Now that we have seen the addition of SBMM and it’s subsequent removal after 3 seasons, here’s my take on the experience.
I’m a relatively low skill crucible player. I struggled to make it to Heroic in comp to get Komodo and my Savior title. I made it there, but only barely, and only because of being persistent about the reset Glory gains from playing 3 games a week. Recluse and Mountaintop are decidedly out of my reach for the time being.
I played 2 seasons of Crucible in Y2, doing anything in my power to even stay afloat. DRB, Telesto, anything that could even give me a slight edge. In Season of Opulence, I made an effort to complete the Last Word quest that requires maintaining a 1.0KAD until the meter is full. I couldn’t even do that. My lifetime KD in Crucible was 0.42 at the end of the season.
Shadowkeep and SBMM hit, and I jumped into Crucible to try TLW again. All of a sudden, I was matched into games that I could compete in again. I could have primary gunfights and actually hit my TTKs. I could improve positioning and movement because I wasn’t hopelessly outclassed. I could complete quests in a day, and bounties in single games instead of suffering through mercy after mercy making 1-2 kills of progression per game.
My skills started to improve in equal measure. I felt comfortable enough to jump into Comp in season 9, and I was teetering on the edge of a skill bracket in QP/IB. I would have a decent-to-good game, then be matched into a game where I was clearly in the next skill bracket up. Have 2-3 tough games, be moved back down to the lower skill bracket, then have a couple good games there and move up to the higher bracket again. I was genuinely improving at the game, and it was reflected in my lifetime KD and my Comp performance.
Season of Arrivals hit and SBMM went out. I dropped into IB last night for 3 games and managed 6 total kills. All three games were Mercy’d and one round ended 80-8. Every single duel, team fight, every engagement I am so hopelessly outclassed in movement, positioning and aim that I can’t even learn from my failures. I can only slam my face repeatedly into losing gunfights, seeing “ggez” in the chat, and watching my ghost get bagged.
I recognize that I’m not the intended audience of D2 Crucible. I’m a PvE player and a PvP casual. I go into Crucible on clan PvP nights, and to complete quests and bounties. But is it too much to ask to have a recognition of player skill in matchmaking? I’m not advocating for all the high skill players to be put in a shark tank and only get sweaty matches, but at the same time the kids still wearing water wings shouldn’t be swimming in the same pool as the sharks. There has to be a happy medium somewhere.
In my humble opinion, SBMM was the best way for me to improve my skill as a terrible Crucible player wanting to improve, and what I’ve seen so far of CBMM is making it difficult to continue those improvements.
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