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Blizzard shares Overwatch 2 stats showing how broken matchmaking is

Blizzard shares a developer update on Overwatch 2 matchmaking, showing stats and graphs to explain where the multiplayer game is broken as it aims to improve.

Overwatch 2 broken matchmaking stats - Sojourn, wearing a red headband with her hair tied up above it, squints slightly as she raises her railgun up

If your Overwatch 2 competitive matchmaking has felt off lately, you aren’t alone. Blizzard has taken dramatic steps to try and salvage the narrative around the matchmaking system for its hero-driven multiplayer game, admitting, “we’re at risk of sounding like a broken record.” Instead, game director Aaron Keller lays out some Overwatch 2 stats and graphs to detail just where the system is failing, and what the current plans are for the future.

Keller acknowledges that matchmaking is a big bugbear for many players and admits that, “‘We’re working on it and it’s getting better’ isn’t the best message, especially when players are experiencing bad matches.” So, instead of simply offering vague hand-waving and promises, he provides us with some statistical insights as part of the team’s continued push for better communication with the community.

Keller notes that changes made over the week prior have “brought down the skill gap between players in a match significantly for high and low MMR matches.” To display this, he points to three charts (seen below) and highlights two recent spikes that caused significant gaps between players, with some as far as ten ranked divisions apart in the worst 1% of cases.

Overwatch 2 matchmaking charts showing "Competitive role queue intra-match player delta percentiles" for three different MMR (matchmaking rating) tiers.

He remarks that some of the skill gap is almost unavoidable due to players grouping up, something that allows for players even as high as Masters to group with others who are up to five divisions apart from their current skill ranking. However, a bizarre tweak made in Overwatch 2 season 3 had a distinctly negative impact, where developer changes made across all queue types – competitive, unranked, and arcade – were all tied together.

Whether intentional or not, Keller says that these modes will now be treated separately again – meaning the team could choose to prioritise shorter queue times for casual game modes but crank up the focus on getting a closely balanced match in comp. Quite what they’re planning to do with the new competitive mystery heroes mode is anyone’s guess, but chaos is the name of the game there, I suppose.

Keller says the team is now intending to “tune these values to tighten the skill gap in competitive as much as possible while keeping an eye on queue times for that mode.” He adds that a new system introduced with the latest patch allows Overwatch 2’s matchmaker to sort parties together that have a similar ranking difference between their members.

All this data is all well and good, but ultimately it’s the results that matter. Nothing’s likely to turn players off a competitive multiplayer game like Overwatch 2 quite as fast as dramatically unbalanced matchmaking. Personally, I’d love to see players given an opt-in ability to prioritise closer games over faster matchmaking – I’ll take a few more minutes fiddling on my phone each time if it means I get closer, better matches when they come.

Overwatch 2 matchmaking stats - Doomfist in his Saitama outfit as part of the One Punch Man crossover event, yelling as he winds up to throw a punch.

In closing, Keller notes that the team is eager to listen to player feedback. Regardless of the topic, it’s certainly true that the Overwatch 2 team has felt more open and up-front about its development process in 2023, and that’s ultimately likely to lead to warmer sentiment among the community.

Keller is already responding to feedback on Twitter, such as querying whether unranked play is too loose with its lack of any grouping restrictions, or whether the ability to play with friends of all skill levels in casual mods is too important to lose. It’s certainly a tough balance to strike, but it appears that the Overwatch 2 team is considering all options for now.

Keep your eyes on our Overwatch 2 tier list to see who the best characters are right now, along with all the details we know about Overwatch 2 season 4. If you’re wondering when the Overwatch 2 PvE release date is, we’ll be sure to keep you up to date on any and all developments.