This is prompted by the fact that matchmaking is, apparently, already down the toilet in the new Avengers game due to the small player base. Now, I've heard that there's some technical issues as to why the player base dropped in the first place, but that's not really the discussion I'm trying to make. What I'm moreso wondering, is why they haven't designed their matchmaking system to still be functional for when the playerbase did inevitably drop in the first place.
Now, as an Australian, this is far from the first time I've experienced the repercussions of a small player base. We, naturally face a far smaller player count and we are geographically fairly isolated from other popular data centres, so we are stuck with them unless we don't mind some crazy latency.
The worst I've probably seen in recent years was Gears 5. A few weeks after launch anyway, they tried to make these highly elaborate queues with several different PvP playlists and there was also a couple of PvE modes with way too many difficulty sliders and options. Of course finding a game was damn near impossible after a few weeks. But, seriously, I don't know what they were expecting. What on earth stops developers just pausing and saying "hang on, is this sustainable?"
There are some minor success stories. Like Titanfall 2, another game I played a lot of. Initially, each mode was in its own playlist, and aside from the most popular mode, it was impossible to find a game. One day, they released an update which played matchmaking in a 'checklist' system, where you would select the gamemodes you wanted, and you would get placed in the next game that came up. It was honestly the best thing they could have done and kept so much of the game alive, in spite of the dwindling playerbase on their Sydney servers.
I'll concede that maybe it's community pressure. Coincidentally another Respawn game, the Apex Legends community would absolutely berate the devs on the subreddit to "make more modes" and "let us choose maps". Fortunately, the devs didn't actually give in, in this case. This would have likely killed off the game in Australia, and made in a really short-term game for us.
So I was thinking, how can devs be so short-sighted? With many games all but completely reliant on their games-as-a-service multiplayer modes to fund their updates, why isn't this more of a priority? Not every game can be the "next big thing", but most should be able to be at least playable for a few years after release. Like my Titanfall 2 example, it should be pretty easy to just work your queueing system to accommodate any decline. But why isn't it more common and why are devs like surprisedpikacku.jpg when their games die in a few months?
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