Blizzard’s intricacies of multiplayer matchmaking have definitely increased since the days of the Battle.net dial-up deathmatch system. Jeff Kaplan surprised Overwatch players with another lengthy but welcome forum post. He talked about the Overwatch matchmaking system.
Jeff Kaplan, the Game Director of Overwatch, is showing the world that he is trying to keep the promise he has made earlier this month. Last week, Kaplan stated that he wants to maintain a transparent attitude with the Overwatch community.
The Overwatch matchmaking system is, as one would assume, a quite complex process. Available players are not just instantly grouped up and put together to be sent on their way. Time in queue is however very important. The matchmaking algorithm does broaden its scope proportionally with how much time passes.
Player latency, or ping, is also a crucial factor when it comes to Overwatch matchmaking. Kaplan said that the game tries really hard to make sure that people in a match have similar ping values.
Being part of a premade group is also a vital factor in matchmaking. Overwatch was designed to be a game that is most rewarding when played with a full premade team, Kaplan added. The Overwatch designers want players to play with their friends and have a fun experience when doing so.
Group matchmaking, however, has a very different algorithm entirely. The time spent in queue could be longer, and latency is less important of a factor. Group matchmaking in Overwatch will first try to find another group of similar size and skill to match.
“Playing with people you choose to play with is going to be more reliably fun than playing with people we choose for you.” – Jeff Kaplan, on Overwatch Matchmaking
Nevertheless, the core of the Overwatch matchmaking system is based on MMR or Matchmaking Rating. MMR is handled differently in every multiplayer online game. Each gaming company has their own in-house sorting algorithm. The type of game is also important. Overwatch MMR is entirely different from Heroes of the Storm MMR even though they are both Blizzard games with heavy multiplayer elements.
It is very complicated to elaborate on all the factors taken into consideration in a secret MMR algorithm. Revealing too much information could then lead to exploiting the algorithm. Exploiting MMR would result in player bans but also to having to design a new MMR algorithm.
Overwatch MMR, Kaplan said, is affected by wins and losses, the map played, assignment as attacker or defender, as well as what the player actually does during the match. One thing that is currently not factored into MMR for Overwatch is the win/loss ratio.
While MMR does increase with wins and decrease with losses, it is not affected by the ratio between them. On the topic of win/loss ratio, Jeff Kaplan also said that the individual’s average in each region is currently very close to 50%.
Overwatch matchmaking is an elaborate affair, but Jeff Kaplan wanted to ensure the fact that even though it looks like the gods seem to have a grudge against a player, it is nothing more than an algorithm and conjuncture. Kaplan also stated that the MMR system will be receiving upgrades very soon.
Image Courtesy of Blizzard’s Overwatch.