Minor regions essentially only have three game modes: AI, QM and ranked.
AI is starting to die – sometimes I'll wait long enough in the AI queue that I get AI opponents instead of real people. I find this surprising, since AI always has been the quickest queue in the past. Why has this changed recently?
QM is, well, QM. You get a match fairly quickly during prime time, but it's always a mixed bag. During off-peak, the queue becomes rather long even for QM.
Ranked really only has a few hours a day where you can play. Interestingly, I can't recall seeing any drastic MMR spans lately, but now instead of rainbow games, you get infinite queues. During prime time, however, the ranks are very tightly matched, whereas a year ago that was less common. Has something changed with matchmaking here?
Ranked in minor regions also has a double-edged sword of a small player base. In some ways, it's nice, because you develop allies and rivals and start to learn people's quirks, strengths and weaknesses – but on the flip side, trolls can completely ruin an entire night of gaming since you often will be matched with (or against) them in game after game.
In ANZ, there are several well known trolls who have been pulling antics for YEARS. Sometimes they get banned, but if they do they just make a new account and are back within hours. Better moderation would definitely help improve ranked, which could lure more people back to the game mode. I personally don't really play ranked on ANZ anymore because of the toxic behavior and outright trolling. I honestly tend to do better on USA servers even with 250 ping because the trolls aren't as rampant or as personal, which is saying something 😛
Another issue with ranked in minor regions is that MMR is all over the place. Years ago, rainbow games were much more common at late hours, and I'm talking extreme rainbow where you have B5 and GM in the same game. Lots of games devolved into cheese tactics and farming the low ranked player. I suspect this has led to artificially boosted AND lowered rank, as there were tons of games where MMR basically didn't exist.
On top of this, ranked queue times are not only long, the estimated times are inaccurate. Estimated wait time appears to be based on region (eg NA), versus server you connect to. I have tested this, switching servers and comparing queue times and it's exactly the same no matter which server I am queuing for a game on. This means someone queuing in Australia sees the estimated wait for USA. This makes the wait look longer during prime time and shorter during off hours. The former discourages people from queuing while the latter makes people feel like something's broken when the queue goes longer than the displayed estimate.
So, with all these problems listed, are there any ways to easily fix some of them to make the game more enjoyable to players in minor regions? The game actually seems more active lately, but issues like these are preventing it from thriving.
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