Honestly, if all you want to do is play casual or relaxed games, your best bet is find some like-minded people and fire up a custom game and screw around there to your hearts' content.
I think you may be misunderstanding. I'm not asking to be placed into games where everyone is messing around and taking the piss like they do in Custom Games. =P
I want to play fair/balanced matches with other mediocre-skilled players like myself. (This is where people usually say "Go to Ranked.")
However, I don't want to play Ranked, because in ranked I have to worry about my CSR dropping when I lose the game; which forces me to tryhard. Similarly, everyone else playing ranked is also trying to get their CSR as high as possible, so it's selfish of me to not play my best when the rest of them are trying to up their CSR.
So I don't really have a dog in this fight - I'm just summarizing arguments I've seen others make.
That's good -- it's good that you make the time to contribute to community issues that don't necessarily affect you; it shows you care about the community of the game. =)
But lots of folks (possibly high skill players) complain that strict matchmaking parameters in social playlists lead to them having super tryhard high-skill games in those playlists - by definition, "not casual".
Honestly, no matter how you phrase this statement, it relates back to these folks being selfish. You have to consider what I'm asking for (a mediocre player), and what a high level player is asking for.
- I'm asking to play against other mediocre players; a fair game. If all of us are equally skilled, then we all have to try hard to win matches as we're playing against people just as good as us.
- High level players (from your interpretation) are asking for lower levelled players to be included in their matches; which is unfair to the lower-levelled players. No matter how this is phrased, ultimately the enjoyment of the high level players is at the expense of the low level players, which is the definition of selfish.
It's not selfish for me to want a fair game environment, but it's selfish for someone else to want to play against noobs for easy matches; which comes at expense of the noobs.
I'm not saying there should never be mixed teams. In my opinion if your Search Settings are set to "Expanded" then the current system is fine. But the current system is not appropriate for "Balanced" or "Focused" settings (it's highly unacceptable for Focused.) At the very least, when your parameter is set to Focused, you should only be in games with people of similar skill; for me, that would be other mediocre players -- not a mix high level players and noobs.
To high-skill players, "casual" means a wide variety of skill types.
Which again, sadly, comes at the expense of lower-levelled players. Again, I'm not saying that this shouldn't exist at all (I'd be fine if this is how the Expanded setting worked), but by default it's highly unfair and detrimental to the experience of low levelled social players to be placed in the same matched as high levelled players.
Sometimes this is because they want to be able to play on a team with their noob friends, and don't want to play ranked.
I think in these circumstances using a blend between the current matchmaking system, and a stricter matchmaking system, would work. I'll give a few examples of scenarios and how I'd want the matchmaking system to handle them.
High Level Player, Noob Friend are in a team and want to play together. Here's how I'd want the teams to be (brackets denote a FireTeam):
(High Level | Noob
) | Mediocre |Mediocre | vs. |
) | Mediocre
- High Level Player and Noob Friend kind of cancel eachother out into a Mediocre average (not perfect but it's a hard situation to deal with.)
- Noob friend still stands a chance of getting kills because the other team are all mediocre players.
- Both teams have a FireTeam so there's a balance of communication.
Again this obviously is a bit of an oversimplification, but I think this sort of matchmaking balance works well. It tries to keep the teams as evenly skilled as possible without giving in to extremes at either end. Currently, it's possible to see brand new players and pros in the same match -- which is broken.
Sometimes the motivation is probably nefarious [...] But forcing all the high-skill players into social games together doesn't really work either... now those games become super tryhard (and not casual), plus there may be long wait times for high-skill players.
I don't think the motivation is important, the only thing I think is important is preserving the enjoyment of as many players as possible.
- Low level players being placed in the same games as High Levelled players = highly frustrating for low levelled players.
- Low level players being placed in the same games as Low level players = happy low level players and fair games.
- High level players being in the same games as other high level players = potentially sweaty high level players, but still fair games.
Ultimately if the game is fair then I don't think you have any reasonable grounds to complain, because if it's purposely made unfair then it's at the expense of others.
Anyway, my point is: lots of high-skill players want exactly the OPPOSITE of what you asked for. They want games with wide ranges of skills. As I said - there's no easy way to simultaneously please high-skill and low-skill players.
I'm not saying the search parameters have to be as strict as ranked either, let me illustrate using five oversimplified levels of players:
- Brand New Player
- Low Level Player
- Mid Level Player
- High Level Player
- Elite Level Player
For social, you could run the algorithm so that your search parameter would be +/- between one or two tiers of rank. For example:
- Elite level players with 'balanced' criteria would be placed in matches with other Elite level players, High level players, and ocasionally Mid level players.
- Brand New players with 'balanced' criteria would be placed in matches with other Brand New players, Low Level players, and ocasionally Mid level players.
Again, Elite levelled players would have more competitive matches than Brand New players, and I understand this may make them feel like they never get easy games; but why should they? All that matters is that the game is fair.
The only way the game could be "easy" for them is if they get matchmade with noobs; at which point their enjoyment comes at the expense of the noobs, which is unacceptable.
Ultimately, I'm a mediocre players who is fed up of being placed in the same games as Pros, or Noobs - I want to play other mediocre players in a social environment where I don't feel forced to tryhard (because there's no CSR.).
I see people often mention that the relaxed playerbase in Halo 5 is dwindling; the reason it dwindles is because of poor matchmaking systems like this one which ruins their experience.