Do Battle Royale Games Need Skill-Based Matchmaking?Mar 9, 2019 | 1 Votes by Mikhail 10 rate Should battle royale games follow the suit of other multiplayer games and implement a skill-based matchmaking system? Let’s dive in and discuss.
If you play Fortnite today as a complete newbie, you’d be utterly destroyed regardless of your overall skill. Why? Well, the gap between veterans and newbies is way too high. The same can be said for less-skilled players who just know how to play the game. This isn’t only a problem in Fortnite since other battle royale communities face the same problem. New players in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode were decimated by its mainstay players, ditto for those currently playing PUBG and H1Z1.
With these in mind, would it be smart to incorporate a skill-based matchmaking system across most, if not all, battle royale games today? Is this the best solution to address the ever-increasing skill gap? There are a lot of things to consider, so let’s take a deep look and try to find answers and solutions.
Why it’s a bad idea
First, let’s look at some of the cons.
The biggest drawback would be that it negates one of the major appeals the genre provides: the randomness of the player pool. Having a matchmaking system eliminates the randomness and essentially pits you against players of the same skill.
Whenever you hop on a battle bus, airship, or an AC-130 transport plane, you’re with a group of players with varied skill ranges. Some players may be complete newbies who didn’t even check the tutorial. Meanwhile, a few players could be streamers with thousands of people watching them on Twitch, while others might be eSports players honing their skills. You’re always treated to a unique cast: there could be some noobs you can easily pick you off or a highly-skilled player that can easily take you down with some randoms in between.
Another reason why it would be a terrible idea is if you’re pitted against players of the same or lower skill, there’s little opportunity to get better. In addition, playing with your friends can be a little tricky in terms of matchmaking. One of your teammates might be a cold-blooded killer with hundreds of wins while another might just be starting out. If you get into a match with highly-skilled players in the level of your better teammate, the newbie may get overwhelmed.
Why it’s a great idea
Time to move to the other side of the fence and look at it from a positive perspective.
Having a skill-based matchmaking mechanism enables newbies to easily get into the games and in turn, be more invested with them. This is because they’ll find an easier time adjusting since they’ll go up against players of equal skill. This reduces the instances of newbies quitting and never touching the game after a few rounds, reducing player turnover rate. It’s just hard to get into a game where you’re competing against players who have already mastered its intricacies and nuances.
The same can be said for players whose skills are limited. In Fortnite, there are just some players who fail to grow and adapt to the changing gameplay styles. As a result, they crumble in the face of a strong player and rarely win games.
In addition, this also adds to the game’s competitive nature. Just imagine you, a highly-skilled player, pitted against 99 other players of equal skill. Although garnering a win would be difficult the matches would be extremely intense and in a way, fun.
How should it be implemented?
If skill-based matchmaking were to be implemented across all battle royale games, it should be optional. For example, there should be a non-MMR (matchmaking rating) and ranked mode, and the same can be applied in battle royale games. The non-MMR mode can pit you against players with random skill levels and the ranked mode will put you in a match with players of the same skill. Players shouldn’t be forced to enter skill-based matchmaking or else developers will receive the full brunt of their players’ outrage.
Despite being optional though, there’s always the likelihood of player-base showering the changes with negative feedback. To avoid this, developers can always treat players to rewards if they reach a certain MMR after a certain timeframe. Thing is, how would MMR be calculated? A point system that takes into account the number of kills, placement, and survival time would be viable. The same formula could be implemented in squad mode.
Yes, battle royale games really need it
With all that has been said, yes, battle royale games need it. Skill-based matchmaking is newbie-friendly and helps developers lure in new players and makes them stay for the long-term. It eases their entry into the game, helping them develop their skills before going up against the bigwigs. In a way, it adds to the value and lifespan of a game. After all, it would be a bad idea to start playing competitively against countless players who have been around to master a game for years.
So, what do you think? Should battle royale games implement skill-based matchmaking?