Five ways to make SMITE Ranked Conquest better in Season 5

SMITE Ranked Conquest isn’t in the best state it’s ever been. You’ve got daily complaint threads on reddit about matchmaking and disconnects, and some pros are even swearing off the mode. At the root of the problems seems to be a lack of player interest and therefore a small player base. Put all that together you’ve got poor matchmaking and a mode nobody wants to play.

With Season 5 quickly approaching, it’s the perfect time for change. Here are five suggestions to make playing ranked more appealing.

1. Abbreviated picking phase

SMITE Ranked Lobby Screencap
Screenshot of a ranked lobby from a SMITE stream

The time sink from entering queue to playing SMITE is too long. Ranked games aren’t professional matches. They are five random players thrown into a game. There should be a picking and banning process, but there is no need to simulate a 10+ minutes picks and bans phase like it’s a pro game. SMITE needs to look toward MOBAs like Dota 2 that have shortened picks and bans sections in ranked while maintaining their full strategy phase in competitive games.

2. Longer splits or go back to full seasons

SMITE Fall Split Season Ticket
The season ticket for the fall split

This year, for the first time, SMITE had smaller splits dictating ranks instead of letting progress carry through a full season. While it gave Hi-Rez an opportunity to iron out issues in individual splits (like the Spring Split’s problem where too many players were easily placing Diamond and Masters), it’s more of a turnoff to players who aren’t hardcore grinding the mode.

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who is only able to play a few games a night; it’s understandably frustrating watching your hard-earned progress get wiped after just a few months. I can only speak from my own friends list, but I have a lot less friends who bothered qualifying for the last split than the first split. Sure, the organization for ranked now mirrors the way competitive is laid out, but does it need to?

3. Stricter punishments for trolls, feeders, leavers and harassment

Stock Photo Stop Sign
Put a real stop to trolls, harassers and intentional feeders

We’ve all had the unpleasant experience of having an AFK player in our match, surrendering our TP, breathing a sigh of relief when the game ends and cringing as we see them in our match the next day. Who are these people, and why do they go unpunished for so long? Why is the same person spamming racial slurs day in and day out without punishment? There are a lot of unanswered questions about SMITE’s banning system.

Nailing down a proper report system is tricky, and companies understandably want to avoid banning players who just had a bad game. But punishments should be strict for repeat offenses of trolling, feeding, leaving and harassment, and they should be even more strict for ranked — especially since Hi-Rez wants ranked to be SMITE’s premier mode.

4. Shown MMR

ranked2
MMR is there — we just can’t see it.

Okay, okay, okay. It’s the privacy argument again. While I’m not against people being able to make their profiles private, their MMR should still be shown. As in, when you go to look up a match, you should be able to see what every player’s MMR was, even if you can’t click on them and view their profile in more detail. That way, if there’s a Silver II in your Diamond game, you can at least see that they have high MMR and are on their way up the totem pole.

It may be painful for kinks in the system to become exposed, but more transparency is always a good thing, and any problems can always be worked through as they are exposed. Especially because we know MMR is there hidden underneath the visible division system and is the main factor in matchmaking, it only makes sense to see it.

5. Replay available for every ranked game

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Replays are a valuable learning tool

One of the biggest draws of ranked used to be that a replay was recorded in every ranked game. Now, only high level games meeting a certain requirement are recorded, but that’s a bit backward, isn’t it? The people who have the most to learn from watching back their replays don’t have any available. There are other concerns, like replays could be used to see if a player is hacking or griefing other players. Again, more information is always a good thing.

A lot of the points in this article suggest ranked cater more to players not at the top of the food chain. Before you think to yourself, “Hey, ranked should be only for hardcore players,” think about SMITE’s population to realize the vast majority of players are not professionals or fulfilling high ranks. SMITE needs every player it can get to create the most balanced matches, and catering only to the hardcore isn’t the way to go about this.

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