Arcaea's Potential system is ass

by AJ "Tyron" Martinez @ • June 13 2019

Hey! This post was intentionally delisted for being boring, inaccurate, outdated, or any combination of the three. I've left it up for archival purposes, but keep the context in mind!

I don’t know who this rant is meant for. I’m not really playing Arcaea these days, anyway.

Continue at your own risk!

Arcaea’s Potential system is meant to assign players overall skill ratings. A player’s Potential is composed of two parts:

  • Best scores: The 30 best scores the player has ever achieved, excluding duplicates on the same chart. These are saved forever, and a new score in the top 30 will push the lowest score out.
  • Recent scores: The 10 best scores in the player’s 30 most recent plays. This allows duplicate scores on the same chart.

A player’s best scores and recent scores are averaged to generate their Potential, making 25% of Potential a player’s recent scores (their 10 best out of 30 recent) and 75% their best lifetime scores.

The recent scores are the problem; if you want a high Potential, you need to always be playing the stuff that the game weights the highest. Learning a new chart or fucking around on lower difficulties can be damaging to your Potential, since a bad score entering your most recent plays can push a good score out of the queue, causing your overall rating to take a hit. It encourages players to repeatedly grind safe charts, sometimes the same chart over and over, discouraging growth and experimentation. Often, improving your high score on a medium-difficulty chart can cause you to lose Potential!

The game provides two failsafes to mitigate this; if a new score is above 9,800,000 points,1 or if you fail out in the middle of the song with hard gauge, the score isn’t added to your recent scores unless it would cause you to gain Potential. This means you can play easy charts without worrying about tanking your Potential, since you’ll likely score above 9.8 million, but it encourages even more obnoxious behavior; if you’re going to score below that value on any chart, it’s optimal to quit the song before finishing (or simply play offline) to guarantee you don’t lose Potential. A player’s willingness to do this has nothing to do with their skill.

The “recent scores” component is meant to measure a player’s consistency. It fails. It encourages players to periodically spend half an hour filling their queue with copies of the same high-value score, and often presents players with negative feedback for improving (in terms of both score and overall skill). Addtiionally, the system is opaque, heavily delaying and obfuscating feedback from recent bad scores, and works off arbitrary breakpoints that can be abused by players who understand the system.

It’s dumb. Get rid of it.

  1. Maximum score before accuracy bonuses is 10,000,000 ↩︎