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XDefiant is days away, but you’ll need to wait for its sweatiest mode

XDefiant is right around the corner for PS5 and Xbox owners, and Ubisoft is making it clear just how its matchmaking will treat FPS players.

XDefiant ranked play: An image of two factions fighting in XDefiant.

The wait for XDefiant is almost over, as there’s just a few days left until Ubisoft’s free-to-play shooter lands on Xbox and PS5. With so many factions, game modes, and weaponry to master, balancing it all fairly will be the ultimate test for XDefiant’s launch. Now, Ubisoft clarifies how the competitive FPS will handle matchmaking, alongside confirmation that XDefiant ranked play sadly won’t be in the game from day one.

As we approach the XDefiant release date, Ubisoft’s latest blog post about the forthcoming multiplayer game gets under the hood of XDefiant’s matchmaking principles. Alongside the reiteration that it won’t feature Skill Based Matchmaking in casual modes (hurrah!), Ubisoft explains that “if you want that competitive ‘every second counts go all out playstyle’, you’ll find our ranked mode to your liking.” However, despite a solid roster of game modes at launch on PS5 and Xbox, the blog post details that “ranked play will be added in a future season, so make sure to keep your skills sharp in casual play until then.”

It’s a slightly disappointing note considering how XDefiant’s fast-paced gameplay is ripe for some intense skirmishes, and even more so considering ranked play has appeared in previous beta builds. The XDefiant roadmap also doesn’t clarify exactly which season ranked play will debut in.

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Furthermore, your experience with the FPS game’s multiplayer will vary depending on what playlists you choose. According to Ubisoft, XDefiant will utilize the following order to create lobbies for casual play at launch:

  • Latency
    • Prefers similar pings.
  • Avoided Players
    • Restricts matchmaking between any players currently avoiding one another through muting.
  • Party Size
    • Prefers to match parties against parties of similar size.
  • Region
    • Prefers players from the same region/language.
  • Input Device
    • Prefers players using the same input method.
  • Platform
    • Prefers players using the same platform. (PC, Xbox, PS)

While it isn’t uncommon to target latency for many new Xbox games and new PS5 games with multiplayer modes, our experience with the recent XDefiant beta has us concerned. Unlike last year’s rather sturdy XDefiant beta build, matchmaking in this version was riddled with consistent de-sync issues, rubber banding, and frequent disconnects. It is likely that XDefiant will have plenty of teething issues coming out of the gate, but with any luck, it won’t be a long-term problem.

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As mentioned, the lack of SBMM is a positive move for the shooter, and Ubisoft isn’t wasting any time to let you know that. “We believe that no SBMM is paramount to a fun and varied game experience in the long-term […] [our] casual playlist should be fun and no SBMM is the way to do that,” the studio adds. Take notes, Call of Duty.

In related Ubisoft news, check out our chat with XDefiant’s executive producer Mark Rubin about how XDefiant is stepping out from under Call of Duty’s shadow. You can also pick up this underrated Ghost Recon game in the new PS Store sale.