Remedying these issues is far from being an easy task; it essentially requires a full-on overhaul of the systems already in place. However, if done correctly, the solution is a mouth-watering prospect.
To look at a successful ranking system, Treyarch needn't look further than the 2007 FPS hit Halo 3. Amongst many others, one of Halo 3's most decorated accolades was its stellar ranking system which mesmerised millions - its addictiveness was one of the reasons as to why people kept coming back for more. Usually when the prospect of emulating Halo 3's ranking system arises, many naysayers are fast to chime in that it shows a lack of creativity, and that copying it would be shallow. However, it is a working formula; why not go for something that's already known to succeed?
It's arguable that Halo 3's booming success was because of its enthralling ranking system. What was most notable was the difficulty of it all; if you weren't the greatest at the game, but were above average, chances were you'd be around level 30. Yet when you look at Call of Duty, average players are more than capable of gaining Master Rank 1; it's all a question of how much time you have on your hands. That's the difference, whilst CoD simply takes time to rank up, Halo 3 required true skill - only the cream of the crop ascended into the 40's!
So if Call of Duty is to emulate such a system, what exactly do they need to do? Well, to the common gamer (you and I), that's not a question easy answered. Bungie have never really revealed the inner-workings of Halo 3's ranking system for consumers, but it's thought that it follows the same framework as Microsoft's Trueskill system. It's here that the game takes your player skill level (Mu) and your uncertainty factor (Sigma). Your MU tracks and records your skill level through past performances. Winning raises it, whilst losing lowers it - simple enough. Sigma, on the other hand, is a whole other ball game! Sigma is a representation of your potential true skill. Consistent players will find themselves having a low Sigma level, which results in you ranking up slower than usual. Due to this, Halo is commonly littered with players using secondary accounts; all of which have high sigma's that ultimately boost your rank faster than usual. Further algorithms are obviously in place, but even these two combining is nauseating to think of!
What the above information tells us is that creating such a system from scratch is far from easy, and without Microsoft's framework, this may be out of Treyarch's league; especially at this point in the year, where the next Call of Duty is on the horizon. With that said, nobody is expecting a perfect system to come into play, at least not for Black Ops 2. What we would like to see, however, is the foundations of such a proposition being built around League Play to make it representative of true competitive gaming. With a true skill ranking system in place, there's no doubt that League Play would see a rise in figures over time - it's what got Halo big, and it's what'll get Call of Duty competitive bigger.
This is only one of the issues that League play faces. Stay tuned to FPS General for the next part of the series where we'll look the game series' on offer and how they can be developed into something more!
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