Forums / Community / Matchmaking Feedback & Discussion

[Locked] Matchmaking Feedback Update -- Jan 30

OP ZaedynFel

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Hey folks! It’s great to be back here at 343. Like I said, I’d like to try and give regular updates, even if some are small. This update will be a bit longer than others though, since it’s my first and I have catching up to do.

I haven’t been back long enough to be fully up to speed, but I’ll try and address some of what I’ve heard so far, and we can continue the chat from there.

Playing Solo vs. Parties
We’ve definitely heard the community on this one, and have been thinking about this for some time. We need solutions that increase fairness without making players avoid playing with their friends. We’ve heard the following suggestions from the community, which are also in line with what we’ve spoken about internally:
  • Party restrictions (classic Halo style): We’ve discussed preventing solo players or 2-player parties from playing against a team of 3 or 4. A related approach is a separate solo/duo queue. Both have wait time implications for players in larger parties, so we would need to see make sure there are enough 3- and 4-player parties of close enough skill looking for matches at the same time. This is a fairly simple and understandable solution if the population supports it.
  • Better Skill Estimation: We can improve our skill model to know that parties play better than solo players, and matchmake accordingly. So when you do face organized parties, you’re so much better than them individually, that you can still win half the time. For example, we match a party of four Gold players against four Platinum solo players. I’ve seen this approach result in even matches in the other titles. The major upside is most parties don’t have longer wait times. The downside is it doesn’t fix the feeling that when you do lose to a party, it wasn’t fair---even if it really was fair.
  • Better CSR for Individual Performance: This is somewhat related. CSR gains / losses could be adjusted to account for individual performances when you aren’t in a full party. So if you carry your team but lose to an organize party, your CSR won’t go down as much, or may even go up instead. The downside is it introduces a bit of competition between people on the same team, which may result in bad behavior. But you could argue that when you are playing solo, you can’t guarantee you’ll have good teammates anyways, so we should let you enjoy the game still.
What do you guys think? The riskiest may be the first one because if the population doesn’t support it, it sends the message that “nah, don’t actually play Halo with your friends” which would be terrible.

Smurfing (sometimes to boost)
We’ve heard your pain on this issue as well, and have also been discussing ways to fix it. We’ve observed higher skilled players getting friends to re-roll and party with them for easier matches. We’ve also observed players re-rolling solo to get easier matches.
Here are the solutions we’ve heard and some feedback I have on them:
  • Require a minimum SR: We’ve also heard this suggestion internally. If we make the barrier to enter ranked high enough, it won’t be worth re-rolling anymore. Concerns:
    • It puts up barriers to ranked play up for legitimate players, which we’ve never done in Halo before.
    • Barriers decrease population, which increases wait times
    • There are many ways to earn SR outside of Arena, so we’d be chasing the right SR level.
I like that this is a simple and straightforward approach and we are still considering it.

  • Don’t allow parties with a large gap: We could have a clear rule like, parties can have a skill gap within them of at most one division. My main concerns with it outside of that are:
    • It adds a new barrier to playing with friends that Halo has never had before
    • That barrier can result in less people playing and higher wait times for everyone
    • It doesn’t solve the solo smurfing problem
    • It doesn’t help at all in social since there are no visible ranks.
I like that it is a clear and understandable approach with precedent in other games.

  • Matchmake parties above the average MMR: This is a softer version of the last solution. We matchmake parties closer to the max skill in the party, rather than the average. The upside is it’s less likely to have a lopsided party owning worse players. This still doesn’t solve the problem of solo players smurfing though, and when we’re wrong and you truly are a bad player trying to play with your skilled friends (this is me), it’s an even worse experience than now. We could argue it’s always a bad experience playing with a skill gap, and that ranked just isn’t the place for that. I do like softer solutions like this that don’t potentially slow matchmaking.
  • Find skill and rank on the smurfs faster: We can actually find player skills much faster than we are today. We can easily detect a smurf and immediately match them against where they belong. Assuming this is doable, it is probably my personal favorite solution because the problem silently goes away without matchmaking implications or kludges. Maybe too silently though?

Starting at the Bottom
We’ve heard some suggestions for having a ranking system that starts at the bottom and goes up instead of having placement matches. First off, I do think it’s important to have a fun progression system. Our current preference is to separate the progression and ranking systems so both can do what they do best without being restricted by the other system. The goal of a progression system is to make you feel like you’re “progressing,” calling out milestones in your personal development. The goals of a ranking system are to give feedback in actual skill development, and make sure the matchmaking feels fair. These goals can be conflicting, so we like to avoid having them in the same system.

For example, if a ranking system starts at the bottom, you end up with several problems. For one, the true Bronze players get owned all day long by every player starting off in the system each season. This leads the Bronze players to stop playing and the ladder collapses. You can try and fix this by matchmaking on MMR (known actual skill) instead of CSR, but then the PGCR gets really confusing because there will be players of all CSR levels in every match. This makes the ranks lose meaning because apparently, even though you’re a Platinum player, you play with lots of Silver and Gold players who are just as good as you. The ranks lose meaning because at any given time, a given rank will have players of all kinds of skill levels that are making their way through the system. My personal ideal is that a Gold player can clearly feel how much better they are than a Silver player if they play. But if we start at the bottom, that Silver player could actually be an Onyx player that destroys the Gold player. It gets confusing.

I am happy to pass on progression concerns to our progression team, and get feedback from them. I did like the suggestion of some kind of XP per playlist, but the progression folks may be cooking up something better.

(1 / 2)
Too many Ranked Playlists
I definitely understand the concern here. In my ideal world, everyone would “know” the right way to play competitive Halo, and we would make a playlist out of that and make it clear that being skilled in that playlist is what “really matters” I believe this still the intent of “Team Arena”

The reality, though, is that Halo has a history of letting you know your skill across many different activities, and we’re careful about taking that away. In our research, we’ve found players in simpler playlists love love love having ranks. They are fiercely competitive in areas that are not necessarily the core esports Halo, and I’m still iffy on removing that from those players. There’s a saying in game design to “make it epic” if you can.
So instead of taking away from other parts of Halo, I would rather focus on improving the features, rewards, visibility, and incentives around what we see of as “true competitive Halo”
For example, partly inspired by community feedback, in the future we could create a playlist like Team Arena but with exclusive benefits:
  • Ways to memorialize high ranks in Champion
  • Better rewards for high ranks in Champion
  • Improved population tuning in Onyx and Champion to make them more exclusive in Team Arena
  • Plus lots of good ideas from community and internal that are being discussed
This is a topic that’s definitely something on my mind moving forward.

Features I’m looking into, but have no info on right now:
  • Partying Up Postgame: I love this personally, but we probably can’t do it for Halo 5,
  • Map Vetoes
  • Party Chat in the pre-game lobby

Thanks for tuning in for the update. I can’t promise any of this will make it into a current or future title, but it does definitely help steer us in the right direction.

(2 / 2)
please don't require a minimum SR, i dread when other games do that
This is truly incredible to see! It is something that is really holding back matchmaking at the moment and to see progress and feedback on it so fast is just awesome.

Welcome back once again Josh, looking forward to seeing what changes are cooked up!
those last 3 features you listed would be awesome and is something many of us want.
I believe in you to help mold the matchmaking into the best it can be for both sides (competitive players and more social players)
for what its worth I enjoy the start at the bottom work your way up I like halo 3's style of course but theres many problems with that.
The seasons are cool and CSR is neat but I also feel many players dont like getting ranked again and again getting pretty much the same rank after the 10 placements no matter how well you do. also some ranks seem like you need to win too much to get to the enxt rank which puts players off. people enjoy the 1-50 because for most of those games you could really see your progression faster
Wow, just wow.

Thank you for not only seriously looking into people's feedback but taking the time to address it realistically. Can you get the sandbox team to do the same? Heh.

plan on making a more constructive post tomorrow at some point. I just wanted to point out my appreciate for you going above and beyond to communicate what you're hoping to achieve.
I would like to add a few things to be looked into possibly for Halo 5.

  • Seasonal rewards - Champion pistol skins that are blue for top 200 champs and red for top 50 champs. Ideas like this.
  • Aim for the bell curve. I'm currently not sure that bronze or silver players even exist, but aiming for a bell curve distribution of ranks would help the system a lot. Look at LoL, most players are right between silver/gold. There's no way that's the case with the Team Arena population. Not a chance.
  • 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.
  • Half of team quit? Ask if the team missing players would like to surrender. If both or the only player left on the team says yes, game ends.
  • This is less on you guys and more just in the general direction of matchmaking. Start Halo 6 off with no radar, and balance around it. Radar makes these games half of what they could be. If something is broken with no radar, then fix what is broken. If having no radar means that another gameplay mechanic becomes too strong (spartan abilities) then that just means that those mechanics do not belong. Because we all know that radar does not. Also remove AR and rifles from Truth kthxbai
So great to see transparency here. Keep it up.
Quote:
Don’t allow parties with a large gap: We could have a clear rule like, parties can have a skill gap within them of at most one division.
Speaking for myself here, I genuinely hope this doesn't happen. I'm generally the weakest link with the friends I play with and if I can't play with them, I honestly probably won't play nearly as much. I get my -Yoink- kicked a lot but it's helped me improve (even if only a little bit) over time. It would really be disappointing to log in and find out that I can't play with them because they're too good for me anymore.

sad
You sir are a legend! Thank you for being open and transparent and for giving us this information! Looking forward to what will happen with matchmaking not only for Halo 5 but the next Halo game as well.
Please, whatever you'll decide to do don't forget connection quality and matching times.
For less "halo populated" zones these are rough times in terms of connection quality and finding people in a decent amount of time.
I really wish you'll can find an arrangement to make server selection (like Titan fall or GOW to make it clear) possible and coexistable with a fair skill system without exasperate search times (trivially like a manual "match on skill" filter parameter or something like that)
ZaedynFel wrote:
  • Require a minimum SR: We’ve also heard this suggestion internally. If we make the barrier to enter ranked high enough, it won’t be worth re-rolling anymore.
Can we get this for Mythic Firefight though.
Ka Five wrote:
ZaedynFel wrote:
  • Require a minimum SR: We’ve also heard this suggestion internally. If we make the barrier to enter ranked high enough, it won’t be worth re-rolling anymore.
Can we get this for Mythic Firefight though.
What? You don't like those SR-2's and SR-5's in Mythic? You know, with their like, 4 Scout Hogs and nothing else? :|
Ka Five wrote:
ZaedynFel wrote:
  • Require a minimum SR: We’ve also heard this suggestion internally. If we make the barrier to enter ranked high enough, it won’t be worth re-rolling anymore.
Can we get this for Mythic Firefight though.
What? You don't like those SR-2's and SR-5's in Mythic? You know, with their like, 4 Scout Hogs and nothing else? :|
.
So glad you guys are looking into this! I think more of the behind the scenes approach would be the best but I'm not opposed to any of the changes that were mentioned. Not allowing parties with very large rank gaps makes a lot of sense. I've played against Champions that were using a bronze smurfs to match against platinum level players....
Can I start off by thanking you for making this thread? The biggest, and I mean the biggest problem we have with 343i is little to no transparency, so it's nice to finally see some of it. This thread is a huge step in the right direction on its own. Seems simple, right? I can't even begin to tell you how something simple like that makes a huge difference to us a community. So thank you.

In response to some of the things you said, I do agree that the current ranking system is the best. The old ranking system made it harder for people to level up because they'd always face good people who only just started ranking up. Party size matching is very important, and I do believe that it should be prioritized in some way. I understand it might make matching people with similar skills a little difficult, but it could at least be tested to see how people respond to it. As for partying up after matches, vetoes/voting and pregame lobby chatting, I believe that those are matchmaking necessities that should never have been removed to begin with. It is critical that those three things are implemented in future titles as they positively contribute to the Halo matchmaking experience.

Thank you again for making this thread, and I hope to see this trend continue!
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http://teambeyond.net/forum/topic/15021-csr-is-still-flawed-a-comprehensive-review-of-halo-5s-ranking-system/page-1

Please take the time to read this, there is really great information and advice on the ranking system.
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