In Season 4, we are introducing a new feature to our Matchmaking algorithm. During low population times, the Matchmaking algorithm will begin to look for matches outside of a player’s preferred region to make a higher quality Match. We wanted to take some time to explain why we are implementing this feature, how the system works, and how we will continue to use this feature moving forward.
Matchmaking requires a strong population to work and in some regions and platforms the population can drop low enough that Matchmaking ends up either being unable to make a Match or will make a very poor one. This most often occurs during “Low Population Hours” where most players have gone offline for the evening. Depending on the Queue type, some Queues are more affected by this than others. While most of our regions and platforms maintain a healthy population during these hours, not all do. Our goal with this new feature, which we will now call Server Roll Ups, is to help players in this situation find higher quality games by moving them into a different region.
How It Works
To explain how this will work, lets use the current situation in the Oceanic Region for the Ranked Conquest Queue. In the last few months, there have been fewer than 100 instances of Ranked Conquest on the Oceanic servers. While we expect fewer games in this Queue, due to the Oceanic Region having fewer players in general, this is far under what we would expect for a region of its size. Since ranked has harsher restrictions on what is an “acceptable Match” to the Matchmaking, players would queue up and face incredibly long Queue times. This led to fewer and fewer people queuing for Ranked in that region which compounded the problem to its current state.
With the new Server Roll Up tech, players who queue into Ranked Conquest from the Oceanic region will now be rolled up into North American games. Through this new tech, we hope to encourage players of that region that they WILL get into games if they queue in their respective region and we can bring more of these players back, potentially to the point where rolling up players will no longer be needed.
The variables we use to determine a “Low Population Queue” are platform and region specific, and can be adjusted at any time by us. This will allow us to continually monitor the data we are receiving and make tweaks to the system to better understand each region’s and platform’s specific “Low Population Times” to make the experience better for all players. Every month, we will be pulling all of the data and doing a thorough review to make any more tweaks to the whole system that may be needed.
We will also have tests running with some regions and platforms that will never have this feature turned on, some having it intelligently on, and some regions and queues defaulting to it on. Players of SMITE on the PC in NA, EU, or Brazil will not see any Server Roll Ups occur to them since their Queue sizes are already healthy. Regions like LATAM South or Console EU will see the intelligent Server Roll Ups occur when needed. Situations like Oceanic Ranked Conquest will begin with rolling up always on, with the goal of eventually moving it to roll ups turning on intelligently. In the near future, we plan to let players know through the UI, before they queue, that they will be rolled up, so they decide if they want to be rolled up or try a different Queue.
We will be continuing to monitor this system closely and will be taking feedback on how players feel this system is working. We are excited for the what this system can do for SMITE in lower population regions and continue to look forward to improving on it in the coming months.