AlphaJax version 1.7 brings new player rating system and matchmaking

AlphaJax -Everyone’s favorite Scrabble clone, I mean, word game - has received a steady stream of updates since its release in October. We were excited when a February update added unlimited, ad-supported play to the trial version of the game as well as user statistic tracking.

Today’s update overhauls stat tracking. Previously, the leader board just put the players with the highest number of wins at the top. Now player skill is also a factor. The new rating system is based on the Elo rating system. Gamers increase their rank via wins, but rank goes up a lot more by defeating a higher ranked opponent. On Xbox 360, the Xbox Live TrueSkill system works much the same way.

How does AlphaJax’s rating system affect people who are new to the game? Players aren’t ranked until they complete ten online games. Pass-and-play (local multiplayer) doesn’t affect rank. Even if someone loses all ten of their starting games, they won’t receive a negative rank. When they finally do win, they should jump up in rank a fair bit since other players are likely ranked higher than zero.

Now that players have a proper skill rating, random matchmaking has significantly improved. There are two options: Skill Match and Random Game. Random works just like it did before, throwing one player up against a completely random opponent. Skill Match, however, pits the player against someone with a similar skill rating. This should result in much more competitive games. Winning a Skill Match is also more likely to have a significant impact on a player’s rating. A high AlphaJax rating, I assume, helps you get all the girls. I’m… not quite there yet. ;)

AlphaJax, is the leading Scrabble-style game for Windows Phone 7. It supports two-player online play against friends or random players as well as local multiplayer. Our review praises AlphaJax’s features and presentation. Even now, AlphaJax remains quite possibly the most polished and addictive indie game on the platform.

AlphaJax is available in ad-supported and ad-free ($2.99) flavors. You can pick it up here (Zune link) on the Marketplace. WPCentral staffers Daniel Rubino (Malatesta), George Ponder (coppertop) and Paul Acevedo (eastx) are accepting challenges!

Head past the jump for the full version 1.7 changelog.

AlphaJax version 1.7 changelog:

New rating system

All players now have an overall rating which appears on their 'my stats' page. The top winners leader board has been replaced by a 'top rated' one which more accurately determines the leading players.

Improved skill and random matching

When creating a new game with either skill match or pure random match, we have improved the matching algorithm to improve the response rate as much as possible.

Rematch from within game screen

You can now rematch your opponent via an app bar option (plus replaces the recall button) within the game screen for completed games. It's now even easier and quicker to get your revenge!

Default create screen changes

We have changed the default create screen to 'match up' which allows users to start a skill match or pure random match. The Friends, Rematch and Pass and Play options are still there of course, we just wanted to make it real easy for new users to get started.

History page moved

We have moved the history page as another screen in the main turns screen for easier access. This means the old history and stats screen has been renamed to simply 'stats'.

Ad changes

Ads are delayed in the game and chat screens now to be a little less intrusive and allow reading of the opponent and scores before the first ad appears. Ads are also now appearing consistently in chat screen.

New Words

As always, we've verified and added a bunch of new words.

Bug Fixes

Fixed a bug where an error was occurring when app was exited whilst resuming by pressing windows button.

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!