News

Matchmaking Improvements

By 343 Industries -

The Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta that was conducted December 2014 – January 2015 provided us with an abundance of data about our brand new matchmaking system and its performance. Studying that data from different angles, we learned many things about this dedicated cloud-based system, the most important of which was where we should invest in improvements. Building on what we’d learned allowed us to enhance and tune matchmaking to provide a better experience for Halo 5’s launch. Since then, we've continued to collect and study data on how the matchmaking system is performing for our players.

HALO 5 LAUNCH

For the vast majority of our players, the system is performing extremely well. Since a large indicator of match quality is a player's ping, it’s a metric that we often like to use as a broad, simple indicator. At a worldwide level, 95% of the Halo 5 matches played since launch have taken place on servers with 125ms ping or better:

 

IMPROVEMENTS

However, it hasn’t been without hiccups. There are a few areas where matchmaking is falling short of our goals and not providing the experience that we would prefer for all players. With this in mind, the services and multiplayer teams here at 343 Industries have been hard at work at improving and fine tuning the Halo 5 matchmaking experience. Work continues on geographic, infrastructure and code-based solutions. This game is a service, and we’ll continue to improve it throughout its lifespan.

ASIA & SOUTH AMERICA

Using ping as an indicator again, if we look at only the Asian and South American regions since launch, it is clear that we can do a better job providing a higher quality of experience for those players. Compared to the worldwide trend, these regions have a rise in the number of matches that have taken place on servers with a ping of 125ms or worse:

 

Before the holidays, we felt optimistic about an improved version of matchmaking settings, which you might remember was tested in collaboration with the community. After we analyzed the resulting data, we found that there were some very positive effects but even with the change there were still negative matchmaking conditions for some players. Those learnings led us to begin work on a set of infrastructure enhancements to provide more granular control over how our matchmaking settings can be tweaked, allowing us to better target the specific players being affected. These enhancements are nearing completion and we’re confident that we’ll see improvements for those players and regions when we roll out the test this week. Stay tuned for more details, as we’ll be seeking your direct feedback on your matchmaking experience.

CONTINUAL IMPROVEMENT

In addition, the team is analyzing and parsing the data that we've collected since launch for how a player's other attributes influence the ability to find a match as well as the quality of the resulting match. For example, one area that we're very interested in is how a player's skill rating and party composition contributes to matchmaking, and how we can tune settings to ensure that the skill gaps in a match are consistent with a great experience for all players, regardless of their present skill level and party makeup. Earlier today, we described an initial set of changes that went live with the most recent season update. These changes will improve matchmaking times for players as well as make the Champions a more elite group. We will continue to monitor the changes and make additional tweaks in the future.

While we tweak parameters to get matches with closer servers, the team is also studying the effects of latency on the dedicated servers to better understand how it presents as lag to players. The goal of this effort is to improve server tolerance to higher pings.

At 343 Industries, we view matchmaking as a key feature that will continue to be tuned and enhanced as Halo 5: Guardians evolves with each update and as our player community evolves with it. We are committed to continuing to improve matchmaking in the pursuit of making Halo 5 the absolute best multiplayer experience for all of our players.

For all updates on Halo 5: Guardians follow @Halo on Twitter. We'll see you online!

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