Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Multiplayer: The Science Behind Skill-Based Matchmaking

Since its release on November 13th, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War has come under intense scrutiny surrounding the use of skill-based matchmaking (SBMM).

For those unsure as to what SBMM is, the feature places players of a similar skill into a game in a bid to make it as competitive as possible.

While this may seem like a good thing, the majority of the community either wants SBMM toned down to provide a more casual experience or for it to be scrapped altogether.

While developer Treyarch and publisher Activision have remained silent on the hotly-debated topic, a group of Call of Duty YouTubers have conducted their own research on the system and how it works within the game.

Here’s how SBMM works in Black Ops Cold War.

Read More: Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Multiplayer And Warzone: How To Unlock The MAC-10 SMG And Groza Assault Rifle

Similar To Modern Warfare

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TheXclusiveAce, Drift0r, JGOD, and S0ur spent weeks conducting research surrounding the overall strength of SBMM, its impact on server connectivity and much more.

The December 13th upload reveals that the system is almost exactly the same one that is used in Modern Warfare, bad news if you’re after a more casual Call of Duty experience.

He also goes on to detail that the system keeps a close eye on the most recent performances of players. For example, if you have one phenomenal game where you drop at least 50 kills, the SBMM will place you into a higher bracket of matchmaking to put you with players of a similar level.

Read More: Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Multiplayer: Season One Game Modes Revealed

How Does Ping Affect SBMM?

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With fewer high-skilled players to be matched with, the SBMM system then puts performance as a secondary priority and puts connection first.

 As the game expands its search for a potential match, the better players will often have an inferior connection to the server to the other players in the lobby.

Although TheXclusiveAce & co conducted their research on a small sample size, the results seem to reveal that the high-skilled players are playing on a higher ping as opposed to players on the lower end of the scale.

This is by no means official, but it is certainly interesting to see how ping can play a pivotal role in finding an evenly-matched game.

Read More: Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War: Glitch Reveals All Season 1 Weapon Blueprints

Team Balancing

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You may have noticed in some games that one player drastically outperforms the others by a considerable margin. It turns out that there may be a reason for this and it is down to SBMM once again.

From the data gathered by the four YouTubers, once SBMM has had its influence on a pre-game lobby, teams are often filled with one player that is better than the rest of the team.

By doing this, Black Ops Cold War has one or two players act as the hard-carry for a team in a bid to maintain some form of competitive balance.

With some players just wanting to mess around and have some fun while others want a more competitive experience, it’s no surprise that players are reverse boosting in order to enjoy the game more. Exploiting this may be a thing of the past in the not-too-distant future as Treyarch and Activision are fully aware of this, implying that some form of fix could be on its way very soon.

There is one simple solution to the SBMM problem: Scrap SBMM for casual playlists and implement a ranked playlist with SBMM in full force!

For more articles like this, take a look at our Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Gaming News page.