5 Improvement Methods
(Overwatch)

Introduction

Right now a lot of competitive multiplayer games use a ranked system that hasn’t really been innovated on and my goal was to create a system that helps the players improve and changes the mentality of players. The end goal is to reduce toxicity with this mentality change and create a more healthy environment.

The biggest thing I want to instill in this system are these three questions:
Where am I going?
How am I going?
Where to next?

Research I’ve completed for this design:
Progress Feedback (educational method).
How to improve self-efficacy within players.
How to improve communication within groups.
Virtual team formation.
Tackling toxicity within games.
Watching a lot of player coaching videos, trying to find patterns in things that players can generally improve upon.

Core Skills
My system focuses on four core skills
Game Knowledge
Mechanics
Situational Awareness
Positioning

1. Teaching the Player the Game
The first step is to teach the players the game this is mostly centered around letting the players learn the rules of the game and all the different roles the player can take within the game.

A lot of players in these games are lacking basic knowledge on how
the game is played (for example look at lower rank players in these games).
Most games have a barrier before being able to enter ranked but this
is based on playtime and not on game knowledge.
Most games show you the knowledge but don’t actively allow you to learn it.

Teach players through active tutorials the game knowledge, set it as
a requirement to have a certain amount of base knowledge before being
able to enter ranked.
Learn players the basic roles that he could take within the game and
the corresponding playstyles.
Learn the player fundamentals of communication so the players are
better able to work together with unfamiliar teammates.

There are a lot of video’s out there that try to give you knowledge, but I don’t think this is as valuable as active tutorials that the player could try and complete. I think it’s best if you divide these tutorials up in three categories and expand on the as the game progresses. These tutorials should never be set in stone and should always be looked at as the base of knowledge every player should know.

2. Helping Players Improve at the Game
After the first step has been completed and the players have learned how the game works the next step is to focus on how the players can improve at the game, this is currently sorely lacking in every competitive multiplayer game. There are multiple ways this can be done but I think the most important way is to make statistics more insightful to the player so he can actually use this information.

A lot of games give the players a lot of statistics but, they are relatively meaningless and can only be compared with friends.
The games also give no suggestions on how one might get better at the game.
The games don’t give you ways outside of ranked games to improve at specific skills.
Videos of showing ways you can improve only get you so far.

First you have to create a system that analyzes data and extrapolates the things
that a player could improve upon.
You have to provide challenges for players so theycan improve upon specific skills.
You have to show the growth the player is going through.
You have to let the player actively participate in the learning process.

Statistics are most of the time presented in a way that they are meaningless for players. I would provide grades to show how well they are doing compared to their current rank. This gives them an indication of things they are good and or bad at. Also, it’s important to show them the average for some time ago so they can see if they improved.

This is to give an indication to the players what they are good and bad at so they can have a general idea on what they can improve upon.

3. Improving the Ranked System
The current focus within the established ranked systems are on status instead of progress. I feel like this is the wrong move if you want
to create a healthy and supportive environment. Additionally, players are not shown their progress throughout the season, which in my opinion is more important then your ending rank.

Current ranked systems have a focus on status instead of progression, this creates an unhealthy culture where people are looking down on each other instead of trying to help each other.
Matchmaking is too random in pairing you with teammates and doesn’t allow for knowledge transfer between teammates.
The calculated skill is based on general play and not individual skills, this ties into the player improvement.
Not a lot of games allow you to form groups based on certain qualities you have in and outside of the game.

The ranked system should focus on the growth of the player instead
of the status.
It should match players with each other to balance out a team based
on the certain qualities they have.
Players should be able to form groups based on different factors to
form more cohesive teams.

To combat the experience only problem the player should establish a base of knowledge through the playing of different characters and doing the tutorials.

Instead of playing ten games to get your rank, I think a better judgement of your skills is to do a couple of challenges. This also allows the game to pair people better. You could also pair people who are better at one skill and lesser at another to allow for more chance of knowledge transfer

4. Improving the Ranked Experience
Within ranked games you see a lot of disorganized team play, I feel like this is bad for the overall experience of the players. The game should also help the player be conscious of the things they can focus on so they can more efficiently improve.

Games don’t help the newly formed teams familiarize themselves with each other.
Games don’t help the newly formed teams form a game plan.
Games don’t give the player a single focus point which they could improve upon
throughout the game.
Games don’t help the player be conscious on the decisions they are making.

Allow players to establish a structure of communication at the start of the match.
Allow the players to get comfortable with each other and form a plan at the start of the match.
Have a focus point for the players at the start of the match.
Help the player be conscious of the decisions they are making.

Right now death moments are in my opinion under utilized. They are perfect moments to reflect on what your next move should be.

This could be that the game gives you some suggestions on things you could think about relative to the situation you are in.

To form better and more cohesive groups you also have to look at how to combine certain personalities together.

Another good way to help the player improve is give them a focus point at the start of the match.

The player selects one of the possible ‘challenges’, and has that as a focus point for the whole match. These are constructed based off of which hero they are playing and their improvement points that they’ve gotten through statistical analysis.

5. Tackling Toxicity Problems
A lot of systems are in place to punish toxic players, I feel like this is the wrong way to address this problem. Because if you punish toxic players they will remain toxic players, my take on it is that you should reform these players to have a higher chance of making them healthy teammates again.

Games currently only punish players for bad behavior.
Not enough games actively promote the players to be helpful towards each other.
Because ranked systems promote status over growth, it is reflected in the behavior of players. They are more likely to flame one another then actually help each other.

Show players examples of good and bad behavior.
Don’t only punish the players but also try and reform them and make them healthy teammates again.

To better combat toxicity, a good first step is showing people what good and bad behavior is.

Also when a player is punished to make them do a mandatory reformation test before they are allowed to play again.