Does Skill-Based Matchmaking Hinder Your Experience in Games Like Apex Legends?

I’ve jumped on the fad of competitive online gaming as it has taken over a large part of my gaming headspace. Some of the best players in esports leagues have encouraged me to be better. It’s fun to see my own improvement in games like Overwatch and Apex Legends over time. Recently, skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) has been under fire under with players claiming it actually worsens their overall experience.

The skill-based matchmaking system, which many online multiplayer games utilize, puts players of similar skill levels into a lobby. It helps new players avoid seasoned ones. However, Apex Legends players don’t find this system helpful in the slightest in their normal games as they claim that they run into connection issues. There were also complaints of matches being more “difficult” for the better players and creating just a lousy gaming experience in general.

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In my time playing the game, I haven’t come across any of these issues. I do generally play the ranked mode because I want to pit myself against the best at my skill level. In normal games that I use to warm up for ranked, I find squads who aren’t running around mindlessly or think it’s a good idea to run in with a P2020 pistol. Looking at the normal mode from a competitive standpoint, I don’t see why removing SBMM would be a good thing. If I wanted to play against actual bots to feel better about myself and rack up kills, I’d play Fortnite.

It’s almost like playing a pickup basketball game and asking someone who’s never even touched a basketball to play with me. Alternatively, it’s practically similar to asking Lebron James to play against you in a basketball game. Neither of those situations seems fun. I understand that “fun” is subjective, but I would think a challenge in any game would be more fun than stomping all over your opponents.

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When it comes to connection issues and the game being harder for experienced players, I can only support those claims halfheartedly. Fortnite included bots in normal games to help newer players get kills. It does help newcomers play longer in hopes of giving them confidence during the real matches. Still, I’d argue that Fortnite is more mechanically (albeit unnecessarily) challenging due to the building factor.

Apex Legends, on the other hand, only asks you to survive. I’ve met plenty of new players who pick up the game and work their way to becoming better. During gameplay, you can learn what guns work best in certain situations, when to use specific abilities, and when to back away from sticky situations. It’s somewhat funny to hear that Diamond and Apex Predator players are having a “hard time” in normal matches. You’re in that rank for a reason.

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Yes, I agree that the connection issues need to be fixed when its caused by SBMM. Other than that, the way the mode functions is okay. Surprisingly, Respawn had to clarify that the style of matchmaking has been active since the game’s launch.

If anything, the real SBMM issue I’ve found is that I occasionally encounter former Diamond and Apex Predator ranked players have somehow jumped into my normal games. I could almost argue SBMM doesn’t always match me against similarly skilled players. As the second year of Apex Legends progresses, we can only see how matchmaking improves over time.


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Brock Jensen

Saebyeolbe is the Tom Brady of Overwatch. MOBILE GAMERS ARE STILL GAMERS. Send me stuff [email protected]