HOWO: Use online matchmaking to your advantage

Or how to get a squad of highly skilled players into a game of Battlefield Bad Company 2 with newbies.

Bad Company 2 like Modern Warfare 2, Halo and practically every other online shooter have matchmaking systems to match players of similar abilities. If you follow a few easy steps you can take advantage of that.

In Bad Company 2 you can create a squad and invite your friends to play in a game. The game then uses a secret algorithm to match your squad up with a similarly talented team and opposition. Unfortunately I noticed when a high level player was on our squad I got trounced and came out of the games with a terrible KDR.

On the other hand, when I joined a low level player in his game, and we were joined by higher level players we stomped through the game for the most part.

So, it occurred to me last weekend that this could be used this to our advantage. Have a low level player join a game and then invite his team mates in. If you really wanted to cheat the system the low level player could then logout and login again as his real player (with a much higher level character of course.)

We inadvertently verified this last night. I fired up Bad Company 2 and found that Dave (evadlive) and Geoff were already online. I joined their game and proceeded to get pummeled by the other team. We were on different squads but before long David (bigpresh) joined me. I gave up after 2 games before asking bigpresh if he wanted to move on to a game that suited our skill levels. I sent evadlive a message saying I was going to look for another game.

I joined a new game, invited bigpresh in, and a few minutes later evadlive joined us, and invited Geoff in. We proceeded to have an easier game of it. Most of the other players in the game were less than level 10, and I don’t think anyone was more than level 16 or 17 (I’m level 15). On Isla, we successfully defended the first base. The other team took Alpha but got no further, although it was close. When we were attacking we won too. Made a nice change from the previous few games.

I don’t think the match making system in Bad Company 2 is based entirely on rank. The game has separate skill level and score per minute values. Thanks to my previous games those were likely suffering which, err, explains why we were placed with such low level players. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, there you have it. We were playing on PS3 which is due to be patched on Tuesday and includes some match making changes so it’s entirely possible that the game will attempt to stop “abuse” like this in the future, but short of stopping people joining a friend’s session it’d be very hard to stop this. I know that players are juggled around between rounds, but our squad always remained as it was.

As a related reference point, watch these three videos Geoff posted on his channel. He and 3 other skilled players created new accounts and, with only newbie weapons, fought and won several rounds of Squad Deathmatch. They won so decisively that most of the other teams left the game at one stage! I posted a comment suggesting they had been matched with other players who probably weren’t very good but Geoff replied that some of the games were tough, and involved level 40+ players. I’d venture to say those players joined the game after it had started, joining the session of a friend. Either that or they were really useless players to be matched against newbie recruits.

Author: Donncha

Donncha ร“ Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Google+ and Twitter.

0 thoughts on “HOWO: Use online matchmaking to your advantage”

  1. I really don’t understand what they base the matchmaking on – I think it may have to do with the skill level. Although how you affect the skill level is a complete mystery. Before last night my skill level was something like 180….. after last night it is now 80-something.

    1. The skill level depends on who you kill, and who you’re killed by. I linked to a Reddit post on it a while back. The higher the skill level of players you kill, the higher your skill level will be. We were playing against high level players first who certainly killed me LOTS more than I killed them but that might not have reduced my skill level much. On the other hand, getting killed by a level 3 player might reduce it significantly.

      My stats haven’t updated yet unfortunately so I’m still waiting to see them.

  2. Not played BC2 enough to know but it’s is completely broken in MW2. The other night, 4 a side. Total levels on the one side was over 500, on the other just over 100. Nuts. It happens regularly on that game. I’m at level 70 second time around and was watching to see if I played with more low ranked and first/third prestiges and I think I do but there is no balance between teams and on the 360 where I am level 32 first time I still see this huge imbalance. This is one reason I see Infinity Ward as idiots.

    As for BC2, I’ll not buy any new maps. It is a family tax. Maps per account. Cannot be shared even on the same machine. I see that as taxing my kids if they want to play. I also see buying them as encouraging EA in this pricing experiment they have going.

    1. Matchmaking in MW2 is definitely broken. It’s a whole lot better in BC2 though.

      I hadn’t thought about the “family tax” that the VIP codes really are. I guess it’s the first stage in moving towards a per-user subscription fee for online play. If you play WOW, each person has to have a separate paid account.. Shame they won’t decrease the up-front cost of the title.

      1. WOW I understand. But if I buy the maps and they are on my machine and I have the master account why can’t my kids play? As I understand it that is the case. And what if the kid has no means to pay – they can’t play at all. So if I want BC2 for the 3 of us I need 1 game, 2 VIP codes and 3 sets of maps. That is beyond stupid.
        So now I wait. I wait to see what terms DLC is on, what VIP codes actually do and U’ll wait til the price drops.
        What they then do is limit the date for VIP codes, say 60 days from launch. After that VIP expires, pay again. That stops bargain bucket sales.

        There are 2 end problems:
        1. Costs for a family.
        2. The way they will start creating games not as epic but as episodic. They will be created with cash flow in mind.

        Either way, it means my appetite for games I have which go this route – so far just BC2 – is a lot lot less and my view of the publisher even worse.

      2. Mark – you’ll like this post of Dave’s on the subject.

        Does this mean you won’t be playing BC2 again? We had loads of fun with it the other night, ripping apart the other teams! ๐Ÿ™‚

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