A source of frustration for Heroes of the Storm players since the first good players started pulling away from the Yannicks, the game’s matchmaking system is getting a major overhaul in the coming weeks that should result in much happier rounds.
Speaking on stage during a Heroes of the Storm development panel at BlizzCon 2015, game director Dustin Browder spoke on the failings of the current system. It’s basically the same matchmaking system for StarCraft II, which works great for a game where 1-on-1 matches are the order of the day and a player’s skill is easily defined by their win/loss ratio.
It’s not really working for Heroes of the Storm. Browder called the ranked matchmaking process in particular “too stressful” and “not very fun to play in”, a fact evidenced by our own Yannick LeJacq’s attempts at breaking in.
80 per cent even matchmaking and 65 per cent of games close on character levels by the end of the match may seem like good stats, but as Browder pointed out, that’s a 20 per cent failure rate, and there are people out there who fall into that 20 per cent far too often.
The way the current matchmaker works is it takes whoever is in the queue — say there are 100 people — and puts them all into a set of matches. Then the program begins swapping those 100 people together, attempting to make a good match. Initially it had six minutes to do this. Later it was increased to ten.
But the four extra minutes didn’t make much a difference, because the program would swap these folks around 100,000 times in seconds and then pretty much give up. It tried everything it could. Adding more time wouldn’t change that outcome.
Well forget all of that. The old system, built with putting together matches as expediently as possible, will be replaced by the end of the year — hopefully within the next few weeks said Browder — with a system based on creating quality matches.
Rather than building matches from a set group and trying to make good games from a set, the new system will actually form a queue. If a match isn’t perfect — say a player is close to your skill level but not quite even — they can essentially be put on hold in case no one better comes along in the time Blizzard sets for a match to begin.
It sounds like a much more intelligent system, and Blizzard will be able to control when a match launches depending on the situation. Say you’re a novice player trying to get a game together in the middle of the night when only obsessed co-workers are up playing, it could give you more time to find more suitable companions, or just say screw it, it’s you versus Yannick.
Speaking of which, we’ll have Yannick back to analyse some of the more granular Heroes of the Storm updates from this weekend later, like future plans to adjust matchmaking ranking (MMR) based on more on skill than simple wins versus losses and Hero-specific MMR, as I have no idea what any of that means.