Finally: Respawn Is Improving Titanfall’s Matchmaking

By Nathan Grayson on March 29th, 2014 at 9:00 am.

A match made in (giant robot) heaven

I like Titanfall, Alec likes Titanfall, Graham likes Titanfall, and everyone else at RPS does too because Graham is our managing editor and he manages everything, including our opinions. But there is one thing that none of us particularly like, and that is the matchmaking. It’s breezy yet haphazard, selecting teams based on startlingly few skill commonalities and providing almost nothing in the way of options. Now though, it seems that Respawn is finally taking steps in the right direction. Baby steps. Giant robot baby steps, but baby steps nonetheless.

Respawn outlined its near-tearm plans for matchmaking in a recent update:

“Searching for teammates and opponents will now sometimes take more time to look for players that are a good skill level match, rather than purely prioritizing speed over quality. This will give us more time to build better teams and create closer games that are worth staying in for a longer period of time.”

“Rather than playing against the same opponents over and over, the game will periodically split the teams apart and search for new opponents for each team. This means if one team is dominating, we will update the skill for all of the players and then find each team a better suited match for the next round. Did you lose to a really great team? We’ll make them disappear and replace them with a new opposing team – and they will have no idea that you just got your butts kicked. This should end some of the frustration with playing for extended periods when you’re having an off night.”

You can try the changes for yourself in a new “Improved Matchmaking (Beta)” playlist.

So it’s a start, and doubtless I’m glad to hopefully spend less time stomping or being stomping with very little room ┬áin the middle for… I don’t know, in this metaphor would it be playing footsies? I am disappointed by the continued dearth of customization or options, though. No special match settings or preferences, no dedicated servers, nothing. Alas.

But Titanfall is still quite good and I like it a lot yes and also Graham Smith is an intimidatingly handsome man with features rugged as a mountain yet gentle as a fresh winter’s snow.

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29 Comments »

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  1. 2helix4u says:

    Good stuff, glad to hear.

    Nice to see them supporting the game post-release, it could go either way with EA but Titanfall is too important to not support. Also Respawn seem like decent fellows who think about players.

    LoL sorta spoiled me with its matchmaking so its good to see them adopt a similar system.

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  2. Guvornator says:

    Hmm, I tried it and it didn’t find me anyone for about 5 minutes, which was the longest I was prepared to wait. As someone who recently played with a 4 person team mostly ranked under 20 against a 6 person team mostly in the high 40s, I’m as happy as anyone to hear this is getting attention, but there’s a way to go yet.

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      perrypanic says:

      I tried it out last night. I got a game pretty quickly but the results were… not optimal. My team were level 20-40 and the other were all g2, 3 and 4. Predictably we got absolutely demolished three games in a row. I have faith that it’ll improve over time, but 300 to 70 defeats really shouldn’t be happening.

      • crazyd says:

        Hopefully, level isn’t a main concern in the matchmaking process. I’ve found that, in this game especially, it’s a poor indicator of skills.

        • Sephanor says:

          your level does not affect matchmaking in titanfall, each player has a hidden MMR number used to gauge skill, just like in dota 2.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Shockeh says:

    Titanfall pretty much screams ‘featured culled to make deadline’. The core gameplay is good (indeed, it’s excellent FPS shooting), but so many systems and mechanics surrounding it look rushed that I would be incredibly unsurprised if a Titanfall 2 doesn’t appear within a year that is basically the ‘full game’ we might have gotten if Microsoft hadn’t pushed so hard to get the XBO release sorted.

    • Scroll says:

      There’s certainly a laundry list of features that are commonplace among its competitors that Titanfall lacks.

    • HeavyStorm says:

      Dead on target. :-)

      I loved Titanfall… And for all that, it seems… Lacking. I don’t know. I play and play, and it seems like enjoying… A silly movie. I have fun, but Idon’t find that excitement that others, competitive multiplayer games, usually bring.

  4. SpoonySeeker says:

    I just tried the matchmaking and it is rather excellent, games are so much closer and more fair than with the standard lobbies.

    Very impressive that they’ve responded to consumer criticism so fast and managed to get a functional matchmaking system out in a few weeks.

    Even with CS:GO which had a relatively smooth launch like Titanfall’s it took months and tons of complaints from casual and pro fans before Valve got around to implementing matchmaking, the early iterations of which were godawful. (Honestly, how could they mess it up so bad when they had a perfectly functional Dota 2 matchmaking system?)

    For the people complaining about the matchmaking who don’t seem to understand how matchmaking algorithms work, you need to keep playing on that playlist before your matches will become fair. The algorithm gathers data on you over time which it uses to balance your games. If you try one game and cry that it’s “broken” you aren’t giving it a fair try because the algorithm hasn’t kicked in yet and it’s just matching you versus people who also haven’t gotten a matchmaking rating (and therefore have a random chance of being better and stomping you)

  5. Bull0 says:

    “Finally”? Game’s been out two weeks. Jesus.

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      El_MUERkO says:

      and the number of people playing it has been falling steadily since release according to Origin and one of the main gripes I see about it is match making, where people are put up a against teams with far greater experience of the game, the matchmaking should have worked like this at launch so I think ‘finally’ is fair

      • Bull0 says:

        Of course the matchmaking should’ve been better at launch, but it wasn’t, so expecting them to simply snap their fingers now and have improved it already is totally unrealistic. These games aren’t conjured up by magic wishing fairies. They’ve already recognized and started working on the issue, which is quite good, if anything. I don’t like to throw the “entitlement” thing around but… yeah. That’s what that is.

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          Graves says:

          Is it, though? That is to say, “finally” does not have to be an expression of frustration and anger that a desired feature wasn’t created immediately: that is, the entitlement you see. Perhaps it is instead a sincere expression of relief that a desired feature that will increase player enjoyment has been implemented after experiencing a period of time where such a feature was not present. Note the difference between these two scenarios: “Finally! Took them long enough to release HL3. Gaben has been withholding it from us for too long, the bastard. I will eat his babies.” and “Finally! They released Half Life 3! I’m excited, and can’t wait to play!”

          Pedantic tone and not very funny jokes aside, as a Titanfall player myself who experimented with this feature, I didn’t really see much entitlement in this. Rather, the earlier matchmaking had its flaws, and we are all glad to see that Respawn is taking steps in the right direction. The article does not go out of its way to complain about the length of time before this feature was developed, except to use the word finally twice, and in fact is quite complementary of the game, albeit at the tip of Grahams proverbial blade.

          • Bull0 says:

            Yeah, if it wasn’t intended to be taken that strongly, that’s OK. Just how I read it.

        • Shadow says:

          Entitlement, the buzzword of our age.

          “Finally” is likely appropriate, given these people were supposed to be experienced in the making of MP-only games, and given balanced matchmaking has been a thing for years in many games, it’s quite unacceptable the game shipped without such. It couldn’t come soon enough. The lack of basic MP features in Titanfall is as glaring as Mercedes Benz inexplicably rolling out a four-wheel design one wheel short.

          Yeah, the game should’ve launched with it and didn’t, but the devs should’ve realized the such a critical part was missing before players pointed it out. But to be honest, they were probably aware of many things and were forced to launch the game anyway, and are now just rushing to plug all the holes.

          • Bull0 says:

            Yeah, exactly. Sounds pretty reasonable to me. I get a bit frustrated with all the armchair game development that goes on. They launched it, it had its’ problems, and they’re being transparent about fixing them and doing it reasonably quickly. You’re welcome to want more, but have a bit of grace with it.

  6. Premium User Badge

    DeVadder says:

    To nitpick: I am pretty sure Titanfall does in fact use dedicated servers. They are just not player controlled. But the alternative to dedicated servers would be peer to peer or having one of the players be the host and i am sure that is not the case.

    • derbefrier says:

      you are correct sir

    • Moraven says:

      In the PC gaming world that usually means player controlled, hosted servers.

      P2P of older FPS, man that was always a pain.

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        xao says:

        No, a lot of PC gamers use the term incorrectly to mean ‘private’ or ‘custom’ servers, but ‘dedicated server’ has always meant that the game was being hosted on a separate machine from those running the game client. It’s understandable for gamers to confuse the two since they go hand-in-hand, but it’s kind of disheartening to see it misused so often by the authors on this site.

  7. derbefrier says:

    awwwww so no more stacking teams and playing campaign mode(where all the noobs are) to easily get my generation challenges done? boooooo Oh well this is a good thing. I shouldn’t complain.

  8. therighttoarmbears says:

    This is nice. This game is a blast, but experience (the actual, human kind, not the in-game kind) and map knowledge provide an incredible advantage in all the modes I’ve tried. Much more so than any unlocks (though being able to see enemies through walls has sure upped my game, but it fits my style well and it’s still not too terribly useful on maps I don’t yet grok). And the problem (for me) as a noob was not knowing the maps well enough so people always got the drop on me from behind or above. But when you’re up against highly mobile, experienced players and you yourself know your abilities and the map well, this game is just a glorious, balletic celebration of multiplayer done very right. Not that I’m all that awesome or anything. But I’d love to find friends, and can be found under the handle therite2armbears (darn these character limits!) if anyone is looking for a buddy.

    • JohnnyPanzer says:

      You read my mind. I’ve never been very good at FPS games, but knowledge of the maps has, by far, been the single greatest quality boost for my results. I’ve also found that some maps are simply impossible for me to wrap my head around, in particular one hardpoint map. The one with some sort of research facility surrounded by grass plains and a large statue in the middle. For some reason I keep getting lost and constantly find myself trying to scale walls that are unscalable in order to get to the hardpoints.

      But I’m still having such a blast in the game. I find it extremely easy to just jump right in and have a hell of a time for a few matches between diaper changes. I think the well hidden chat window helps, since I rarely notice when people gall me “noob”, “fag” or “goddamn idiot noob-fag”…

  9. goon buggy says:

    Still must be better than valves mvm matchmaking

  10. Beelzebud says:

    I just wish they’d hurry with the SLI support. I hate playing games that don’t even utilize the 2nd card at all.

  11. sabby says:

    I too like titanfall as a concept, but I hate the amount of time it takes to actually get into a game, and then how long you have to sit in a lobby between matches. I get barely enough time to play games as it is, and i’d rather not spend a 1/3 of it doing nothing…. I got tired of it extremely quickly and regret buying the game now

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      xao says:

      Try playing Custom matches instead of Campaign then. There’s a lot less downtime there.