When I started playing Black Ops 4, I already had hundreds of hours of competitive multiplayer experience with Destiny 2. Playing another shooter would be an easier adjustment than someone who had never played these types of games before. When I joined my first multiplayer, I was surprised to see that I was matched with people who have reached the max level within the game. It didn’t seem fair, I had none of the weapons that other players had, but somehow I was supposed to hold my own against them. To my surprise, it wasn’t a complete slaughter. I was able to and still compete as I climb the ranks. What frustrates me isn’t the meta, but the pairing of teams.
I once wrote on Twitter that no game developer has yet to figure out the perfect online experience. And the truth is, they haven’t. On my rise to proficiency, I found myself paired with and against people entirely above my skill range. These matches ended before I knew we even started. They were straight beatdowns, and I spent more time trying to figure out what the hell was going on than trying to actually shoot someone. I also experienced the opposite, the cakewalk. There were matches where I felt like I was on my way to e-sports glory because the people we played against were just not on the level. It was these lopsided matches that started to frustrate me. Especially, when you experience a game with balanced matchmaking. Games that are decided by one kill, the ones that make you say “run it back.” It’s in those games that you develop new strategies, work on pain points and git good. It’s when the difference of skill is just enough to provide that challenge for you to breakthrough to the next level.
So how do you find balance? How do you pair people based on skill and intensity? I like to win in Black Ops 4, but it’s not ‘do or die’ if I don’t. I’m a casual player who wanted to get better. I don’t mind matches without team chat, in fact, unless I’m playing with a group of people I prefer it. Yet that isn’t always the case. I’ve played matches with people becoming audibly upset because we weren’t “pushing” or watching our flank. One time I wanted to tell a guy to calm down, but I knew it wasn’t worth my time. But how does that person find the matches that work for him? If he continued to match with me, he would be disappointed. Hell, I would too because I wouldn’t feel like listening to that shit all game. Too often we are paired with unbalanced matches for the sake of speed. Games want to keep you playing and finding more meaningful matches would take more time compared to throwing you in randomly and hoping it works out. But as I spend more time playing these types of games, I don’t want the slot machine approach to matchmaking. I want something that’s better thought out. I desire more matches that test my skill because ultimately, that’s how you git good.