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[Locked] Matchmaking Feedback Update – March 20

OP ZaedynFel

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How are you teaming up?

Our UX design lead, Vincent, wanted to get some feedback from y’all on how you go about finding teams and parties for matchmaking. What has been the easiest way for you? There are many tools currently available to find folks to play with, but I don’t want to bias you by listing them, I’d rather here your feedback on them.
For those of you who play solo, is that because it’s a pain to find a team? Or do you just love that playstyle?
We’re looking into ways of making it easier to find folks to party up with, but want to first see what you’re already doing, and where the pain points might be.



Could we matchmake Quitters vs. Quitters?
In theory, this sounds awesome. Punish the jerks by making them play with the jerks. The problem is that most quitters are not habitual. Most of the quits you see are just normal players who sometimes quit. Because of this, matching quitters vs. quitters would not change things much because most people don’t quit enough to get marked as “quitters”. We do temp ban habitual quitters though.
We can probably focus on more effectively getting you out of matches where your team has quit, and into new ones faster.
We're also considering rebalancing how we penalize players who quit to make it less punishing if they decide because they're already down a man or two. I think they still need to lose the same amount of points as a losing team would, but at least they could leave the match early without having to play through it.

Show Party State on the Loading Screen
My personal philosophy is to not show stuff on the loading screen that doesn’t affect the experience. Once we correctly account for party skill, being in a party shouldn’t strongly affect the fairness of the match, so I wouldn’t normally want to show it because it would be misleading. It could cause players to quit when the match would actually be fair. We saw some of this in the beta when showing CSR on the loading screen.

Why didn’t we use Team Arena Ratings in Proving Grounds?
There are several reasons we don’t do this. One being that people use playlists like Proving Grounds to test something new, and we don’t want people to worry about their Team Arena Rank being affected by it.

Another reason is this is actually a lot harder to do than it sounds. When you have millions and millions of CSRs and MMRs, and you want to optimize delivering and updating those values to specific places in the UI and on the Web at certain times and for certain reasons, the engineers have to strike the right balance in terms of storage and flexibility. It turns out grabbing the MMR from one list and using it for another is deceptively harder than it may sound after considering all the other things you need to do with MMRs and CSRs.

Seeing Everyone’s CSR on the Loading Screen
This gets brought up now and then, but is probably worth repeating. I like the idea personally, but have seen mixed results with the psychology of different players. In the past, we’ve put this on the loading screen and had players quit because of perceptions. I think we would want to come up with a good way of presenting it that made it feel OK to have a challenge.
Here’s a sort of high-level breakdown of the options from a design point of view:
  • Leave it as it is and spend our time on other improvements.
  • Take the time and effort to put it in without changing anything else and probably see a rise in quit rates, and more 3v4 and 2v4 matches.
  • Put it in, but add even more time and effort to try and find a messaging that would encourage people to stay in. This assumes that type of messaging exists.
  • Do 2 and maybe also 3, and also put even MORE time into making sure matches end quickly and less painfully once we get into 3v4 or 2v4 etc.
So now, as a designer, I have to ask myself, what would be the priority on items 2-4? Can I do 2 without doing at least also 3 and 4? Should I do those first? Or is more important to look at improving party matchmaking? Or smurfing? Or how often you see the same map and mode? Or are we OK with just staying with 1 for now so we can address other concerns first.
This gives you a sort of loose idea of the process we go through when looking at features that need improvement. It’s never just, “let’s add this or that today,” but a bunch of trade-offs.
Personally, I would prioritize number 4 because over and of those because that’s a problem in general with or without number 1. It’s probably a more important thing to fix.

Having Forge Maps in Ranked
We get feedback from many sources. Some sources really love the variety and potential competitiveness of the best forge maps. We have some players saying, “please put this forge map in,, the gameplay and balance are amazing! Definitely belongs in Ranked!” and then we have other players saying “please don’t put forge maps into Ranked”
It’s not my personal role to prepare a forge map for Arena, but I wanted to convey the fact that there are many perspectives on each issue like this one, with both sides having fairly convincing arguments. Just because it’s a forge map, doesn’t mean the gameplay and balance on the map can’t be just as good as the other maps. Or, “try and not judge a book by its cover”

Matchmaking Tradeoffs
We are constantly looking at how to better balance our tradeoffs between skill, latency, and local population size within the framework we have. There are some knobs we can turn now, some knobs we want to add, and other knobs we probably can’t add in the near future. I don’t have much more to say on that at the moment though.

Social Matchmaking
In case you don’t know, we still have a skill rating or MMR we use when matchmaking in social, and even Warzone. We just aren’t as strict on how tight the matches need to be. We are still really strict in the team balancing though, so in theory you should win about as often as you lose.

Smurfing to Boost and / or Matchmake at the Champion Level
We saw a lot of comments last week on using smurfs to boost Champions. Some bans were given. I thought I’d chime in with some comments on this.
In general, we don’t like any kind of smurfing being used to manipulate your ranks because it hurts the players you step over while doing it. You will always run the risk of being banned for it.

I do understand that it can be super tempting to have a few teammates re-roll new accounts just so you can matchmake faster. You can still potentially get banned for this, but I would say it’s understandable and we might be nicer about it.

But there’s an even worse trend that I’ve seen on some folks do. I won’t describe that “other” behavior, but those who are doing it know what I’m talking about. That type of behavior may eventually get you permabanned, so I suggest stopping now. We don’t even need fancy systems to detect it because it is really obvious.

That said, I am working on some improvements to both how CSR reacts at these high levels of play, and how fast you can matchmake. The CSR improvement will make it so playing with smurfs results in a lot less CSR than playing legitimately. Champs will still eventually hit a wall because eventually their CSRs will far outstrip the skill of the opponents the matchmaker can find for them, but at least they’ll get there faster than today, and with legit teammates instead of smurfs. They also won’t have to compete with the smurfs.

I will try and get these improvements in before the next season, but I can’t make any promises.
Map Vetoing
As I mentioned back in the Feb 6 post, vetoing is something we don’t hate, but feel the balance between how much it’s loved vs. its complexity is currently keeping it somewhat deprioritized. It’s definitely not something we’ll see in Halo 5.

I do understand complaints about getting the same map and mode over and over again, which I agree should be prevented if possible. But that can be fixed with better selection, which is much simpler to implement. I would go that route first.



High Skill Matchmaking

We made a few tweaks to FFA, SWAT, and Breakout matchmaking at the high end to try and get those players into matches easier. Here’s some background:
  • The matchmaker doesn’t normally allow a gap greater than 1.0
  • There are some players with MMR so high, there are often no other players searching with MMRs within 1.0 of them.
  • To let those players find matches in the past, we have treated them as if they had much lower MMRs, but that value wasn’t low enough in these cases
  • To get them into matches, we lowered that 1.0 bar in those playlists, but also raised how long those players wait until we let them go that low
  • The net result is those players can at least find a match now when they couldn’t before, and it’s still usually a high end match
  • But after waiting a long time, they can eventually match players a little lower skilled than before (still usually Onyx) if the other players also waited longer than usual
ZaedynFel wrote:
How are you teaming up? Our UX design lead, Vincent, wanted to get some feedback from y’all on how you go about finding teams and parties for matchmaking. What has been the easiest way for you? There are many tools currently available to find folks to play with, but I don’t want to bias you by listing them, I’d rather here your feedback on them.
For those of you who play solo, is that because it’s a pain to find a team? Or do you just love that playstyle?
We’re looking into ways of making it easier to find folks to party up with, but want to first see what you’re already doing, and where the pain points might be.
First of all, thanks for all the info, I really look forward to these updates.

I almost always play solo. This is really just personal preference. I feel really awkward talking to people online that I don't know, so I prefer to party up with friends. Unfortunately, I really only have one friend who is still able to play Halo and he has a wife and kid, so he's usually busy with family stuff. I've just gotten used to playing alone, so it really doesn't bother me. That's probably not the input you were looking for, but that's my main reasing for playing solo.
ZaedynFel wrote:
Map VetoingAs I mentioned back in the Feb 6 post, vetoing is something we don’t hate, but feel the balance between how much it’s loved vs. its complexity is currently keeping it somewhat deprioritized. It’s definitely not something we’ll see in Halo 5.
I do understand complaints about getting the same map and mode over and over again, which I agree should be prevented if possible. But that can be fixed with better selection, which is much simpler to implement. I would go that route first.
Do you happen to know if all gametype/map combos in Halo 5's matchmaking are completely random or are some weighted higher than others? I know when a new Halo 5 map would release, it would have a higher weighting in some playlists so people got a chance to play it before being reduced but I don't know if there's ever been any info outside of this.
For those of you who play solo, is that because it’s a pain to find a team? Or do you just love that playstyle?

I have always enjoyed playing alone, i find it relaxing and enjoy focusing on my individual gameplay rather than on my teammates.
I know you're only looking for Halo 5 matchmaking feedback. But, it's worth pointing out that MCC's matchmaking experience is still pretty bad. Even when matches can be found, quitters are rampant when Halo 3 doesn't win the vote.
ZaedynFel wrote:
How are you teaming up? Our UX design lead, Vincent, wanted to get some feedback from y’all on how you go about finding teams and parties for matchmaking. What has been the easiest way for you? There are many tools currently available to find folks to play with, but I don’t want to bias you by listing them, I’d rather here your feedback on them.
For those of you who play solo, is that because it’s a pain to find a team? Or do you just love that playstyle?
We’re looking into ways of making it easier to find folks to party up with, but want to first see what you’re already doing, and where the pain points might be.
Generally speaking, I team up with friends from my friends list. I'm not super crazy about LFG or finding "randoms" to play with as my experience with that has been, uh, special at times. Occasionally I will join someone I meet in MM when I solo Q but that's few and far between. I also will sometimes join people from Waypoint but that's not too often either.

ZaedynFel wrote:
As I mentioned back in the Feb 6 post, vetoing is something we don’t hate, but feel the balance between how much it’s loved vs. its complexity is currently keeping it somewhat deprioritized. It’s definitely not something we’ll see in Halo 5.
I do understand complaints about getting the same map and mode over and over again, which I agree should be prevented if possible. But that can be fixed with better selection, which is much simpler to implement. I would go that route first.
Does this include gametype rotation as well as map? For instance, in SWAT, I think one placement season I played ONE match of BR's. Everything else was DMR's or SWATnums, H2 BR's and CE SWAT weren't even in the rotation yet.
Does this include gametype rotation as well as map? For instance, in SWAT, I think one placement season I played ONE match of BR's. Everything else was DMR's or SWATnums, H2 BR's and CE SWAT weren't even in the rotation yet.
I believe the current implementation may be map-only, but there's nothing preventing a map-mode one.
This is for UX:

During the post match should be able to invite players to my fire team with the push of a button.

likewise, if a player receives such an invite, they should be able to accept it with the push of a button, and instantly be placed in the new fire team.

If a a party leader joins a new fire team, he should be able to bring his current fireteam with him.

there should be no need to utilize xbl messaging to facilitate this, it should all happen in game.

Basically, look at halo2 and do exactly that.
ZaedynFel wrote:
Does this include gametype rotation as well as map? For instance, in SWAT, I think one placement season I played ONE match of BR's. Everything else was DMR's or SWATnums, H2 BR's and CE SWAT weren't even in the rotation yet.
I believe the current implementation may be map-only, but there's nothing preventing a map-mode one.
Gotcha. I love "regular" SWAT BR's so playing 9 DMR/Magnum placement matches just made me a sad cookie so I was simply curious. :)
ZaedynFel wrote:
How are you teaming up? Our UX design lead, Vincent, wanted to get some feedback from y’all on how you go about finding teams and parties for matchmaking. What has been the easiest way for you? There are many tools currently available to find folks to play with, but I don’t want to bias you by listing them, I’d rather here your feedback on them.
For those of you who play solo, is that because it’s a pain to find a team? Or do you just love that playstyle?
We’re looking into ways of making it easier to find folks to party up with, but want to first see what you’re already doing, and where the pain points might be.
Generally speaking, I team up with friends from my friends list. I'm not super crazy about LFG or finding "randoms" to play with as my experience with that has been, uh, special at times. Occasionally I will join someone I meet in MM when I solo Q but that's few and far between. I also will sometimes join people from Waypoint but that's not too often either.

ZaedynFel wrote:
As I mentioned back in the Feb 6 post, vetoing is something we don’t hate, but feel the balance between how much it’s loved vs. its complexity is currently keeping it somewhat deprioritized. It’s definitely not something we’ll see in Halo 5.
I do understand complaints about getting the same map and mode over and over again, which I agree should be prevented if possible. But that can be fixed with better selection, which is much simpler to implement. I would go that route first.
Does this include gametype rotation as well as map? For instance, in SWAT, I think one placement season I played ONE match of BR's. Everything else was DMR's or SWATnums, H2 BR's and CE SWAT weren't even in the rotation yet.
I played 6 games of SWAT this morning. 1 was BR start, 1 was DMR, and 4 were either SWATnums or H1 SWAT. It's really frustrating since I would much rather play BR starts than any other version of SWAT. I mean 1/6 games being "real SWAT" is like going into Team Arena and 5/6 games being Slayer.
ZaedynFel wrote:
Seeing Everyone’s CSR on the Loading ScreenThis gets brought up now and then, but is probably worth repeating. I like the idea personally, but have seen mixed results with the psychology of different players. In the past, we’ve put this on the loading screen and had players quit because of perceptions. I think we would want to come up with a good way of presenting it that made it feel OK to have a challenge.
Here’s a sort of high-level breakdown of the options from a design point of view:
  • Leave it as it is and spend our time on other improvements.
  • Take the time and effort to put it in without changing anything else and probably see a rise in quit rates, and more 3v4 and 2v4 matches.
  • Put it in, but add even more time and effort to try and find a messaging that would encourage people to stay in. This assumes that type of messaging exists.
  • Do 2 and maybe also 3, and also put even MORE time into making sure matches end quickly and less painfully once we get into 3v4 or 2v4 etc.
So now, as a designer, I have to ask myself, what would be the priority on items 2-4? Can I do 2 without doing at least also 3 and 4? Should I do those first? Or is more important to look at improving party matchmaking? Or smurfing? Or how often you see the same map and mode? Or are we OK with just staying with 1 for now so we can address other concerns first.
This gives you a sort of loose idea of the process we go through when looking at features that need improvement. It’s never just, “let’s add this or that today,” but a bunch of trade-offs.
Personally, I would prioritize number 4 because over and of those because that’s a problem in general with or without number 1. It’s probably a more important thing to fix.
Old Halo games made sure we had that skill/team size information (which I think is important in order to make people not slack at the beginning of the game until it's too late to bring it back, to end up giving up and/or quitting) and fixed the issue in a simple manner.

As soon as ranks and team size information becomes visible after a match as been made, it should be impossible to leave those lobbies. And this is not a "how" question, because in theory, the game does not let people leave to begin with, but rather, if someone backs out at that stage between the information becoming available, and the map loading up, then it SHOULD count as a loss on their record. The game should also make an effort to replace them (assuming the match hasn't started).

I also do believe that people who quit games after someone else on their team quits out first shouldn't be penalized as much. It would be worth looking into how it affects premade teams to prevent abuse, but more often than not, no one feels like wasting their time sitting around in a pointless match.

I do, however, want to emphasize that a lot of quitting (both in ranked and social) is due to people not having a real motivation to see the end of a game. Halo 3 was one of the best games on that regard, making sure that EVERY win or tie granted a static, predictable and meaningful +1 EXP, a loss resulted in none, and quitting out resulted in -1 ON TOP of losing progress towards TrueSkill/skill-based rank. Halo 5 has nothing like that, and the XP isn't meaningful enough to implement something like this, being huge values that no one keeps real track of.

I would recommend looking into something like that for next game. Making sure all matches are worth winning, and quitting out sets people back TWO wins worth makes people far more invested in all the matches, social or not, and demotivates people from quitting out. It's also positive reinforcement rather than a focus on negative, making people appreciate the game more and making it feel more rewarding. It was nice to make a significant EXP gain that isn't hard to track even after having a bad streak in ranked.

Unfortunately, just hitting people with temp bans does nothing much for the game and just makes it even more frustrating when lag outs happen. For experienced quitters, smurfing is an option so it's not like a real punishment. And for those who don't smurf and get caught in the crossfire from the occasional quit, being timed out just makes them get off the game altogether and complain... which for obvious reasons is something to avoid. EXP losses made it so people wanted to go back to search and make up for the loss.

Once again though, I don't think XP in Halo 5 means enough as it is to implement something like this. It got to the point where the amounts are far too big and meaningless for people to even look at, aside than to remember there's no point even keeping track of it. Halo 3's static +1, 0 or -1 was great for those reasons.
ZaedynFel wrote:
How are you teaming up? Our UX design lead, Vincent, wanted to get some feedback from y’all on how you go about finding teams and parties for matchmaking. What has been the easiest way for you? There are many tools currently available to find folks to play with, but I don’t want to bias you by listing them, I’d rather here your feedback on them.
For those of you who play solo, is that because it’s a pain to find a team? Or do you just love that playstyle?
We’re looking into ways of making it easier to find folks to party up with, but want to first see what you’re already doing, and where the pain points might be.
First of all, thanks for all the info, I really look forward to these updates.

I almost always play solo. This is really just personal preference. I feel really awkward talking to people online that I don't know, so I prefer to party up with friends. Unfortunately, I really only have one friend who is still able to play Halo and he has a wife and kid, so he's usually busy with family stuff. I've just gotten used to playing alone, so it really doesn't bother me. That's probably not the input you were looking for, but that's my main reasing for playing solo.
This is my situation exactly.
I get IRRATIONALLY mad if my teammates are in a party or not talking. I really miss the legendary days of Halo 2 where nearly 90%(best guess) of players had a microphone and you could solo queue, make friends in a game, and use the postgame lobby to team up for more games. Those were the best, where I didn't have to rely on friends getting on. Nowadays, I play with a core set of friends. We used Facebook messenger to tell each other we're on, and then we play. I wish it was easier to poke people that are in parties and tell them that you're online, ready to communicate, and use microphones to gain an upper advantage. It's kind of annoying that party vs solo is factored into matchmaking because I want to have an advantage for talking. If I'm just going to be playing much better people and having to lose more 1v1s while getting more assists - that kind of sucks.

I seriously wish you'd abuse Proving Grounds and give us more interesting gametypes. Try an Oddball gametype for 2 weeks. Try a 5v5 or 6v6 CTF Forge mode. Use the amazing sandbox that was created. Have a bigger playlist that is ranked.
Hey josh great update and info.

Just last night I tried MM in SWAT solo with search parameters set to expanded for about 10 minutes and just could find any spartans. Now I know SWAT is a pretty popular playlist maybe not as much when you are onyx but it's my favorite gametype and every season I play my 10 placement matches, get onyx, then can not find games playing solo. Any further help in getting games while playing swat would be very appreciated
What's the deal with messing so much with the playlists? I can pretty much guess why, but do you really have to remove the social version of Team Snipers (Shotty Snipe) as well?
Don't know if this is the best place for this type of feedback @ZaedynFel but I know a lot of people especially the designers of the BTB maps currently in Matchmaking would like to see BtB with pistol starts. If there is a possibility for a sort of proving grounds for btb with pistol starts that would be the best.
I know that many of the maps (almost all the maps) were designed with pistol starts in mind and have segmentation by distance throughout a lot of their level designs. The BR's Range however as it is currently implemented can exceed those distances and can cause player stagnation. Also the BR's often can discentivize player from using many of he vehicles in the sandbox.

Once again this may be technically off topic as this thread seems to be more UX design focused but if this could be passed off to whoever makes decisions over playlist management that would be very appreciated
ZaedynFel wrote:
How are you teaming up?
Mostly I play with friends, and friends of friends. In rare cases if I gel well with another player in matchmaking and they initiate with an invite I join up with them. It is just such a toss up weather randoms will have a good attitude or not.
Quote:
How are you teaming up?

Our UX design lead, Vincent, wanted to get some feedback from y’all on how you go about finding teams and parties for matchmaking. What has been the easiest way for you? There are many tools currently available to find folks to play with, but I don’t want to bias you by listing them, I’d rather here your feedback on them.
For those of you who play solo, is that because it’s a pain to find a team? Or do you just love that playstyle?
We’re looking into ways of making it easier to find folks to party up with, but want to first see what you’re already doing, and where the pain points might be.
This has been an issue for me, and is usually why I jump into Warzone instead of Arena. I Solo-Queue because it feels like my only real option. I don't play a TON, and my friends I used to play with have moved on. I also work and can only play for so long in the evening. So I don't want to waste time going to websites, figuring out LFG on XBL, navigating through menus and screens, typing in long gamertags on the CHANCE that I actual join or they join me (since teams can fill up quickly). This is all WAY too much and kills the mood and flow of hopping on Halo for some Arena Matchmaking. The amount of time trying to get into a game should not exceed the amount of time I'm IN a game.

Sometimes I do want to just play solo, not chat, and just slay. That is fine. I will always be able to do that. But other times I really love the interaction with others who have a mic who are looking for good teamwork, but it is such a pain to get into a 2-4 person group, picking up players as I go, that I usually just get frustrated and jump off sooner than necessary.

There are TWO major fixes that would get me back on Halo way more often, and actually enjoying myself.

ONE: This was already stated but definitely needs reiterating:
Quote:
This is for UX:
During the post match - should be able to invite players to my fire team with the push of a button. Likewise, if a player receives such an invite, they should be able to accept it with the push of a button, and instantly be placed in the new fire team.

If a a party leader joins a new fire team, he should be able to bring his current fireteam with him.

There should be no need to utilize xbl messaging to facilitate this, it should all happen in game. Basically, look at halo2 and do exactly that.
If I could easily send an invite, and have someone join me QUICKLY, then I could create these random teamups (which I seriously love in Halo). There's no long term commitment, I can leave if I don't like them and still start my search over quickly and easily next game, or I could end up friending them. I can also join up with the other team or get invites to teams already in the making. The biggest thing to emphasize here is that it is QUICK and EASY. You already have everyone on a timer to automatically start the next match, which has its own cutoff of when people can join or back out. I can't even figure out how to invite someone (let alone 2 or more people) fast enough before they are probably already in a position to not be able to back out and join me. So they say, "Well, I'll see if I can join after this game" and then I just start because "Well they probably didn't want to and I won't wait ANOTHER 10 minutes for them to finish a game to find out", and then everyone is out of sync to join anyway or forgets to.

TWO: Solo-Queuing into a pre-made team of 4. This is, more often than not, what gets me to simply say.. "OK, I'm done for tonight." wayy sooner than I need to be. And I'm sure sometimes it's not a premade, maybe they just are good and communicate while solo-queueing, but I'm betting they are often premades. And I get destroyed. Someone quits early, which just makes it worse (I don't quit even in a 1v4). My team plays dumb but won't communicate. And things just spiral out of control. Life while playing Halo would be sooo much more worth living if this didn't happen. If I knew while solo-queuing I had a very small chance of running into a 4 person team of roflstompers, I would feel better about queuing up in Arena, and not default to Warzone since it is more acceptable to just run around and slay for awhile on there. I enjoy the challenge of Arena, but it needs to be a legit challenge, not a slaughter.

I think if you can fix the issue of making teaming up QUICK and EASY - I think more people would team up, more people would probably start using their mics again, and more people would be in teams of 4, which means more people would be in that basket in matchmaking to go against other teams of 4, which means the solo people can either be put in the teams of 3 and get invites (while having a 3+1 Team vs a 3+1 Team), or be in their own baskets of solo-queues and play against other solo-queues. This makes things much more balanced and enjoyable for everyone. My two cents. Hope it actually made sense. Thanks for listening.
Moda wrote:
Hey josh great update and info.

Just last night I tried MM in SWAT solo with search parameters set to expanded for about 10 minutes and just could find any spartans. Now I know SWAT is a pretty popular playlist maybe not as much when you are onyx but it's my favorite gametype and every season I play my 10 placement matches, get onyx, then can not find games playing solo. Any further help in getting games while playing swat would be very appreciated
Try searching focused. It has started helping me find games in swat at the champion lvl
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