With the uproar on Twitter about Skill-based Matchmaking in the Alpha build of Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War’s multiplayer, the continued debate rages about the benefits of SBMM and whether it should be included in casual games.
Call of Duty has had skill-based matchmaking for many years now, although it wasn’t always so. There was a time when casual multiplayer matches were sorted randomly and ranked queues were set-up for those who wanted to play competitively.
if you like SBMM in video games that say's a lot about you. You have no drive, no confidence, no resilience, and no work ethic and probably wont make it anywhere in life.
— Call of Duty News (@charlieINTEL) September 19, 2020
It’s probably worth taking the above Tweet with a pinch of salt – it was originally posted and then re-tweeted by much of FaZe Clan, a predominant eSports force in the Call of Duty scene. The sentiment is pretty clear, despite how savage the tweet sounds. Many people don’t like SBMM.
How does Skill-based Matchmaking impact gameplay? The better you play, the better the players you play against become. If you have a good KD, a good win-rate, or an impressive score-per-minute in a CoD gamemode like Domination, you will be paired with players of similar stats.
The debate is pretty clear, and both sides have serious points. On some points, the two sides echo each other .
Take this argument for example:
SBMM shouldn’t be in multiplayer games because it spoils the casual element for skilled players, and the other side says it should be in games because it spoils the casual element for those who just want to play a few quick games after work.
It’s clear why skilled players disagree with SBMM – it turns ordinary lobbies into sweatfests. As an above-average Apex Legends player, this isn’t just a problem prevalent in Call of Duty. Playing against other skilled opponents is ultimately exhausting, and often not very fun.
However, the argument that lower skilled players shouldn’t be dominated in every lobby is also pretty fair. Protection of new players is, as many developers will attest to, important to keep a game alive. That’s especially true in games that rely on a live service of purchasable cosmetics.
There’s one thing certain – Skill-based Matchmaking makes any sort of ranked/competitive playlist essentially pointless. In Apex Legends there is very little difference between the public lobbies and the ranked matches in terms of player skill.
It’s unlikely that Skill-based Matchmaking will be tweaked. Devs are also not very keen on providing the detailed specifics of how these systems work, although they are more consistent about admitting its presence in multiplayer.
The argument around SBMM continues. Will Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War feature SBMM? It’s pretty much guaranteed.