The Case For How Matchmaking Is Worse Than TF1

Discussion in 'Titanfall 2 News & Discussion' started by ensc, Dec 3, 2016.

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  1. ensc

    ensc Generation 7
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    Exactly what I feared was happening is what has happened. However, I failed to even factor in how the one new element they were adding in would make things even worse than I had thought things would be.

    Original Problem (in TF1):
    It was painfully obvious that there was not even an attempt made at trying to create even matches. You almost ALWAYS found yourself in lopsided games. Lopsided in number of players on the two teams. And, lopsided in skill levels of players on the two teams.

    Correct Solution:
    Implement an actual matchmaking algorithm as I laid out well over a year ago:
    http://www.titanfall-community.com/threads/team-balance-matchmaking.2009/#post-46139

    The Lazy Solution (as implemented in TF2):
    Add glorified Friends Groups called Networks. Pull everyone back into the entire user pool for the region they are in after a game is over. Make a claim in a video that you are analyzing skill levels after each match to justify the laziness of this system, the unnecessary additional delay between games, and the lack of continuity in players and chat during the one or two hour session someone is playing. Rather than analyzing skill levels between matches and trying to create even matches, instead just try to make the numbers even on both sides regardless of skill levels, hoping no one will realize that you are only keeping the numbers even and not the skill levels.
    ONE GOOD THING (or at least it appeared so at first): I did appreciate that they were at least keeping the numbers on both sides even at the start of matches. However, as I will describe below, this all falls apart due to the overall laziness.

    Why Matchmaking Is Worse In TF2 Than In TF1:
    I sensed that they were using the Networks thing as a lazy way to say they've addressed matchmaking without actually implementing an algorithim as I had laid out. At first, I thought they may be able to at least get away with this at least appearing to work well due the fact that they did seem to be making sure the numbers were even at the start of each game. However, it became apparent pretty early on that even though they were keeping the numbers even at the start of a game, they were doing absolutely nothing to balance the skill levels on both sides. This is kind of what I had expected. However, I've noticed recently that due to something else they've instituted in TF2, it has actually exacerbated the unbalanced skill level problem, which then in turn leads to an unbalanced numbers problem. It is no secret that they have tried to appeal to traditional FPS players in TF2. Networks encourages clan play that is more prevalent in traditional FPS games. Also, rather than everyone having Burn Cards as in TF1, now instead you have Boosts which only get activated by "good" play. Also, rather than everyone getting their titans based on equal timers as in TF1, now titans take a lot longer to get unless you can expedite it by "good" play.
    So here is what is happening in TF2 now:
    1) You start with even numbers of players on both sides.
    2) Due to Networks, which encourage FPS clans, many times there is an FPS clan on one side of a game, which starts the game at an unbalanced skill level from the get go, but in more of a hidden way than in TF1.
    3) Since the FPS clan is used to playing coordinated, they have more "good" play than the other team and all get their Boosts faster, which unbalances the game even further.
    4) Since the FPS clan are all now playing with Boosts, they have even more "good" play than the other team and all get their titans faster, which unbalances the game even further.
    5) By now, some on the other team realize what is going on and say "screw this" and leave the game, which unbalances the game even more, and actually makes it appear more like what a TF1 game appeared like at the start of a game with uneven numbers and uneven skill levels, but in this case it came on the back end.

    Summary:
    Here is why this is even worse. In TF1, they didn't even try, but they didn't even really try to hide that fact. You could see at the beginning of a game that the balance in numbers and skill level was off, so you could decide whether you wanted to stay or not. It was a crappy matchmaking system, but at least it was honest in it's crappiness.
    What you have in TF2 is a dishonest crappy matchmaking system. They claim to have improved matchmaking. At the start of the game, it even appears, at least numbers-wise, that you have an even game. It's not until after you have committed to playing the game and investing some of your precious time that this dishonest back door mismatching reveals itself and now you are left to decide if you should continue to suffer for the rest of the game or cut your losses, leave the game and sacrifice the time you had already invested. If I'm going to have to deal with a crappy system, I at least prefer the honest crappy system.
     
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  2. Derrame

    Derrame Generation 6

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    wow great analysis, the devs should really read this
     
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  3. ensc

    ensc Generation 7
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    Thanks Derrame! I appreciate your kind words.
     
  4. Pilot_KC

    Pilot_KC 6th Gen Pilot
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    You scare me ensc, you really do. Its like sometimes you are reaching into my brain and coming to the same conclusions I am but you have better evidence then my anecdotal stuff.

    Completely agree with your post. TF1's bad matchmaking system was well known, but I always thought that the prevalence and easy way in which burn-cards were awarded provided some assistance in bridging the skill gap between players. For example, a beginner player who had a couple of Titan drops could drop one at the start of the match and go on an early match rampage and feel like a champion.

    Don't get me wrong, I enjoy TF2 but the more I play it, the more I realize how much a hybrid game its devolved into. Its honestly stuck somewhere between honoring the original but has gone onto catering to the generic FPS crowd. Sorry to derail somewhat, but after playing Angel City yesterday, the game really favors the camping sniper play-style as I was the only guy running around with the shotgun...

    The best part of TF1 was the CQC with the crazy kicks and brutal up-close stuff. I always loved and now miss the titan boxing matches!
     
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  5. ensc

    ensc Generation 7
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    Thanks Pilot_KC! I'm glad if we have some sort of connection of the minds. :)
     
  6. Sgt_rawk

    Sgt_rawk Generation 7

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    The thing that did happen from my perspective with angel city was that it was far easier to kill those guys posting on buildings near their spawn. It feels like digging them out on the new maps is far more difficult as crossing mid map is a bit more of a chore.
     
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  7. Le Scrub

    Le Scrub Generation 3

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    Well written and great analysis. As a usual solo player, I have to agree. However, I do have some thoughts regarding the Networks and "better" matchmaking as well.

    Even when an enemy has only 3 (even a good 2) players coordinating, you do see a shift in the balance of skill. Often times, this leads to a loss or rage quit (depending on your patience), but unfortunately, this is how most FPS games are. Friends are going to team up and try to just roll through every other team.

    That being said, I don't think the Networks affect much of the gameplay, but instead act as a faster Looking For Group. If you ever LFG'd, you know there's the good, the bad, and the ugly (especially in Destiny, still never been flawless in Trials). I believe the Networks are just another customization added to the game since anyone can make a Network. However, there is a big split in the type of Networks: casual and competitive.
    -Casual: You have a large networks like the Harambe or Achievement Hunter. These act as a large scale LFG system instead of staying in Advocate and act as a chance to maybe meeting some new friends. Here is where you have your good, bad, and the ugly. You, also, have your personal 'clan' Networks. These can be just some casual friends, college roommates, coworkers, etc. Most of the time, if you see 5 of them all paired up in a game of Bounty Hunt, they may have a slightly better skill than your freshly picked "blueberries", but one skilled player can take them all down (sorry 'gunt' clan).
    -Competitive: These are your sweaties. From my experience, they rarely get up to more than 3 teamed up at a time in game modes like Bounty Hunt or Attrition. They are your TF1 veterans, Cloud9 wannabes, and pretty much don't own enough fans because they sweat so hard (ok that may have been too harsh, they can, also, be friends that are just good at the game). Regardless, these Networks lead to an unbalance in gameplay. However, it is not Network system's fault since these guys will already be teamed up just like they would in TF1.

    Going back to your algorithm, I'd like to make a few suggestions.
    ex.
    From your original algorithm
    --P = Prestige
    --T = Time Spent In-Game
    --W = Wins In Last 10 Games Of Current Mode
    --this makes all 3 have a base of 10, which makes the weighting work
    ---ATTEXP = (P * 0.25) + (T/50 * 0.25) + (W * 0.5)

    My modifications
    --N= Number of Players in Party
    --T= Time Spent In Each Game Mode
    --K= Kills Per Minute (or Total Kills Divided by Total Time)
    --D= Deaths Per Minute
    --S= Total Score Accumulated per gamemode
    --W= Wins In Last 10 Games Of Current Mode
    ---ATTEXP=N!(1+S/(10*T)+K/D+W/10) Your experience in Attrition
    ---LTSEXP=N!(1+S/(100*T)+W/10) Your experience in Last Titan Standing
    ---AHEXP=N!(1+S/(10*T)+K/D+W/10) Your experience in Amped Hardpoint
    ---CTFEXP=N!(1+2*S/T+K/D+W/10) Your experience in CTF where Flag Captures x10, and Flag Returns x3
    ---PVPEXP=N!(1+K/D+W/10) Your experience in Pilots Versus Pilots
    ---BHEXP=N!(1+S/(10*T)+K/D+W/10) Your experience in Bounty Hunt
    Sorry if this came across messing and maybe unbalanced in certain areas (and wouldn't mind helping you put together a proper algorithm for each gametype!), but my biggest takeaway is the N!. Now, those who don't know the ! operator, it is a factorial. Essentially, it means that if you are flying solo, that value will be a 1 multiplier. If you have a teammate, that bumps up to a 2 so it acknowledges that you're coordinating with someone and technically twice as good. However, add another a teammate and that value becomes a 6 meaning that with two other people coordinating with you, you are now 6 times as good. I think is a good representation on the power of coordination and how it can easily change the tides of a game.
    My next big takeaway is the K and D, or kills per minute and deaths per minute. Since this is a FPS, having a high K/D ratio can be a possible sign of skill or camping, but when taking into account time (as I did in the algorithm), it, also, shows level of aggression or activity. Typically, more skilled players are aggressive, especially against lower level ones. Taking this ratio into account in the matching making algorithm can, also, assist in separating the good from the bad (this may bite me in the ass since I have a K value of 1.61).

    Now, since you are a computer programmer, these EXP values will be rounded to the nearest integer and plugged into an "if" statement. The statement will use your EXP value and find others with the same value. If you're in a party, it will take the average of your EXP values. If it can't find a player with your same EXP value, then it will go into another "if" statement. If your EXP value is greater than average EXP value of all TF2 players, then your EXP value will decrease by 1. If it is less, then your EXP value increases by 1. Therefore, at the end, everyone will converge towards the average value, but you will hopefully find a match before you get there. Now, the issue arrives when a higher level player or team (or lower) hasn't found a game yet and is still searching. The function would give these players priority and pair them with you (so essentially low to average and high to average simultaneously). So, if my logic checks out, you are bound to play people that are both higher and lower than your EXP value.

    Whew, that was sounding way too much like school so I guess I will end with things I miss from TF1.
    Lobbies: The prematch lobby were awesome. You knew who you were going to play and what level. You could say GG after a game (or talk shit), set up your classes, look at your stats, and was just overall great. Now, it didn't for diverse gameplay as you were always playing the same team, but that allowed for grudge matches or a chance for sweet revenge. The new system is just too optimized for quicker matchmaking and not much for the social aspect (which I guess is another reason for Networks).
    Rank System: Though the ranking system was kind of just eh, I thought it added a new goal to the game. Getting Diamond 5 was just such a satisfying feeling since it was something you could lose if you didn't work for it (unlike just getting to a higher Gen or level). I would like to see one in the future that is similar to Halo 3's where it is based off of wins to get to a higher rank. However, to help solo players out, I would incorporate that getting MVP on your team can, also, increase your rank just so you don't lose it despite working hard.
     
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  8. ensc

    ensc Generation 7
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    WOW!!! Thank you! Thank you! and Thank you again Le Scrub! on so many levels.

    First, thank you for your kind words.

    Second, thank you for taking the time to read my entire post including the corresponding link where I had the algorithm.

    Third, thank you for not only reading it, but trying to improve upon it. Your suggestions are excellent and would actually make it better than what I had, because you really thought of some things I had overlooked.

    Fourth, thank you for just plain getting it about everything, not just the matchmaking. I absolutely agree with you about the lobbies. The one thing that bugged me in the first game was that the in-game chat was seperate from the between game chat. In other words, if you were in the middle of typing, you would get cut off. I was hoping they would improve upon that in 2 years and 7 months, but instead they actually took a step backwards and made it worse. Now, it's not just the that the in-game/between game chat is seperated., but now you lose continuity with the same players in both games and chat during your 1 or 2 hour session. Like you said, it removes the opportunites to give atta boys or talk smack between games or to get sweet revenge. That is a serious downgrade in my opinion. Also, you are right about the Rank system, where it was a new goal and one that you could lose if you didn't keep working at it.

    Thanks for being you buddy!
     
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  9. DARK BAWGS

    DARK BAWGS Generation 5
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    First, want to say great work. On the other hand it was "Deja Vu all over again", it was like sitting in a presentation by my IT staff when I finally had to stop them and ask, how long will it take, how much will it cost, and what will I actually get - in simple English please!

    I only wish that the developers had the willingness to take some action with suggestions like this.
     
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  10. DARK BAWGS

    DARK BAWGS Generation 5
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    Couldn't agree more En, the lobby system in TF2 is not good at all and when you have some good competition it is great how you could keep it alive in subsequent matches; often resulted in meeting some friends that you would join in future matches. This is a big step backwards.
     
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  11. ensc

    ensc Generation 7
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    Me too! :)

    Great point! That is how I met all of my Titanfall friends. Everything just feels so disconnected now.
     
  12. Dexterryu

    Dexterryu Generation 2

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    I've always been a proponent of group vs group only and solo/buddy queue vs other solo/buddy queus (Even though it's an advantage 2 people coordinating it's definitely possible to win or have a near even match).
     
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  13. ensc

    ensc Generation 7
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    Sounds like a good start to me.
     
  14. Pitch_Invader

    Pitch_Invader Generation 2

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    Those 5 steps perfectly sum up my experience so far. Even something simple as the players using different boosts and different titans on the same team but in a coordinated way can be devastating.

    TF2 is just making me sad because it could have been so awesome. Just take TF1 and create some new classes of titans, some new weapons, and the new mechanics of grappling, phase shifting, and maybe holo cloning. The game would have been faster and more exciting. Now it's just frustrating.
     
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  15. ensc

    ensc Generation 7
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    I feel your pain my friend. My sentiments exactly. I completely agree with you.
     
  16. ReedyChannel146

    ReedyChannel146 Generation 2

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    My $.02 on matchmaking is for most the most part it is hit of miss with fun close games more often then not, but lately i am getting more blowouts by clan teams, though.

    I can find losing a close game just as much fun a winning most times, but getting pub stomped $5000 to $781 in bounty hunt is not much fun.

    Now what i have noticed is lately Last Titan Standing is starting off 3v5 of 4v5 a lot lately, and this always leads to the short handed team losing in my experience. Players get joined in but round one runs a player short until that round is complete before they can join in. An with only needing 3 rounds to win being at a disadvantage after round one most new players leave right away and hardly do the teams ever get to 5v5 if it didn't start full.

    I have not left a game yet as i don't think that is right, and only felt i wanted to leave a couple times so far, but at that point i am frustrated enough that it's time to play something else altogether, and usually do.
     
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  17. ensc

    ensc Generation 7
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    Exactly! I don't mind losing a really good game if it was fair and square. You're right if it was a good challenge and you did your best , it can be almost as satisfying as a win. I can't tolerate losing though only because the other team had more people or the skill level of the whole teams were way out of balance.
     
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  18. rainman0211

    rainman0211 Generation 7
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    Wholeheartedly understand your concerns on thin @ensc. Close, winning games are satisfying, games where you come up just short are still fun... but a complete trouncing by a team of Seal Team 6 type Titanfallers... well that's just not fun at all.

    Not all of those teams/groups/clans that you may run across are not out to demoralized their opponents. But just a group of friends that just like playing the game together. But thru experience I've just learned to accept those games some of the "rain that falls" on my gaming parade.:cool:
     
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  19. ensc

    ensc Generation 7
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    Don't get me wrong. I don't blame the teams/groups/clans for playing together. My problem is that if you are going to allow teams/groups/clans, then you have to make it an absolute priority to implement a rock solid matchmaking system that is going to hold those teams/groups/clans in a que until there are equal opponents (either other team/group/clan or mix of random players that have similar skill levels) to put on the other side of the game. You absolutely have to do that, because if you don't then you end up with what happened in TF1, where blocks of Gen 10s would sit together on one side and random new players would get put on the other side and probably got so frustrated in the first day or two of playing that they never came back. By allowing the lopsidedness, you are driving away thousands of players that could sustain your user base. And, you normally only get one chance with people. If they get frustrated, you're never going to get them back. Plus, there is the hidden loss of players on top of that, because those thousands that got driven away will now discourage others from ever even trying the game, where if they had been given a good experience and stayed they might have done the opposite and actually encouraged more people to come try it. And who knows who else those new people might have recommended it to as well, and so on, and so on... By not addressing the issue properly, it becomes like an exponentially increasing double negative. Like I said, I'm not blaming the teams/groups/clans, but if you are going to allow them, then you have to deal with them the right way to preserve your user base.
     
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  20. MDVillarreal

    MDVillarreal Generation 3

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    Here's the other side of that coin: Those players who like to game together and may or may not be a good team would be penalized by having to wait longer for a suitable match up due to their size (which was an issue in Titanfall). Respawn sort of touched on this by adding a notification that you will not have a loss count against your record if you are dropped into a game mid-match that's already unwinnable (will be added in a server update on Monday). No one likes to get stomped, but it will come with the territory.

    Respawn is watching all these metrics and gauging things and making all kinds of little tweaks here and there. In my experience from playing years of Call of Duty games, matchmaking for Titanfall 2 is pretty good. Call of Duty could be relentlessly lopsided match after match after match. If I play Titanfall 2 for about 20 matches, approx 5 will be lopsided in my favor, 5 will be lopsided against me, and the rest will be more or less even. Sometimes I get stomped by some really good players, but it forces me to look how they play and how I play and figure out what I can learn to improve my game.

    What I would like to see is the return of lobbies and voting on maps like in the first game. I'm not all that fond of constantly bouncing around after every match.