Should Skill Based Matchmaking Be Featured Outside of Ranked Gameplay? – My Take

Posted by Stacey Louise Bennett December 17, 2020 in Esports

Skill-based matchmaking is a mechanic that matches players of equal skill levels against each other in online gaming matches.
If you’ve played any Call of Duty online at all, you have experienced the mechanic at work.

It is a very divisive subject. Some players believe it’s a fair experience matching players by skill level because it provides challenging but fun experiences. Others believe that it can ruin the whole casual aspect of gaming as games between players of a higher skill level can be more intense than what you’d expect in lower levelled games.

I believe that skill-based matchmaking should have its own dedicated playlist. The majority of the gaming community don’t play at the same level as the higher skilled players and are more likely to just hop on for a few casual matches and then log off.
Fighting games also benefit from having quickplay modes separate from skill-based modes.
I used to play Mortal Kombat (2009) regularly and it would take time to adapt to learning the move sets of a character.

I found it easier to swap from fighting AI characters at a higher difficulty, then swapping to the quick play mode to ensure I grasped what I needed to know about a character in a relaxed environment.
The skill level is more varied in modes without skill-based matchmaking, so you can learn how different types of players react before moving on to a ranked playlist, which would have skill-based matchmaking.

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From my experience playing in games with skill-based matchmaking, the system can be easily manipulated so players of a higher skill level can end up placing in lobbies with lower-skilled players.
I have noticed that players in Rainbow Six: Siege will intentionally lower their ranks as low as possible to get more ELO winning games, making it easier to obtain higher ranking placements.
For example, platinum ranked players in Siege will have an easier time winning games against copper ranked players. The games are essentially one-sided.

Skill-based matchmaking has its place within gaming, but until developers find a way to ensure that it is entirely balanced, I believe it should be kept out of casual gameplay.
You can’t win every online game you play but you should have fun regardless.
Constantly losing to players in onesided matches can be disheartening and potentially put casual players off the idea of wanting to continue playing.

What are your thoughts on skill-based matchmaking?

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Stacey Louise Bennett