This solution is not perfect, they never said that it was, however, it does offer a useful compromise within the constraints they had available to them.
First and foremost, no matter what they did, someone would disagree with it. That’s the nature of reality, and it is impossible for them to make a change to the basic mechanics of the game that will please everyone.
Given that, they had to look at the problems.
- People hate to wait for games. In the case of PC users, that wait can sometimes be very, very long.
- People want to play against people of their own ability levels.
Unfortunately, these two problems (both of which have been voiced loudly) are in direct conflict with one another.
In order to get better matches, you have to force people to wait longer.
In order to get shorter waits, you have to loosen up ELO matchmaking.
Now that they understand their problem, they have to find a compromise that while not making everyone happy will “increase the total level of happiness in the system.”
What they choose (and only time will tell if they were right), is to give people the choice between getting “better matches” or “quicker matches.”
So far, so good.
Unfortunately, on platforms where population is low, they would go from a queue that looks like this (numbers all made up):
to one that looks like this:
It would actually look even worse than that, because the “Competitive” mode would be further segregated via ELO. It’s entirely possible that there would only be a handful of people in your particular ELO-bracket to play at any given time (especially if you’re on a platform with a small number of players).
This would mean that players would be waiting hours to play the same handful of people over and over again.
This is, on the face of it, bad.
As a result, they needed a compromise that:
- Increased the size of player pools.
- While maintaining the goal they set out initially (giving players the choice between “better” and “faster” matches).
The best available compromise right now, is limiting map choice.
This is not by any stretch perfect, but it’s better than currently available alternatives.
GBX is also asking us for feedback, and I think we would do well to offer them some.
Right now, I would say that offering players a 5-10 grace period after the vote to decide to drop out would be helpful. That way the team could be refilled rather than starting a game one or two persons down.