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The topic of Skill-Based Matchmaking (SBMM) has once again been brought into the limelight. After yesterday’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War multiplayer Alpha went live, fans immediately noticed that SBMM was present. It’s relatively easy to tell, since your lobbies usually are full of players around your skill level. This realization caused the community to uproar, even getting SBMM to trend on Twitter’s “What’s Happening” section. During this uproar, fans compared today’s games to previous Call of Duty titles by stating there was no SBMM back then. Well, a Treyarch developer might have ended this theory.
Skill-Based Matchmaking causes a stir in the community
When SBMM was originally trending on Twitter, fans were simply pleading with Treyarch to remove it. Professional players like Seth “Scump” Abner even tweeted out about the feature, bringing into focus how hated it is. However, the developers didn’t really respond to these tweets at first.
SBMM does not belong in Call of Duty. There should be a ranked playlist for people to sweat in. I’m not trying to play Scuf wielding game fuel chugging demons with szn in their psn on Miami TDM. Also, to the noobies that are gonna cry about this tweet, hold this choppy gunny.
— OpTic Scump (@scump) September 19, 2020
Although, as the night went on, one Treyarch developer stepped in. On a thread about old Call of Duty titles, players were talking about the “glory days” when SBMM didn’t exist. Games like Modern Warfare 3 and Black Ops 2 were brought up to discredit the usefulness of SBMM.
However, a current dev working on Black Ops Cold War joined the thread. Martin Donlon, a Technology guru at Treyarch, stated that every title since COD 4 has featured Skill-Based Matchmaking. How does he know this, many fans asked. Well, it turns out Donlon wrote the implementation for Black Ops 2‘s matchmaking.
This certainly puts a wrinkle in fans’ arguments about Skill-Based Matchmaking. If the feature was present back during these beloved titles, then the current games that implement it shouldn’t be criticized as much, right? Well, yes and no. It can be argued that the titles back then had less-strict SBMM while today’s games are far more strict.
Essentially, this means that if games like BO2 featured the mechanic, it wasn’t as drastic as it is today. As Donlon mentions, SBMM is a “tuneable parameter” in the COD matchmaking system. So developers can tune it how they see fit. Clearly, it’s been tuned to be a little more aggressive in recent years.
Regardless of this news, fans still want the controversial feature removed from Black Ops Cold War. Of course, this is extremely unlikely. Perhaps the developers could tone it down before the full release, though.