Saturday, May 22, 2010

Matchmaking: The Vicious Cycle

Matchmaking is broken. Sadly, S2 doesn't tend to agree.

According to S2, Matchmaking took a nosedive due to an unpredicted drop of players on release (Apparently when you make people actually pay to play a game a lot of people stop playing, whoda thunkit?). In any case, currently, Matchmaking a disaster. If you've played it at least once, you already know that every game looks kind of like this:

Image courtesy of the HoN forums

I don't need to explain why this is a horrible system. I chose "Expert" not because I want to teach people how to play the game (I have a Youtube channel for that), but because I want to play with Experts. Why else would I have chosen it?

In theory, provisional games are a good thing. They give the skilled player a chance to prove himself more quickly than usual and gives the beginner more space to learn. Now I ask you a tricky question: What role can a provision game play when there is no SMR roof or floor to be found when I play with other people?

Nothing. Just like all SMR right now.

Since release, the forums have literally been exploding with complaints. S2 wasn't in any hurry to address the issue, though, and statements made by Maliken on Friday didn't help put out the fire when he said "Please elaborate how our matchmaking is so broken?".

Maliken addressing Matchmaking complaints

Of course, as usual, the community is always wrong until proven otherwise. Today (on a Saturday, mind you!) S2 released a new statement, saying that their reasoning behind Matchmaking pairing you up with a wide array of player skill is due to the fact that there aren't enough people playing Matchmaking.

Now, hold on a minute. Back the fun train up.

-S2 says Matchmaking has a "wide" gab between SMR because there aren't enough people playing Matchmaking.

-Nobody wants to play Matchmaking because they don't want to play with people outside their skill bracket

Seems to me like S2 is digging itself their own grave. Never before have the words "Quality over Quantity" demanded more attention than right now. I know numerous people who said they are abstaining from Matchmaking until it is fixed. Meanwhile, S2 argues that fixing Matchmaking would result in longer queues. Really? Would all those new players that would actually play Matchmaking once you fix it clog the inter-tubes so hard that I would have to wait longer?

S2's logic simply doesn't add up. And even if it did, even if queues would be significantly longer- what would you rather have? Quicker, horrible, unrewarding games or slower actual games with an SMR system that works? S2 seems to think that as long as we are playing their game, we are having fun, regardless of quality. I know for a fact that for a lot of people, this is not the case. Solo Matchmaking is fun because I know that I am getting a chance to prove myself and get a high SMR despite not having a lot of friends who play at my skill level. With the current Matchmaking system, this isn't possible. Winning games is like flipping a coin. SMR means nothing, people lie about their skill level and aren't adjusted properly.

Here's to hoping S2 sees the light and mops up this mess soon.


  1. I'm actually kind of confused by S2's stance on MM. The attitude which they present through forum posts and MotD seems to be one of ignorant puzzlement (or puzzling ignorance) about why people aren't using MM.

    Either S2 actually believes MM is fine and is being extremely obtuse about (what should be) one of the main features in the game, or they realize it's broken and are choosing to pretend otherwise for some reason. Maybe they're trying to fix something else, or they can't find a good way to fix it. Whatever it is, they're being stupid. Which is unusual, as S2 hasn't shown themselves to be out of touch or stupid.

    Again I'm confused...

  2. Maliken's stance on MM is very firm. We need to kick him in the shin. I think the MM pool should be arranged by PSR (I know, it's still screwed up)
    that way, lower-tier players won't go around picking "expert" so they can have a higher starting SMR. (Yeah. I think my suggestion destroys the purpose of matchmaking itself, but it's the only way for MM to be successful.)

    I wonder if S2 can turn the situation around?

  3. I think Maliken should tighten the gap and make it so it never widens the SMR gap if it can't find a game. When people realize that it will never find a match that way, people might realize whats going on. Believe it or not there is also a large portion of the community that if they don't get a match in less than 5min, they'll hit cancel and go back to the pub lists. S2 is trying to make both sides happy without totally killing it.

  4. S2 is like a nooby Devourer, slowly killing itself. I'm abstaining from MM for now, just doing scrims. MM should be really satisfying once S2 realizes what they're doing wrong.

  5. Another good post Nigma. I am totally agree with u. I Dont even bother with MM anymore, and I dont even care about ppl's SMR. Hope S2 will notice this soon and put some change to it.

  6. I think, judging on my last few games played, that S2 has finally closed the SMR gap a little bit.

    I've been having much better games as a consequence.

  7. My queue time is still 10 minutes~ with 1650 SMR.

    I played a couple of games, but I won't play anymore until it becomes efficient.

  8. Mine isn't that bad and I'm already almost 1700 SMR.

  9. The gaps are closing, so I think I'll go back to MM now.

  10. what S2 needs is some real programmers to program the MM thing, this isnt just that button to start the game! its search at its finest! Get someone good at search to program it and i will guarantee you it will not be broken.