One of the most common criticisms of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is its strict implementation of skill-based matchmaking. Many players were hoping that Treyarch would downscale SBMM for Black Ops Cold War, but recent rumors suggest otherwise. Call of Duty fans may have to put up with at least another year of strict skill-based matchmaking.
This suggestion comes from Tom Henderson’s Twitter account. Here he tweeted “SBMM in BOCW is EXACTLY the same as Modern Warfare,” to the worry of many fans. Henderson has proven in the past to be a reliable source for Call of Duty leaks, having previously predicted the Black Ops Cold War reveal being delayed until August.
SBMM isn’t going anywhere
Even if we take Henderson’s words with a grain of salt, he is probably correct. SBMM has become very popular in the FPS genre as it makes selling copies of just about any game easier. After all, the high skill players who get stuck with frustrating lobbies are going to stick around regardless. Yet skill-based matchmaking also makes the lower skill players stay longer because it gives the illusion of performing well.
With Call of Duty‘s business model shifting away from map packs and toward selling weapon skins, keeping players around is Activision’s to priority. You simply can’t sell skins to a player who has stopped playing your game.
The problem with skill-based matchmaking in Call of Duty is that the franchise itself is casual. Unlike other esports-centric games like Siege, Overwatch, and CS:GO, Modern Warfare doesn’t feature any kind of ranked mode. It’s hard to justify its existence from a player’s point of view when the game isn’t even balanced to be competitive in the first place.
It’s this reason that the CoD League has to actively ban over half of the game’s guns, perks, and killstreaks. On top of that, the pro players themselves agree to further ban even more content that they personally deem unbalanced. Placing SBMM in a game that is fundamentally casual hurts the player experience for many.