Matchmaking in 9.19.1 and the Road Ahead

Matchmaking was among the most problematic and complex elements we addressed in Update 9.18, and it’s something we’ll keep an eye on and fine tune moving forward. Since we rolled out fundamental system improvements, we continued to work on it using a combination of your feedback and extensive data gathering. Here, we'll discuss the effects of the revised matchmaker, with a look at future tweaks in 9.19.1 and beyond. Let’s get to it!

What’s Changed

The feedback from all of you proved instrumental in outlining the list of long-term improvements and quick fixes that could be implemented in the short term. Of course, two months aren’t nearly enough to adequately process all the changes, define positive trends, areas for continued improvement, and devise a sound action plan for each issue. But we’re on it! And we’ll keep you in the loop every step of the way, starting with this news beat.

Reading the hundreds of pages of discussion and feedback on the improved matchmaker convinced us that the template-based algorithm does its job of balancing the speed of matching versus the quality of matches. Every 3/5/7 battle at the top of the list makes you a key player on the team, giving you a real opportunity to lead the team to victory, which is equal parts difficult and rewarding. It’s much easier now to analyze the power balance and the situation before the countdown is over, meaning there’s time to think over the enemies’ moves and plan your own. Finally, many of you reported that gameplay on a number of maps has changed, bringing an extra thrill to the process and with it—a chance to rediscover familiar locations, devising new tactics.

The 3/5/7 template serves its purpose of allowing every tanker to contribute in battle. You always get comparable opposition, regardless of whether you’re placed at the top, middle, or bottom of the list. Remember the less-than-desirable scenario of playing Tier VIII and getting matched against Tier X? Now think how it feels in the game as it stands today. Having a few top-tiers on the other camp no longer makes you question the point of battling. Stronger opposition is fewer in number than vehicles in the middle, there’s a similar number of top-tiers on your side, and there’s no need for you to go up against them.

What’s Changing with 9.19.1

Arty returns to Platoons with a maximum limit of one SPG per Platoon: Preventing arty to join and form Platoons was a temporary restriction designed to help us measure the impact of the stun effect and other SPG changes introduced in 9.18. Probably the biggest criticism we heard was on this decision, which together with the metadata we collected made us reconsider. To set things right without returning all-arty Platoons, we’re bringing this option back for the class and limiting them to one SPG per Platoon.

The matchmaker now balances team makeups by vehicles types and Platoons within a battle tier: Let’s focus on a scenario, which most of you have been through either before 9.18 or in the months after its launch. Can you recall when a team with a scout at Tier X would be matched against one with a scout at Tier VIII or something just as frustrating? These end for good with 9.19.1. Starting with its release, the matchmaker will balance team makeups by vehicle types and Platoons within a battle tier. When the matchmaker forms two sides, it puts together a similar number of TDs, LTs, and arty for each battle tier. If your team has a TD at the top, a couple of scouts in the middle, and an SPG at the bottom, the matchmaker attempts to mirror this make-up on the enemy team. However, if this scenario would cause you to wait too long, the rules become more flexible to get you into a battle faster.

All the little things, too: Along with fixing major issues, we took some time to restructure team lists to let you get a better picture of the opposition and draw a battle plan to take them down. Now, vehicles at the top, middle and bottom of the list are listed by classes and those belonging to the same class are sorted by names. Here’s the order:

  • Classes: heavy tanks → medium tanks → tank destroyers → light tanks → arty
  • Names: beginning with numbers → the Latin alphabet → names in Cyrillic

What’s Coming

When we say we aspire to build a truly fair, balanced, and exciting experience for everyone to enjoy, we stand by it. It's not just a fancy statement written on a whiteboard somewhere at our office; it's present in our minds with every decision we make. We won’t consider this mission accomplished until you tell us. And as we work towards it we’ll keep enhancing the matchmaker with new rules, logic, and restrictions―all of them designed to create team makeups with equal chances at victory, bringing decision-making, tactics, and strategy to the forefront.

Moving forward, we’ll be building on the balance by vehicle types to remove the difference in vehicle classes from the factors that might give one side an edge over the other. Our end goal here is to make every victory a team accomplishment that has nothing to do with matchmaking.

There are a few more issues on our to-do list, and reviewing preferential matchmaking is among them. We’ll work collaboratively as long as it takes to solve each of them without spoiling the experience for anyone. To correctly set expectations, these are just areas we’re focused on, with no set-in-stone dates. We’ll continue to keep you updated on the specifics and timing as we get closer to finalizing those for testing. Fixing the matchmaking is a huge and challenging quest for the team and we wanted to, again, thank you for taking this journey with us!

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