After a long wait, Call of Duty has finally addressed its skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) in a recent blog. Unlike the typical matchmaking system, it isn’t completely skill-based. A lot depends on where you play the game and the overall quality of the connection you have with the server. This has been an ongoing mystery for months now, ever since the launch of Season 1. People were confused about how the matchmaking works, and surprisingly, there are a lot of twists to it when compared to a generic skill-based matchmaking system.
SBMM is right now only available in the multiplayer mode. Activision has stated that based on the results and feedback of SBMM in the multiplayer mode, they will consider featuring it in Warzone and ranked. Activision has been smart in introducing SBMM only to multiplayer initially, giving them leverage to test it out and make the necessary changes before implementing it in other popular modes. Warzone, being free to play, already has the maximum number of players online, and implementing a viable SBMM is critical for the game’s future.
What is Delta Ping, and why is it important?
The surprising factor in the blog post was when Activision mentioned that connection stats would be the number one factor that decides SBMM matchmaking. Here is where Delta Ping comes into play.
Delta ping is defined by the overall time taken for a player to connect to the server and receive data back from the server. This client-server model is prioritized in the present SBMM. So, the location where the player is connected and their overall Internet quality decide the matches they play in. It’s most likely they will be paired with players of the same delta ping. Traditional rules for SBMM come secondarily while delta ping is prioritized.
For Players that have heard the term but aren’t familiar with what we’re referring to: Matchmaking is a multi-factor process to place players on teams – with and against each other – to compete in online games. The single, biggest priority with respect to Multiplayer matchmaking… pic.twitter.com/3ummP1UzJj
— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) January 29, 2024
Traditional Skill-based rules follow.
Apart from Delta Ping, traditional matchmaking rules come into play. These rules include the total time taken for a player to connect to a skilled match, performance in previous matches, input type, and the overall skill of the player. Activision does acknowledge a ton of issues in their blog post, some of which include players running into overcompetitive lobbies and encountering sweaty matches repeatedly.
Apart from this, a few other key details were mentioned in the blog post. No AI bots would be featured in the SBMM modes. Activision did say that if there were any changes to the bot rules, they would mention it in advance. This hints at the return of AI bots if the servers see a scarcity of players in the future.
Also, the blog post confirms that there would be no advantage for players spending on the game to unlock levels. Restating that they have no intentions of making any competitive mode in this game a “pay-to-win” mode.
Overall, the introduction of Delta Ping and prioritizing it as the most important element of SBMM is what the whole blog post is about. This would sort out a lot of issues regarding players having an advantage because they are close to the server. Since previous SBMMs were based on frags, this one change allows everyone to play on fair grounds.