In recent weeks I have been reading more and more about SBMM. It appears this is something publisher initiated to encourage new players to keep playing. I wanted to share my experience as a new player to online MP and BR living with SBMM.
I have been PC gaming for 8 years. Due to travel I would find myself in hotel rooms wrapped up for the day and nothing to do. I picked up a gaming laptop and never looked back. About 3 years ago I moved to KB/M. This naturally gravitated more and more of my gaming to first person shooters. In the last 6 months I discovered COD Warzone and have played it almost exclusively since. Most recently I began playing Valorant and Apex Legends.
At first I was getting crushed in every Solos match. Figured out I needed to level up guns which moved me into the Plunder game mode. That is where I started interacting with other players and moved to squad play in the BR. In some of these games I met players with the "full" game and they suggested playing MP to get better. So I did… I purchased the full game after 2 months of playing for free. In the eyes of the game's publisher I suspect a slam dunk.
I went on to win some matches in all modes and was having a great time. However, over the last two months, specifically towards the end of Season 5 and start of Season 6 I felt like every match was more and more difficult. Then there would be "great" match where I had a higher kill count and placed in the top 10 or better. Over and over this up and down experience. I did an internet search and discovered SBMM. This was a completely new concept to me. Essentially, a secret algorithm was selecting the players I was matched against. It was disheartening as I thought I was playing random people in BRs.
I am a casual player with a family and full-time job. I am mainly interested in loading into a game with online friends or alone to shoot people. Not looking to become a pro, top a leader board, or anything even close. I just want to goof around and have fun. Winning is always the goal but not crucial to my overall experience. Once I learned about SBMM I could clearly see it in action. In BR if I had a high kill match and placed near the top or won I could detect much different players the following match. In COD, gold guns and bunny hopping was a sure sign I had been placed into a higher bracket. On the flip side, after playing with gold gun carrying rabbits for a few matches I would then bump into free skinned players standing aimlessly in a field. It was obvious.
How does this effect the experience of a new player? My last win in Warzone included two randoms from Canada. I had 8 kills with the last circles finishing on the airport tarmac. We had taken the semi-walled area where the Buy was located. As I am keeping count of remaining players my teammates are being shot by an opposing player in the middle of the tarmac with no cover. Sniper to the head and he was gone. I killed the last player running in the open trying to get out of the gas. The Victory graphic pops up and my teammates are ecstatic. Three randoms for the win. Great right? Not so much. I had a distinct feeling I had not truly won the match but rather Activision had placed me in a noob lobby based on their algorithm. I cannot shake this feeling.
Since then I have lost more and more interest in Warzone and starting trying other BR and MP FPS but appears almost all have SBMM in casual play.
Dear Publishers, As a gamer new to Battle Royales please remove SBMM from casual play. I agree to keeping new players in a protected bracket until they meet a certain metric but then release us to the wild. I want to win because I am the best player in a particular match not because a algorithm placed me in a lower skill bracket to encourage me to keep playing.
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