Ranked Mode

The Problem

Heavy Metal Machines is a game based on the e-sport market, but it didn't have a competitive solo queue, only a team-based one. We believed that the product needed some way to allow the players to compete individually to survive in this market, so we start to research.

The Process

The first step was to identify for which kind of player we were developing this feature. We already had our players proto-personas created, and this one was obviously for the competitive player.

So we started benchmarking the solutions that other games played by our persona offered, and in no time, we saw that Heavy Metal Machines needed a competitive solo queue. This feature was so essential that there wasn't a single competitive game without it, and it had the same format in every game. But since it was going to be expansive to build, we did some qualitative and quantitative research with our userbase, and yeah, we needed a ranked mode.

The first step was to identify for which kind of player we were developing this feature. We already had our players proto-personas created, and this one was obviously for the competitive player.

 

So we started benchmarking the solutions that other games played by our persona offered, and in no time, we saw that Heavy Metal Machines needed a competitive solo queue. This feature was so essential that there wasn't a single competitive game without it, and it had the same format in every game. But since it was going to be expansive to build, we did some qualitative and quantitative research with our userbase, and yeah, we needed a ranked mode.

 

The next step of the design process was breaking down the ranking mode for renowned e-sports like League of Legends, DotA 2, Rocket League and Rainbow Six. It's important to mention that we need to dissect them not only in mechanics and interface but also in how the ranked mode interacts with all the game ecology.

 

With this knowledge, we designed our ranked mode rules and balance, and since it is a feature for competitive players, that touch in all the game ecosystem, we decided to do a test season with a duration of 4 months with it. During the test season, we would collect feedback and adjust the rules and balance of the mode.

With the rules and functionalities of this feature defined, the information architecture was elaborated, then we created wireframes to validate the architecture. With the wireframes in hand, the game user interface team did a high fidelity prototype, that after, was implemented by the software developers.

The Outcome


After almost 4 months of work, we delivered the ranked mode of Heavy Metal Machines. It brought some old players back and we saw an increase in day 1 retention.
 

One side effect of this research was the creation of the entire Heavy Metal Machines Roadmap. That was developed by me after I studied how this mode would affect the game ecology

©2018 by Bruno Freitas.