I'm currently developing a game where players will be able to battle each other, not in real time, but offline, in a way where both players doesn't have to be online. This might seem like a bad idea, but it makes sense in the context of the game.

Right now I'm trying to create some kind of ranking system, where the outcome of the match only affects the player who initiated the match, since I don't want players loosing rank when they're not playing.

A simple idea would be to award the player 2 points for winning and take away 1 for loosing.

I honestly have no idea if this design would work, so I come here to get some suggestions on how to design system like this. Thank you.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd really suggest not to penalize players for loosing: some will turn out receiving negative scores, will get discouraged and stop playing. You still can track statistics and make them available for viewing. \$\endgroup\$ – Vaillancourt Jul 1 '15 at 12:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good point. I'll keep that in mind when making the system. \$\endgroup\$ – tobloef Jul 1 '15 at 12:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ But shouldn't the player who wins 20 times and looses 4 be better than a player that wins 21 times and looses 100? \$\endgroup\$ – tobloef Jul 1 '15 at 13:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Has the player who played only a couple of game and won them all better or just more lucky? If you want to reflect what's in your previous comment, why not just rank player by percentage of games won, and group your players by the amount of games played? Or something like that! \$\endgroup\$ – Vaillancourt Jul 1 '15 at 13:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I see what you mean. I just feel like a player should be able to slowly climb rank as long as he wins more than he loses, even if he only wins 51% of the time. \$\endgroup\$ – tobloef Jul 1 '15 at 13:16

A good idea is to grant them points based on how much their opponent has.

Try something like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elo_rating_system

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The elo system helps accomplish this. It keeps players who are better at the game with a higher score, and players who aren't as good at the game with lower scores. I wouldn't call it the best way, but I would call it a very, very good way. Many games use it, and you don't even know they use it. \$\endgroup\$ – user2072826 Jul 1 '15 at 13:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I see. Would the system still work if only one of the players gets rated after a match, regardless of the outcome? As I said in the post, the players won't be playing each other. \$\endgroup\$ – tobloef Jul 1 '15 at 13:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure, I think that the idea is for one person to lose points, and for another to win points. I'm pretty sure it would work if only one person got/lost points, but I've never tried it or seen anyone use it in that way. \$\endgroup\$ – user2072826 Jul 1 '15 at 13:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Did some tests. ELO works alright for my game, so I think I'll settle with this system for now. Thank you. \$\endgroup\$ – tobloef Jul 1 '15 at 14:36

It all depends on the context of what you are doing but:


Designing it around flat values is viable if you don't wish the competitive factor to be heavy. = Win or lose vs anyone gets you the same result, no need to seek out better players to play againts.


You can take percentages of existing points but then you have to work on engagement rules. Is a 0 hour noob going to be able to take a shot at someone with a lot of points. Games that open engagements fully mean that an observant but sneaky party can wait for stronger people to spend their forces fighting each other, to only sweep easy targets. No right or wrong - just choose if you want that kind of social dynamic or not. Either way you have to give flat points because 122142% of 0 is still 0.


You can track all the points people ever had, or the largest amount of points people ever had. Then draw upon that source only or parallel to any other points you deal.

This way defeating prestigious players still nets a result even if they are now low on current points. Limiting the exploit-ability of afk/ish players is as simple as only draw points from record IF the provider of points has more than 0 current.


In any event. A tool is complimentary to a goal. If you have a specific idea of what you want to achieve you will be much better suited to chasing down details. Even is said idea is as abstract as "I want the player to get points very hard, but lose them easily - so the ones with much points can feel way superior".

Otherwise you fall pray to the design loop of "we ought to have it because we think its probably popular/good to have it"... Instead of because we want to make something of it. Use it to fill a ... Make it feel like ...

Who are you going to buy? "I don't know, we saw that making TVs is trendy so we opened a factory" or ... "We felt we wanted to improve This and That, to make TVs better, so we went into the business..."

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Great answer! I settled on the ELO system, but this answer is a really good read nonetheless. \$\endgroup\$ – tobloef Jul 8 '15 at 17:08

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