Recently, we implemented an update to matchmaking to make things more competitive and avoid, where possible, wild matchups that feel like you’re at a disadvantage from the start.
The way it works
The new system prioritizes matching players of the same rank. If no match is found within 60 seconds, players will be matched one rank above or below. This might seem obvious, but it was actually something we couldn’t run when the player base was smaller as it risked blowing out matchmaking times.
How it’s been going
We’ve been monitoring this over the last few weeks and – when we compare what we’re seeing now, to what we were seeing a month ago – so far it’s been a success! …mostly.
- Overall: matchmaking has become more concentrated. You’re more likely to match against someone of the same rank, which is a great result!
- Median queue times have gone down, which shows that most mortals are finding a match faster.
- When we say “most”, the outlier sits with Bronze players. Their queue times have actually gone up, meaning they can sometimes get matched against players of higher skill. These are our early starters, so we will be looking into this to make sure they don’t get thrown into a David vs. Goliath battle straight from the get-go.
- With a much tighter matchmaking window at top ranks, Mythic players are now playing against Mythic players much more frequently. This has had the desired effect of reducing the amount that Mythic players are stomping lower rated players during Weekend Ranked for big rewards, making Mythic level more competitive.
- As a result of this matchmaking change, we've seen more fair matchmaking in the middle and high bands of our matchmaking. This has also caused a rank & win rate shift across the board, as some mortals are no longer getting a majority of easier matches against lower rated players and vice versa. As the system works itself out, mortals with high win rates will likely see their overall win rates decrease a few percentage points, and metagames at certain ranks start to settle. Initially this may mean that you are suddenly losing/winning more than you have been used to, or are seeing certain deck types more frequently. Dominating these ranked pocket metagames will be one of the new keys to winning and improving your ranking.
- To express this in numbers: the highest level card game players should average around a 65% win rate, and pushing 70% would put them in the running as the GOAT (greatest of all time, not this fella) in any particular game. Prior to this update, we regularly saw Mythic players pushing 80% due to a high amount of unfair matching.
Does it work?
When it comes down to the numbers and how things are performing, it’s a case of so far so good with this new matchmaking system. This doesn’t mean it’s perfect though, and there are likely some bugs we are yet to catch, or see merge at this early stage. We still have work to do to improve the system and uncover some peculiarities, but it’s shown to be vast improvement on the previous iteration.