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Respawn is making Apex Legends matchmaking more fair

Respawn's tweaks to its matchmaking system aim to make Apex Legends less of an uphill battle for more green and inexperienced players.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

January 17, 2023

2 Min Read
Promo art for Apex Legends: Eclipse.

Respawn Entertainment's matchmaking team released a blog focused on the larger changes coming to Apex Legends' matchmaking system. The popular battle royale recently got an update that the developers hope lead to "fairer matches compared to today as you play with friends of different skill levels."

For players curious about how developers build the backend for their multiplayer games, the blog (attributed to a cross-discipline Respawn representative) should offer some insight into what goes into matchmaking for titles such as this. 

Presently, Respawn employs a skill-based matchmaking system (SBMM) for Apex Legends, which unites players with close enough skill levels determined in part by a player's personal rankIt's used in several shooters like Call of Duty: Warzone 2 and Fortnite, but Respawn plans on switching to a new matchmaking algorithm. 

Apex's SBMM algorithm groups players based on average skill and the particular playlist. For example, in both ranked and public play, a team is determined by the skill rating of its best player in an effort to "safeguard competitive integrity" against bots or boosters. But less skilled players joining more experienced friends may get demolished by the competition. 

Under the new algorithm, the public playlist will "increase game fairness" for groups with a large range of skill differences. Going forward, all playlists in both public and ranked will use the same matchmaking technology for skill ratings, but specific modes will have their values based on the best fit for each mode. 

Respawn has said that this change will "make better decisions when forming groups...to create fairer matches and experiences that are more fun for all."

Apex's new matchmaking system started rolling out on a regional basis with the currently running Season 15. Once it's available to all players around the world, Respawn plans to address tweaks that need to be made, such as skill rating for when a player is in a solo playlist versus a duo or trio playlist. 

For more insight into Respawn's methods, including how premade groups factor into matchmaking, and to see the graphs that go with the explanation of Respawn's methods, you can read the blog here.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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