New player experience: Ranking too steep


Just started playing last week, this is my first post, so if it’s redundant, oh well. I didn’t see a suggestion subforum (do devs read the forum?)

Great game, I like it a lot. However it primarily rewards winning and the ranking system quickly catapults you into matches you can’t win. Games are supposed to be fun. Repeatedly losing to opponents with objectively better cards because they’ve played for a few months, and getting no reward for it, is not fun. It is a punishing grind, which is a common problem in f2p games & burns players out.

I recommend adding 10-20 levels to the ranking system. Maybe even more, like 100 ranks total. Ideally players would play against people with around the same game time – because this game rewards that time with better cards, so putting new players against those with better cards, decks, and experience is brutal.

Also to make the grind rewarding instead of punishing, award some gold or a free (common?) card for a string of 3 or 4 losses. Not as much reward as for winning of course but something that doesn’t punish people for being new and not having the better faction cards.

EDIT: To clarify, this is not a complaint about not climbing ranks, but an observation that grinding at a certain rank is made difficult by the win-streak bonus pushing players forward. I’m not especially attached to these suggestions, but some alternative to the win-streak bonus may work better to set veteran players apart from new ones.


First of all, welcome to the forums! Before I get on with the rest of my post, I’d like to say new faces are always welcome here, and I hope my disagreement with you doesn’t come off as harsh. The devs do in fact read the forum, and I think a suggestion subforum has been brought up lots by the community recently, so it may be around soon. (disclaimer: I promise and know nothing, I’m just a mod)

Nothing punishes anyone for being new. In fact nothing even punishes anyone for being bad, outside of losing chevrons, which isn’t really a big deal. The daily quests even give you the rewards for losing. This game is already very, very generous for the genre - looking closely at any of its competitors might make you agree.

As for what you said here:

This is false. Ranking systems such as those in Duelyst are inherently self-regulating; you will probably maintain a reasonably even winrate unless you’re an exceptionally good player, or a player who, through win streak bonus chevrons, managed to place into a division you don’t belong in. The claim that matches are “unwinnable” because someone has “better” (which is a false equivalency with “cards of a higher rarity”) cards is also false - budget decks compete well with more expensive ones, and even decks made of nothing but commons and rares can find more than moderate success, because rarer cards are not inherently better, and neither is someone who owns them.

It just comes down to experience, really. As you play more, you’ll learn more about how the cards in your deck function, how they interact with other factions’ cards, how your deckbuilding changes your games, how the board works, even. It’s a game that looks simple but is in reality somewhat complex. Just a tip, though, and this applies to any game with any sort of progression system - try to look at it as being rewarded for playing, not playing for the rewards. I know it can sound unintuitive, but it really can impact your enjoyment. The game is about the game, not the number of packs you’ve opened, after all.

Additionally, there is a thread with somewhat similar discussion here for you to read through: Free to Play experience

I hope you stay with us a while, and enjoy it at that, raonull :?)


I just started a few weeks ago, but I don’t think adding Ranks will do anything because Duelyst’s skill cap is so high. The Ladder is well designed to get you, a new player, to pay to equalize your Collection: Either Disenchant what you own for one Budget Deck, buy, or keep grinding.

Having played Hearthstone, MTG, etc. (both of which are much steeper than Duelyst) I found myself really only losing to Legendary Cards at the top of Silver and so I hit a skill ceiling where I was outplaying my opponents, but I didn’t even have enough Basic or Rare Cards for a good budget deck without murdering my Collection.

I think Duelyst is brilliant and I love it, so I didn’t mind spending like $30. I went something like 20-2 with a Provoke control Lyonar I sort of made myself. I’m currently at the top of Gold and feel like I can get Diamond Rank.


What I’d i like to see is a Pauper format that only uses Basic and Rare Cards.

New and old players would love a format like this: New players would have a low cost entry and old players would have a different meta to toy with.


[quote=“maelrawn, post:2, topic:5739, full:true”]
The daily quests even give you the rewards for losing.[/quote]

That works for about an hour or 2 of playing. After that, rewards for lost matches ends.

[quote]This is false. …The claim that matches are “unwinnable” because someone has “better” (which is a false equivalency with “cards of a higher rarity”) cards is also false - budget decks compete well with more expensive ones, and even decks made of nothing but commons and rares can find more than moderate success, because rarer cards are not inherently better, and neither is someone who owns them.

It just comes down to experience, really.[/quote]

Don’t cite exceptions as the norm. Just because common cards -can- beat rarer cards does not mean they are equal. Someone with rare cards has the option to synergize them with the best common cards. Someone without does not have that option.

Perhaps the main flaw in the ranking is that it bumps you up faster after a win streak. Great for people who want to climb but not for people who want to grind. With every gain in rank you are matched against more experienced players with more developed decks due to having more cards that they acquired by playing longer. If you are comfortable competing in a certain rank, but then you have a win streak, you then have to lose many more games than you won, in order to get back to a rank where you are playing against players with similar decks.

In any case I reject your simplistic ‘all cards are balanced, rares are not better’ response. But I don’t see that as an issue so much if the win streak bonus didn’t catapult you ahead into playing against advanced decks. I’d prefer that bonus was gold or xp instead. Perhaps let players choose which style reward they want at the month’s start.


I’m not citing exceptions as the norm. In fact, you are, by claiming that higher rarity = better card. Cards are assigned rarities based on how unique or powerful their abilities are, but are simultaneously balanced around common stat lines - this is a very well-known and intelligent design (There’s a turn1mystic article on this that was very interesting to read that I can’t find right now, if you’re inclined to look for it). The Golems are a benchmark for how good most cards should be without having some sort of drawback, and the vast majority of cards, all rarities inclusive, follow this. Many rarer cards, additionally, are useless because they have funky effects that don’t really work in practice, or call for whole decks to be built around them, like Rook or Keeper, respectively. The relative usefulness of cards can vary depending on the environment you use them in, sure, but that’s a whole different argument from “rarer cards are inherently more powerful.”

An hour or two of playing is a reasonable amount to expect someone to play if they’re logging in every day, no? Just because you can finish them all every day, doesn’t mean that’s a bad thing. I’m certain it’d get annoying if you similarly could not finish, thinking you’re missing out on another generated quest the next day.

In any case, your issue with the rankings is bizarre, at best. The point of a ranking system is that it makes matches consistently competitive; from your post it seems you’d rather this not be the case (the many arguments for/against a casual mode are also available in other threads if you’d like to look for those). The fact that you managed to achieve whatever rank you’re at means you belong there playing with those people who have done the same, regardless of collection size; I said the same in my previous post. The win-streak bonus is there so that newer (read: worse, not less-well equipped) players don’t have to face better players when those players decide to play the game, as it can be a source of frustration, you are right. In any case, if it’s such a dire situation, you could just load into matches and instantly concede to self-correct your rank to your liking.


I never said anything against consistently competitive matches. There is no need for a win-streak bonus to accomplish that. They can just start players in or near the same rank they finished in previously. Then instead of being locked into silver or gold tier, they only start qualifying for tiered rewards after 10 matches or so.


There’s a famous theory in management called the “Peter principle”, which is summarized as: “managers rise to the level of their incompetence.” Basically it means that when someone is good at their job, they tend to get promoted, and this continues until they reach a level where they do not perform well, at which point their advancement stops, often leaving them in a position where they are not productive (and not happy).

Unfortunately, this is exactly how the ladder system in this game works as well. You start at the bottom, and you keep getting promoted until you reach a level where you cannot progress further. And at that level you will struggle, especially if you are new.

The problem is the “lock-in” when you reach a new division. Much as after businesspeople are promoted it is difficult to demote them, here it’s impossible. If you have one good run of luck, or you do well with one deck and then want to try another, you can easily find yourself stuck in a division that is too hard for you.

My first full month I went on a run with a Faice deck and found myself in diamond by accident (I wasn’t even paying attention). I then spent the next 2 weeks with a win rate of 20% and by the end of it, was so frustrated I nearly quit.

While having “floors” at ranks 20, 10, 5 and 0 have some advantages, they also have this disadvantage. Removing them would also have tradeoffs.

To the OP: your timing is good because the season will reset in less than 24 hours from now. My recommendation is to ensure you stay in silver for at least the first half of November. Try out different cards and decks, learn the game, take advantage of the better win rate to earn more gold. Then later on go for rank 10, which is really the only important one before S rank.


Just saying, you’re moving goalposts in this post, as per the OP.

As for the quests, like I said, this game is very generous. They even added crate keys as prizes for tournaments (many of which are community organized and free to enter, and some have restrictions for lower-rarity cards, if that’s your thing) in the last patch or so. I think it’s a mentality conflict of playing the game with what you have, versus playing the game to acquire more. I don’t think we’ll bridge that gap, so let’s agree to disagree.

It’s a little rude to say I’m “having some problems with reading comprehension,” no? Especially so when I said the win-streak bonus was for something else in the same post. It’s there so that players who should be at the top don’t have to play as many boring matches against inexperienced players, thereby filtering them to the top ranks more quickly and improving the experience for the entire playerbase. I don’t think your suggestion is a feasible one, for @qeltar 's very interesting post above this (you are right, and I did mention this, though I suppose in not specific enough terms) - the drop needs to occur, in some cases.


[quote=“maelrawn, post:9, topic:5739, full:true”]

Just saying, you’re moving goalposts in this post, as per the OP.[/quote]

Imaginary goalposts. I never said that rarity is what makes those cards better. There are some cards you get for leveling up in a faction which make for better synergies. Like I said, options. But it is just one example of how -time spent- provides an advantage (you yourself said experience matters) and the ranking system can prematurely put newer players against people with these advantages.

So just start them out against a similar level of players they played against previously, by whatever mechanic.

Maybe the system as it is, means to give returning players a chance to warm up. Why not add a few tiers and have someone lose a tier every season if they don’t play. No lock in and no reward until a certain amount of matches played – so that if, for example, they start on a new faction, they can bump down a few tiers to have a chance at winning some.


thanks for your post and recommendation. What do you think is the disadvantage to removing those rank floors?


To be honest, i started to play “seriously” since last month. You can get tona of legendary card whit a week of playing just by the reward sistem. On the other hand, even if i have 3 or 4 legendary cards, i can be easily countered whit some enemy normal or rare counter-cards (f.e: a dispell on a provoke minion). Leg. cards are more a power spkie than a decissive card, and you can easily reach gold whitout them.


i made a suggestion awhile back ago that silver should be split up into ranks 11-15, and 16-20. a small change, and i really don’t see any big drawbacks


The floors allow for carefree playing around once you have reached your desired rank. If they weren’t there you would be forced to play your best decks all the time to ensure you don’t drop to a lower rank and lose out on the rewards at the end of the month. It also prevents good players from dropping to lower ranks and farming new players though i am not sure this would be a thing here in duelyst.

A possible change would be to make the month end rewards based on the highest rank achieved this month and remove the floors. That way people could toy around without risking their rewards.

Your suggestion to add more ranks wouldn’t help, due to winstreaks you would still end up in a rank you don’t wanna be in eventually. Removing the winstreaks would also be problematic though since better players would stay in low ranks for longer which would ruin the fun for newer players in the beginning of the month.

Basing ranking on time played/collection of the player doesn’t really make sense either. The winner of a match is decided by his deck, his playskill and luck. As long as you keep winning you deserve to rise and if you keep winning against people with equal playexperience that means your just better/more talented so the system pairs you against more experienced people. Thats all good and fine but as queltar pointed out, it can be a trap with the rank floors, in my first month i also ended up in diamond and hit a wall there. But thats something you can learn from. Just take it slower the next month. Wait until the last days of a season before you go into that rank.


Just a quick thing to mention: Synergy reliant decks aren’t very good most of the time in duelyst. And it is pretty easy to climb to Gold and Diamond with a no budget/low budget deck. If you disenchant everything and streamline towards one deck you can even reach S during your first season of playing as some people have.

In general 50% of the legendaries ingame are ass, and another 20% or so is highly optional and only required for fun decks. There really only are some spare legends you need to compete in Diamond and above, such ass spelljammers, arclyte regalaia, aymara, heavens eclipse, spectral revenant, silithar elder. You won’t notice that that early on, but i am currently sitting at quite some spirit but have no idea what to craft with it, since i already have the good legendaries and epics, and you get most rares and commons from just opening packs anyways.


@raonull I have recently made a free-to-play account and I know what you mean. I also have my kickstarter account with basically every card at least twice (except Gaujj and the november monthlies).
There’s a huge difference playing.

When I play on my kickstarter account and get a quest for Abyssian, I choose one of my many Abyssian decks or make a new one on the fly (I must note, I am the kind of person who loves experimenting and who loves to make new decks all the time). If I lose a lot I just switch to a different Abyssian deck or make a new one.

There are never cards I cannot counter in theory, by changing my deck. That knowledge alone silently helps me a lot in playing enjoyment (I say silently because I didn’t realize this at all without experiencing the frustration on my other account).

On my free-to-play account I love the fact that I really feel like earning every new card, opening orbs is more interesting, coming up with a good deck is more of a challenge and honestly it feels good not having so much to choose from as well.

But, when I start losing, I cannot really change my deck. I decided to go with Magmar there, so my Magmar deck is reasonable, but the other factions are not developed at all. I recently had a Vanar quest (I am in Gold btw) and I just lost. There wasn’t anything I could do about it. Luckily you still get faction xp for losing and after losing for the 4th time I unlocked chromatic cold, which will undoubtedly help a lot in the future.

But yes, the feeling that there are cards that you simply do not have the tools for to deal with is annoying. Looking over your deck searching for improvement and not really finding anything (and the threshhold to disenchant and craft is high for me, it just feels inefficient in the long run (because it is) and I tend to focus on the long run) else to put in can be disheartening.

That all said however, I think the ranking system in Duelyst is great and needs no change. Would take me too long to go into the reasons for that at the moment.

The solution is this: Play Gauntlet mode. Seriously, it solves all the problems you have I think.


Ranking up in this game is honestly so easy it baffles me how people still claim otherwise. With winstreaks and the free chevron you get when you lose a rank, everyone who puts a tiny bit of time should be able to reach at least gold.

And when it comes to meeting people who are better and have better cards in higher ranks, it’s only an issue when someone is still behind on their ranks due to not playing before in the month. Everyone else is in the rank they deserve, regardless of them having “objectively better cards”.

A tip for all the new players out there. Do know how you’re new at the game and most likely have no idea what you’re talking about, regardless of your previous experience with other CCGs. So for our and your own sake, don’t make silly suggestions and just play the game instead. And if you do encounter a problem, ask for help rather than for massive changes based on your extremely limited experience. Thanks.


Duelyst more or less just copied Hearthstone’s cutthroat business model and pricing structure which intentionally makes the new player experience painful in order to bully them into buying booster packs for real money. As a consequence the retention of new players in Duelyst is godawful, the game is bleeding players and the numbers are on a constant downward spiral ( I hope devs will take feedback like this to heart and improve on this before the game’s population passes a critical mark that makes recovery impossible (see Battleborn).


This isn’t a “tip”, it’s an admonishment cloaked in faux politeness.

Please do not use plural pronouns like “our” or “us” when you write things like this, because you don’t speak for anyone but yourself. For “my sake”, I want to hear what everyone has to say, newbie or veteran. While knowledge levels may vary, experiences are always valid, and I believe it is actually essential that we listen to the experiences of those new to the game, rather than dismissing them.


While you are right that the opinions of new players matter since we need fresh blood, most postsmade by newbies equal the message of ‘I am not having the success i want to, but it can’t be my fault, change this’, and once people that are experienced with the game give them advice based on many arguements, they usually are still like ‘Idgaf, i can’t be bad, must be the games fault’. Thats what threads like this have in common with the ‘op, plz nerf’ threads, and it honestly doesn’t help us to be understanding and all, because it most of the time doesn’t change those guys mind. People expect to be good at a game from the get go, but duelyst isn’t such a game.