Call of Duty developers have finally broken their silence on the controversial Skill-Based Matchmaking system in Modern Warfare 3.
The debate around Skill-Based Matchmaking (SBMM) in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has been a hot topic among players. Since the game’s launch on November 10, 2023, many have expressed dissatisfaction with its impact on gameplay.
SBMM is designed to match players with others of similar skill levels, aiming to create a balanced and fair environment. However, this well-intentioned mechanic has led to frustration, especially among higher-skilled players who find themselves constantly in highly competitive lobbies, making the gaming experience less enjoyable.
On January 29, 2024, the developers finally addressed these concerns in a comprehensive blog post, providing insights into the inner workings of their matchmaking system.
The post highlights various aspects of the matchmaking process, emphasizing that while skill is a factor, it’s not the dominant one.
“Call of Duty does consider skill (or more specifically player performance) as a component, as do most in the industry, but skill is not the dominant variable,” the blog post reads.
Connection quality, time to match, playlist diversity, and several other elements are considered to form lobbies that offer stable and competitive gameplay.
The controversy primarily stems from the perception that SBMM punishes high-performing players by placing them in increasingly difficult lobbies, leading to less rewarding gameplay.
Moreover, when these skilled players team up with friends of lower skill levels, it drags the entire group into tougher matches, often resulting in a frustrating experience for the less skilled players. This system’s perceived aggressiveness in Modern Warfare 3, compared to previous titles, has only added to the discontent.
The developers touched on the skill component of the matchmaking system in the blog post, stating, “Skill is determined based on a player’s overall performance: kills, deaths, wins, losses, and more… This is a fluid measurement that’s consistently updating and reacting to your gameplay.”
“We use player performance to ensure that the disparity between the most skilled player in the lobby and the least skilled player in the lobby isn’t so vast that players feel their match is a waste of time.”
Despite the clear explanations in the blog post, the underlying issue remains: players’ dissatisfaction with how SBMM influences their gaming experience. While the developers assert that their data shows a balanced matchmaking system, the community’s feedback paints a different picture.
Players yearn for the less structured, more socially-oriented lobbies of the past, where they could enjoy the game with a varied mix of skills and form lasting in-game relationships.
In response, the developers have committed to continuously testing and refining the matchmaking system. They acknowledge the concerns, particularly from high-skilled players, and are exploring ways to offer a more varied gaming experience. The future might see experimental playlists or specific modes where skill isn’t as heavily weighed in the matchmaking process.
But for now, balancing the needs of players across the skill spectrum while maintaining a fun and fair gaming environment is an ongoing challenge that the Call of Duty team seems committed to addressing.