Does Skill Based Matchmaking Actually Ruin the Game Experience?

Does Skill Based Matchmaking Actually Ruin the Game Experience?
Photo : Fortnite on Facebook

Skill Based Matchmaking has been quite a much talked about topic lately. The latest discussions were again triggered after streamers and Fortnite players aired their frustrations about SBMM.

A number of popular games have used Skill Based Matchmaking (SBMM), including Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Fortnite, and Call of Duty: Warzone.

SMBB is simply a matching system that matches players against players of equal skill levels. It pits the high-skilled players against other high-skilled players. On the other hand, players of lower-skill levels or less-experienced players take on players of similar skill levels.

Thus, how is each skill level determined using SBMM? A game uses specific metrics to determine the High-, Mid-, or Low-skilled players. Typically, the stats involved will include the player's average kills, total wins, and the total number of matches played. The game then creates matches for each skill set. This ensures that a player gets to play against someone of the same skills. It also encourages players to improve, so they move to the next skill level.

SBMM aims to make games more challenging and fun

Skill Based Matching is supposed to make games more challenging. It prevents new players from being bullied and dominated by high-skilled players. However, why is it being criticized? One disadvantage of SBMM is that low-skilled players have to wait before they can take on better-skilled ones. 

There could be longer queue time because of SBMM, especially as your skill level goes higher. And it would not be much fun anymore. To many higher-skilled players, SBMM prevents them from dominating lesser skilled players. Also. many players disagree with implementing SBMM on both public and ranked matches. To them, only ranked matches should have SBMM.

Why use SBMM?

The goal of SBMM is to make the game fair, as much as possible. To the developers, it helps keep less experienced players from quitting the game simply because they kept losing from better-skilled players. This is helpful if a player is just starting out and learning the game. Meanwhile, higher-skilled players stay competitive and don't get bored because they are playing against their match. 

Apex Legends game director Chad Grenier told VG 24/7 they always had SBMM since the game launched. He said that they had done tests like changing the matching rules or turning it off in certain data centers for a certain period to collect data about the effects of SBMM on the game. And there is concrete evidence, he said, that SBMM increases play hours, retention, and motivates a player to play more.

Grenier said that when SBMM is turned off, they noticed that new players come into the matches but eventually turn away because they are being stomped when matched with high-tiered players. Hence, they believe the skill-based matchmaking is good for the game overall.

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