Developer Team Notes #5

Hey there, Smashers!

This is Park Soochan, the director of SMASH LEGENDS.

We have been very busy with implementing the large-scale update recently,

but we’re back with our developer notes again.

Today we would like to talk about Competitive Match.

About Competitive Match…

Competitive Match first came out in the April 12th update along with Yong Yong.

In Competitive Match, you are able to gain or lose points depending on the results,

unlike Quick Matches, and you are able to play more engaging matches with people around your skill level.

We were originally planning on adding Competitive Match some time last year,

but it kept getting pushed back in development and was finally able to see the light of day as of recently.

Competitive Match play a very important role in PvP games.

They fill the simple role of allowing players to play games where they can perform at their best skill levels,

and play games of higher qualities. Furthermore, by separating Competitive Match from normal modes,

players can enjoy more casual games in normal modes, while experiencing the “competitive” side of thing in Competitive Match,

all depending on each players goals.

This does an important job of not forcing players with different goals to play in the same matches,

which can create unpleasant experiences, and make the game mor eenjoyable for everyone.

We hope that more and more people are able to play Competitive Match in SMASH LEGENDS.

If there aren’t enough players in Competitive Match, it becomes increasingly difficult for players of equal skills to be matches together.

As such, we have made compromises as the ones who run Competitive Match.

The baseline for this is that we have made it so that new players are not kept from being able to play

Competitive Match for too long. And this baseline can greatly affect the Competitive Matchmaking system.

Elements That Make up Competitive Match

There are more systems in place than one might think that make up a Competitive Match.

Maps and modes, tiers, picks & bans, team queuing, boosting, and abuses,

these are all concerns that need to be addressed. Because Competitive Match is a system that handles competition,

even small changes can greatly impact the players, and needs careful consideration before being implemented.

We will be presenting to you the careful points of discussion we’ve had about implementing each system.

About Tier Systems

Tiers are what represent one’s skill level at first glance.

Saying “I’m in gold” is way more intuitive than saying “I’m at 1750 points”,

so tiers are what’s used to represent skill levels of players in Competitive Match. 

Currently, the game separates a player’s visible tier and their hidden MMR,

what represents a users true skills, differently. If your skill level is calculated to be higher than your tier,

you wil be able to climb to the tier you belong in much faster.

Likewise, if you beat another player of a much higher skill level, you will earn a lot more points.

Because of this, the amount of points you win or lose every game will differ from game to game.

These MMR ratings are hidden from players because they tend to be much more sensitive and volatile than one might expect,

which could negatively impact the game if players were able to see them. That’s why the MMR numbers are hidden below

the tier system that can provide a more stable gaming experience for players.

However, when Competitive Match first came out in April, there was an issue where tier changes would be abnormally volatile.

Every game was like a rollercoaster where you could gain 50 points or drop down to 0 points in the blink of an eye.

What we want to make clear is that this volatility was not intended.

This was an issue that arose due to our inexperience when we were preparing to release Competitive Match,

and we would like to apologize for this issue. This issue has since then been patched, and we are continuing

to carefully monitor the system to not allow such issues to arise again.

Modes and Map Select

Last year, when we were in the beginning stages of making Competitive Match,

we had many discussions regarding what mode we could have Competitive Match utilize.

We’ve thought of making it a consistent mode, a mode that changes from season to season,

or a randomly chosen mode, etc. By the time we were close to announcing Competitive Match,

we’ve already commited to keeping the game consistently revolve around one main mode.

As such, Competitive Match is kept as its current consistent state.

In Competitive Match, maps are chosen randomly from a pool,

and this was to keep matches from getting too stale over the course of a season. Making only one map

Pick and Ban System

We think the best part of Competitive Match is the Pick and Ban system.

The Pick and Ban system serves as an opportunity to have a different experience in Competitive Match compared to regular game.

By implementing the Pick and Ban system, we hope to achieve the following goals.

  • Players should be able to select Legends based on different factors such as maps, teams, etc.
  • Players should be able to play every match with a different combination of Legends.
  • Both teams should be able to play in balance.
  • However, the time required for Pick and Ban should not be too long.
  • The number of Legends required for Pick and Ban should not be too high.

We had some concerns about the Pick and Ban time in Dominion Mode as the game duration is short.

It may cause a lot of stress and frustration if players spend a lot of time and effort with the Pick and Ban but then the game ends very fast.

In order to allow enough time to play with the Pick and Ban system, we discussed implementing a best-of-three system,

but this idea was rejected considering that Competitive Match would become too heavy.

As a result, the time required to select a Legend is set to be quite short,

the Legend can be determined in advance and the ability can be changed even after selecting a Legend.

After considering various factors, we decided that there would not be a ban on Legends,

duplicate Legends could not be selected and both teams would take turns to choose Legends.

After the release of Competitive Match, we noticed players chose their Legends faster than expected,

so it took less time for Pick and Ban than we expected.

We still feel regretful that we didn’t implement Pick and Ban system in Competitive Match.

This is because the Pick and Ban system works as a safeguard to prevent Legends that are too strong from being picked and used for unfair advantage.

We have not applied it yet due to the time required for Pick and Ban and requirements to enter Competitive Match,

but we are considering adding the ban system as the number of Legends increases in the future.


Currently, Competitive Match only allows players to solo queue.

If you want to play with more than two players, you have to enter the Competitive Match separately.

We also feel regretful about this, but it’s not that easy to include a multi-queue in Competitive Match.

There was a lengthy discussion within the development team about the topic, and there is a reason for the current outcome.

  • About solo queue. Similarly to other games that have Competitive Match, a solo queue is important as it assures the stability of the system. Players enter the queue into the Competitive Match solo, play with the team they meet on the spot, and get the results of the game as they advance through the tiers. Above this rule, there are no major issues with the overall system. 
  • About duo queue. Since SMASH LEGENDS is a 3:3 game, if we allow duo queue, players will have to match alongside solo queue players. This will create a division as some players will queue in a pair and some individually despite being in the same team. Unlike the duo queue in MOBA where five people play as a team, the impact of duo queue is much greater in SMASH LEGENDS Competitive Match which is made up of three people. Playing the game in a pair will have a greater advantage while users who play individually will be relatively at a disadvantage. On the other hand, duo queue can also cause more matching abuse. The Competitive Match system could fail if there are not enough countermeasures set for cases where users with a huge skill difference play together as a team, or when duo queue and solo queue meet and intentionally lose the game. For this reason, developing duo queue was put on hold until solo queue is stabilized.
  • About trio queue, or as we could call it: “Team Competition”. If trio queue players match against solo queue players, it will cause an even bigger problem than duo queue. To be honest, we need more users for the Team Competition system to work. If Team Competition is created with the current playerbase, a situation where players only meet the same team over and over again may occur. Furthermore, there’s the issue of team tiers and rewards. On one hand, if strong restrictions on team formation and disbandment are placed, accessibility to Team Competition will be limited. On the other hand, the more freely teams can be formed, the weaker the solidarity within teams and the greater the potential for abuse. Considering these various factors, it is still too early to apply Team Competition to SMASH LEGENDS. If Team Competition is applied, we think we could make it into a clan battle with a clan system.

Competitive Match is one of the ways to enjoy SMASH LEGENDS, so we think players should be able to play it with their friends.

There’s definitely something special in playing together with others in competitive matches.

However, there are many challenges in properly capturing this, and we are sorry for the current state where only solo queue is possible. 

Penalty for Abandoning Match

Players feel very strongly about their tier fluctuation in Competitive Match.

If a player leaves the game during Competitive Match, their team members will be at a disadvantage.

For this reason, if a player leaves the match during Competitive Match, they will receive a penalty.

This is called a penalty for abandoning a match. 

However, SMASH LEGENDS is a mobile-based game, and there may be situations where players

have to unintentionally stop playing because they get a call during the game or the network connection is unstable.

Penalties for abandoning matches are definitely necessary, but we think imposing really harsh penalties for such cases is not ideal. 

The existing penalty for abandoning a match is flawed and has been abused a lot

by players who abandon the game after seeing the matching situation.

As a result, other players often experience continuous match cancellations. This doesn’t reflect what we initially intended.

In the future, we’ll try to find the right balance for the penalty for abandoning a match.

Firstly, we made the penalty for abandoning a match a bit stricter during the last patch.

In addition, the rank info of other players was concealed to reduce intentional match abandoning after seeing the rank of opponents in Competitive Match.

We will keep an eye on the frequency of match abandoning to improve Competitive Match.

Current Competitive Match

Many users were looking forward to Competitive Match and have been playing it a lot after its release.

We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the users for making this mode possible.

However, there are still many aspects in which the current Competitive Match is lacking.

First of all, the compensation for competitive matches is not sufficient.

There is a lack of incentive to play Competitive Match consistently,

and there are only a limited number of places where the rewards provided in the mode can be seen in-game.

Although nothing has been decided yet, we are considering adding cosmetic items as rewards that can only be obtained in Competitive Match.

Also, about Dominion Mode. Dominion Mode has been available since

SMASH LEGENDS was first launched and can be played as the main mode in Competitive Match.

While it is true that the team that plays better generally wins in Dominion Mode,

sometimes it feels like luck may also determine the result of the match.

The game pattern changes in an instant depending on the situations that occur rather than just proceeding in a cause-and-effect manner.

This tendency could be a characteristic of the Dominion Mode if it were a regular game,

but in competitive matches where players compete with their skills it is a rather negative experience.

It may be okay for the Dominion Mode to be played in Competitive Match for the time being, but we don’t think it’s suitable for the long term.

In addition to this, there are various issues currently in Competitive Match,

and it is true that there are still many obstacles for the long run.

These problems are recognized by the development team and will be resolved one by one as soon as possible.

Future of Competitive Match

We’d like to talk a little bit about what we’re preparing for the Competitive Match.

First of all, we are making preparations for duo queue in Competitive Match.

Games are always fun to play together, especially so in SMASH LEGENDS. Same goes for Competitive Match,

and we think it would be better to have a two-player match rather than a single-player one.

However, as mentioned above, there are still be many problems to consider,

and to prevent problems to some extent, top users are excluded from the duo queue. 

Meanwhile, we are currently preparing for the next game mode to replace the Dominion Mode.

It will be the Escort Mode that was available in Arena Lab not too long ago.

The rules will be partly modified. While creating Escort Mode, we aimed to reach the following criteria. 

  • Move away from the 3:3 battle-oriented game and allow for more diverse situations.
  • The characteristics of each Legend should be better displayed in much wider circumstances. 
  • The causation of the game should be clear, and the flow of the game should be better understood.
  • However, game rules should still be intuitive and easy to understand.

As a result, Escort Mode will be a little more complicated than Dominion Mode

but since it was created with the assumption that players would be playing in a Competitive Match,

it is probably within the acceptable range of difficulty.

If the Escort Mode is officially included in Competitive Match, a large-scale balance patch will also be included.

If we have a chance later, we will talk about the details separately.

In this developer’s note, we shared the development process and direction of Competitive Match.

We wish for your continued support as we continue to improve the overall experience in Competitive Match.

Thank you!