ESEA finally came out with their FPL competitor: Rank S. NA pros are currently streaming their PUGs on Twitch, giving us revived pro PUG entertainment. FPL NA already lost all of its activity, raising the obvious question: why did this happen? I will separate the differences that are specific to the respective pro leagues instead of focusing on the differences between the platforms themselves.
Rank S advantages
Guaranteed payout time
The Rank S release statement stresses that winnings will be paid out within 30 days. Faceit is not transparent about their payouts and allegedly failed to pay their winners for months. Even though players have said that Faceit reached out to them, telling them that the money is on their way, in no way have they assured the same kind of reliable payment as ESEA has.
Gain points when queue is dead (by queuing normal ESEA pugs)
Pro PUG leagues suffer from dead queues. Naturally, team practices occur at similar times for all NA teams, leading to an empty queue for at least half of the day. As a result, players could not grind for more FPL points even when they had the time to. Rank S solves this issue by allowing S players to gain points for normal ESEA pugs. A normal PUG win brings you one point instead of three, which seems like a reasonable fix for the dead-queue issue.
Faceit had a notoriously bad matching algorithm which was only adjusted in this last month of FPL. NA players never liked this system and continuously asked for a captains draft because they reasonably believe that their conception of player’s skill and compatibility is more accurate than an ELO system. ESEA gave them what they wanted.
This aspect is hard to quantify so I would take this with a grain of salt. Tarik mentioned on his stream that ESEA has been quickly responding to player requests. Apparently even more so than Faceit did for the 3 months that FPL was active in NA. The reason I find this hard to believe is because I continuously saw players have their matches re-located to other servers in FPL, meaning that admins must have been on stand-by most of the time for that to have been possible.
ESEA does not let you queue until 30 seconds after your last pug finished. This stops people from tabbing out of the game as soon as possible to queue for the next game. Streamers with capture cards (and non-streamers) could tab out of the game faster than other streamers who were subsequently squeezed out of the queue. Introducing a wait time neatly solves the issue. In addition, we now get the chance to watch pro players break their fingers by spamming their left mouse key.
Rank S disadvantages (with updates)
Administration is solely done by non-professional players. Any grey area issues will not have a group of players who are responsible for making important judgments. This could also seen as a benefit because a player council has the potential to be biased towards some players over others. However, it would seem that issues regarding insufficient skill or trolling would be better handled by experienced players than admins.
Edit: “Few and I talked to many players at IEM Katowice and to even more online in order to get a feel for everything they did not like about FPL and what they wanted for our system. As time goes on we will continue to take feedback from all the players in order to make sure that this is the best experience possible.
Also if you have any cool ideas for a viewing experience then feel free to pm me or open a ticket on the website to suggest anything.” -/u/aluminat1
Prize pool more top-heavy
In Rank S, the top 10 receive part of the prize pool instead of the top 15 in FPL. The prize pool is exactly the same but not distributed as far. I do not think this is a good idea because lower-level NA pros will have a much harder time getting into the top 10 than the top 15, and arguably these are the players who need this money most.
Edit: “We talked in depth about the prize money before it was announced but we think this is a fine distribution. We want to make it exciting to see who is going to grind to the top for the $5,000 first prize. It’s 2016 and the bottom tier players aren’t going to get hyped over an extra $250 for 15th place.
Again if we talk to players and they want to change the distribution then we’re open to doing that.”-/u/aluminat1
Last I check there are 87 players in Rank S and 98 in FPL. So it seems like Rank S has fewer players than FPL. Apparently the selection process is stricter, causing some well known streamers like fl0m and Shaffer to be excluded for a lack of professional experience. This is definitely a disadvantage for these individuals. On the other hand, it suggests that the average skill level of the PUGs will be higher than in FPL, arguably leading to a better viewing experience.
Edit: “ We’re completely open to reviewing this as time goes on. If players are having trouble getting Rank S games going then we’re happy to let a few more in through our qualification system. However, we wanted to create the best experience for the players and the viewers by creating highly competitive games.” -/u/aluminat1
edit: No focus on scouting
“Rank S on ESEA is all about giving the pro’s what they want. FPL (as it was implemented in Dota) was also rumoured to be implemented to scout new talent and give them a chance to compete and get their names out there. I see no mention of that in the article of this being the case for ESEA.” -/u/BazTehBarrett
As mentioned above, it is true that Faceit makes an effort to create a scouting option for lesser known players. Hellsraisers picking up Oskar is the best example that comes to mind. According to the quote this is not just in CS:GO but also in Dota 2. Larger player pools have more opportunities for talent scouting making it seem like Rank S is currently a little limited in that regard. However, if you take a look at the comment left above by /u/aluminat1 this is completely open to discussion.
Client differences that are relevant to discussion
Pro-level PUGs are a great way for streamers to attract more viewers. Faceit displays the server IP on their page, meaning that if streamers did not pay attention they leaked the IP to all their viewers. This lead to a ton of delays because the servers were DDoSed and became unplayable. ESEA avoids this issue entirely by masking IP addresses.
Client side cheat detection
FPL caused a huge surge of cheaters to join the platform in the hope of qualifying for FPL. As a result, pugs for lower level players became infested with sketchy play, greatly reducing the quality of play. ESEA is known to have a very strong client-side anti cheat (as opposed to Faceit’s non-existent one) and should not suffer from this problem as much as Faceit did.
ESEA is rumored to have the ‘best’ PUG servers. From personal experience I can say that this is mostly true (no choke & reliably low var). Faceit is known to have ghosting and lag-spike issues which often affected the outcomes of FPL games.
More server locations
Faceit only has three server locations in NA in Dallas, Chicago and Denver. ESEA has many more server locations: NorCal, SoCal, Colorado, Illinois, Texas, Virginia, Georgia and New York. Obviously, this helps minimize the ping for Rank S more effectively than it was done for FPL.
Link to original article: https://medium.com/@dilutedh2o/esea-rank-s-vs-faceit-pro-league-11f5cf0beca2#.t2wvvdehn