Once all the glitter and hype for a game fades away, the only thing that’s left standing is its gameplay. What players experience while in the game, day in and day out. It is this gaming experience that defines the game for the thousands who’ll play it and will stay with them. Call of Duty in that sense has had a long history in competitive gaming.
Players across the world have played CoD actively, not just casually, just like they have other competitive titles like Counter-Strike, DOTA, etc. So it was but natural that CoD would end up having a tryst with Skill-based Matchmaking in how it is intended for players to experience.
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What is Skill-based Matchmaking?
Skill-based Matchmaking is essentially how players in any multiplayer mode in a game are matched according to their skills. It’s been a part of the multiplayer experience in other games too but made headlines in CoD only after 2018 with Modern Warfare.
Popularly called SBMM in short, it matches a player with other players and tries to put together those with similar skills in a match. Developers have to make sure that the AI is smart enough to do this — although, it is no rocket science. As such, it is said to have a host of positives as well as some drawbacks for the multiplayer experience.
Does Black Ops Cold War have SBMM?
So there are a few tell-tale signs that the CoD title you’re playing might have SBMM. For starters, after you’ve played a few games in lobbies, you’ll eventually start finding yourself in lobbies where other players will be of similar ranks to you in there.
Another sign is that game lobbies in Cold War might disband after the match has finished. This was observed during the beta phase of the game and is observable even now after the game’s release. This is said to indicate that the game’s taken into account your performance in the previous game and is now, matching you against similarly skilled players in a different lobby.
Also, professional gamers and Twitch streamers online, along with a host of other vocal Black Ops Cold War players are engaging in the same debate over SBMM online. Most famously, it was when TSM Myth had talked in favor of SBMM back when the Beta version of the game had released on 8th October 2020.
the same people complaining about SBMM are the same people that wouldn't wanna "chill" and only get 10 kills a match
yall wanna drop 30+ bombs without trying and its obvious
— Myth (@TSM_Myth) October 18, 2020
So, though neither the game’s developers Treyarch or Activision have confirmed that Cold War actively uses SBMM, we can say for sure that Cold War is most definitely using Skill-based Matchmaking in multiplayer gaming.
As an example, here’s a video above Ace that showcases the presence of SBMM in action in Modern Warfare from last year.
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Should there be Skill-based Matchmaking in a game like Cold War?
Anyone who’s reading this and has played competitively, or at least participated in anything remotely competitive will know that a major chunk of the fun lies in the race to the top. Being able to consistently prove oneself as better than what they were before is key, and if you’re that sort of a gamer, then Skill-based Matchmaking will be right up your alley.
As someone who has played competitively, I have to confess that I lean towards having SBMM being an essential part of the Call of Duty experience. On paper, it is technically something that everyone will agree with; a forgiving and learning experience for novices and a challenging one for veterans in the FPS gaming scene.
Here are just some of the popular concern that’s surrounded this SBMM controversy in Cold War, ever since people caught wind of it way before it even officially released:
Which Among Us lobbies are more fun to play in? Ones where everyone is just there to have a good time and goof off, or the ones where everyone is taking it super seriously, always on edge, and trying super hard to win?
Same logic applies.
— Tyler | Code WILDCAT (@I_AM_WILDCAT) October 18, 2020
honestly man i think a lot of people blame sbmm for how shitty a solo q experience is in every single team based game out right now.
— NiceWigg (@NiceWigg) October 18, 2020
There have also been some suggestions given by professional gamers who have tried to lessen the blow SBMM seems to have for the side that’s angry with it being implemented:
Shouldn’t Call of Duty implement a ranked playlist with SBMM and then have a public playlist without SBMM?
Majority of “sweats” would just play ranked while casual players will lean towards public playlists.
Just a thought 🤔
— Censor (@Censor) November 15, 2020
How does CALL OF DUTY not get released with a ranked playlist every year. I am just genuinely confused. It should be a staple, but it gets ignored. Interesting to think about.
— OpTic Scump (@scump) November 15, 2020
This is something that even I’ll agree with. As you can see, they’re asking Activision to implement a rank-based system, which will lead to the game having a casual mode too.
As such, those interested in playing ranked can still get what they want out of the game, but casual gamers are presented with the opportunity to have a stress-free and relaxed gaming experience altogether.
For now, there’s not been any such update, but considering how the debate has become a lot louder than it was before, one can only hope that the game developers step in and put an end to this debate once and for all.
Do you like the new Black Ops Cold War multiplayer? Is the new SBMM feature bugging you too? Let us know how you feel about it below!