Chances are, if you keep up with the online chatter about popular first-person shooter games, you’re already well-versed in the seemingly endless dispute over skill-based matchmaking. An algorithm that groups players of a similar skill level together for more balanced matches, a game that offers a fairer experience for everyone, should not be a controversial topic.
However, this is easily the feature that big content creators and angry forum users seem to complain about the most. I’ve put over 300 hours into Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and I think it’s time to stop complaining about skill-based matchmaking.
For those outside the FPS bubble, it may seem like a strange thing to be upset about, especially considering that skill-based matchmaking (or ‘SBMM’ to us FPS fans) is a great idea in the paper. Coming home late after a long day at work, the last thing you want to do is sit down for a relaxing round of Modern Warfare 2 and then fall into an unforgiving lobby where you’re repeatedly gutted by the same one or two sweaty teenagers climbing in. to Monster Energy and had an aversion to the outside world.
If you only have a few hours free to play your favorite shooter each week, pitting yourself against players with a similar level of practice is a good way to ensure that you’ll all have the most fun experience possible. When major Triple-A shooter series like Battlefield and Call Of Duty live and die on their huge casual audiences (a wide swath of users who would quietly move on to other things if the experience became too frustrating), SBMM is a necessary part of maintaining a healthy player base.
However, it is not just a feature that exists entirely at the service of casual players, as more expert players also benefit from more rigorous competition. Getting a 50:1 kill/death ratio every match can feel like a refreshing power trip for the first few hours, especially when you’re trying to make your way through the final battle pass, but easy win after easy win without No real incentive to invest the time necessary to hone your skills is a sure recipe for boredom.
It is no coincidence that the system’s staunchest detractors are almost invariably content creators, or legions of their devoted followers who uncritically regurgitate the same opinions. Their main argument is that there is something inherently unfair about grouping skilled players in matches with other skilled players, but this is clearly completely ridiculous.
If you were to support your local football team and saw them beaten in a 30-nil defeat against Real Madrid, you would probably have a few words to say about the fairness of the match. Without something to ensure a reasonably level playing field, TikTok YouTubers, streamers, and reel creators would thrive on an endless supply of eye-catching gameplay clips, something that becomes incredibly easy to create when you’re playing against people who just installed the game. . .
There is a clear profit motive to make things as unfair as possible here, and while eliminating SBMM would certainly make life easier for this small minority, it is an incredibly short-sighted mission.
This feature first appeared in PLAY magazine. Sign up here to save on the price of coverage, get exclusive coverages, and have them delivered to your door or device every month.