Thursday, January 29, 2015

Matchmaking on a Global Scale

More communication!

(by TechMech)

As shared last week, going forward we expect to post a lot more about what the team is doing right now, and how that will affect the game over the next several months, even before they have fully completed the work. We are starting this series with MoK's initial write-up about the outline of the new Matchmaking system. Followed by blog posts that share more details about the new engine and console game releases, and finally, sharing much more information about the new hardware deployment that's going on at the moment. So a slight change in publishing order, with Matchmaking going out before Engine and Console post.

First up: MoK and Matchmaking

Matchmaking on a Global Scale

(by MoK)

At end of 2014 we ran lots of surveys and in depth APB statistics on matchmaking, since it's pretty clear that our matchmaking system requires some serious overhaul. As a result of that review, the team and I have designed a matchmaking solution that addresses the core problem without diminishing a fundamentally strong mechanic.

In short, while the matchmaking system works exceptionally well inside a single district, the core problem is that there simply isn't a sufficient number of equally skilled teams inside any one 100-person district at any one time. And our attempts to regulate that using individual skill thresholds (silver, gold etc.) per player has not worked, since what matters in the end is the strength of the combined team, not the individual player.

We know from the team stats that when a good and evenly balanced match does take place between two equally strong teams, the outcome of the match is pretty much a 50-50 coin flip, which is exactly what we are looking for, and the condition that hits you like a "shock and awe" attack due to the level of action you are surrounded by. However, if no good team match up is available in your current district, then the next reasonable match on that one server may in fact be very lopsided, and after some timeout period the system today will simply start that less than ideal match, just to make sure people aren't idling around.

To fix this, our new matchmaking system will use a hybrid cross-district team system calculating "team skill" levels for all active teams in the game. What matters going forward is the cumulative strength of your team, and teams will be automatically assigned to the best possible opposition, even if that opposition might be playing on a different district server. There are a bunch of technical issues involved in solving that, so more details will be shared when we are closer to launching the system.

The design goal is to offer a better experience for veteran players by connecting and assigning them to teams where the combined team rating is far more equal to the competition, eliminating the need to dethreat to find competition.  This fundamental goal also lets new players to progress right from the beginning at a pace they feel comfortable with and provides an added level of security against abusive and negative behavior in game.

While this will be a radical departure from the present system, at no time will our loyal and experienced players feel that anything they have rightfully earned be lost, or has been dumbed down.  Rather the new matchmaking system will encourage fair competition, yet will still be accessible enough to let new players mature into the serious competition of tomorrow, without getting noob-stomped along the way.

Till next time.

/Ricardo “Mok” Viana