When it comes to PvP multiplayer games, two things are constant – skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) woes and cheaters getting in the way of a gratifying FPS experience for many players. Unfortunately, despite the breakout success of The Finals, and many applauding it for its unique take on the genre, it hasn’t learned from MW3 multiplayer, with both PS5 and Xbox FPS games currently facing the same issues and their respective communities demanding action.
Complaining about skill-based matchmaking is not new for Call of Duty MW3 or the series as a whole, with each new release seeing the community take up arms against SBMM. This has reached its breaking point with MW3 SBMM, just in time for The Finals to steal the spotlight, so it’s a shame that it’s retreading old ground when it comes to matchmaking – though it’s still one of the best FPS games out right now.
Ever since the launch of MW3, players have been expressing their frustration at the perceived power of the SBMM system which results in incredibly sweaty matches and, at worst, unbalanced ones. For example, some players have randomly come across Top 250 players. Likewise, during the MW3 free weekend, many players have reported an increase in hackers and cheaters, including aimbots and wallhacks, with the anti-cheat software floundering. While we at The Loadout have been on the receiving end of hit-reg issues and desync frequently, we haven’t seen the connection to SBMM or the impact of hackers to the extent that others are reporting. Nevertheless, it’s clear that matchmaking isn’t providing the best experience for the player base right now, especially if top players can be matched with lower-skill players.
Although many players who made the switch to The Finals were elated with the incredibly fast-paced and unique gameplay, it’s suffering from the same foibles as MW3 right now. In fact, one Bronze 1 player went up against pro player FNATIC, and other players are reporting similar instances of weak matchmaking. Concerns over anti-cheat measures are also on the rise as the topic of region-locking China is becoming a popular demand from the player base, but one that is looked down upon by the developer itself. Reddit user ‘Sinane_ali’ notes they “can’t play a SINGLE game without cheaters killing everyone”.
Thankfully for PS5 and Xbox players, there is a solution to the issue of cheaters and hackers in both MW3 and The Finals. Turning off crossplay matchmaking in the settings menu will stop you from being matched with PC players, where hacking is a much larger issue. Unfortunately, this brings its own problems, such as longer queue times.
One problem that can’t be fixed on the player end, however, is the matchmaking and SBMM system. With players going up against others of wildly different skill levels and SBMM causing significant deviation between matches in both MW3 and The Finals, complaints have caused both developers to discuss the topic. Sledgehammer Games is set to address matchmaking complaints soon, meanwhile, Embark Studios has already “made some changes to [The Finals’] skill-based matchmaking system to ensure better-quality games”, though this doesn’t seem to have solved the issue.
As multiplayer games, MW3 and The Finals ultimately live and die by the matchmaking experience. If lobbies are unbalanced or worse – packed with hackers – then the community will move on, as we’ve seen with Destiny 2’s Crucible PvP in the past. Hopefully, then, both MW3 and The Finals will take action to improve the multiplayer action for players across the board. Nevertheless, if you’re brave enough to head back into the fray, being clued up on the MW3 meta is sure to help you, as well as the best MW3 guns and best MW3 loadouts for Season 1.