Fortnite Datamining Reveals Skill-Based Matchmaking Has Returned to Squads

by in Fortnite | May, 12th 2020

It seems like Epic Games just can’t win these days, huh? Both sides of the “skill-based matchmaking system” being good/bad for Fortnite have their fair, valid criticisms. Epic Games hasn’t spoken about this, but a fairly reliable/popular Fortnite data miner has said that for Squads, whether you like it or not, have once again received SBMM.

What We Know

After SBMM was removed from Squads in Fortnite, the amount of bots showing up in matches became overwhelming. 60 to 90 bots in a match? That’s awful! Perhaps they’ve adjusted the system somehow, to make it worthwhile or at least, not terrible.

Though it’s important to bear in mind, this is from a data miner. Regardless of how reliable they may or may not be until it’s officially in patch notes or the in-game files, it’s all hearsay.

For pros/streamers/content creators, I can see “skill-based matchmaking” being potentially bad. Stream sniping is a real thing, and it’s got to be annoying. As an MTG Arena player, whose in-game name isn’t the same as my stream, I’m not altogether worried. But for huge Fortnite names like Tfue, I can see it.

Of course, you can blame stream sniping, even when it’s not a real thing. Even pros can be outplayed, no matter what they tell you. I’m not saying he, and other streamers aren’t. I’m just saying that it’s not always stream sniping.

The Fortnite community spoke out about this matchmaking system, claiming it’s the worst thing to happen to the game (due to stream sniping). Casual players agree that it’s bad, but for different reasons. It made their casual matches as difficult and challenging as their Arena matches. That’s not why people play casual pub games! They want to just goof off and have fun, but that wasn’t possible.

After a few wins, these players would get matched up against incredibly skilled Fortnite vets, and likely get smashed into the ground in no time. That is less fun, that’s for sure. Epic hasn’t spoken out about this change yet, so we’ll have to keep our eyes on it.

Perhaps it’s to reduce the number of bots showing up in matches, that will make both audiences happy. But when is the internet ever happy about anything? In non-ranked matches, I think that intense skill-based matchmaking is a terrible idea. A mix of skilled and casual players is preferable to “Oh god, suddenly I’m playing against people like Ninja”. Skill-based lowers the pool for possible players, and makes it easier in theory, for players to stream snipe if that’s what they want to do. Perhaps there’s some kind of middle ground to be found in their matchmaking system.

I sort of understand where the content creators are coming from. It’s much easier for them to produce montages, clip videos, and streams if it’s a random assortment of players. If it’s just “we want lower-skilled players in our matches so we look awesome in streams”, that’s lame and disappointing. If they have genuine gripes about being sniped in their streams, that’s another thing entirely.

But if SBMM in Fortnite Squads was ruining the casual player’s experience, that’s very important and should be addressed. I can imagine that the casual player likely spends more money on the game than big-time creators (though I’d have to see actual figures on that). From my casual browsing of the Internet on this news, virtually everyone seems to be on board about this being a bad change.

But what is the answer? Is there a middle ground to make both the content creators and the casual players happy? Should Fortnite Squads matches just be a random assortment of both skilled and non-skilled players with zero SBMM? Would the more casual player be bothered by pros being in their matches?

Matchmaking in Fortnite is not a new discussion here on Esports Talk, and it seems that this is the latest chapter. We’d love to know where you stand on this? Is the return SBMM to Fortnite Squads a kick to the private bits? Or does it not matter to you in the slightest?


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