Matchmaking (2017)

SantaClawsSantaClaws Denmark Join Date: 2012-07-31 Member: 154491Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 987 Auto Verified
Topic discussed to death? NO! This is the current year, so it's time to bring it back up damnit!

I'm bringing this up partially because the A bright future of NS2 or Death? thread hinted about it a little bit.

But I'm also bringing it up because Reflex just launched their matchmaking system. Reflex is an arena shooter in early access similar to Quake. If you think that NS2 has a small community, then take a look at Reflex steam charts.

The way that Reflex matchmaking works is by you adding all the game modes that you are interested in being matched for in the menu. Then you press play. You immediately get put in a warmup mode game lobby, with other players also waiting to be matched - not necessarily in the same gamemodes. When the system has found a match for you, you get pulled from the game lobby and play your match.

Now this is not the first time this kind of idea has been suggested for NS2. But what has changed, and the reason I think it is time to bring it up again, is that I think we now have a good example of how it would work - in Reflex.

The warmup mode idea is crucial for a small community like NS2 or Reflex, you don't want to sit idle in some game lobby like in Starcraft or CS;GO. That said, my experience with the Reflex match system, is that it actually doesn't take very long at all to find a match, in spite of the tiny community.

Of course, take this with a grain of salt. Reflex benefits from the fact that it primarily matches 1v1's, not 6v6's - and that you can search for more than one gamemode at a time.

Matchmaking would be such a powerful tool for NS2, because it would help with one of the most damaging problems that I think NS2 has had throughout its lifetime : Lack of skill segregation.
Matchmaking would not just offer a method to organise games with groups of players with low skill disparity, which would inarguably produce better balanced games. - but equally importantly it would unlock the ability, to match friends so that they can play on the same team. A guy called SnarfyBobo last night talked about what a shame it was that NS2 didn't have a way to queue with your friends last night to an audience of 300 people.

There are a lot of challenges to implementing matchmaking to NS2, I get it. Like what do we do about commanders? What do we do about the 3k+ elo players, who likely don't have a lot of players to be matched against. I could add a 3 page monologue on these subjects, but I think I'll release here before the thread gets too long to read :)

Comments

  • NordicNordic Long term camping in Kodiak Join Date: 2012-05-13 Member: 151995Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Silver, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 4,252 Auto Verified
    Look at the UWE road map on trello for what they are calling a match seeding system.
    When you aim for perfect balance, you discover it's a moving target.
    Perfect balance is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellent gameplay.
    NS2 is a moving, breathing thing. We have to be willing to constantly evolve. Perfect balance is constant transformation.
  • KasharicKasharic Hull, England Join Date: 2013-03-27 Member: 184473Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester Posts: 382 Auto Verified
    Nordic wrote: »
    Look at the UWE road map on trello for what they are calling a match seeding system.

    Roadmap trello - https://trello.com/b/njrpasjl/ns2-roadmap

    Nordics suggested card - https://trello.com/c/Zk5778Qu/28-match-seeding-system

    I don't know why but Mephilles is an NSL Admin

    #blamehefty

    ORwSgin.jpg
    Nordic
  • SantaClawsSantaClaws Denmark Join Date: 2012-07-31 Member: 154491Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 987 Auto Verified
    Dang.. Don't I look like a fool now.. Anyway, you can still find some inspiration from the Reflex model I guess :)
    .trixX.Handschuh
  • .trixX..trixX. Budapest Join Date: 2007-10-11 Member: 62605Members Posts: 537 Auto Verified
    Agreeing with the latter part, just for clarification xD
    NO Cyril, when they're dead they're just hookers!
    Handschuh
  • maD_maX_maD_maX_ Join Date: 2013-04-07 Member: 184678Members Posts: 433 Auto Verified
    Why is match making important? Improve balance? Improve player retention?

    My problem with matchmaking is NS1&2 has always had a large degree of server loyalty (and hate) due to the independent server ownership. In a small community I know that if I join XYZ server, someone I recognize will either already be there or soon join up even if we're not stream friends.

    Additionally does segregation of skill on a server level make sense? Do we want to play with only players of comparable skill? Personally I like mixed games where there are those better, equivalent, and worst then me (feels good to get the easy kill and good to clip a skilled player in different ways)... to me Having teams well balanced within a server is more important then having servers balanced(always room for a <1000 or >2500 hive server).

    I would prefer efforts be made to improve hive instead of matchmaking. If hive could account for the difference in skill of alien, marine and commander... to create more balanced games within a server of wide range of skill... then all we would have to do is join an active server with the desired player count and latency.



  • NordicNordic Long term camping in Kodiak Join Date: 2012-05-13 Member: 151995Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Silver, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 4,252 Auto Verified
    maD_maX_ wrote: »
    My problem with matchmaking is NS1&2 has always had a large degree of server loyalty (and hate) due to the independent server ownership. In a small community I know that if I join XYZ server, someone I recognize will either already be there or soon join up even if we're not stream friends.
    This is very true. Community servers and matchmaking are not easily compatible. At this point, it would be suicide for UWE to remove community servers. I think it is likely whatever they make for matchmaking would work alongside community servers.
    maD_maX_ wrote: »
    Additionally does segregation of skill on a server level make sense?
    Absolutely not. It has been tried before and has not really been all that successful. The no rookies pub server was the most successful attempt in my memory, and it no longer exists.
    maD_maX_ wrote: »
    I would prefer efforts be made to improve hive instead of matchmaking.
    Are you familiar with the concept of diminishing marginal returns? In terms of the hive skill system, there are more things that could be done to improve the system. The problem lies within the return, or gains of such an improvement. Further improvements to the hive skill system would have increasingly marginal returns. Basically, improving the system would not be a large improvement.
    maD_maX_ wrote: »
    If hive could account for the difference in skill of alien, marine and commander...
    Separate skill values is the next logical improvement. As I was describing above, the returns would be marginal. It would not make a big difference, but it would be a nice improvement. Furthermore, implementing separate skill values has some consequences. It would likely decrease player team choice. It is also not easy to implement in a feasible way. To work on separate skill values, would take time away from other goals UWE has.
    maD_maX_ wrote: »
    Why is match making important? ... Do we want to play with only players of comparable skill?
    Team balance on individual servers is about as good as it is ever going to be. Matchmaking by skill is the next best step to increasing team balance quality. I could go into a longer explanation, with a sports analogy, and some math but I don't think anyone is really interested in that. I have posted it before.


    Nobody really knows what this match seeding system UWE is making will turn out to be. Given the small playerbase, large skill differences, and community servers I do not think UWE can implement a traditional matchmaking system. I think they will have to be more creative than that.
    When you aim for perfect balance, you discover it's a moving target.
    Perfect balance is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellent gameplay.
    NS2 is a moving, breathing thing. We have to be willing to constantly evolve. Perfect balance is constant transformation.
  • SantaClawsSantaClaws Denmark Join Date: 2012-07-31 Member: 154491Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 987 Auto Verified
    Nordic wrote: »
    maD_maX_ wrote: »
    Additionally does segregation of skill on a server level make sense?
    Absolutely not. It has been tried before and has not really been all that successful. The no rookies pub server was the most successful attempt in my memory, and it no longer exists.
    Rookie only servers are a type of skill segregation and they are alive and well. People even express how annoyed they are when they can no longer join the rookie only servers.
    IronHorseBlrg
  • cooliticcoolitic Right behind you Join Date: 2013-04-02 Member: 184609Members Posts: 1,582 Auto Verified
    I have said it once and I will say it again: Matchmaking would have only been truly effective if it was implemented at launch.

    I know you guy's said you might end up re-launching NS2 depending on how things go, but I doubt it'd be a good idea.
    When life gives you lemons, throw it back and demand chocolate.


  • MoFo1MoFo1 United States Join Date: 2014-07-25 Member: 197612Members Posts: 543 Auto Verified
    SantaClaws wrote: »
    Nordic wrote: »
    maD_maX_ wrote: »
    Additionally does segregation of skill on a server level make sense?
    Absolutely not. It has been tried before and has not really been all that successful. The no rookies pub server was the most successful attempt in my memory, and it no longer exists.
    Rookie only servers are a type of skill segregation and they are alive and well. People even express how annoyed they are when they can no longer join the rookie only servers.

    Rookie only servers are also pretty much the only real reason the "no rookie" servers all died off. It's also when the community became more toxic (really high skill players always getting upset at the "useless rookies" coming out of rookie only)

    If they made the "rookie only" servers into "rookie/casual" servers with a limit based on hive skill/kdr instead of score/time played, I believe it would go a long way toward improving match quality for everyone. Having really low and really high skill players on the same server would become much more rare, because rookies/low skill players would have to get good enough to reach a high enough hive score. Which would in turn prevent rookies from being suddenly locked out of their favorite servers and kicked into a pit of sharks that they have little to no chance against.. (thus eliminating the annoyance you mention) Plus it gets rid of all the "worthless idiots" and "useless rookies" that the high skill players consistently complain about.



    As far as matchmaking, in my experiences matchmaking systems can't even match people together properly when you have a playerbase of 100,000+, so there's virtually no hope of one ever succeeding in matching such a small community with such a wide gap in player skill like NS2. In literally every game I've tried matchmaking in (which has been a helluva lot over the years) I have never seen one where it matched people successfully (equally skilled and playable ping levels)

    As long as they don't fubar the existing dedicated servers and server browser, then it couldn't hurt, but neither will it magically create balanced games like people seem to think it will.
    2coughWob
  • maD_maX_maD_maX_ Join Date: 2013-04-07 Member: 184678Members Posts: 433 Auto Verified
    @nordic

    I understand the issue with diminishing returns, I was contending that the "returns" from a match making would be less then the "returns" from further hive development. As such IF efforts were to be spent towards balance improvements then improving hive improvements would yield better returns. (Assuming similar levels of difficulty in implementation)
    Nordic
  • NordicNordic Long term camping in Kodiak Join Date: 2012-05-13 Member: 151995Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Silver, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 4,252 Auto Verified
    Awesome. Perfect. I have difficulty getting my message across sometimes, and it seems you got it perfect.

    I am of the opinion that matchmaking is a gamble. It could either yield amazing returns or minimal. I think improvements to hive have a predictable yield, and that yield is low. We seem to disagree on this.

    I want to post an in depth explanation of my reasoning for this, but I don't have time. The second half of this linked post is part of my reasoning. The other part would be some examples of the extreme skill differences found on the typical pub server.

    When you aim for perfect balance, you discover it's a moving target.
    Perfect balance is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellent gameplay.
    NS2 is a moving, breathing thing. We have to be willing to constantly evolve. Perfect balance is constant transformation.
  • TinCanTinCan Join Date: 2006-12-11 Member: 59010Members Posts: 348 Auto Verified
    If matchmaking
    Nordic wrote: »
    I think it is likely whatever they make for matchmaking would work alongside community servers.

    If it works maybe only update hive score when using the matchmaking system. Let community servers become the place people practice.
    The_Welsh_WizardNordiccoolitic
  • IeptBarakatIeptBarakat The most difficult name to speak ingame. Join Date: 2009-07-10 Member: 68107Members, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Diamond, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 2,573 Auto Verified
    edited February 2
    TinCan wrote: »
    If matchmaking
    Nordic wrote: »
    I think it is likely whatever they make for matchmaking would work alongside community servers.

    If it works maybe only update hive score when using the matchmaking system. Let community servers become the place people practice.

    The hive score is used for balancing, they could however make a new competitive matchmaking score and keep the current hive scores "private" for community server balancing.

    Basically, the competitive score would update only during competitive matchmaking games and the hidden community score would be affected by both comp and community games so they're still balanced in a community setting.

    Also I think prioritizing balanced maps with a competitive map pool like csgo would be the way to go.
    A guy called SnarfyBobo last night talked about what a shame it was that NS2 didn't have a way to queue with your friends last night to an audience of 300 people.

    I agree with this completely, I have a lot of friends who would play but they don't want to play against me.
    NordicSantaClaws
  • amoralamoral Join Date: 2013-01-03 Member: 177250Members Posts: 1,330 Auto Verified
    god, this just makes me want to make a new account, and only play gorge on low-hive skill servers.

    because fuck it. sometimes you just want to gorge. and spit at people.

    the trick will be to keep it from getting over 1600 i think.

    stupid hiveskill.
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