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Published 2023-03-06 16:48
If you have played Apex Legends competitive ranked mode, then you probably know about the common issues with matchmaking systems. The game’s competitive part divides players into different ranking brackets depending on their skills. The reason is to make the games fair, having players with similar skills competing against each other. However, it sounds better than how it works in reality.
The ranks in Apex Legends start from Bronze, Silver and Gold, often referred to as the lower brackets. Platinum rank is considered a high average skill rank, and when reaching diamond and above, you have proven your skills. So, it would clearly be a bad idea to mix the ranks of Diamond, Master and Predator with the lower bracket, at least from a balancing perspective. But still, it’s common for players in the lower ranks to end up fighting premade teams with Diamonds, Masters and Predators in the competitive ranked games.
It’s now season 16 of Apex Legends competitive ranked Battle Royale, and despite the fact that the game has been around for years, the matchmaking system hasn’t even been noticeably improved. Players are spamming complaints in EA Forums on social media and all over the internet, where many even suggest great solutions.
EA forums are flooded with posts about the bad matchmaking system and the huge issue with smurfs. Reddit is also absolutely bombed with comments from upset players, who constantly get their behinds handed to them by high skilled players.
Here are some examples of comments:
This is also a very legit theory:
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EA published an article on the 17th of January 2023, that explains in detail how the match-making system works, and some of the usual propaganda BS, that it does work.
In the article, I find these two FAQs highly interesting:
WHY ARE HIGH SKILLED PLAYERS IN MY MATCH?
We try to put you into matches where you’ll have a fair chance of winning—and those are matches at your current skill level.
– Oh really? Is that why every other game in bronze / silver is full of players with badges like Diamond rank, Master, Predator, 20 bomb, 4k damage etc? And it’s obviously not working very well since Masters and Predators have been ranked down to bronze and silver for the past 2-3 splits. The same excuse is used every time, that it’s a glitch or some kind of mistake. But what’s funny, is that the “glitch” or the “mistake” is not fixed, it just goes on and on, the entire season.
IS MATCHMAKING BUILT TO DIRECTLY OPTIMIZE RETENTION & ENGAGEMENT?
No. Our matchmaking algorithm is only concerned with measuring skill and arranging the fairest possible matches in a reasonable time.
– Whoever thinks that EA prioritises balanced games and a well-functioning MM over increased revenue, needs to come back home from their fairytale land.
According to the site GGRecon and an article from 2021, there are or were RP rules that even support smurfing, which makes no sense whatsoever.
I mean, why would there be an RP limit set to 6 kills and/or assist per game?
This means that smurfs that pull off a 20-bomb, only get RP for 6 of the kills, which let them stay longer in low ranks than they should.
I Would love to get an explanation for this rule that makes sense from a MM perspective, or any perspective.
“Under the current settings, players stop receiving Ranked Points (RP) after they earn a combined six or more kills/assists in a match. This restriction works against the balance and fairness Ranked Mode aims to achieve. The strict limit on KP creates a limit on the max amount of RP a player can earn in one match. But why should that limit exist at all?”
So, if it’s possible to fix/improve MM and stop the majority of smurfs, why hasn’t it been done?
Many are confused and frustrated over this and wonder why they have to suffer season after season, just listening to “We are taking action against smurfing…bla bla bla bla” and “By using our report system, smurfs will be suspended and banned…yadi yadi yadi“, but nothing happens.
I have some thoughts about it and a theory as to why MM in Apex Legends still is absolute garbage after all these years, and why EA / Respawn would want to support smurfing and badly balanced games.
It’s so obvious – But I have to call it a “theory”
My theory is simply that everyone that normally makes any kind of decisions at Respawn, all C-levels, managers etc, none of them has the power to do anything about this. Even if they really care about running a quality game for everyone, and have the best intentions ever. Mother, Electronic Arts, just gives them the orders, to make statements and to comment on social media, to make people believe that it’s something they take seriously and that they are working on it.
All of these articles, statements and comments from developers and Respawn representatives, just do it to keep us quiet, hoping and waiting, for nothing.
Let’s ask some legit questions…
No, it should be very simple to get rid of a lot of smurfs just by using player data and solutions that have been discussed over the years. It would probably affect the queue times, making them a bit longer. But I’d take that over the horribly matched games.
In fact, Respawn has been using short queue times as an excuse for why games can be unbalanced. But at least they have been honest with that they prioritise short queue times over balance.
Lowbies trying/struggling to stay alive more than 20 seconds each game or highly skilled bullies with 2-5 smurf accounts that are having so much fun? I actually don’t know for a fact, but I would bet my money on the latter.
A lot of smurfs, high ranks and streamers, which give Apex great PR, would leave Apex for other games where they can run their smurf accounts and keep steamrolling low-skilled players in games.
And in comparison, how much do you think that EA board members care about the player base, their revenue and their share price?
Apex legends is a massive game within EA, it’s perhaps THE biggest FPS game played right now. So, imagine this:
Loss of a big amount of players = mass media reports and bad PR, loss in revenue, bad quarterly report, shareholders panic, and a lot start selling their EA shares, which leads to the ultimate thing, the share price drop.
Apex Legends is free to play, I don’t need to pay a cent if I don’t want to. And at the end of the day, it’s business and the game is still great.