Skill-based matchmaking will always be a contentious topic in online gaming, and the Apex Legends community is no different; but does Respawn’s battle royale use SBMM? Here’s everything you need to know.
As every Apex Legends player (and general online gamer) knows, having a competent, communicative team is often the key to success.
While, of course, you can recruit friends that you know can pop heads and take names, queueing into a random match is a lot more variable. Sometimes you’ll get teammates that absolutely demolish the competition, or others that, well, don’t.
This has led to questions about Apex Legends’ skill-based matchmaking system (SBMM) – and whether it exists in the first place. Here’s everything you need to know about the feature and how it operates in Respawn’s classic battle royale.
- What is SBMM?
- Does Apex Legends use skill-based matchmaking?
- What is your skill level dependent on?
- Is Apex Legends’ SBMM broken?
- Is EOMM in Apex Legends?
Skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) is the general term for a system of matching teammates and opponents in an online multiplayer game.
Every game is slightly different, but it will often use information like time-played, average score, K/D ration, win/loss ratio and other factors in determining what teammates and opponents you will get in a match.
- Read More: How many people play Apex Legends?
It is sometimes controversial, as it can lead to the feeling that every match is too hard because all of your enemies are just as good as you. On the other hand, it stops newer or less-skilled players from being put off playing by having to face players way better or more experienced than them.
Yes, Apex Legends does make use of SBMM in order to ensure that players of similar skill levels and experience are partnered up, and face off against enemies of the same level too.
SBMM is used both in regular matches and Ranked play. Yes – even in casual matches, without a rank, SBMM is still in use.
In Ranked play, it should mean that a Predator player will queue with fellow Predators and Master level players, while Bronze players will be lumped together with others of the same rank. This is not always possible however due to different numbers of players in certain regions, or the number of players online at certain times of day.
The higher you progress, the more deadly your opponents become, but equally you’ll be queuing with higher level players to claim the throne.
No matter what anyone tells you, there is no way of knowing exactly how SBMM is calculated in Apex Legends. Respawn, as with most game devs, will never reveal this, because if players know the inner workings of the system, it could be much more easily exploited.
However, we can safely assume that there are a number of factors taken into consideration. These might include:
- Your account level / time-played
- Your stats, such as K/D ratio, win/loss ratio, average damage per game
- Whether you are playing solo or with a team
- How recently you played, or if you have taken a long break
Some players also believe that their recent performances will affect SBMM. For example, if your last game was really easy for you, and you dominated the enemies, you might get slightly tougher opponents in the next match.
This is far from proven however, and is simply based on how players feel in certain matches.
Ever since the dawn of Apex Respawn’s SBMM has come under fire for being “broken.” Back in 2019 Lead Competitive Development Manager, Eric ‘Ghost’ Hewitt, noted that “there is indisputable evidence through data that [SBMM] helps out 80-90% of the community with retention for most of those games.”
SBMM will become the norm for most MP games, as there is indisputable evidence through data that it helps out something like 80-90% of the community with retention for most of those games… which hurts us 10%’ers, I know. Still though, ours might need some tuning potentially
— Eric Hewitt / Ghost (@GH057ayame) November 24, 2019
Of course, the game has come a long way since then, but the devs are still grappling with the SBMM issue. In December, 2021, Ranked Designer Aaron ‘Exgeniar’ L. responded to fan concerns over the system, writing “Pub’s matchmaking can be a bit volatile at times. It’s on my radar.”
The developers at Respawn are always trying to keep on top of matchmaking issues, and working on improvements to make matches fairer, and with the best connection.
There has long been a rumor that Apex Legends uses a different system, called ‘EOMM’ instead of SBMM. EOMM stands for “engagement optimized matchmaking.” This system prioritizes keeping you playing, rather than keeping matches fair and balanced. It was patented by EA, for use in FIFA matchmaking.
However, Respawn devs have denied that EOMM is used in Apex Legends, “Apex matchmaking is designed off skill. It’s not literally designed to make you lose, spend, nor play longer.”
So that’s everything you need to know about Apex Legends skill-based matchmaking system, and how the devs are potentially amending it in the future.
Looking to up your own gameplay in order to work your way up the SBMM ladder? Be sure to check out our other Apex Legends guides:
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