Saturday, October 3, 2015

bots can now replace humans at ranked hearts tables

Yesterday, special ranked tables were added to the Hearts card game. Ranked tables were intended to be exceptional in having strict rules: no robots allowed, and registered players only. Penalties were applied to those who left a game early.

Some players found that the "no robots allowed" policy was making it impossible to finish their games. After someone dropped out (deliberately or accidentally), they'd be stuck waiting for a long time before the game could continue. This was true even though human players are allowed to substitute at ranked tables... so such tables do show up in the "list of tables" (they don't show as ranked once a player leaves because you do not get ranked if you join such a table after it starts). Apparently, tables where "no robots" applies are especially unappealing to Hearts players.

People are not dropping out from ranked games very often, so that's good. Even so, when it happens, it leaves people waiting indefinitely for fear of losing in the rankings, which is no fun. To correct this, I've now changed the rule so that bots may replace a human who left the table. This is only permitted after the game starts. And in case it is not obvious, winning or losing to a bot does not count towards your ranking!

It is still necessary to get 4 humans together to start a ranked game... currently this involves a wait. It appears that most people prefer to start a game with bots. For those who want to play a Hearts game with humans from start to finish, ranked tables are the best way to go. I hope the wait time will lessen as more people discover rankings.

For those who are curious, a description of how "Elo ratings" are computed is given at the site.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I clicked on an empty ranked table in the listings. One person joined and the next thing I knew, bots were at the table. I thought bots weren't allowed. Did I do something wrong? Leopold

Marya said...

Hi Leopold,

This should not happen! All I can think of is that you were placed at a regular table, not a ranked one. Can you tell me the name of the player who joined you? It might help me figure out what happened if I check the logs.

If anyone else has had this problem, I would like to hear about it. Bots are only permitted at a ranked table after the game starts. If you saw a ranked table and clicked on it, it would not have started already, and bots would not be allowed.


Anonymous said...

It just happened again with Kellygreen and What. I clicked on the ranked table and the sign said "No robots allowed here". Then while I am waiting for other people to join, all of a sudden a bot is playing! Sorry I don't remember who was playing in the earlier game. Leopold

Marya said...

Hi Leopold, Thank you for reporting this! I've had another report where this happened, and it will be fixed soon. It should be impossible to invite bots before the game starts. - Marya