
This shows that something about 3v3 makes the mode inherently more consistent than 2v2. Seeing as these are some of the best players in the game, we can assume that they know what they’re doing. Why are they losing more often in 2v2? Is it because comps matter more? Is cooldown trading more prominent? Are matches frequently coming down to sudden death and turning results into coin flips?
We can’t say for sure. The data doesn’t speak to any of that. It only shows us that something is indeed unstable in 2v2 gameplay.
Can we trust this data? What if this player always queues solo while another always queues as teams? Wouldn’t this skew the data? If it does, there’s no indication of it. The trend still holds for nearly every player in the Top 100. Whether these people play alone or with friends, they clearly perform better in 3v3.
What Do We Do With This Info?
First of all, if you’re fed up with solo queue because you feel like you lose more often than you should, reconsider playing 2v2. People aren’t lying when they say that 3v3 is a different game — it pushes the skillcap higher by lessening the emphasis on 2v2’s cooldown trading.
The consistency makes 3v3 more fun and competitive.
More than that, we should keep pushing Stunlock Studios to decide on an official competitive format, even if it means picking 2v2. While I’d personally prefer the game to be designed for 3v3, it’s certainly possible to tweak and balance the game for 2v2 in a way that makes it more consistent and skillful.
But not while 3v3 hangs over its head.
Deciding on an official competitive format would mean removing the other format from League play (ranked). There should only be one ranked queue. If they want to keep a Casual queue for the non-competitive format, so be it.
This is a crucial step because it primes the playerbase for one proper format.
As long as both formats exist for ranked play, there will never be a consensus on balance. Some champs are good in 2v2, others are good in 3v3. If one format is designated as official, we can get that much closer to becoming a better balanced game.
And at the end of the day, that’s all we really want, isn’t it?