As the public beta for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is coming to a close, players are furiously complaining about SBMM on Twitter. Earlier this month, SBMM (short for skill based match making) was even trending on the social medium. But despite the huge pushback from players, SBMM is exactly what Black Ops Cold War needs! Just not in the way Treyarch has implemented it right now. Hear me out, guys!
Skill based match making has been a hot topic in the Call of Duty community for years. While it’s unclear how the system works exactly, players feel they’re non-transparently matched with equally skilled players. It apparently ruins some players’ games by making it too hard for them. That vocal group of CoD fans really hates this system, which I totally get.
Yet, I would argue it’s insane to contest such a system. While we can all agree SBMM in Black Ops Cold War (based on the beta) is a bit wonky, at least you’re not at the mercy of the RNG gods. You’re telling me that a completely random team is better than a slightly streamlined one? You’d prefer the chance of getting destroyed by pro’s while you’re in a noob team is better than everyone being at least vaguely similarly skilled?
Additionally, getting better at a game is what it’s all about for me and many gamers. That’s why games like Factorio are so damn addictive; you’re constantly improving. But spending much of your time either playing with or against complete noobs will not make you better. Playing against better players helps you improve, learn faster; it’s just a great way of improving.
SBMM in Black Ops Cold War is wonky
That being said, I won’t deny SBMM in Black Ops Cold War (and Call of Duty in general) is wonky at best. Given that your rating isn’t shown anywhere and it is allegedly based only on your most recent few games, your skill score is arbitrary, or even plain wrong. An easy solution that a lot of SBMM-critics are admittedly suggesting, is to divide the game into Ranked and Casual. Ranked uses a (preferably visible) skill rating, Casual is just casual. I still think casual wouldn’t be any better for it, but it’s at least a solution.
Ban the bastards
But there’s another problem that shows just how selfish some gamers can be. Some sweaty potatoes have been killing themselves continuously to get a lower skill rating. SBMM or not, someone that is purposefully continuously dying to their own C4 isn’t a noob. It’s a cheater ruining everyone else’s game.
And Treyarch doesn’t have to hire a mathematician to spot such a player, clearly duping the system. I mean, Xn00bSlayer420 dies 20 times per game to suicide, 3 games in a row, and then starts destroying everyone a few rounds later? Just ban the donkey for throwing and be done with it?!
And it’s not like Treyarch is unaware of this exact SBMM duping problem occurring in Black Ops Cold War. They’ve added spawn protection so players can’t kill themselves for a few seconds after spawning. Also, with CoD’s inconsistent spawn system, shouldn’t that have been a thing to begin with?!
SBMM is great when it works
So yeah, no one is arguing that SBMM works just fine as it is right now. The numbers are inconsistent, arbitrary, and prone to duping. But when it works, it should make everyone’s experience better. There’s no reason a pro in disguise should be matched with a complete noob. But as long as Treyarch (and Activision in general) aren’t being transparent and throwers aren’t punished, it is never going to work out for anyone.
What do you think? Should SBMM be incorporated in Black Ops Cold War, or is it a cursed system that needs to go? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.