Matchmaking in online games can be tricky and there are always certain reasons why game developers choose a particular direction for their online mechanics. In Blizzard's Overwatch, many players have often wondered why hero preference doesn't seem to play into their matchmaking system for a game that is reliant on balance, a question that Game Director Jeff Kaplan is answering head-on.
Overwatch players have been asking for a sort of role preference to be added into the matchmaking algorithm for awhile now as a means to prevent unbalanced teams and possible toxic reactions for those looking to build the ultimate comp.
One player took to the Blizzard forums to suggest a "Role Queue Compromise," saying "How about tuning the matchmaker to take into account the most played heroes on a person's account to sort of 'soft role queue' players into games where the composition would end up as a 2-2-2 naturally? If someone has a certain % of their playtime on a certain role, the matchmaker would classify them as that role and not match more than two players with the same role on a team."
They also talked a little bit about how that would impact wait times and overall comp, to which Kaplan responded:
"Thanks for the suggestion! It's actually one we've debated on the team. One concern we have is anytime we – the OW team – make assumptions about what you want to do without giving you some agency in the situation. Our concern is, we believe there are a number of players who want to or like to play different roles but because they are thinking of "the good of the team", they flex to needed roles. A player like this, under your design suggestion, is going to end up always having to play tank or support. We really want to avoid design solutions that further reinforce players being forced to play roles they don't intend to."
He added, "I hope this explanation makes sense. To use myself as an example, by your suggestion, I am a "tank main" because most of my play time is on tanks. But I really love playing healers and damage heroes as well. I would be worried if the game just assumed I should be playing tank all the time, because I did it so much previously (mostly to be a good teammate, not because that's what I wanted to do)."
What kind of matchmaking changes would you like to see Overwatch make? Sound off in the comment section below, or hit me up over on Twitter @DirtyEffinHippy!