Treyarch quietly tweaked the matchmaking system in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, but harsh backlash from die-hard fans forces them to remove the changes.
A few days ago, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 developer Treyarch quietly made a change to its latest game’s multiplayer matchmaking, one that drew a lot of negative attention from gamers. While Black Ops 3 had used a matchmaking system that focused on availability and connection at launch, the game quietly altered its matchmaking to a system that was drawing some complaints from fans. Some thought the matchmaking had turned skill-based, but it’s unclear what the changes were on the back end.
By and large the idea of skill-based matchmaking is not a bad one, but in the context of Call of Duty it has caused some problems. Mainly, those players with higher ranks or skill levels found it harder to find a match, and when they did, these players were put up against opponents with high kill-to-death ratios. In other words, if a certain number of top tier players weren’t all matchmaking at the same time, then they were likely waiting a long time for a match.
Curiously, developer Treyarch never acknowledged what the change was, but fans were quick to pick up that something was different. Fans who played Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare presumed it was skill-based matchmaking, and once it became hard to find matches started putting two and two together.
Even a cursory glance at Call of Duty fan forums and subreddits the past few days showed that fans were not happy, both because skill-based matchmaking systems don’t seem to work properly and also because Treyarch never made an announcement regarding what they were changing.
To Treyarch’s credit, though, they responded to the backlash rather quickly, and have since reverted back from the changes to Call of Duty: Black Ops 3’s matchmaking. Studio design director David Vonderhaar even issued a statement on Twitter saying that the matchmaking was only “tweaked” and no new features were “turned on.” He further emphasized that connection was king in Black Ops 3’s matchmaking system, not skill.
Anything for subs and views. We didn't just introduce anything. Connection is king and continues to be so. Period. End of conversation.— David Vonderhaar (@DavidVonderhaar) December 20, 2015
What we didn't do is "turn on" or implement anything new that would deliberately prioritize any criteria over connection. And we won't.— David Vonderhaar (@DavidVonderhaar) December 20, 2015
Whatever the case may be, it seems pretty clear that Treyarch’s tweak did not go over well with fans, especially those high skill level players. Call of Duty may be one of the best selling franchises year over year, but it’s these die-hards who give the individual games their longevity. With that in mind, it’s in the developers’ best interests to keep these people happy, and not implement changes that make it difficult to find a match.
Did you notice any changes to your Black Ops 3 experience this weekend? Can a skill-based matchmaking system ever work?
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is out now for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
Source: Twitter – David Vonderhaar