Bungie have now removed skill-based matchmaking from most of Destiny 2‘s PvP Crucible playlists, by popular demand. What kind of a pubstomping monster wouldn’t want matchmaking to factor in skill? Ah, it’s a tricky issue. SBMM has become a semi-controversial topic in multiplayer games, and in Destiny specifically its knock-on consequences have included longer waits for matches and some real laggy laggers lagging up the place.
Yesterday’s announcement says they have now removed skill-based matchmaking from all Crucible playlists except Survival (aka Competitive), Survival: Freelance (aka solo Comp), and Elimination. Trials Of Osiris was always based on the number of wins on your ticket instead, and will remain so. That’s all of Destiny’s ‘casual’ PvP modes free from skill considerations. So why’s this good?
Bungie explain their goals include shortening queue times, improving the connection quality of matches, to “Provide more places where the outcome of the match isn’t as important as enjoying the experience”, and to “Play into the strengths of Crucible being a bombastic, frenetic action game.”
Crucible matches do sometimes suffer with real laggy players from a continent away warping all over; less of that is good. And the waits could be long, no doubt. The idea of removing skill as a factor in matchmaking is more contentious.
If skill-based matchmaking is working well, every match will always be a challenge for everyone. You’re (in theory) playing people as good as you, so if you’re not trying hard you’re likely getting mashed. With SBMM, it’s less fun to just hang out, lark about, and shoot stuff. However! Throwing together players of all skills does mean sometimes, yeah, great players might just dunk on the whole server. And some people do always want a challenging match around their level, to not dunk or be dunked. For them, this is not good news.
I think I’m okay with the trade-off myself. Lag and queues were bad and I do like variety. I’d also take a more lax SBMM but I guess one’s not on offer here. Anyway, casual Crucible will always be weird, it’s not like anyone understands why Control mode has big letters A, B, and C floating over round bits on the map.