In the past, Win Trading was one of the blemishes on Seasons 2 and 3 of the Ranked scene. While mostly rampant in Ranked Team queues, the behavior also happens in Solo queue. This week, Eric Musco made a Dev Post regarding Win Trading in Ranked PvP; letting us know that it’s an issue the Devs are aware of and hoping to combat. The post talks about how they identified Win Trading in the past and how they're hoping to counter it in the future.
Basically, Win Trading is when two 4-player teams queue sync against each other and one teams loses to the other consistently. Often these teams play until one team reaches a certain reward rating, and then begin to lose games to the other team. In Solo queue, players will just throw games to others or themselves (by dual boxing) by going AFK or purposefully dying. Because of low Ranked populations, it’s very easy to engineer playing the same team or players. We saw this with the Queue Sync problem in past seasons as well. Many times, these teams will also stop queuing when other teams enter the queue. I played a lot of games over the seasons where we played no one because the other team would dodge the queue in order to re-queue quickly against the other Win Trade team. With Season 4 approaching, Win Trading is one of the issues the Devs are looking to resolve. This more focused and harsher evaluation probably has something to do with the recent exploit rampage, and other complaints about the Ranked system like lack of population and queue syncing.
One of the reasons Win Trading was so rampant last season was that the rewards were very desirable, for every Tier. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a good thing. Ranked population was probably higher last season than previous ones due to the prizes. But, add those prizes in with continued population problems and a history of non-punishment for “cheating”, many people went the route of Win Trading. It also wasn’t just about the prizes, there were many complaints last year of Top 3 Ranked Players getting and keeping their rating via Win Trading. I know a player who legitimately got a Top 3 ranking in teams having to simply win trade to keep that rating against another player, on a different server, who was bragging about his Win Trading.
At the lower end of the spectrum, the Tier 1 rewards were so desirable that many people willingly lost to teams just to get the Furious crystal and Armor sets. Near the end of the season, Fleet chat was full of people advertising “Free Crystal and Armor Sets” with just 10 PvP games- win or lose. I personally capitalized heavily on players who just wanted loot. I was in a fairly large guild at the time and there were always under geared, unskilled, players will to just lose 10 games to me so they could get a reward.
I’m curious to know how they will be defining and catching Win Traders. I also wonder how foolproof their method will be, will people slip through the cracks? From the Ravagers Exploit, it seems many people were not actioned for their involvement. It’s also going to be very hard to discern what is Win Trading and what is just being much better than the rest of the population. Hopefully we’ll find out more on their process as the Season starts, and it will be a combination of suspicious behavior and investigation. It’s usually pretty easy to tell when someone Win Trades, the scoreboard rarely lies. If people are just /stuck-ing, that is a pretty obvious clue. If the same team is losing to someone in their same guild over and over, that’s probably Win Trading too. I think what will most likely happen is accounts will be flagged for their win ratios, and then further investigated on a case by case manner. There also has been a ramp up in urging players to create tickets, so tickets will probably come into play as well.
So, how do you feel about Win Trading in Ranked PvP? Do you do it? Have you experienced Win Trading or other PvP related issues? Do you believe people will get punished this season for shady PvP behavior?