Matchmaker Tweaks: Next Steps

In December last year we outlined that 2019 would be a big year for the matchmaker. That's definitely true, because we've got some big changes coming to its current architecture. But to show you the big picture, let us begin by reviewing the matchmaker’s evolution, as well as its current major issues.  

A Brief Overview

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The matchmaker is one of the most important components of our game, existing since World of Tanks’ creation. It works with the vehicles that the player chooses and assembles the teams. Also the matchmaker fulfills other important tasks, including:

  • Selecting comparable and competitive teams
  • Selecting various types of vehicles for each battle
  • Maintaining map variety

The matchmaker’s primary goal is getting you into battle as quickly as possible. In 2010, this task was much easier than today. At that time there were far fewer players, especially at Tier IX and X, and only 3 nations. There were also significantly fewer tanks than today. In order to reduce the waiting time, the matchmaker could send vehicles to battle with a difference of five tiers, so Tier VI and X tanks could often be in the same battle. Naturally, this may seem a bit strange to you now.

Over time we encountered some festering problems which the matchmaker simply could not resolve, because the tools weren’t there in its current form. These issues were:

  • No restrictions on the number of vehicles on one team, depending on their class
  • So-called "fail Platoons", consisting of vehicles that differ by more than three tiers
  • Few opponents of your Tier in battle. For example, there could be 13 Tier Xs but only 2 Tier VIII vehicles on the enemy team. Simply put, you just might have no real adversaries to realistically take on.

To solve these problems, it was necessary to fundamentally change the matchmaker and create a completely new architecture.

Update 9.18 And A Template System  

In 2017, Update 9.18 was designed to solve these issues and to increase player comfort in battle.  We introduced some restrictions: Platoons could only be single-tier and we also reduced the number of artillery to three per team. But most importantly, Update 9.18 brought with it a template system. These templates (the main ones are 3-5-7 and 5-10) are still in use today.

Overall, the game is now completely different. On the other hand, after the release of Update 9.18, we overlooked another crucial aspect of our game, the Queue.

What’s the Queue?

The queue represents a list of vehicles, which is filled in accordance with the players' choice. Once you've chosen a tank to roll out into battle, you immediately are placed on this list.

To put it simply, imagine that the queue is one big waiting room. It gathers vehicles, where they're waiting for the matchmaker to send them into battle. This happens when a sufficient number of vehicles of suitable tiers are assembled.

Queuing time depends on the number of players in the queue and the tiers of vehicles that they've chosen. The matchmaker also picks a template, sorts various classes of vehicles accordingly and selects a random map.

Important point

Before the release of Update 9.18, Tier X vehicles were 4 times less common than Tier VIII tanks. Therefore, the classic 3-5-7 template that we’re all aware of proved to be effective and helped quickly sort the queue.
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New Challenges

However, over the past two years, the ratio of vehicles has changed significantly. Now Tier X vehicles are only two times less common than VIII; the number of Tier IX tanks has also increased remarkably.  

At the same time, the queue is very dynamic and changes literally every second. This is not only due to the natural evolution of our game, the queue is affected by some additional in-game factors that increase the workload on the queue, for example:

  • Ongoing events
  • Challenges
  • Special offers

The natural evolution of the queue has led to two new serious issues that we're currently struggling with.

  1. Tanks often are bottom of the list and have to battle against adversaries of higher tiers, which is not always enjoyable. This is especially true for Tier VI and VIII vehicles.
  2. Players with preferential Premium vehicles play most their battles against vehicles one tier higher, in the 5-10 template and are rarely getting matched with vehicles of their tier and one-tier lower. As a result, such a situation eliminates the benefits of preferential matchmaking.

But the templates in the current matchmaker architecture are strict, so they cannot quickly adapt to the queue evolution. So, many players today are more often at the bottom of the list, and this is the most important thing we want to change.

We would also like to:  Reduce the number of battles with vehicles of higher tiers and increase the number of battles with tanks of the same tier and one-tier lower.

How Do We Want to Achieve This?

To achieve these goals, we plan to introduce dynamic templates for both two-tier and three-tier battles.  In the future, the following templates may appear:

  • 7-8, 6-9, 5-10 and 4-11 for two-tier battles
  • 4-5-6, 4-4-7 and even 5-5-5 for three-tier battles
  • other templates are also possible

Please note: The 5-5-5 battle format may not be optimal for those of you at the bottom of the list. However, thanks to the introduction of this template, all players will be less likely to be bottom of the list. It will also reduce the number of battles in which you'll encounter adversaries two tiers higher.

The new matchmaker will be able to choose various templates for vehicles of different Tiers in order to maintain an optimal balance throughout the system. At the same time, the matchmaker will be able to quickly adapt to the current situation in the queue, taking into account many factors. The choice in favor of a particular template will be made depending on the number of tanks in the queue and their Tier, check it out!

Matchmaker


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Matchmaking mechanics based on the battles fought on December 11, 2018.
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Battle templates
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One-tier battles
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Three-tier battles

*Please note: All data provided in the widget is a cross-section for a specific day (December 11, 2018). On any other day, the situation may differ, depending on the queue structure.

NOTE: After the release of the updated matchmaker, the waiting time may slightly increase, but the comfort in each battle should also increase. The waiting time will depend on the current situation in the queue.   

Near Future Plans

The technical part of the architecture is ready and has successfully passed through testing. In the near future, after some extra improvements and technical tweaks, we will launch a new matchmaker on one of the "live" servers.

First of all, we will check the stability and resilience of the new matchmaker in a real server environment, as well as collect real data on the distribution of tanks in battles. And, of course, we'll put some finishing touches to the template settings.

After testing is completed, we'll carefully analyze the results obtained and your feedback. If we make sure that the new matchmaker changes the quality of battles for the better, we will launch it on other servers around the world.

Follow the news and take part in testing the new matchmaker! Together we can make our game even more enjoyable. Also share your feedback on which templates you’re looking forward to seeing most.

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