Making sure players experience quality matches as they play SMITE is one of our top priorities. We wanted to give you insight into how the system works at a base level, as well as how the system varies when it comes to League matches.
What is Matchmaking?
Matchmaking is a term used to describe how we determine which players are going to be paired up to fight. The matchmaking system tries to ensure each team has an even chance at winning any given match. It does this by pairing similarly skilled players with and against each other.
GENERAL MATCHMAKING FAQ
How does the system work?
The system we use is a modified version of the TrueSkill System. The system tracks how players perform and assigns a Matchmaking Rating and a Variance score to the player. The Matchmaking Rating (Hereby called MMR) is how skilled the system thinks a player is. The Variance value is how confident the system is that the assigned MMR is accurate.
When paired together, Variance is used to determine how fast a player’s MMR should change from any given match, and MMR is used as the main tool for pairing players together. As we collect more data on a particular player, the Variance value will go down showing the system’s increased confidence that it has an accurate MMR.
What does the system consider a good match?
The system itself is running through thousands of simulated matches every second looking for a quality game for players. It looks for similar MMR values, similar levels, and wants to make sure the highest MMR isn’t too far away from the lowest MMR value. It also has to make sure players don’t wait too long and parties of 4 or 5 are heavily favored to play with each other. If all of these values are close together, the system views this as a good match, and pulls all of those players into a match.
Sometimes the system can’t meet all of the requirements, leaving players in a longer queue. To make sure these players will get a match, as the time in queue rises the qualifications for what is considered a good match becomes more and more relaxed until a match is found.
An example of a good match would look like this:
If a match isn’t considered even, there are systems in place to compensate a team. The underdog will lose less MMR and TP (League) for losing, and if they win they gain more. This also goes for the reverse scenario; the favored are expected to win and will gain less for winning, and lose more for losing.
How does player level affect the matchmaking system?
Player level is considered in all casual queues. The system heavily favors pairing players within similar level groups, but sometimes it will grab players from other level ranges if a good match cannot be found within an allotted amount of time. Since the system heavily favors pairing similar MMR and similar level, finding matches during low populations times can be difficult, and as such the restrictions are lowered if players have to wait in queue for an extended time.
How does party size affect the matchmaking system?
Party Size affects matchmaking in a few ways. First, when parties are paired together, their MMR is calculated using a formula to approximate what their MMR is together. This considers the idea that being in a party adds synergy that wouldn’t otherwise be there, and experienced players in a party adds greater synergy. Second, parties of 4 or 5 are heavily favored to fight against similarly sized parties. Parties of 2 or 3 don’t have any restrictions applied to them.
Do I have different MMR Values and Variances for the different game modes?
Yes. Each game mode is tracked separately as they all require different skillsets to be measured.
My play has recently seen a large improvement. Will the system recognize this and let me rise?
Yes. We make sure the variance always stays high enough to allow significant movement if a player is able to establish a new level of play.
What extra rules are in place for exceptional players?
We have rules specifically designed to place players at the highest end of the spectrum together. Players at the top will be heavily weighted to only face other players at the top, but this isn’t always possible at any given time. If no suitable match can be made within an allotted time, this rule is discarded as it can result in very long queue times.
This rule is in place for the main causal queues as well as League.
LEAGUE MATCHMAKING FAQ
How is League Matchmaking different?
The specific differences are the inclusion of Qualifying Games, stricter restrictions on who can play each other, and how Tier Placement relates to your MMR. Besides these, the system follows the same rules as Casual Matchmaking.
How does my Tier Placement relate to my MMR?
Tier Placement isn’t considered when it comes to matchmaking, only a player’s MMR is considered. A player’s Tier Placement should be seen as an indication of where their MMR is likely around (Gold III being around 1200-1400 MMR). In a situation where a player’s MMR begins to deviate positively from where their Tier Placement would suggest, the system becomes more generous with Tier Point gains, and less punishing with Tier Point losses until a player’s Tier Placement matches their MMR.
Below is a chart explaining the MMR ranges of each Tier :
What are Qualifying Games?
When first entering League, you will be required to play 10 Qualifying games. Your MMR starts at the average MMR for everyone in the system, and your Variance is set to be very high. After playing 10 games, the system will place you into a Tier.
How high can I be placed after my Qualifying Games?
The highest players can be placed after Qualifying games is Gold I.
(This is a recent change that will take effect as of the Xing Tian Patch for PC. Xbox players can expect to receive this change when they receive Xing Tian.)
What are the goals of Qualifying Games?
Qualifying Matches help to get a rough feel for the skill of the player, and where their initial placement in the League system should be. After 10 games the system will place a player on the lower side of their skill band once qualified, allowing for room to grow. It is important to note that your variance will still be high after these 10 games. This means if you got lucky/unlucky in these first few games, you aren’t stuck too high or too low. The system still keeps a high variance until it becomes more sure. The system is confident with the majority of players as it gets closer to 40 games.
What extra rules apply only to League?
Qualifying players will never be matched with a Platinum, Diamond, or Masters player.
Also at the most extreme MMR differences players will not be matched regardless of time waiting in the queue.
Update : Post Matchmaking FAQ Questions
Reddit user /u/Perkinz posted a series of questions in a Reddit Thread talking about concerns with the Matchmaking System. While some of these are answered here, we felt hit questions hit some of the core concerns players had and feel it is appropriate to show the questions and answers to the questions here. These were taken from a discussion on the Smite Subreddit between /u/Perkinz (and one from /u/SergeofBIBEK) and our Community Manager HiRezPonPon.
How does it decide whether two teams are equal in skill? Player by player or the team’s averaged total—–Does it try to avoid situations where there’s a wide variance in the skill levels of individual players but a technically equal level of skill between the teams?
The system averages out the teams MMR values and pairs them against another groups. There is weighting that comes into play with parties that will “boost” the values to account for teamwork, but the goal is to make both sides even. It also tries to do this with as small of a variance as possible between individual MMR values. In a 2v2 example, a 1000 + 1100 vs a 950 + 1200 would be a more likely match than a 200 + 2000 vs. 800 + 1400 even though the second example is 100% even if you just add the scores. It knows large differences between individual MMR values in the group is a bad thing and will only do something like this when a match simply cannot be found otherwise.
Does it become less strict the longer you sit in queue—-If so, how long must you wait before it just goes “F*
** it, you’ve waited long enough, I’ll just place you in a match to get you in game”—Is it gradual or is there a specific threshold?
Yes. The system gets less strict as time goes on. Different queues have different “that’s it, we are doing it now” times set to them and get increasingly lax until they hit that time. There are some hard limits to what it can try to do to balance the match, and even more restrictions on Ranked to avoid the worst case scenarios.
Does it factor in things like ping?
No. Ping can vary depending on connection quality and can change rapidly, plus in theory balancing for it would be double penalizing to those with not so stellar connections, since they would already be biased to perform worse than if they had a solid connection.
Does it factor in premade vs randoms?
Yes. The system tries to pair matching party sizes together. This isn’t always possible. See ALG doing a 5 man premade in casuals and stomping my face in, happened about 2-3 weeks ago. The matchmaker was given a pretty impossible task. “Here are 5 pro players on a coordinated team, all with grandmaster MMRs. Find a match to pair them with.” Unless Eager joined the queue then, there simply isn’t going to be one within the time allotment for a match to be made, resulting in some cases where matches have a Premade vs. Non-premade.
My example there was a bit extreme, but parties are inherintly harder to match. They also become even more difficult when there are difficult cases presented such as the ALG 5 man or even a level 30 players introducing his level 2 and level 5 friend to Smite.
How does it handle placing multiple premades together (I ask because oftentimes I’ll see matches where one team is comprised of a 3 man and a 2 man (AKA 3+2) or a 2+2+1 while the other team is a 1+1+1+1+1 and I’m just like “Why the f*** didn’t they put one of those 2 mans on the other team instead of giving one team both of them)
As stated above, it will try to balance parties so that teams fight teams when it makes sense. In a situation where it is 3 + 2 vs. 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 the system looked at the teams, weighed the teams accordingly, and found that a more balanced match came from that config. This likely means the players on the Solo side are overall individually more skilled and could outweigh the bonus (both the literal bonus of coordination and the extra MMR weight we put them at) of the enemy team being coordinated.
Is it an “actual” queue where it puts you in a specific order and matches people based on history/location/etc after factoring in that order? Or is it purely a pool of every player in queue at that moment?
The matchmaker itself has been described to me as follows : Every “tick” which is a small defined window of time, the system goes through all the available players and runs match simulations (thousands of them). These simulations look to average out the values of the team, see how close the values were and then see if a match is solid. If so, it throws them all into a match and they are off. When a player who has been in the queue for a long time gets thrown into these simulations they lower the threshold of what is considered a “solid” game to attempt to get into a game.
Once “max” time is reached, the system does another round of simulations and finds the best it can muster and lets that one go.
So a quicker answer to this question is more like, “It selects from all available players, while players waiting longer have a bit more bias on them to get a match to pop.”
Does it factor in the chaos/order winrate bias like TP does?
I am actually not sure what our Chaos/Order winrate difference is at the moment, but historically it has been largely insignificant. As far as I know TP has no bias on it depending on the side you are on. It “kinda” did earlier this season if you were in a particular situation but that bug was squashed in the early half of this year and has not been around since.
Why is it that Smite’s matchmaking feels so far from accurate/fair/correct compared to the dozens of other games I’ve played in my lifetime? – /u/SergeofBIBEK
MOBAs are inherently more sensitive to differences in team strength. In a shooter for example, nobody is gaining levels on you because a teammate is doing poorly. They might get a number/map presence advantage, but not a stat based one. In a MOBA someone doing poorly can cause a snowball effect which results in some bad situations.
I also think there is some merit to the argument that a players “MMR Range” is wider in a MOBA as well. An MMR range is where a player normally falls. A player isn’t 1000 MMR, they are more like 850 – 1150 MMR, depending on their mood that day, understanding of particular matchups, and individual god strengths. In Chess, your “Elo Range” is probably much tighter since there are less variables, leading to the system just being more accurate because of the game.
After spending a ton of time with the MMing guys downstairs, I do feel confident that Smite does the best it can given the data set that it has while also making sure players get into matches.
Thanks for reading our matchmaking FAQ! We hope this answered questions you may have had about our system! For any other questions regarding matchmaking, tweet @smitegame.