Call of Duty Warzone has seen some recent developments with skills-based matchmaking and it has been a little controversial, to say the least. The implementation of matchmaking depending on your skill level has caused a lot of backlash in the Call of Duty community. While it has been primarily directed towards the mainline games, Warzone SBMM has recently become a bit of a contentious topic too.
Skill-based matchmaking is a way of placing players in games that aims to place them those of a similar skill level. In theory, it should be completely inoffensive. In practice, not so much. A lot of players dislike only playing in challenging lobbies. Many prefer the difficult lobbies in a competitive mode but want an easy ride outside of it. Then there’s also the way that SBMM is implemented, it is quite hard to find an objective measure of skill. The problems caused here mean that it is difficult pretty much everywhere it is implemented. This is how Warzone SBMM works, and how some players are gaming it.
Does Warzone Have Skills-Based Matchmaking?
Warzone SBMM has been a bit complicated. Most Call of Duty games have always used SBMM to a point to help players match closely with other players. Since Battle Royales have much higher matchmaking requirements though, things are a bit more complicated here. This can often make SBMM a real problem, really slowing down matchmaking. In Call of Duty, it’s controversial as a whole with some players claiming it takes the fun out of the game.
This might have been part of the motivation for developers initially denying that Warzone SBMM exists. However, when tested, it does appear that Warzone SBMM is a thing and is in operation in the game. Essentially it seems there are matchmaking rules, but getting into a game a bit quicker is more important than that. So Warzone SBMM is in effect, but it is lessened if you’re having trouble finding a game at that particular moment.
It does mean though, that you’re mainly being grouped in with other players of your skill level. The problem comes with not knowing how that grouping is decided. Just how is SBMM deciding what your skill level is when the game lacks a public ranked mode?
How Does SBMM Work?
Information on how SBMM works has been found mainly through experimentation. With the lack of official information, this is the only way to figure things out. It does seem that kill to death ratio is the major factor here. So rather than just looking at placement or kills, it’s your kills per death (so basically per game unless you’re really killing it in the gulag) is the major thing to focus on. However, you’re not going to be able to find out what rank you are since that information isn’t public.
The game assigns you a rank based on some stats and your kill to death ratio to figure out what rank of player you belong with. In terms of how much this impacts the game, it appears that the game uses this rank, your ping, and wait times to figure out which games to slot you in. So ideally you’re placed with similar skill level players and similar ping players. However, matchmaking times will sometimes mean you’re in a more random lobby. On top of that a third-party app has been allowing players to cheese the Warzone SBMM lobbies pretty easily.
Players Cheating Warzone SBMM
Skilled based matchmaking in Warzone has been a bit controversial in Call of Duty, but some players are essentially using it to put themselves in nothing but easy lobbies. A third-party app allowed players to compare stats in-game. While innocent enough, players have used it to check stats in a lobby before a game begins. If the lobby is favorable to them, they stay. If not, they back out. This is irritating and can frustrate players using the game normally. The popular app has since been changed, but these stats are available elsewhere too. They’re also a stream sniping tool, so generally easy to misuse. Activision is actively altering their API to try and put a stop to uses like this.
Other players have taken to tanking continuous games to sink their kill to death ratio. The net result is that players are ending up in a much lower rank for skills-based matchmaking than they belong in. Like with the other method, it leads to Warzone SBMM working considerably worse than designed. It is also difficult to see where the fun is in spending a long time throwing matches just to play with players that don’t give you a challenge.
SBM is controversial in Warzone, even if it basically just makes the game enjoyable for players on lower levels as well as high. If you’re looking to improve without just jumping into lobbies of confused new players, our guides to the game can help you work on aspects of how you play: