Relevant Dev Blog Post: Click Here.
Since I don’t fare to well with graphic designs, I admit with regret that this will be all text.
What’s up with Matchmaking?
With a TLDR at the beginning: The servers that host the instances can only contain a certain amount of players. This is known as the player cap, or the number of player slots available for each faction in an instance. Currently, it is limited to 40 enforcers and 40 criminals. The player cap has been adjusted a few times. 50 to 45 to 40. I don’t think there’s ever been a time where it exceeded over 50 for a faction or lower than 40.
Shit, I hope you aren’t expecting me to know what the ACTUAL formula they use is. All I know is that the system tries to match you with players with the similar threat level assigned to you by the matchmaking system. This, of course, comes with its drawbacks. Because the instances are capped to a certain amount, you severely limit your potential for good matchmaking.
Factors affecting matchmaking.
Various factors exist that affect your potential pool of opponents:
- Players already in a mission.
- Players not of the similar threat level.
- Players AFK.
- Players not actively searching for missions.
I might not have covered it all, but this should give you a decent understanding of how small of a matchmaking pool can become when the system only has 50 players to select from.
Real world example.
It’s similar to using shopping filters on your favorite website. Each of these factors are essentially toggled on and limit you to a select group of players. So if you used the search term keyboard, you might have 8,000 different keyboards from various sizes, colors, and materials. Let’s say your favorite color is hot pink. You’ve now limited yourself to 700 keyboards that fit your criteria. Now let’s add in that you’ve heard that mechanical keyboards are the best choice. The choices are now limited to 23 keyboards. You also want a small keyboard, one without a number pad. There are only two choices that fit your criteria now.
The same exact thing is happening with the APB matchmaking.
It’s just a heavy mix of various factors. So far, my point has been about how the player cap is too small. But the reason they reduce the limit is because of how it affects the server’s performance (or something technical that I don’t understand because computers are complex). I think the most straightforward solution would be to invest back into the hardware…something that allows for stability. But as I describe each solution, there opens up a problem or two.
Hardware requires money.
Money at this stage with APB is a bit hard to come by. Why? Population isn’t very high.
Money requires population.
You have a dying population and your retention rate is most likely at all time lows because of how long the game has been live with players. As time goes by, the skill level of those veterans increase. Since the matchmaking is not what we would consider optimal, new players are exposed to veterans and they are usually exterminated without prejudice.
Also, the main stream of income seems to be from the ARMAS Marketplace. Joker Mystery boxes are a good source
Population requires a bearable gameplay.
The first impression is always the most important. I know that phrase is overused but it stays true. It’s always okay for a game to have some problems but not when they become a noticable disruption. What are some of the most common problems that current exist in the game?
- Servers downtime.
- Client FPS lag/stutter.
- Server lag.
- Poor matchmaking.
You can notice that it now becomes a loop. For a game to become better and acquire meaningful patches, it requires money and time. To acquire money, you need a healthy population of players. To acquire a healthy population of player requires gameplay that doesn’t have significant, long-lasting issues.