Titanfall 2 devs adjusting matchmaking to learn from original's mistakes

One thing that you won't have to do is buy maps as DLC any more.

12

Respawn Entertainment has been doing a good job of keeping fans in the loop about development of Titanfall 2 so far, mainly with behind-the-scenes videos and blog posts on what is happening with various aspects of the game. The first video dealt with server architecture, and the latest expands to matchmaking in multiplayer.

This week, Lead Enginer Jon "Slothy" Shiring returns along with server engineer Mike "TheZilch" Kalas to discuss what the team learned from the original Titanfall and how they plan to change and update matchmaking in the sequel. In a blog post to accompnay the video, Kalas said they have built a new matchmaking system this time to address issues that they felt weren;t properly addressed the first time. Here's what they have focused on:

  • We decided we needed the ability to find a new match for any player after every match.
  • When you now have 100% of your playerbase entering matchmaking after every match, we could now create matches much more quickly than before. That would also let us make sure those matches are interesting matches for everyone ­ getting stuck in a bad match won’t continue on. We can also make sure that these matches are full much more often.
  • When it’s fast to make matches, it doesn’t make sense to make players sit and watch teams being formed around them anymore. You’ll be hanging out in your active Network instead, prepping for the next match.
  • We decided not to sell maps, so we could have the fastest and best quality matchmaking possible. On Titanfall 2, all of the maps will be free.

Skill is also being addressed; "We aren’t just using wins and losses to determine your skill level in Titanfall 2," Kalas said. "We’re looking at your overall contribution to the match. This will allow us to better place you with similar players and give you more challenging matches. From your very first match, we now figure out your skill bracket much more quickly and pivot you into matches we think you’ll enjoy."

The dates of the upcoming tech test should be announced soon, given that the game is set for release on October 28.

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 10, 2016 7:00 AM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Titanfall 2 devs adjusting matchmaking to learn from original's mistakes

    • reply
      August 10, 2016 7:11 AM

      Why is it matchmaking systems aren't middleware? Is this the legacy of using gamespy or other similar things and getting screwed?

      I see the same problems in so many games with matchmaking and it is infuriating like server browsers. Each developer has to reinvent the wheel to learn the same basic lessons that their fanbase has already watched play out in several games before.

      • reply
        August 10, 2016 8:34 AM

        I'd guess that the matchmaking algorithm is individual to the game, because it has to rely on the specific gameplay mechanics of that game.

        I mean, matchmaking (grouping players based on skill) is presumably a solved problemn. What's tricky is determining what constitutes 'skill' in a given game.

        • reply
          August 10, 2016 8:45 AM

          SBMM in any game needs to not be a thing unless they are using a ranked playlist. The updates that Destiny released last December to the matchmaking that made all of it skill based brought so many issues with it and unfortunately Bungie refuses to make it go away even though the community hates it.

          • reply
            August 10, 2016 8:48 AM

            Match making almost has to be skill based, or you more or less guarantee that you'll lose your best and worst players very fast. Not ideal, especially since your worst players are also typically your newest players, the ones you really want out spreading the word about your awesome game.

            • reply
              August 10, 2016 8:58 AM

              Disagree. Matchmaking needs to be based on connection first so that way you aren't getting matched against people in different areas of the world just because they are your same skill level.

              Where a high priority SBMM really dies is when you are in a small group and one of the people is really good and then the others are good and do fine on their own but then throw them in with someone in say top 5-10% of the game and they just get shit on over and over and don't have a good time, then the guy who is really good has to try harder to carry the team.

              I've been fighting this in Destiny for 8-9 months now and it gets really annoying especially when solo queuing that if I'm not playing as best I can, using the best guns / loadouts in the game then I'm going to get stomped based on my skill and the brackets the game puts me in for certain playlists.

              • reply
                August 10, 2016 9:17 AM

                Claiming "based on connection first" implies you would dump a top-1% player and a bottom-1% player into the same match if their connection quality was identical. That's not a good experience.

                Reality is there are tolerances for various factors that the match-maker will weigh when creating a match. Skill level, connection quality, time in queue should all be factors and which is considered "first" will largely depend on the other players currently in the pool (or roughly expected to enter the pool).

                Weighting those things for your playerbase is a significant part of the challenge.

                • reply
                  August 10, 2016 9:30 AM

                  I agree there are many factors that all get taken into account. For me though connection needs to be a higher priority than skill.

                  My opinion though is formed after having played with the current MM in Destiny for the 2 years where before December where the SBMM was dialed way back. Yes you would get games where people were better than you, worse than you or the same but the experience was consistent. Shots would register and people died when you shot them. After December they dial the SBMM up to insane levels and now you get people in the UK matching people on the west coast because they are the same skill, and then bad things happen with shot registration and lag compensation.

                  The big argument people have to people that say no to SBMM is that we just want to pub stomp which isn't the case at all. We just want to be able to enjoy the game and not have to be 100% on 100% of the time. Sometimes it's fun to just try new weapons or builds or mess around but depending on how the SBMM works you can't because if you do you will have a bad time,

                  • reply
                    August 10, 2016 9:56 AM

                    You could rephrase the last paragraph as "I want to be able to fuck around but still win." That contrasts your statement about not wanting to pub stomp.

                    Regardless, it sounds like the Destiny devs swung the dial from one extreme to the next. That's not a good solution, either.

                    • reply
                      August 10, 2016 10:41 AM

                      My last statement is not "I want to fuck around and win 100% of the time", it's I want to be able to fuck around have fun and try new things w/o going 2-20.

                      I think the happy medium is separate playlists. Play ranked if you want to play with people you know are your skill level. Play social / unranked if you just want random games where you may pub stomp or you may get stomped because you never know who you'll match vs.

        • reply
          August 10, 2016 9:07 AM

          Realtime matchmaking is no where near a solved problem.

        • reply
          August 10, 2016 9:12 AM

          Yes.

          Plus bandwidth/latency requirements vary wildly, and their impact on gameplay.

          It's almost something you could have a generic solution for with the biggest catch being that matchmaking for smaller playerbases is almost impossible no matter how good the rules are.

          Players also demand options, and every option increases the buckets. They fragment themselves into oblivion if you let them.

          "I want to play CTF no jumping on Death Valley map instant respawn." click "find match". 5 minutes later.... "I CAN'T FIND PLAYERS THIS GAME SUCKS!"

          • reply
            August 10, 2016 9:43 AM

            This happened to Battleborn. They decided when the population got really low to combine us into two buckets instead of the three that are there currently. People whined so much about not getting into their buckets that it failed miserably and went back.

            I don't necessarily think it was the best answer anyway as the second bucket was particularly worthless so it was a single bucket system, but the current three bucket system has 1 bucket that is dead, 1 that is barely populated and one that is populated mostly so the populated bucket people never have to play with the other two.

            This was a problem in server browsers too.

      • reply
        August 10, 2016 8:43 AM

        A lot of matchmaking services has to coincide or coexist with XBL or PSN or even Steam's matchmaking services. And each of these platforms requires different integrations and support. So matchmaking is a huge endeavor for any online game.

    • reply
      August 10, 2016 7:17 AM

      With a shitload of former Call of Duty devs I find it amusing that they fucked up the matchmaking for TF1 so bad in the first place. That probably shouldn't have ever happened.

      • reply
        August 10, 2016 9:15 AM

        Not entirely their fault, it never approached CoD player levels. Matchmaking is actually easy when you have lots of players. It gets harder as players go down and buckets go up.

        You could say it's a chicken and egg problem, you need good matchmaking to get lots of players, but you also see some games that don't require a ton of options are easier to ramp up. Mobas in general are great here--it's 5v5 and 1 map for the vast majority of games.

        Fewer buckets, more players per bucket, easier to match. More game options are bad for matchmaking.

    • reply
      August 10, 2016 9:30 AM

      They should have released this months before Battlefield 1, I loved the first one and would really want to get this but I'll be busy with Battlefield

    • reply
      August 10, 2016 6:19 PM

      Definitely the game I'm looking most forward to. COD MW remake is probably 2nd. lol.