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[Locked] Matchmaking Feedback Update – August 7

OP ZaedynFel

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Some small updates today on stuff that is in progress.


Matchmaking Skill Gap

As many of you have noticed, we’ve increased the allowable skill gap in most playlists. We did this because while the old settings were tighter (usually only 1 major Rank apart), there were parts of the population that were unable to find matches over unreasonable spans of time. Some players would search all day and not find anything.

This is partly due to us also enabling party restrictions. The restrictions make it less likely to face a full party. Facing a full party isn’t always necessarily “bad”, but the range of possible skill gap that can happen when you face a full party is much larger than when not, so the restriction does give a slight improvement to non-full-party qualify of life.

But it does effectively shard the population, reducing who you can match against, and means we have to, again, widen the allowable skill gap so people can play at all.

The changes let everyone matchmake in a timely manner, but they do allow larger gaps in the players you will see. The gaps are currently like this:

HCS, Team Arena, and Slayer
  • 2 full ranks apart (e.g. Gold to Diamond, Champ to bottom Onyx, etc.)
  • Narrower because more skillful.

FFA, SWAT, Snipers, Doubles, and Breakout
  • 4 full ranks apart (Platinum to Champ, Bronze to Gold)
  • Wider because less skillful or pop a bit smaller

By “less skillful” I mean that in the data, given the same skill gap, the underdog wins more often. In HCS, for example, the underdog rarely wins.

When we do this, you can end up with a wide range of skill on your team. If you are the best player in the match, the balancer may put worse players are your team to make sure each side has a 50/50 chance of winning, making you “carry” a bit more. We understand this can be undesirable and cause backaches.

Our current compromise errs on the side of making sure everyone can play.

But, to improve this situation, we are working on a change that will allow us to potentially get back to where we were before by increasing wait times for higher-skilled players. They would wait longer than they used to but would get into closer matches, and not have to pop into lower-skilled matches as often. I don’t have an ETA on this, but it’s coming soon.

With the change, we could probably cut the skill gaps in half, and double high-skilled wait times in Focused. I’ll keep you updated.


Party Matchmaking

Even with the party restrictions, party vs. party matchmaking still has a larger range in possible skill gaps that can happen than we would prefer. It’s even larger now that we’ve reduced the availability of non-full parties, and made full parties wait longer so they end up with worse matchups overall.

To alleviate this, we are wrapping up work on a feature that lets us control the maximum allowed skill gap between teams given the best possible team balance.

Today, we can only control the average skill gap between players or parties, but this gives us no guarantee that the team balancer can find a good gap between two teams once the match forms.

This will result in matchups that are significantly closer than today when parties are involved and very few “blowouts” This is coming soon, but no ETA yet.

In addition, for the longer term, we are updating our skill system to account naturally for party-skill benefits. This would allow us to remove the hard-party restriction, and instead use a soft one that improves matchmaking quality and wait-times for everyone, without imbalanced matches.


Sandbox Tuning

From ske7ch's post, you’ve heard about the upcoming sandbox update. I’m not directly involved on the sandbox or even the settings side. My involvement is to advise a little on the playlist management side, and keep people informed about population dynamics.

I’m investigating if the new sandbox suggest changes in how the playlists are divided up, for the better of the population.

In one world, the new sandbox tunings could allow us to find settings that both the Team Arena and HCS audiences and Pro players love, so we can merge the lists again. Merging the lists could double the matchmaking population, resulting in immediately better matches for everyone across the board.

In another world, the tunings only result in different settings in Team Arena, and we inject more variety overall in that list, making is significantly different than HCS. Creating a clearer distinction between the two lists would also be good if it reduces the overlap and interaction between those two lists, and fits the audiences better.

We aren’t going to just jam new settings into a list like HCS though. We’ll try it out in a list more like Team Arena, and see how well they are received. This will inform both additional tuning, and playlist management.

I don’t have any more info on my side of this at the moment, but stay tuned. I’ll try and answer questions here as well.
I imagine the Assault Rifle and Splinter Grenades top the list for the Sandbox tuning adjustment. Just an educated guess.
eLantern wrote:
I imagine the Assault Rifle and Splinter Grenades top the list for the Sandbox tuning adjustment. Just an educated guess.
Pretty much everything removed from HCS for this season.

  • Automatics (AR, SMG and Brute Plasma Rifle)
  • Splinters
  • Energy Sword
Is the sandbox only rebalancing the automatic weapons and the ridiculous horizontal radius of grenades? Or is the sandbox also rebalancing the precision weapons? I mean, are precision weapons going to be nerfed a little as well? The magnum is OP, the BR is OP, the DMR is OP... it is almost too easy to kill someone. Before I forget... does the sandbox also relate to the melee mechanics? are those going to be tuned as well? the lounges + melees do not make sense to me.
In another world, the tunings only result in different settings in Team Arena, and we inject more variety overall in that list, making is significantly different than HCS. Creating a clearer distinction between the two lists would also be good if it reduces the overlap and interaction between those two lists, and fits the audiences better.

MAKE IT SO
Is the sandbox only rebalancing the automatic weapons and the ridiculous horizontal radius of grenades? Or is the sandbox also rebalancing the precision weapons? I mean, are precision weapons going to be nerfed a little as well? The magnum is OP, the BR is OP, the DMR is OP... it is almost too easy to kill someone. Before I forget... does the sandbox also relate to the melee mechanics? are those going to be tuned as well? the lounges + melees do not make sense to me.
BR and DMR yes, they are piss easy to use. Magnum though... Magnum is probably the best gun in the game design wise. 1.2 second perfect kill time is NOT op. BR and DMR AA is much higher. Bullet magnetism could be toned down for literally every weapon. But thats neither here nor there to the MM discussion anyway....

Is the "social and ranked can match together but queue separately" idea an actual project you are working on, or more information-gathering for a possible Halo 6 implementation?

Also, what is the "pace" that the matchmaker expands the ranks it allows to match? For a few weeks i have been searching "Focused" and restarting the search if i don't find a game within a couple minutes. MM has been longer that way, but resulting in very good matches so its worth the trade off and i would like to keep executing a system like that.
Apoll0 wrote:
Is the sandbox only rebalancing the automatic weapons and the ridiculous horizontal radius of grenades? Or is the sandbox also rebalancing the precision weapons? I mean, are precision weapons going to be nerfed a little as well? The magnum is OP, the BR is OP, the DMR is OP... it is almost too easy to kill someone. Before I forget... does the sandbox also relate to the melee mechanics? are those going to be tuned as well? the lounges + melees do not make sense to me.
BR and DMR yes, they are piss easy to use. Magnum though... Magnum is probably the best gun in the game design wise. 1.2 second perfect kill time is NOT op. BR and DMR AA is much higher. Bullet magnetism could be toned down for literally every weapon. But thats neither here nor there to the MM discussion anyway....

Is the "social and ranked can match together but queue separately" idea an actual project you are working on, or more information-gathering for a possible Halo 6 implementation?

Also, what is the "pace" that the matchmaker expands the ranks it allows to match? For a few weeks i have been searching "Focused" and restarting the search if i don't find a game within a couple minutes. MM has been longer that way, but resulting in very good matches so its worth the trade off and i would like to keep executing a system like that.
Match together and queue separately = future title.

The first group expands 1 full rank every 80 seconds-ish (HCS, etc.).

The second group expands 1 full rank every 40 seconds-ish.

The expansion stops at 150 seconds, so if you stop before 120s, you're getting about 1.5 ranks worth.
Is there ever going to be a separation of ranked and unranked players?! My universe still revolves around FFA and the skill gap can get pretty ridiculous. Fair matches are relatively fun and frantic but more often then not I still see matches that end with the winning player having 5+ kills over the next closest player. In a majority of these instances the winning player is either
A) Unranked
2) An SR under 20
C) A gamerscore under 100
I have also noticed a growing numer of players wearing recruit armor, while still stomping the field. All these variables (usually a combination of at least 2) indicate a ridiculous rise in Smurf accounts that are effectively ruining the MM experience.

In my experience there's no shortage of unranked players in FFA, because I barely get in to a match without seeing at least 1. Matching against unranked players combined with Smurf players results in hrs of slowly climbing the CSR hill to be undone in minutes. To me FFA has devolved into an unbalanced mess that only exercises my resistance to slamming my controller into the floor mid match. With every update and season FFA seemingly gets less and less fun, and I'm edging closer and closer to uninstalling H5.
I now play with more noobs now...
Any chance of seeing BtB be ranked for a season?
When can we expect an announcement regarding the next Warzone Warlords?
Any chance of seeing BtB be ranked for a season?
With the amount of quitting that goes on thanks to solo queuers quitting as soon as they go down by 5 kills or whatever, I believe ranked BTB would be torture for anyone not in a full fireteam.
eLantern wrote:
I imagine the Assault Rifle and Splinter Grenades top the list for the Sandbox tuning adjustment. Just an educated guess.
Pretty much everything removed from HCS for this season.

  • Automatics (AR, SMG and Brute Plasma Rifle)
  • Splinters
  • Energy Sword
I'd imagine that the Percison weapons are gonna be looked at as well. I've seen many in the HCS call for a rework because having weapons with negligible spread, 0 bloom with very long RRRs, adding on top that most of them kill faster than the pistol are too much of an influence when they never miss (that does take skill of course, it's just that at the highest point of HCS they become more powerful than intended).

Ive seen proposed changes like decreasing damage (BR) slightly slower RoF (Carbine) and reduction of Aim Assist effect and range. If 343's goal is to make the weapons feel more unique and less redundant, better to also examine these kinds of weapons to avoid another Reach like TU
Long time Halo player here, I just started playing again after a while. We played doubles, while we are pretty good at the game, Active Camo was very frustrating every game. We didn't understand where it spawned based on the intro, then enemies could just keep getting it again and again by keeping the timer. There should be some indicator where the camo WAS after it was taken. At least then I can figure out where the hell it is even if it's not up yet.
ZaedynFel wrote:
Apoll0 wrote:
...
...
Match together and queue separately = future title.
I still have a ton of reservation regarding meshing a playlist search system between Ranked and Social. The distinct settings between the two environments would be greatly compromised by combining them in a match. I believe there will be an enormous community backlash toward 343i and Halo 6 if you guys go this direction. I hope you fully vet this idea in many controlled public playtests along with obtaining plenty of community feedback before adhering to it in a permanent fashion.
Is there ever going to be a separation of ranked and unranked players?! My universe still revolves around FFA and the skill gap can get pretty ridiculous. Fair matches are relatively fun and frantic but more often then not I still see matches that end with the winning player having 5+ kills over the next closest player. In a majority of these instances the winning player is either
A) Unranked
2) An SR under 20
C) A gamerscore under 100
I have also noticed a growing numer of players wearing recruit armor, while still stomping the field. All these variables (usually a combination of at least 2) indicate a ridiculous rise in Smurf accounts that are effectively ruining the MM experience.

In my experience there's no shortage of unranked players in FFA, because I barely get in to a match without seeing at least 1. Matching against unranked players combined with Smurf players results in hrs of slowly climbing the CSR hill to be undone in minutes. To me FFA has devolved into an unbalanced mess that only exercises my resistance to slamming my controller into the floor mid match. With every update and season FFA seemingly gets less and less fun, and I'm edging closer and closer to uninstalling H5.
Because of FFA's population dynamics, it's really hard to get a fair spread. It has the lowest match quality in Ranked. The best player in an FFA match gets top 3 over 70% of the time. The solve for that is either more players, or a drastic increase in wait time. We're investigating the possibility and impact of increasing the wait time though.

As for the smurfs, we are also building something that will deal with those, but it'll still be awhile to get right on something that tricky.

The Ranks themselves should usually be fine though. FFA's skill system is incredibly fast at finding your MMR, so even new accounts that look unranked are usually fairly well measured within 2-3 games.

If you find yourself sliding back by as much as you gain, that's usually the Ranking system's awkward way of saying, "I know how good you are, so you over a few games you will always find your way back to that Rank"

So if matchmaking was perfect, you would go up, e.g., +15 one game, and down -15 the next.

Instead, you might go up +6 four games in a row, and then down -24 in the fifth game.

The net is the same, though it's more noticeable in the 6/24 case.
eLantern wrote:
ZaedynFel wrote:
Apoll0 wrote:
...
...
Match together and queue separately = future title.
I still have a ton of reservation regarding meshing a playlist search system between Ranked and Social. The distinct settings between the two environments would be greatly compromised by combining them in a match. I believe there will be an enormous community backlash toward 343i and Halo 6 if you guys go this direction. I hope you fully vet this idea in many controlled public playtests along with obtaining plenty of community feedback before adhering to it in a permanent fashion.
Yeah, it's not official or anything. Just an option I was getting feedback on that has worked in the past.
Any chance of seeing BtB be ranked for a season?
We've definitely heard people want that.
Is the sandbox only rebalancing the automatic weapons and the ridiculous horizontal radius of grenades? Or is the sandbox also rebalancing the precision weapons? I mean, are precision weapons going to be nerfed a little as well? The magnum is OP, the BR is OP, the DMR is OP... it is almost too easy to kill someone. Before I forget... does the sandbox also relate to the melee mechanics? are those going to be tuned as well? the lounges + melees do not make sense to me.
We said initially that we definitely had to look at the AR because its skill ceiling was a bit low for competitive.

The AR is a pretty core weapon. Any time you change a core weapon, you end up having to nudge other weapons as well.

I'm not a sandbox person, so I can't speak to the exact changes (I don't even know them). But I think it's going to be a comprehensive take that improves the sandbox and weapon interaction balance. Disclaimer: I made most of that up.

But seriously, I've heard good things from multiple skill levels here internally.
ZaedynFel wrote:
Any chance of seeing BtB be ranked for a season?
We've definitely heard people want that.
I don't. From my perspective Big Team Battle (in general) benefits greatly from the social JiP inclusion.
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