Forums / Community / Matchmaking Feedback & Discussion

[Locked] Matchmaking Feedback Update – Feb 6

OP ZaedynFel

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Thanks for all your responses to last week’s post. Here’s what I’ve been thinking this week.
One high-level question asked is if any of these suggestions are doable in Halo 5. Here’s the safest way to set your expectations on that:
  • Some are almost definitely not doable.
  • Some have a small chance, but we won’t create false hope unless it’s for sure
  • Any that will get done, we’ll let you know once it’s a pretty “sure thing”
Are you guys OK with that approach? The purpose of these posts isn’t to give you a preview on features we’re currently working on, but to instead involve you in our design process. That means letting you know what we’re thinking, reviewing what you’re thinking, and asking you to further polish them with us together.
But, yeah, if there are some sure things coming down the pipeline, we’ll let you know.

Smurfs
Some of you suggested we track who has already played Halo 5 on their Xbox and prevent them from playing with new accounts after a certain point. Dest1nedxKNIGHT suggested a cooldown which doesn’t allow you to play ranked on a new account for a month after making another one. CaptNorm22 had some solid suggestions as well. I thought they were all interesting. I sort of combined the various ideas and I have a new one to propose to see what you all think:

After playing with 2 accounts on the same machine, additional accounts need to be at least SR 30 to play ranked.

No barriers to ranked for the main use cases, and a definite barrier outside of that. The numbers could be changed (e.g., 5 accounts, SR 5, etc.). We feel this has potential, but the messaging would have to be very clear to avoid confusion. Though, to be honest, it would be mostly power users encountering it anyways, and they should be mature enough to understand.

I still need to follow up and see if that is even possible with the current tech, but I at least like the high-level goal: Don’t bother most people, put a doable barrier up in the other cases.

Leavers
We understand the frustration when players leave a match We’ve heard the suggestion to increase the penalties, but it can be a little tricky to tune. Not everyone quits intentionally, so we try and strike a balance that dissuades intentional leaving, but forgives the occasional network hiccup or family emergency.

One good question we can ask back to you is, “Why do you quit?” We have our own thoughts internally, including early perception of an unfair match, but I think it’d be worth getting some or your thoughts.

We can be ineffective if we focus too much on treating the symptoms (quitting) with penalties instead of addressing the root causes.
Some solutions we’ve heard:

  • Surrender. Basically, allowing players to end a game early with a loss if everyone agrees. This simple sounding feature is deceptively complex, though worth considering:
    • Players still need to take the usual CSR loss to discourage surrendering to avoid it.
    • People who quit before surrendering still take a full CSR penalty.
    • Requires new UI / UX complexity and exceptions (do we need surrender in social?)
    • A full party can surrender immediately. Is that OK?
    • Consider only during “surrender situations” e.g.: 2v4, or an early large score differential.
  • Forcing players back into the same match This is another deceptively complex solution.
    • Do you want someone back in your match who doesn’t want to be there?
    • Would it better to just make them not be able to play until the match is done?
    • Would this only be in Ranked since Social backfills?

Warlords Skill Matching
Some players have asked if we can turn on skill matching for Warlords. I totally understand that the most-skilled teams are coming to Warlords for a challenge. It looks like players had a great time in Warlords for that weekend. The problem here is:
  • There are only so many full 12-player fire teams.
  • There are even less full 12-player parties of high skill.
If we were to enable this, the players who most want it would probably not be able to benefit from it, and instead just have long wait times. But we’ll keep our eye on the stats.

Partying up post-game
I mentioned I was following up on this one. It looks like a feature that is generally liked here and has support behind it. It’s not something we can do in Halo 5 though.

Party Chat pre-game lobby
Same as the previous issue. We like it for sure, but we won’t be seeing it soon.

Map Vetoes
The community is a bit split on this one. Internally, the feeling is that it doesn’t add enough to justify the complexity. There are higher priority features we’d like to focus on instead, and it would be better to focus efforts on keeping the pool and rotation of maps enjoyable.
I definitely like the SR 30 for ranked arena before playing.

i believe surrender is almost the same as loosing the game in terms of CSR. Difference is kda.

leavers: i like the idea if not being able to play until the match is over. forcing them back will only make them ruin the experience for other. for example, they will either make intentional betrayals or stay there and do nothing.

parting up post game makes no sense since anyone can pretty much speak post game for parting up.
ZaedynFel wrote:
First off I just wanna mention how impressed I have been with all of the feedback and discussion you have been providing to the Forums. Much appreciated!

I definitely think it is a good approach to set some realistic goals on how doable these changes are and to focus on changes which can make the most impact.

The smurf concept you mentioned sounds like a great solution to me. I don't really deal with this issue much in the first place, but the solution seems like a good compromise which shouldn't have any real negative impact on people who seem like smurfs but aren't.

Regarding leavers. I don't really think a surrender mechanic is necessary, and if it was I would only want it implemented in Ranked Playlists. My biggest gripe with leavers is they result in uneven matches which cause you to lose CSR when you wouldn't have if you had a full team. If there was some way to not lose CSR during these uneven matches, I wouldn't really have anything to complain about.

The idea of forcing people to wait out the rest of the game they left is also a good idea in my opinion. I feel like this would force people to just stick the games out since they can't start another one right away. I only ever quit a game if I have something that requires my immediate attention or I am leaving home that instant which is rare. I do leave games before they start sometimes when I don't want to play a certain level but that shouldn't impact other people in the game because it should re-fill my spot before the game starts. Sometimes I have noticed I didn't dashboard fast enough though and the game didn't fill my spot and I get a DNF. This is something which a Veto or Vote option could help mitigate.

I truly think that the issues related to Ranked playlists should be priority over WZ issues or Party issues, but I know there are plenty of people who only play WZ.

Thanks again for starting these discussions and being as involved in them as you have been!!!
Ah, sucks that map vetos won't be happening..
Thanks Josh for all the feedback! A lot of interesting points in here. For the surrender option, it should definitely only be available if the team is outnumbered. 3v4, 2v4 etc... The UI could just add another option in the start menu that once 1 player selects it, other players get a small notification near the bottom of their screen that gives them a few seconds to accept the surrender. Surrendering would still lose CSR but at a smaller value than if you had stayed in the game. This I feel could also improve matchmaking times in the future since games that run on to full time because 1 person is hiding could potentially finish much quicker and add to the matchmaking pool. Keep up the good work and look forward to what comes of all this!
I'd be worried with Surrender tbh. Would it require a majority of players to agree or all? I'd be worried of trolls who go in with 3 players instead of 4 and intentionally throwing games to surrender and end games early.

And if Surrender is in Ranked but not Social, I can see a large increase of pub stompers in Social so they can get their full games in beating less skilled players who are just looking for fun.
Thanks for updating us I like this method so we dont all expect a crazy amount of changes.

So no party up in h5 ok please work it into Halo 6 its only a positive thing.

The smurf being SR level 30 I don't feel would stop anything. most smurf accounts I encounter are already around that level.

being able to surrender is huge would be great to have.

map vetoes would be wanted from me but im not dying for that.

thanks Josh for keeping us up to date keep on doing great work!
Ka Five wrote:
I'd be worried with Surrender tbh. Would it require a majority of players to agree or all? I'd be worried of trolls who go in with 3 players instead of 4 and intentionally throwing games to surrender and end games early.

And if Surrender is in Ranked but not Social, I can see a large increase of pub stompers in Social so they can get their full games in beating less skilled players who are just looking for fun.
I truly agree with you, i never thought about this actually. There are still people out there who intentionally kill team mates or just gives its team a hard time. trolls can still intentionally drop games like you mention so its a good point to keep in mind.
Smurf: Idea is great. Take Rainbow Six: Siege as inspiration (although I do agree the first one or two accounts should be immediately available for ranked play)

Leavers: LOVE not allowing them to play until the match they left is over. Just like World of Tanks. Surrender option is simple imo. Only give the option to initiate a surrender to the team that has two players in a 2v4, or one player in a 1v3 or 1v4. Once the team size gets to those, give it about a minute to let the players decide if they can make a game out of it (maybe the two players that left/quit were only racking up deaths for instance). Once a minute has passed, just a small option pops up like "Press X to request surrender". If held for a couple seconds, the option then presents for voting for everyone. The second player on the smaller team needs to vote yes, and a majority of the larger team.

If done this way, a smaller CSR reduction could take place for the losing team, but give the same boost as before to the winning team.
does the solo vs party matchmaking option for ranked fall under not doable?
What about updating the search parameters for fair matchmaking/party restrictions?

The fact you didn't mention this now after your first post is alarming. Does this mean 343i isn't concerned about making matchmaking fair?

Teams vs teams is a HUGE deal in ranked and social. This makes me think it's not going to be important for halo 6.

Party matching needs to be s thing so that there would be no need to make a separate playlists just for teams. Why not also cater to solo players or small parties who also aren't having fun being stomped by a larger group?

Please convince the team that this will only help Halo and keep players from leaving because they are being matched fairly based on their party size and skill.
Ka Five wrote:
And if Surrender is in Ranked but not Social, I can see a large increase of pub stompers in Social so they can get their full games in beating less skilled players who are just looking for fun.
I don't think this is an issue. You don't play ranked to pub-stomp. You play ranked to win and increase your skill rating. If there is an effective surrender option, teams that are crushing other teams can fit in more games that count as W's more quickly. This would help them level up more quickly too and get them to their truer rank, making the MM experience more fair for the lower-level players since they should stop matching against them more quickly.

If the surrender option was always available regardless of the current game condition (which i don't think it should be) it would have to require a unanimous vote.

Surrender - I like a surrender option a lot but I think that it shouldn't be available unless prompted by the system. I don't think I would put something in place that was always available in the UI, but instead have a message that comes up like, "[X players on your team have quit the match][you are down by XX% of the score to win], would you like to forfeit?" or a "Surrender" option that becomes available in the menu after certain conditions are met. If it is always available, i could see To4's going into ranked and purposefully de-ranking, which we dont want to encourage. Also, if you implement it in this fashion you could rely on a majority vote instead of requiring a unanimous vote. There is always someone in a game that is just not paying attention to their HUD or doesn't know about the option and will miss the Surrender vote.

Veto - I am going to pitch for a map veto option, especially as long as 343 is insistent in putting framerate-killing forge maps into matchmaking. Maybe only for social. I have to dodge some maps that just kill performance and are not fun to play by QTBing, which i don't want to do but its the only option at this time. If used in ranked, i think i would tweak it so it only vetoes that exact map and gametype combination. For example, if i get Plaza Slayer in Team Arena and veto it, Plaza Strongholds would still be in the map pool of possible selections. I think this gives valuable information to the devs as well. "wow, players are vetoing this map/gametype combination 60% of the time. Clearly we need to work on that." Its instant feedback from a much larger variety of the population than just the small, niche group of people that frequent the forums.

Playlist Progression - In the last post you had, you talked about playlist progression feedback separate from skill ranking. I loved the H3 per-playlist military rank system. Any thoughts on bringing that back? I know that would require new UI elements and im sure a bunch of back-end implementation but think it would be a great addition.
capmike1 wrote:
Smurf: Idea is great. Take Rainbow Six: Siege as inspiration (although I do agree the first one or two accounts should be immediately available for ranked play)

Leavers: LOVE not allowing them to play until the match they left is over. Just like World of Tanks. Surrender option is simple imo. Only give the option to initiate a surrender to the team that has two players in a 2v4, or one player in a 1v3 or 1v4. Once the team size gets to those, give it about a minute to let the players decide if they can make a game out of it (maybe the two players that left/quit were only racking up deaths for instance). Once a minute has passed, just a small option pops up like "Press X to request surrender". If held for a couple seconds, the option then presents for voting for everyone. The second player on the smaller team needs to vote yes, and a majority of the larger team.

If done this way, a smaller CSR reduction could take place for the losing team, but give the same boost as before to the winning team.
Too much delay there i think. People can decide how long they want to try to make a game out of it themselves by just not electing to surrender. And are you saying that the opposing team ALSO has to approve the surrender? They should have no say in the matter. Or were you just referring to losing teams of larger or smaller size?
JAPANTHR wrote:
does the solo vs party matchmaking option for ranked fall under not doable?
No, I think it would probably be doable if we pushed for it.

However Better Skill Estimation is getting higher priority right now because:
  • It solves the problem more efficiently without needing to resort to exclusive matchmaking
  • We need it anyways, for more than just the "solo vs. party" issue. It helps with smurfing too among other things.
If we estimate skill right, solo players will only face fireteams of individually worse players. The higher individual skills of the solo players will counter the higher organization of the fireteam, resulting in an even match. Contrast that with today where experienced full fireteams definitely do better than 50/50 vs. solo teams (on average closer to 60/40, though the high-end players probably even more).

I've done this in other games and it results in fireteams going 50/50 vs. solo, so I'm optimistic.

That said, if it falls on its head, we will re-evaluate either party restrictions or an exclusive playlist (e.g., solo or duo only, or alternatively 4-player fireteam only).
ZaedynFel wrote:
First of all thanks to you and your communication with the userbase, even if you tell us stuff that is not doable it is information we didn't get before, so glad you are back at 343.

SmurfsI really like the idea of reaching a specific rank to be able to play ranked, I wouldn't even restrict it to second accounts on an xbox, just in general (though I know reason why you guys don't want to do it), like in Overwatch for example, and I think that works pretty well.

Playlist designI even think there could be more copied from Overwatch in terms of playlist designing. Maybe having a "Quickmatch" option front in center to get in 4v4 social matches of all kinds, and the other stuff (Big Team, Triple Team eg stuff that isn't 4v4 and social) goes into an Social tab (like Arcade in OW)
It would reduce the playlists and I think even get more players to warm up or play casual stuff.

Leavers / Quitting First of all, no there does not need to be a penalty system or surrender option in Social matches IMO

I think a combination of both your suggestion works pretty well, for the players that got quit on a surrender option in the game would be very fantastic, but only if the CSR loss is noticably smaller than the one of the quitter, I think it should be even smaller than a normal loss, but ofc there needs to be some kind of loss.

The player who quit should not be able to play a ranked match until the one that he quit is over, Idk if that is possible with the system you got but I like this one the most and I think it is the system League of Legends use.
Forcing the player back in to the quitted match can cause issues like griefing, though it would be awesome if your system could detect who lagged out and who quit out and that people who disconnected could rejoin their ranked match, again IDK if that is possible with Halo 5's system.

Party Chat in the Pregame lobby and Partying up Postgameshame both aren't possible, but no can do, hope you keep that in notes for the next title though :P

Map VetoesAh man I liked the Halo 3 Veto system, you vetoed something and then you had to take what comes, in the MCC or Reach it was too nice to let the players pick the map.. it caused that only certain maps were played and others weren't at all.
I can guess that it would cost a lot of resources to implement this and why it won't be done, but I hope you guys also consider this for the next title.

Again thank you very much.
Wouldn't game sharing across Xboxes potentially mess up the smurfing deal? If I made a different xbox my home one, then would all accounts over there get considered a smurf?
Hey Josh,

Thanks for posting again as always. I wanted to respond to a few of the questions you asked and the statements you made. When addressing my post below, this can apply to both Halo 5, and any future titles you may work on while at 343i considering your statement about viability in Halo 5's current state.

Surrender
As far as surrender goes, only allow a surrender when there is 50% or less of the team left. Quitting has a penalty attached, so it would force the team to continue playing unless they wanted to actually quit. If half the team quit, don't punish the remaining two players. Allow them to surrender if they both agree.

Leaving
The next question was why do players leave? In my experience it's due to the map/gametype combo. This is also why I think veto is a must. There were multiple tournaments in the HCS when every single team vetoed Stasis. The fact that 343i tries to force players to play terrible maps and gametypes is the cause for leavers. The other cause for leavers is when a party of 4 is matched against all solo players. There's two common ways to fix the solo vs team dynamic. You can increase the elo being matched for the solo players since a team of 4 should elevate themselves to a higher skill level. League of Legends uses this approach. If you search as a full team of platinum players, you match a team of solo diamond players for instance. The idea is that as a team your skill level should be equivalent to that of 4 solo players of a higher elo. The other option is party restrictions. If you search as a team of 4, you match a team of 4. If you search as a team of 3, you match a team of 3. This is the system Halo 3 used and it is quite liked by the majority of players. Either solution works to an extent, but at least one of these or a mixture of these systems needs to be implemented. For instance when searching as a team of 4, for the first 60 seconds in queue you are only looking for another team of 4 inside the parameters of your skill level. 60 seconds is up and no team is available? Now we search for a team 4 solo players in a slightly higher elo than you. Some sort of combination like this would work well.

Forcing players back into the same match
This would just get me to hit the power button on my xbox and go do something else. I don't quit often if at all, but this would get me off the console.

Partying up post-game
A big part of post-game lobby is looking at stats, talking crap to the other team, and partying up. This needs to come back in future titles. Play 2-3 games of Halo 3 on the 360 and if it's anything like it used to be you'll see exactly how to build post-game lobby for future titles.

Party Chat pre-game lobby
Another addition for a future title. Write these down somewhere because with 343i it's always the details that fall off. For example in Halo 4 they brought back the "x" on death, but it was white. Simple little details can really make or break a mechanic, and lobby's are no exception.

Map Vetoes
The community is split because they want variety. You don't lose variety with map vetoes. If a map is constantly vetoed you still have plenty of other maps that will get chosen, just leave it to one veto. The fact that 343i tries to force terrible map/gametypes makes this a basic requirement nowadays. Please implement this and you'll see the leave rate go down drastically.

Smurfs
Level 25 as a requirement would be fine. Just simply have a popup explain this when the player tries to click team arena at level 10.

Ranked Distribution
I'm not sure why, but the ranked distribution seems to be very off. I always think ranking systems like the one implemented in LoL, Halo 5, etc. need to aim for a bellcurve distribution of players. The majority of players should be sitting near Gold 1-4. Obviously you know what a bellcurve is, but I highly doubt that our population currently looks that way. Very few in Champion/Bronze. Slightly more in Silver/Onyx. Majority in the Gold-Plat level. Make it actually mean something to hit Onyx. And show the elo values for all Champion players. I should see that I'm an Onyx 1686 and that Champion 200 is at 1724. I should be able to see all of that. We should also work to keep the Champion slots from simply becoming a grind game. Champion being above elo 2000 isn't healthy for the ranking system in my honest opinion. If nothing I've stated can be worked on for Halo 5, please make note of it for the next title. The devil is in the details.

Thanks again for the transparency Josh. If you have time swing by the sandbox department and tell them we'd like a post as well regarding the Radar/ARs in my playlist. Thanks for all the hard work you do, have a good one :)

edit: Forgot to bring up the below:

Seasonal rewards - Champion pistol skins that are blue for top 200 champs and red for top 50 champs. Ideas like this.

In-Game Leaderboard - I should easily be able to see the leaderboard for any given playlist. At a minimum I should be able to see the top 200 players, and how much LP/mmr they have. Just because they are Champion doesn't mean their elo should be hidden.
ZaedynFel wrote:
  • Surrender. Basically, allowing players to end a game early with a loss if everyone agrees. This simple sounding feature is deceptively complex, though worth considering:
    • Players still need to take the usual CSR loss to discourage surrendering to avoid it.
    • People who quit before surrendering still take a full CSR penalty.
    • Requires new UI / UX complexity and exceptions (do we need surrender in social?)
    • A full party can surrender immediately. Is that OK?
    • Consider only during “surrender situations” e.g.: 2v4, or an early large score differential.
I think all of these points sound fairly good, but as far as a full party surrendering I dont think it should be allowed immediately but maybe after a certain score/time threshold as you suggested. I would also suggest displaying a message in game to let you know a player has left and that you can surrender the match.

As far as a surrender option in social. I dont think its really necessary. If its something that would delay things or cause issues with more important things I would say just leave social as is. Quitting isnt as big an issue in social since people can rejoin or get new teammates anyways.

ZaedynFel wrote:
  • Forcing players back into the same match This is another deceptively complex solution.
    • Do you want someone back in your match who doesn’t want to be there?
    • Would it better to just make them not be able to play until the match is done?
    • Would this only be in Ranked since Social backfills?
Map VetoesThe community is a bit split on this one. Internally, the feeling is that it doesn’t add enough to justify the complexity. There are higher priority features we’d like to focus on instead, and it would be better to focus efforts on keeping the pool and rotation of maps enjoyable.
I think option 1 is fine but maybe have a limit/parameters? So if a person quits once let them rejoin and if they quit again then block them until the match ends and if they quit from another game then penalize them and block them from matchmaking for a certain time limit like it does now or if a person got kicked for too many betrayals immediately block them.

I feel like map vetoes should be avoided. They end up becoming a popularity contest in the end and you just end up playing the same map and gametypes over and over. The 13 map/gametypes we have in ranked arena is already fairly small having people veto things would make it worse.

Also I had a suggestion for custom options for both H5 on Xbox and PC. The custom browser was a great addition to the game however it is ruined right now by the lack of control you have for team numbers and colors. Right now people can join whatever team they wont. So you end up seeing a lot of the red v blue customs end up in red vs blue vs yellow vs green or smaller 4v4 gametypes turn into 5v3. So it would be nice to have the option the restrict what colors players can choose and to have the option to balance teams automatically. Idk if this is under your department or if you can pass it along it would be greatly appreciated.
ZaedynFel wrote:
Are you guys OK with that approach? The purpose of these posts isn’t to give you a preview on features we’re currently working on, but to instead involve you in our design process. That means letting you know what we’re thinking, reviewing what you’re thinking, and asking you to further polish them with us together.
Thanks for posting. This is the kind of communication that we need. I can only hope the rest of 343 takes this kind of approach in the future.

1) TBH, I'm not sure how you would really solve the smurf problem unless you told MS to stop letting gold members have multiple free accounts. The SR rank lock would be a good compromise, but I also liked the suggestion of the matching system basing the matching of a team with the higher end ranks instead of the lowest rank on the team.

2) In regards to leaving, give the people that stay on the quitters team less CSR penalties if they stay for the entire match, but the usual if they surrender. It would have to be balanced though so it's not completely enticing to stay in an uneven teamed slaughter match though.

2a) My suggestion would be to make the surrender option an automatic prompt that displays when there are only 50% or less players left on the team and/or certain conditions are met like a huge score differential for example. I'd be less for that option on a 3v4, but it wouldn't bother me if it was for that as well. Like someone else said though, better party matching might help reduce quitting.

3) I wouldn't like the option of forcing people back into the game if they got disconnected. Instead, I'd give them an option to join. So after you got disconnected, a prompt would appear for only ten or twenty seconds that would give you the option to rejoin as long as you weren't booted or intentionally quit. Not sure if that's even possible though. I don't think it needs to be in social although quit bans aren't really a solution in social either.

4) For Warlords, I think your assumption would be correct and it would create long search times. I think you could put stricter matching options in that playlist if you kept it as a temporary rotational playlist. With it being rotational, the exclusivity of it when it comes back would keep the population up which would allow the strict matching search times to go down.

4a) In my opinion, Warzone in general needs better skill matching especially when you match a full party of onyx level players while the majority of your team are platinum level or lower. Not on the levels of the strict ranked matching, but it needs something.

4b) For FireFight, things like Mythic need rank locks because lower levels aren't going to have the REQ's needed to win or maybe a REQ lock until they achieve a certain amount of REQ's. Or, only allow one or two low leveled players at the most on a team of solo players.

5) It's too bad the rest of your stuff isn't available. The post-game partying up, pre-game chat and map vetoing are things which needs to be in future Halos.
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