A Proposal for Changes to Random

starcraft 5 - A Proposal for Changes to Random

I'd like to lay out some thoughts I have regarding the option to queue on the ranked ladder as Random. As a summary, I think Random should not have its own, distinct MMR and that when choosing Random on the ranked ladder, that both players should be able to see the randomly assigned race in the loading screen.

***Random should not have its own, distinct MMR***

I think something that everyone can agree on is that Random is not a race. There are no Random units, no Random buildings. Every game that a players queues into as Random, they play as Terran, Protoss, or Zerg. While not universally true, most players do not play all three races at the same level of skill.

As an example we will consider a player with M3 level Zerg, and D2 level Protoss and Terran. As Random works currently, this player would be placed around D2-D1 while queueing as Random. In this case, the player in question will play very few games against equally skilled opponents for each race. While this could be ameliorated with the classic (and frankly dated) argument that Random confers a needed advantage to the player, this still leaves us with the ~33% of matches that the player in question will play as Zerg. In those games, our hypothetical player has the advantage over their opponent, not only in skill but also in knowledge at the beginning of the game.

If instead, queueing as Random assigned the player to one of the three races at that race's particular MMR, this solves the issue of the above hypothetical player playing against either inferior or superior players with any given race as well as obviates the need for an inherent advantage while queueing as Random. This brings me to the second point…

***Both players should be able to see the randomly assigned race in the loading screen***


Even without the above proposed change, it strikes me as odd that while queueing as Random both players should not know which race the Random player will be playing as. Of the reasons that a randomly assigned race should be displayed in the loading screen, the most prominent is that it confers an advantage to the player queueing as Random that is not available under any other circumstances. Obviously this advantage is the knowledge of the opponent's race while the opponent does not have the same knowledge.

This breaks one of the fundamental symmetries of Starcraft II — symmetry of information — around which the game is balanced. Protoss is the most disadvantaged by the information asymmetry, since even before the earliest possible scout, a Protoss player must make a decision on Pylon placement which would be different in each of the three matchups. With that said, lack of knowledge of the opponent's race also carries the potential to weaken any player's chances against a variety of early all-in or cheese builds.

I know there are some members of the community who ardently believe that Random is perfect as it is and that proposed changes to its functionality could only be detrimental. However, I believe there are also people in the community that might agree with me that the current functionality of Random gels poorly with the rest of the game and its infrastructure. Certainly I don't have all the answers so if people have thoughts on how to improve the Random queueing experience on either side, I would love to hear them.

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