Sledgehammer Games employees took to reddit recently to do an Ask Me Anything (AMA) about Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare III.
Because the Call of Duty community on reddit is ridiculous—not all of them, but a lot of the members of the subreddits enjoy complaining endlessly more than they enjoy actually playing the games—the majority of questions were about a topic that the developer was not able to discuss: SBMM, aka skill-based match-making, aka the most hated thing in all of the Call of Duty fandom, and it’s not even close.
Now, I don’t think SBMM is perfect and I don’t think its implementation in modern Call Of Duty is ideal. It could be improved. But the notion that it’s ruining the game and putting everyone in intolerably sweaty matches is, for lack of a better term, nonsense. It’s nonsense spread by butthurt streamers and influencers who don’t like being put in lobbies with other sweats, and would prefer connection-based lobbies so that they can routinely stomp on everyone for their streams.
And the community has bought this hook, line and sinker.
I do think SBMM needs work, however, and I have a pretty simple proposal for Sledgehammer Games. And since Sledgehammer Games has proven to be really good listeners who take ideas seriously, I hope they—and Activision—at least consider trying this out as part of their Experimental efforts.
Here’s how it would work:
- Keep the current Quickplay exactly the way it is without any changes whatsoever. This is the SBMM lobby.
- Add a new Connection-based lobby that has no SBMM whatsoever. Connection is prized over everything else, with no attempt to balance teams.
Then, see what happens! Test this in real-time with the community as Guinea pigs. See what the community has to say. More importantly, gather data on what players are choosing. Will regular skill-based lobbies be more popular? Will connection-based lobbies be more popular? Now you can find out!
When Ranked joins the ranks, I’d argue that the system from MWII should be retired and players should be matched based on rank first and foremost, not some hidden skill-based system behind the scenes. But I suppose that’s another story for another time. For now, let’s see if players actually prefer the game without SBMM or whether this is all just a wildly exaggerated problem used to explain why sometimes you get stomped and sometimes you do the stompin’.
For me, personally, I’ve accepted two things about competitive shooters: First, you win some, you lose some. Them’s the breaks. Second, playing against better players makes you a better player. The only way to improve you gameplay is to be tested against players with a higher skill level. That can be frustrating, but it’s how you improve. Git gud or die trying.