Battle.net StarCraft II Matchmaking Too Good?

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Battle.net StarCraft II Matchmaking Too Good?

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Blizzard's Rob Pardo discussed how Battle.net will approach smurfing or "noob-stomping" when StarCraft II is released.

There is a large learning curve when it comes to playing real time strategy games online against random opponents. Some players are still trying to learn the basics of the game when they're matched up with experts who annihilate them before they've expanded or even built their first barracks. Usually, there is a matchmaking algorithm in place which attempts to pit like-skilled players against each other, but the experts still find ways to circumvent it. The practice actually has a term for it - smurfing. In games like Blizzard's WarCraft III, for example, players could create any number of accounts. That practice is abolished in SC2, but Rob Pardo says that the issue isn't as simple as that.

"It's really, really tricky when you have such a diverse skill set of people that are coming to your game, especially when it's a competitive game," Pardo said during a panel discussing the future of connectivity in games at GDC 2010.

"Really good players, they don't necessarily want to play themselves. They want to go beat up on the noob because that's really fun," he said. "When you look at WarCraft III, one of the mistakes we made with that game was that you could make unlimited accounts. All someone had to do, once we knew what their skill level was, they'd just go and make a new account. As far as we were concerned they were a noobie.

"In StarCraft II, we're making sure that you can't do that. You can only have one account and if you want a new account, because you want to go beat up on noobs, you're going to have go out and buy a new copy of StarCraft," he said.

The Battle.net matchmaking has been vastly improved in the StarCraft II beta in accurately setting up matches. But the really interesting tidbit is that Pardo isn't sure if that's a good thing. "If your matchmaking is really good, it means that for every single game, you're kind of the edge of your seat," Pardo said. "After you play an hour or two of games like that, you're kind of exhausted. So we're actually talking about, 'Is that the right matchmaking approach?' You might want to add a little sloppiness to the matchmaking. Maybe that means sometimes you get stomped, but sometimes you have easier games. And sometimes you have the really competitive games. It's got better pacing.

"That's something we've just been talking about this week. We're not sure," Pardo said.

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I really hope it works. It annoys me when you play a game then a total expert annihilates you...who gets off on beating new people anyway...annoying as hell.

I applaud them for there vision and hope they can execute it well

Based on the beta, I'd say this is actually a very accurate account. SC2's matchmaking is absolutely phenomenal and is very likely the first game to really nail it. Games are really, really intense and I've personally felt exactly what he describers here: exhaustion. After my 5th game I feel strained and tired and have to stop playing.

Though, there is always custom maps, vs. AI's and stuff like that. Pardo shouldn't forget about these avenues of play as, IMO, they're very, very integral to the appeal of starcraft.

I have hated most online strategy games due to being beat so easly. May be this will help me. If not, I'll still be gatting SCII and play my friends.

Wow, having topay $$$ for another copy in order to have more fun...
I smell a scheme here!!

Might be an idea to implement a notification that tells you to go relax after detecting that you're starting to deteriorate. Could recommend example custom games.

I think the strength of starcraft2 as an enduring game will be the mod community. If you're feeling brainfried simply go check out the latest TD someones come up with!

they need a little bit of a mixture because how the hell do you learn to be better if you play average joe everyday...seriously you learn new things from vet players and if you keep playing noobs you wont learn jack.

zamble:
Wow, having topay $$$ for another copy in order to have more fun...
I smell a scheme here!!

Lets be honest here, being constantly stomped by tossers who feel like stomping on helpless noobs is not fun, it rewards the jerks and punishes newbies.

Besides there could always be free matchmaking and trueskill matchmaking modes.

I usually play custom maps (preferably the coop ones, or competitive custom maps like MTG) rather than bothering to try and master the classic PVP element of the game. Less frustrating and still a lot of fun. Its why i cant wait to see the new map editor.

They should definitely have all of "skill-calibrated" matchmaking, conventional "ladder" matchmaking, and "open matchmaking" where anyone can play anyone, as well as invitation-based matches for friends and clans.

elvor0:

zamble:
Wow, having topay $$$ for another copy in order to have more fun...
I smell a scheme here!!

Lets be honest here, being constantly stomped by tossers who feel like stomping on helpless noobs is not fun, it rewards the jerks and punishes newbies.

Besides there could always be free matchmaking and trueskill matchmaking modes.

Oh, just to clarify my point of view: I think there should be some leveling and agree with their measure. I was just pointing out how inadequate of him to say people should buy a new copy of a game they already own...

How much you wanna bet someones gonna buy about five or so copies just to continue playing against n00bs?

zamble:
Wow, having topay $$$ for another copy in order to have more fun...
I smell a scheme here!!

No, you have to pay $$$ if you want to spoil others fun.

I've got to say, I'm not too thrilled about this announcement. I can't tell you the number of times I've created new accounts on the original StarCraft by mere virtue of the fact that I forgot my previous account information.

I don't "gank" no "noobs": I suck at StarCraft. All I do is play with my friends, who also suck. And I take some issues with the fact that I'm going to have to play 20 Questions to remember my whatnots after I take a half-year break from the game.

BobisOnlyBob:
They should definitely have all of "skill-calibrated" matchmaking, conventional "ladder" matchmaking, and "open matchmaking" where anyone can play anyone, as well as invitation-based matches for friends and clans.

I second this notion.

Huh, to low content post, fine...

I've never done very much PvP RTS stuff, due to the fact that I've never been able to get down the mechanics the good "competitive" players use. My basic strategy tends to be, work on defense until your base is impenetrable, build up your tech trees, and make a giant base wiping force. and this takes way to long for a PvP match, so playing against less skilled players may actually give me a chance of winning.

I don't have much a problem with this, other than it might be problematic if you have multiple people in the household who want to play the game.

As for his worry about "exhaustion", that's what custom games are for. Hopefully the custom map engine is at least as robust as WC3.

That he said "pwn noobs" is the reason why I'm not buying Starcraft 2. Too much focus on competitive multiplayer.

I mean, I know harcore RTS guys love their clicks per second and build orders, but there is a reason why the genre moved away from tank (or zerg) rushes during the last few years. And make no mistake, the few million copies Starcraft 2 is going to sell will not bring back classic RTSs at all, they will only bring back Starcraft.

James B Hamster:
I've got to say, I'm not too thrilled about this announcement. I can't tell you the number of times I've created new accounts on the original StarCraft by mere virtue of the fact that I forgot my previous account information.

I don't "gank" no "noobs": I suck at StarCraft. All I do is play with my friends, who also suck. And I take some issues with the fact that I'm going to have to play 20 Questions to remember my whatnots after I take a half-year break from the game.

As much as I want to agree with this individual, and as much as I hate the idea that multiple people in a household all need separate copies to play the game and enjoy matchmaking to their appropriate skill level... people rolling new accounts in Halo 3 absolutely ruin the experience, every time, and they end up making up every 5th match played.

I'd almost rather something more in between, along the lines of "new accounts cost money (5, 10 dollars), but not a full-priced copy". You'd still have people willing to pay a fee to be a jerk, but it might serve both sides of the coin more effectively.

That statement he made makes me feel as if they DO infact have a handle on the impossible task.

But it also reminds me of playing Battlefield Bad Company, i always have custom match set to normal and very often it's a random jump between the 3 groupings, Sometimes we are getting smashed to small little peices no matter what we do, sometimes we are smashing little bits because they wee in the first of these groups, then there is my favorite of challenging and conquerable. Of course no matter what i'm usually tired of it in an hour or two. Unless i rage quit

I'm actually a big fan of this, as this was my biggest problem with Starcraft. I was never great, so I tried to play with people who had low records. And before I knew it, they had me outgunned. One time I even had the person tell me, just before he won, what his actual account record was. Something like 1500-200 or so. So I welcome single account matchmaking very much.

zamble:

elvor0:

zamble:
Wow, having topay $$$ for another copy in order to have more fun...
I smell a scheme here!!

Lets be honest here, being constantly stomped by tossers who feel like stomping on helpless noobs is not fun, it rewards the jerks and punishes newbies.

Besides there could always be free matchmaking and trueskill matchmaking modes.

Oh, just to clarify my point of view: I think there should be some leveling and agree with their measure. I was just pointing out how inadequate of him to say people should buy a new copy of a game they already own...

So...it's wrong for them to discourage people from being asshole trolls? Because basically, that's what these people are doing. If they want to be dicks about it, they should have to pay, dammit.

As long as it doesnt have a leveling system. I hate when levels are needlessly used. YOU WIN. YOU GAIN 20 LEVELS. YOU CAN NOW ONLY VS ELITIST JERKS. Fuck that shit.

Its a really good idea, but it won't sell me because I don't want to have a to buy an extra copy to not share an account with my brother :/ Not that I play much else than UMS maps, but I want my record to be my own.

Actually, I think this is a good idea that could use a very simple improvement.

They should include a "play against X" scale option. So, for example an expert wants to go smurf something. Most new players do not wish to get smurfed, however some new player might have finally gotten the grasp of getting those first crucial six minutes down and wants a better challenge, and maybe to see what he's up against in the big leagues. So, the expert wants to Play Against (score ranking, or skill level- whatever is the measurement here), and the up-and-coming player wants to Play Against Expert.
They would get a chance to find each other.

I suppose the default setting for this would be Play Against my own skill level, but it would be fair to include a Play Against All. Since the default setting is My Own Skill Level, they would be at risk of getting smurfed... only at their own risk.

ninjajoeman:
they need a little bit of a mixture because how the hell do you learn to be better if you play average joe everyday...seriously you learn new things from vet players and if you keep playing noobs you wont learn jack.

This is only half true. If you want to learn how to play chess, going and playing 20 games straight against Siegbert Tarrasch is not going to teach you a fucking thing. He's going to stomp the crap out of you and you won't learn any strategies because ALL your strategies will seem ineffective against a grandmaster.

Without going into SC2s functionality in excess, it allows for climbing the ladder, don't worry.

Explosm:
As long as it doesnt have a leveling system. I hate when levels are needlessly used. YOU WIN. YOU GAIN 20 LEVELS. YOU CAN NOW ONLY VS ELITIST JERKS. Fuck that shit.

My guess is they have a system based on win percentages and total games played. Therefore you can always play someone near your skill set based on the fact that you have similar statistics. Obviously it's more in depth than that but it prevents punishing people who just play a lot but never get that good by not stacking them up against David Kim.......*shudder*

metalhead467:

zamble:

elvor0:

zamble:
Wow, having topay $$$ for another copy in order to have more fun...
I smell a scheme here!!

Lets be honest here, being constantly stomped by tossers who feel like stomping on helpless noobs is not fun, it rewards the jerks and punishes newbies.

Besides there could always be free matchmaking and trueskill matchmaking modes.

Oh, just to clarify my point of view: I think there should be some leveling and agree with their measure. I was just pointing out how inadequate of him to say people should buy a new copy of a game they already own...

So...it's wrong for them to discourage people from being asshole trolls? Because basically, that's what these people are doing. If they want to be dicks about it, they should have to pay, dammit.

I disagree with that. I think they shouldn't have that option, either. It's not because you can pay that it justifies spoiling other's fun. Not that I think many people will do it, tough.

These days, with so much discussion about DRM and people having to buy more than one copy of the game just sao they can install it on another PC of their own, it was a stupid declaration.

So my flat mate who wants to play it, but uses my computer will have to use my account?

chozo_hybrid:
So my flat mate who wants to play it, but uses my computer will have to use my account?

...and ruin your stats.

chozo_hybrid:
So my flat mate who wants to play it, but uses my computer will have to use my account?

No system is perfect. I'd be willing to try this, though.

Great, now I might actually have a chance in an RTS. Now all I need is for them to announce that it's going to be released on Mac, or else save up a shitload of money for my local Internet cafe.

I'd love to have some basis, but hey I've only had this game on pre-order since 2007 when gamestop's allowed the pre-order, and uploaded my computer's information the day it was available with a high grade computer, but hey why should they pick me, a committed fan over some random douche who is gonna sell the beta key on ebay.

I've got to agree with the sentiments in the article. This is what killed Halo 2 online for me; every match was about the same level of difficulty. Well, no, what killed Halo 2 was the fact that every serious match was necessarily random (gone were the happy days of Rainbow Six 3, finding a server of cool guys and playing with them for the rest of the evening, only slightly caring what happened to your stats), but the strictly defined difficulty certainly didn't help.

Obviously, as a rule I'd rather play a given game against people more or less my skill level. But it's great, every now and then, to have a match against some newer players, which lets you relax and mess around-or against some pros, one of those matches where you're constantly on your toes, seeing them do crazy things, learning things about the game you never knew, and if you win, you feel ecstatic, and if you lose, it's like a relief.

lacktheknack:

chozo_hybrid:
So my flat mate who wants to play it, but uses my computer will have to use my account?

No system is perfect. I'd be willing to try this, though.

I know, but this is a pretty weak reason to limit accounts. I mean, shit happens, sometimes you lose in a game. Play with friends or do some offline skirmishes to practice.

bjj hero:

chozo_hybrid:
So my flat mate who wants to play it, but uses my computer will have to use my account?

...and ruin your stats.

That too.

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