The State of Matchmaking

We spoke at length about the improved matchmaker in the Common Test announcement. Today, we’re shining the spotlight on the way the matchmaker works, walking you through every step of team building. Ready? Let’s begin.

How It Works

The improved matchmaker builds two teams with several key criteria in mind. Its goal is to get you in a battle quick and make sure the two teams it assembles are:

  • Comparable in their aggregate combat parameters
  • Diverse in vehicle types and versatile enough to provide an engaging gaming experience
  • Balanced in a way that gives both sides a chance at victory

To do so the system analyzes vehicles in the queue and chooses one out of a set of templates; server-side algorithms with team makeups that define the tier spread and vehicle distribution at the top, middle and bottom of the list. The matchmaker starts by trying to create a ±2 battle using the 3/5/7 template (three vehicles at the top, five in the middle, and seven at the bottom) or one of its variants (e.g., 3/4/8, 3/3/9, etc.). The variant you land depends on the queue composition, but whichever you get, there will be no battles where vehicles in the middle are outnumbered by those at the top. Just like the matchmaker won’t allow more vehicles in the middle than in the bottom. There’ll always be:

  • No fewer vehicles in the middle than at the top 
  • No fewer vehicles at the bottom than in the middle

This way, the matchmaker ensures that regardless of your position on the list, there are always enough players in the same position on your team to have a real chance in battle.

Content is available at greater widths of the browser window.

If assembling two 3/5/7 teams will leave you queuing too long, the matchmaker loosens its restrictions a bit to make sure you get into a match quicker. In this case, you can get a two-level or single-level battle. Those are rare instances, though; the majority of battles will have the ±2 tier spread.

After you’ve fought at the bottom for a few consecutive battles, the matchmaker will try to find a team where you get in the middle/top of the list, regardless of whether you play in the same vehicle or choose a new one during this session. However, if it sees that this will have you waiting for quite a while, it will match you into a battle with a suitable tier split. The result is you don’t get tired of waiting and always end up with a setup optimal for the current situation on the server.

Creating a Battle

Step 1. Defining the battle tier spread and game mode. First, the matchmaker defines the number of tankers and Platoons suitable for each battle tier and game mode. It analyzes the modes each player flagged for a battle session, vehicles they chose for a battle, their tier and whether they follow regular or special matchmaking rules.

Step 2. Creating two evenly assembled teams. Having defined the battle tier spread and battle mode, the system tries to match players in teams based on team balance requirements and limitations:

  • Templates. Both teams should fit the template: they should have the same number of vehicles in the top, middle and bottom.
  • SPGs. The number of arty is limited to a maximum of three per side.
  • Platoons. The matchmaker permits only same-tier Platoons into Random Battles. The difference in the number of Platoon players between the two teams should be three at the most. 
  • Vehicle types. The difference in the number of artillery, light tanks and tank destroyers within each part of the list should be just one vehicle at the most.

At the same time, the matchmaker doesn’t take into account a vehicle’s nation, configuration, equipment or consumables, nor its Crew training level and player stats, with the only exception for the number of battles. The latter are considered to create separate battles for newcomers.

Adding player skill to the equation would disrupt the very idea behind Random Battles. Although the mode has rules, there is an element of randomness to each battle, and the thrill that comes with it is what we all love about Random Battles. Everyone gets a chance to become a hero, to prove their worth playing against people with different battle histories. It wouldn’t be possible with skill-based matchmaking. If you want to face off against players who are of a similar standing, you’ll get a chance to test your mettle quite soon in an all-new mode centered on individual contribution and skill: Ranked Battles.

If you joined us for the 9.18 Common Test, you might have been in a ±2 battle with an SPG at the top of the list. Technically, such a setup doesn’t break any team balance requirements, and battles like that will be created in future. However, we’ll make sure this happens seldom. The matchmaker will try to place arty in the middle or at the bottom of the list. Even if it chooses to assemble a team with arty at the top just to prevent you from queueing too long, it will ensure the other team has an SPG at the top, too.

Step 3. Choosing a map. As soon as the matchmaker finds a template that fulfills all requirements, it assembles two teams according to it, chooses a map and creates a battle. Maps for tier 1–3 battles are chosen randomly from a pool of locations available for lower-tier engagements. In other cases, the matchmaker creates a selection of maps suitable for the game mode and the battle tier spread the two teams have. Then, it analyzes maps that tankers from the two newly created teams have played recently and places them on a map not many of them have seen in the last few sessions.

Paired with SPG revision, the improved matchmaker took the team months to develop and is a pivotal step in establishing a fairer, more balanced experience. We tried to create an algorithm that will serve everyone best going forward, fine-tuned it during the Common Test and finally introduced it to live servers. We aren’t going to stop here, though. If we’ve done a good job improving this core element, we expect you to tell us, just like you would if you feel that certain elements need some extra work. We’ll combine your feedback with the battle stats, which will give us a good picture of how we can improve the matchmaker moving forward.