Fortnite Chapter 2 has been an unmitigated success for Epic Games in terms of reigniting the passion among the player base, but there is one issue that has caused widespread debate – skill-based matchmaking, often abbreviated as SBMM.
SBMM is always a controversial system in any online multiplayer game. Its basic premise is to match players of similar skill levels in the same lobby together, to create a more balanced field.
On paper, this sounds fine, but it can be problematic – primarily if this skill-based matchmaking takes precedence over purely connection-based matchmaking (where you are matched with players to whom you will have the strongest online connection, regardless of skill).
Another issue is that it can make the game increasingly difficult for good-to-excellent players, where the game essentially punishes you for being a ‘good’ player by giving you increasingly difficult opponents.
In an effort to help out lesser-skilled players in Fortnite, Epic Games introduced a more rigorous skill-based matchmaking system in Chapter 2, but some argue it has come at the expense of more experienced (and therefore better) players.
This can create another problem, called ‘reverse boosting’, where players will deliberately perform badly (often tanking their kill/death ratio by dying over and over, and purposely playing worse) in order to lower their skill bracket and trick the algorithm.
Top YouTuber, Ali-A, has slammed the introduction of SBMM as the “worst” addition ever, claiming it was “killing the game.”
It’s a system that puts you with similarly skilled players in an effort to see you improve. Then when you do improve, you only go up against other players that are better.— Ali-A (@OMGitsAliA) November 8, 2019
It’s a never ending cycling of playing sweaty games of Fortnite and I’m not a fan 🤷♂️
Some fans have argued that while it undoubtedly makes the game more difficult for players like Ali-A, it’s necessary to help players who can’t play as much.
A debate sparked on Reddit, with some arguing that “SBMM is in the game because it’s necessary” because “for the majority of the player base, [public matches] feel balanced again.”
What do you think about skill-based matchmaking? Have you noticed your lobbies getting harder or easier in Fortnite Chapter 2? Have you ran into a lot of bots?
It remains to be seen if Epic will make any adjustments to the system as the new chapter of Fortnite continues.