Stranger Rule: Why can't I play a certain opponent?


1. Bad intent team players (2 against 1). Although this is the most obvious reason for the new rules, it is by far the only one.

2. Ever since the beginning of our ranking system I strongly felt one should not play the same opponents to frequently, hence the opponent factor in the ranking system. The system is provided to indicate how well you play compared to the rest of the players on the website, not a select group of opponents. Once you have recently played a specific opponent a dozen games I think you all know who is the better of the two. Ideally everyone should play every other opponent or something similar to a tournament, but unfortunately that is not a realistic goal.

3. It is very hard to maintain objective when you play with a well known opponent. This is a by-product of the fact that the game consists of 3 players. We have investigated cases where I'm quite sure the players in question didn't actually mean harm, but the favoritism was obvious to any third party. Of course the opposite happens to, but the point is that you often don't even realize you (dis)favor anyone.

4. Frequent opponents cause suspision. Even when there is no actual team play, any odd or misunderstood move made by one of the frequent opponents can totally convince the third player the other two are playing as a team. This will not only ruin the rest of the game but will also give us another (useless) case to investigate.

Previous attempts

1. Opponent factor in ranking system. As mentioned above, the first rule to avoid these problems was to discourage playing ranking games against frequent opponents. The opponent factor decreases the number of ranking points you can score by the amount you have played this opponent before. Unfortunately this has proven to have none to little effect as you can still score full points against the third player.

2. We have tried numerous ways of spectating, restricting, recording to detect team players, unintended favoritism and disproving complaints. None of them proved effective and the complaints just kept piling up. Not even our special group of trusted members watching the recording games (COPs) couldn't keep up with the growing number of cases.

The current rules

In short, the amount of ranking games you can play against a certain opponent is now limited by the level of ranking you both have.

For starters, you can never play a ranking game against someone playing from the same location (IP-address) or any player that is somehow related to you by profile data.

For any other opponent the system checks how many ranking games have already played with the opponent that are still visible in your ranking history (history goes back approximately 4 months at the moment). This check is not only based on player name but also on any other names you and your opponent may have. So, registering multiple accounts won't bypass this system.
- games played = X

Then the system checks what ranking level you both belong to, to determine the maximum amount of allowed games. This will be the most favorable of monthly and yearly ranking:
- games allowed = Y

both above  250pts = 20 games
both above  150pts = 15 games
both above   50pts = 10 games
both below -250pts = 20 games
both below -150pts = 15 games
both below  -50pts = 10 games
one  -50 to +50pts =  5 games

If you have already played more ranking games (X) then the allowed amount of ranking games (Y) you will not be able to competer in a ranking game.

You are not restricted to play any opponent in the non-ranking lobbies.

* These rules currently only apply to Xplorers.
* All clan wars are excluded from the stranger rules.

The future

Although the actual values of the rule might be tweaked in the near future we are fully committed to keeping this rule active.

* If anyone thinks he or she may have a better alternative, please let me know with a good plan to tackle the mentioned problems.