Hello everyone! I’m Shelt and I’ve been working at Stunlock Studios (SLS for short) since the very beginning. My title at SLS is Creative Director. It’s a very fuzzy role, but within game development it often ties into the overall design vision of the game and its features.

I’ve been given the honor to share some of my work and thought process with you guys for this Dev Blog post. This post will be focused around matchmaking and the new ranking system, where I will give you some insight into our vision, summarize our first season and what you can expect in the future.

Designing and implementing a matchmaking system is a super exciting task, but also one of the most difficult in skill-based competitive games. A small difference in skill can make a huge impact on the match balance. Also having to take estimated skill, visual placement, server regions, champions, archetypes, game type, ranking type, party size, queue times etc into consideration when matching players doesn’t make it any easier. Finally, we also have the player needs; some players gladly sacrifice match balance for faster games but others do not.

As many of you know we launched our first season and new ranking system that introduced leagues and divisions in December 2016. This system was designed to be more visually understandable, appealing and with improved rating changes.

During the season several concerns were raised by our community which we tried to tackle along the way. I’ll go through some of them to explain our reasoning and solutions.

“Players got very low placement results”

Our first intention was to place people a lot lower than their estimated skill to give them a guaranteed positive progression. We wanted to prevent players from getting a better placement position than their end result for the season.

This algorithm was very hard on the players and many of you felt like you were treated as the worst players in the world by being placed in low bronze, even though you felt good at the game. We completely understand this and a hotfix was made to increase the initial placement.

“Players often got matched with people outside their own league”

This is a very interesting topic. What we did before was to value our estimated skill of the player (their hidden mmr) more than their visual position (their League placement) when it comes to matchmaking. Because some players are more active than others, the visual position could vary a lot even if we estimated the players to be equally skilled.

We got a lot of complaints on bad matchmaking and we applied a hotfix which made the visual placement more important than our estimated skill when matching players. We got some great responses from that hotfix, telling us games finally felt a lot more balanced. The ironic thing is they actually became slightly worse. Here are some match result data from the Solo Ranked Queue taken before and after the hotfix was in place.

We were aware that the match balance would statistically fall, but as we also guessed, the visual perception played a big part in how players experience match balance. We will keep a close watch on both community feedback and the match result data throughout the season to determine adjustments needed going forward.

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Hellooo Battlerite fans!

Welcome to the very first dev blog!  My name is Katey and I work here at Stunlock Studios (SLS for short) as Brand Manager & UI Designer. If you’re an active reddit user, you may have seen me on there recently. I’ve been trying to answer questions and get more involved with the community.

To start with we will aim for a dev blog to be released every Monday. The blogs will be written by a different developer each week and will also vary in subject matter. We want to open up about our development, give insight on decisions we’ve made, and involve you in the process.

The first thing I want to mention is that some time this week we’ll be posting a bigger announcement that’s going to give you a better overview of what we’re focusing on in development in the months ahead. This will be a broader look at our development process, so if you feel like this blog falls short, be sure to check back for that upcoming post as it may give you more insight.

In my blogs, I’ve decided I want to give you guys an update on random things that people in the office have been working on in the previous week. In the office, we’ve jokingly called this the “Katey going around annoying everyone” blog. I can also provide specific information about what’s going on in the user interface team, since this is where I primarily work.


I am personally a big fan of art, so what really grabbed my eye when pestering the art team in particular was the upcoming Grand Champion mount. It all started with the concept by our Art Director, Johan Aronson:

Battlerite_Grand_Champion_Moiunt_Concept
Concept Art of the Grand Champion mount

As the mount is for use by Grand Champions of the previous Season only, it needed to not only match the Grand Champion league icon, but also make players feel like kings of the arena. The art team felt that a lion was the perfect choice.

After the concept is nailed, it’s down to the 3D artist to begin sculpting the mount. Our 3D artist intern, Sofia Hansson (aka Chili), kindly shared some shots of the sculpt with me and talked about her process.

Battlerite_grand_champion_mount_sculpt
The sculpt in Zbrush

Sofia: “The hardest part for me was the fur. Luckily, I recently worked on a Legendary Outfit that gave me some insight into texturing fur, which helped to speed this up. We texture our models by hand using 3D-coat. This program allows us to paint onto the model directly in a 3D space. Another thing I had to do a bit more learning about was hard-surface sculpting, so I watched some videos to point me in the right direction. The hard-surface parts of this sculpt are the armor plating, etc. Once the sculpt is done, I then create the low-poly version which is what will be used in the game.”

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