Modern Warfare 3 and Warzone players have been calling on Activision to break the silence and provide an update on how matchmaking works in Call of Duty titles, given the focus on SBMM. A response has finally arrived, explaining skill-based matchmaking in CoD titles.
Since the launch of Modern Warfare 3 and Warzone Season 1, matchmaking in Call of Duty games has been a hot topic of discussion. With players adamant that skill-based matchmaking is present in MW3, many called on Activision to clear up any confusion and shed some light on SBMM in CoD titles.
On January 29, a Call of Duty blog finally addressed the controversial topic of SBMM, explaining in detail how the matchmaking system works in Modern Warfare 3. While the blog confirms that Call of Duty “does consider skill as a component” in matchmaking, “skill is not the dominant variable.”
The blog goes on to explain the results of “many years of testing and learning” that the devs have implemented to MW3 matchmaking. It’s important to keep in mind that the blog specifically covers matchmaking in MW3 multiplayer, and not Warzone or MW3 Ranked Play.
Call of Duty break down the different factors that go into matchmaking and rank them in terms of hierarchy, or in other words, they detail which criteria impact matchmaking the most.
At the top of the list is “connection,” as you can see in the image above: “Connection is the most critical and heavily weighted factor in the matchmaking process.”
Then the second most important criterion is “time to match,” which is a metric that indicates how long it takes to find a match.
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They then go on to list several other criteria that are factored into matchmaking in no particular order including:
- Playlist diversity
- Recent maps & modes
- Skill performance
- Input device
- Voice Chat enable or disabled
The blog continues to explain how these matchmaking criteria are measured. Of course, most players will be interested in the skill performance measurement, which is closely tied to the concept of SBMM.
According to the blog, “Skill is determined based on a player’s overall performance: kills, deaths, wins, losses and more, including mode selection, and recent matches as an overall metric across all Multiplayer experiences. This is a fluid measurement that’s consistently updating and reacting to your gameplay.”
Players will be interested to discover that Call of Duty has used skill to impact matchmaking since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. They revealed that their data indicates that the inclusion of skill in the matchmaking process balances players’ wins and losses, instead of one result being heavily featured.
They explained that “when lower skill players are consistently on the losing end, they are likely to quit matches in progress or stop playing altogether.” Ultimately, Call of Duty believe that lower skill players quitting will negatively impact the MW3 ecosystem and player pool: “A smaller player pool means wait times for matches increase and connections may not be as strong as they should be.
To conclude, the blog utilizes a brief FAQ section to dispel several fan theories relating to matchmaking in Call of Duty, such as the use of bots in multiplayer matches or the existence of skill-based hit registration.
For more Call of Duty, check out how Microsoft layoffs hit Activision Blizzard with 1,900 employees let go, and how those layoffs impacted Treyarch, SHG, Raven & more CoD studios.