Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 developer Sledgehammer Games held a Reddit AMA on Monday intended to answer a ton questions about the game’s multiplayer. However, it remained silent on one of the game’s most controversial issues: Skill-Based Matchmaking.
For those unfamiliar, Skill-Based Matchmaking (SBMM) has been a long-running hot topic in the world of Call of Duty, as it is meant to put players in lobbies made up of similarly-skilled players. Unfortunately, some higher-skilled players have been known to lose on purpose so they can match up against lower-skilled players.
Many have called for SBMM to just be part of Ranked playlists, but those requests and many more have never been addressed. Activision has never truly spoken on the matter of SBMM, but it’s an issue that’s very important to many Call of Duty players, as evidenced by the majority of the comments in the AMA.
“I think Skill-Based Matchmaking, Engagement Optimized Matchmaking and Team Balancing is probably one of the largest complaints,” ImMarksman said in the top-rated comment in the AMA. “Not only is it insanely frustrating for solo players to just queue and enjoy the game, it also makes it really hard to play with friends if your skill difference is too large. Many times people don’t want to consistently use the ‘meta’ weapons to hold their own in games. But the system doesn’t really seem to get that until you’ve suffered for hours on end. Would it be possible to test having these much lower in that experimental playlist? It would cool to see and try out.”
Sledgehammer Games didn’t respond to ImMarksman or the countless other users who asked about SBMM, but they did talk about a ton of other items in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, including the controversial Gaia and Gaia Blackcell Operator Skins. Dubbed ‘Groot’ by the community due to its resemblance to everyone’s favorite tree/Flora Colossus from Guardians of the Galaxy, these skins are being called pay-to-win because of how hard it is to see them in-game.
While Sledgehammer has yet to reveal the solution, it did confirm “adjustments to Gaia and Gaia Blackcell Operator Skins are in the pipeline for Modern Warfare III”. “In a future game update, we’ll disable this item until said changes can be released to all players,” the dev continued.
One comment that had fans excited was a promise of Sledgehammer testing “non-disbanding lobbies with a cohort of players to determine the performance of such a change. If these tests go well, we’ll explore a rollout to all players.”
While this doesn’t solve the SBMM issues, many users were happy with this announcement, including CallMePuzzle.
“Thank you Sledgehammer! I promise adding non-disbanding will not be a mistake,” CallMePuzzle wrote. “From making difficult matches more bearable to allowing people to make more friends, it will only help improve the game. Keep up the great work communicating and listening to feedback, it means a lots!”
Sledgehammer also addressed concerns that Modern Warfare 2 weapons were not as competitive when compared to Modern Warfare 3 weapons. Considering one of the big selling points of Modern Warfare 3 was that you could bring all your gear with you from last year’s game, this was important.
“Weapon balancing is one of the biggest things we are looking at on a daily basis. Our goal is to have a meta shift from season to season to keep things fresh and interesting,” Sledgehammer said. “That being said – we want as many weapons as possible to be viable to suit the variety of playstyles we have in our community. This is where we are looking closely at the data to target immediate tweaks for weapons that seem to be over or under-performing. We expect Season 1 to have higher-level tweaks with S1.5 to have some deeper changes.”
The team noted that data showed the most-used SMGs are under-performing and “that isn’t great.” Sledgehammer wants each weapon category to have its own distinct role for different playstyles, and SMGs should excel as “Close-range TTK, ADS speed, Sprint to Fire, and general mobility.”
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Other items addressed by Sledgehammer Games were as follows:
- Fixes for both Final Killcams and HUD are in progress.
- Scatter Mine and RGL-80 will be adjusted for Hardcore playlists as they are over-performing due to the decreased health.
- The team is “actively investigating” a reduction to the maximum damage of Frag Grenades. These changes would decrease the damage taken by players at the center and outer edges of the explosion.
- There are currently no plans for a 1v1 mode, but it may return if the interest is there.
- The team is interested in trying out Streak Looping, which would reward players with another run through their Killstreaks if they can continue to stay alive and rack up kills. It may show up in a future Experimental Playlist.
- Classic weapons from the Modern Warfare series very well may return in future Seasonal updates, including Shotguns and Sniper Rifles.
- There are no plans for custom Reticles at this time.
- The team will continue to pursue “improvement and optimization for an issue like packet burst.”
- The team wants to continue to put 24/7 limited-time modes be playable in Hardcore playlists, but it will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
- A 10v10 Moshpit Playlist is currently scheduled, and Sledgehammer teased there may be a way to fit even more than 20 players on a 6v6 map.
- Sledgehammer is aware of certain issues impacting mouse input, desync, and inconsistency in hit registration.
- There are no plans to add a Third Person playlist at the moment. It is still available in Custom Games, however.
- Cyberattack is not in Sledgehammer’s current Seasonal plans, but it may return if the interest is there.
- Ghost T/V Camo will only hide players from enemy UAVs if they are moving, but the team is looking into reports that “the detection from moving to standing still is too aggressive.”
- There are no plans to adjust the Covert Sneakers perk, but Sledgehammer notes players “aren’t totally silent with this perk equipped, there are still other sounds that can give them away.”
- Gun Game is returning “very soon.”
- There are no current plans to implement a specific ping limit filter.
- The Field of View bug and the Cold Blooded Loadout bug are being looked at by the team.
- There are no plans to bring back Headquarters or Replay/Theater Mode due to how large of an effort they take.
- There are no plans to bring back Combat Pacing from Call of Duty: Vanguard, but Sledgehammer is looking at experimenting with intensity of matches and thinks the upcoming 10v10 playlists will “scratch that Combat Pacing itch.”
- Sledgehammer is looking into adding a way to preview Finishers and Executions.
For more, check out our final Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 review, all the details on Season 1, and Sledgehammer’s previous comments on the state of the game.
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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.