Each Warzone team’s average K/D will be taken into account when matching them up based on skill. Therefore, players with the lowest K/D on a team will be playing against better opponents while players with higher K/Ds will be playing against less skilled opponents. In duos, trios, and quads, Warzone’s SBMM algorithm allows players to reduce their man advantage. Players with a 1.5 K/D, for example, will have an average K/D of .75 if they turn to fill off and play battle royale duos.
Currently, skill-based matchmaking is one of the most controversial topics in competitive video gaming. Skill-based matchmaking, or SBMM, works by assessing a player’s skill and matching him or her with other players at the same level. Ranking game modes operate like SBMM.
The idea of SBMM sounds great on the surface. The majority of players enjoy some level of competition, but they do not like to constantly be destroyed. Currently, unranked game modes in video games are incorporating SBMM. As a result, every game is “sweaty”. Playing casually is impossible. You will always play against players with the same skill level as you. This leads to a multitude of issues. SBMM has been criticized for the difficulty of matching players of different skill levels (as you improve, you are matched with better players) and it is prone to abuse (boosting/smurfing).
SBMM covers a wide range of topics. Let’s talk about SBMM in Call of Duty: Warzone for now.
Is SBMM Available For Call Of Duty: Warzone?
According to what Activision has publicly said, the answer is yes. The developers of Call of Duty usually don’t want to disclose any details about skill-based matchmaking. Infinity Ward confirmed to CharlieIntel that Warzone does not have an SBMM due to the high player count.
Warzone matches players based on skill. That’s still the official word, but there is evidence to support that claim. Or, it at least tries. JackFrags, one of Warzone’s YouTubers, conducted a deep dive into the game’s SBMM standards.
Using the data from 105 solo battle royale matches, JackFrags discovered a similarity in average skill between his lobbies. Since this video is relatively new, it’s a good example of a matchmaking experience that’s up-to-date. These findings are backed up by similar findings from another examination conducted by YouTuber TheXclusive Ace around the game’s launch.
State Of SBMM
In the current state of SBMM in Warzone, players with above-average K/D ratings may find it frustrating. The players who have one or two high-quality games are punished with better lobbies. Moreover, since player information is no longer publicly available, websites tracking player statistics, such as the COD tracker, are no longer useful.
Activision also shut down the Warzone SBMM website. The website was both used to understand the algorithm as well as identify suspect accounts. Activision changed the API and shut down Warzone SBMM, making it much easier for players to use cheat software or exploit the system. Statistics are no longer linked to all accounts, which would give evidence of exploiting and cheating. Streamers and professionals are accused of using methods to bypass SBMM without a paper trail.
Exploiting The System
A number of methods are available to make lobbying easier, and players are doing everything they can to play against less skilled opponents. Tanking stats or using a bot account can help players get in more desirable lobbies. A frustrated player can just create a new account and play against below-average opponents in Warzone, which is free to play. A router can also be used to change the location of a player to gain access to servers with lower skill levels.
Engagement Based Matchmaking
Technically, Warzone uses engagement-based matchmaking, in which skill is the determining factor. Engaging players means keeping them on the game for as long as possible. To keep players interested, the algorithm will interpret data to change the strength of a lobby when necessary.
Players who play badly in a string of games will end up in Bronze lobbies. Additionally, players who average over two kills a match will be given access to the Platinum and Diamond lobbies. To ensure that each player has at least one enjoyable experience during a play session, the system is designed to ensure that. The majority of players will enter the lowest level lobby just before they hop off.
The Reaction Of The Community
SBMM has been detested by the gaming community. Both professionals and amateurs have expressed their displeasure. The hashtag #RemoveSBMM has trended on Twitter. Another straw has been thrown into the camel’s back with the discovery of SBMM in Warzone.
Matchmaking based on skills is clearly unpopular. However, developers and publishers have continued to use it. This is largely due to one thing – money. When publishers can keep the noobs engaged, it increases their chances of them continuing to play and spending money on microtransactions. It may be true in some cases, but it is preventing the majority of players from experiencing true enjoyment.
If you only win because an algorithm matched you with bad players, then what is the point of winning? If SBMM is only going to match you against better players, what’s the point of getting good? Don’t above-average players deserve to be rewarded for their efforts? Such questions remain unanswered with SBMM.
What’s The Solution?
The solution to many of these issues would be to make both ranked and unranked modes with SBMM. Warzone lacks both.
It will be interesting to see how the SBMM trend develops in the coming years. Will it continue? Or will the community rise up and put an end to it?
The problems with skill-based matchmaking can be resolved by adding a casual and ranked mode. Improved players will gain ranks, and those looking for a casual experience will be placed in random lobbies. Skill-based matchmaking does not appear to be changing anytime soon. Infinity Ward and Activision have made a lot of money from skill-based matchmaking due to player retention, so they don’t seem to be inclined to change it.
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