Respawn Entertainment have opened up about the highly controversial skill-based matchmaking in Apex Legends, adding a note to the patch notes for the Season 4 update.
The fourth season launched on the one-year anniversary of Apex Legends, February 4, and the player base was generally excited for all the new content, and the new playable legend, Revenant.
However, there has been a constant line of criticism about Apex over Season 2 and 3 especially, around the use of skill-based matchmaking, or SBMM.
This is a matchmaking system that pits players of similar skill levels together, keeping more experienced players away from the newer ones. But, many argue it’s worse for the overall experience, worsening connection, and making matches harder for better players.
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Respawn have only addressed it fleetingly in the past. One developer claimed that it benefits “80-90%” of the community with “retention”, but this did little to calm the backlash.
In their Season 4 update, Respawn confirm that SBMM has been in the game “since launch”, and that they are continuing to improve it.
Matchmaking changes made for Season 4
Although they confirm that changes have been made globally to matchmaking, Respawn remain (unsurprisingly) tight-lipped about the details.
Matchmaking models are always in flux, and it’s crucial that players don’t know the exact details and algorithms. If this information was public, it would be possible to purposefully manipulate one’s own matchmaking rank.
Some Apex Legends players have claimed that ‘reverse boosting’ is possible already. This is simply the act of deliberately playing badly to ensure a lower skill rating.
As Season 4 progresses, we will simply have to see how matchmaking improves. If it does, hopefully frustrations around SBMM will be eased.