Skill Based Matchmaking in regular CoD playlists

Black Ops II Xbox 360

CoD BLOPS is running on a different MM system than previous Call of Duties.

Those of you who saw know that BLOPS 2 is currently running on a skill-based matchmaking system even in non league play,  matching players based on skill stats like win/loss, SPM and kdr, aiming to place players of equal skill together over previous regional based matchmaking.

Why am I so bad at this game?

The result of this is that players who have previously dominated in public matches are now facing other dominant players. The obvious problem is that good players are doing significantly worse AND THEY DON'T KNOW WHY, both because they are matched on skill rather than connection which translates to poorer ingame connection, and are matched with equally skilled players without their knowledge! The goal of this new matchmaking system is that after numerous games, the matchmaking system will create games where all the players statistically go even without compensating an increasing difficulty of gameplay with a statistical representation of increasing playerskill.

Skill based matchmaking based on Trueskill existed in Halo 3 and it resulted in a very competitive, win/loss oriented matchmaking where players focused on the numerical skill value displayed to everybody. The displayed skill level was quite accurate, players with a 50 TS were very very good. Games between 50 TS players would be just as close and competitive as games between 25 TS players. Rather than KDR and SPM and other very sketchy stats that don't directly represent player skill (rather they represent playstyle), Halo 3 created an environment that valued actual winning and losing over everything else.

Why doesn't this work as it is?

The problem is that CoD is not matchmaking competitive. Internet connection, TV latency, sound-systems are all tools that will improve/hurt a players ability to win a head on gunfight. Gunfights are decided in split seconds, the player with the best aim won't necessarily win every gunfight and there is no incentive for "teamfiring". Not enough players search as a team and again matchmaking is restricted to either giving games with good connection, or matching players of equal skill. Without lots of teams searching competitive gameplay is difficult with a team of randoms, whom 95% don't use their mics.

Additionally, there is almost no incentive to win, a matchmaking game. BLOPS 2 has successfully added reasonable points for playing the objective in comparison to other games, yet only offers a measly 100 xp medal for actually winning.

So why should I try to win?

CURRENTLY, by winning a game, you are rewarded with an increase in the games perception of your playerskill, which will result in you playing better players  and coincidently doing poorer in terms of KDR and SPM. It is actually at your advantage, presently, to LOSE THE GAME so you can play lesser skilled players and earn more score and recieve a better KDR and thus level up faster, because next to NO VALUE is placed upon the actual win or loss of the game.

Until a significant (1000xp+) amount of xp is rewarded for winning a game AND/OR a numerical skill level representation is offered, matchmaking will continue to digress, as the playerskill system gets more advanced and can more accurately create "equally skilled" games.

Good players are going much worse than previous CoD games and don't know why.

Without a skill representation, a player (Lets refer to him as player 1) who previously held a 10 W/L and a 2.5 kdr will, in this game, hold something more like a 3-5 w/l, and 1.5- 2 kdr for a while, which will slowly drop to a 1 win/loss and 1/kdr. This creates the perception that this player is getting worse as time progresses when in reality he is facing better and better players. Yet because there is no visual reward for increasing your player skill level, players think they are getting worse, and because the players they are playing have closer to 1 w/l and 1/kdr, statistically think they are playing scrubs. As this player gets higher and higher, he will eventually always be playing other players who have hit the skill cap, allowing him to search fewer and fewer players decreasing availability of low ping (good connection) games.

So not only is player A, a die-hard, extremely good CoD player percieving himself getting worse as he plays more, he is unable to consistantly have a good internet as he is no longer matchmaking with the same regional playerbase, and getting matched with a wider spread high level population.

The end result is player A loses interest. He can't actually tell he is improving because statistically he isn't.

The same stats can be achieved by a noob who simply picks up the game (lets call him player B). His first 100 games he is horrible, with no developed skills for twitch based shooters. Because of this the playerskill system ranks him as being terrible.he plays with bad kids. But one day, he gets a new TV, modem and headset and he quickly picks up the game. This player will be able to smash the previously "equally" skilled players because he progresses quickly, and he will clearly notice his improvement, but because his playerskill is low, it will take much to long for the player to reach the skill cap and will be able to quickly raise his w/l and kdr and very much enjoy playing because he is able to earn killstreaks because he is much better than those in his game.

Why was this change likely made?

The obvious reason for this is that in previous CoDs, newbies were placed against a very very diverse skill range of players where strong players consistently dominated. Newbies had a harder time picking up the game because often they were forced to play better players. The short term affect is that those who don't play enough fail to improve and then possibly quit, but once they pass this "skill gap" they have a much MUCH better gameplay experience.

How good am I at this game?

In previous CoDs, things like W/L and KDR improvement clearly represent player improvement or adaption of playstyle. In BLOPS 2, things like increasing KDR and W/L REPRESENT A FAILURE OF THE MATCHMAKING SYSTEM.

Players KDRs and W/L ratios should, under skill based matchmaking equal out to 1 and 1, as against equally skilled players you will, on average, go even.

Should CoD make this transition?

Now this "skill based matchmaking" transition is not a bad thing. If CoD games played out like Halo 3 and grew away from "kill whoring" and "stat-whoring" that would be a great thing for the series. But the idea of skill based matchmaking WITHOUT an actual representation of skill is a TERRIBLE IDEA. Players can't judge if they are getting better. there is no way to tell if your aim is off, your internet is laggy, or the players you are playing are simply better than before.

This is the likely reason for the complains around "lag compensation" and "overpowered smgs" and the new phenomenon that "other players now kill me faster than I kill them".

The gameplay hasn't changed, rather you are now playing SKILLED PLAYERS.

In my opinion, something needs to change.

1. More xp needs to be offered for wins, not just objective playing. Leaving games should result in loss of exp, and players who join session in progress should not recieve wins or losses for that game and recieve a small xp compensation for joining in session if they complete the match.

2. Players need some sort of way to determine skill level, similar to league play, or a numerical value offered in Halo 3, in order to actually gauge how good they are.

-With a visible skill rank, leaving games would be discouraged, and so would kill-whoring. More players would play objectively. Without one, players continue to look at previous skill indicators like W/L and KDR that are no longer accurate.

3. Or, CoD needs to revert to the previously used regional matchmaking with no value placed on playerskill, in which case the game would function fine.

-Kill-whoring and killstreaks are the reason this game is alive, not competitive or objective play. People like CoD because it is fun, not because it is hard, or competitive.

CoD is trying to transition to competitive play, but this inbetween offered in BLOPS 2 is doing nothing but hurting the die-hard CoD fans.


Likes: 6
Posts: 32
Registered: ‎17-11-2012


Likes: 6
Posts: 32
Registered: ‎17-11-2012

Disappointing as I like to be able to go against people who are better than me by a mile. Competition is fine when I want to play competitive, but I want randomness in the regular playlists.

Likes: 88
Posts: 622
Registered: ‎19-09-2011

I think you are spot on. This system i think also does the same matchmaking parameters for full groups as well and can be a reason why lobbies dont fill back up once other players leave the game.

It is very frustrating to play a hard fought game and only once you get the upper hand to have other players dashboard to save other stats besides there w/l. Or to have the other team just back out and you spend the rest of the game beating up on 1-2 players or see more forefits per night.

Likes: 460
Posts: 5508
Registered: ‎19-10-2011

Agreed. I hate dominating good players just to have them all leave and then there are on;y about 3 players on the other team. Then comes the easy win.

Likes: 77
Posts: 380
Registered: ‎03-09-2011

At least in MW3 when you got a good room and played a objective game. The lobby would refill so you could pound the ground until the game actually ended. It was always fun making good teams leave. But if at the least we have to play them on a nightly basis now....Make them stay!

Likes: 460
Posts: 5508
Registered: ‎19-10-2011

And this is why for the third year in a row I will be retuning to MW2, WaW and CoD4.

Likes: 1
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎05-12-2011

But BO was sooooo good.  Thats where im killing my time.

Likes: 151
Posts: 632
Registered: ‎13-10-2011

Very good article.

Likes: 2
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎10-10-2012


Likes: 6
Posts: 32
Registered: ‎17-11-2012