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Bungie Clarifies How Destiny Matchmaking Works

The matchmaking system in Destiny is an ongoing conversation in the community, as fans report varying levels of lag, long queue times, and ultra-competitive match-ups. Many distrust Bungie when it comes the developer talking about matchmaking, with many fans insisting skill-based matchmaking is in full force even though Bungie denies it.

That feeling comes from Bungie stealth implementing skill-based matchmaking in Destiny in December, which the developer admitted and rolled back earlier this year. After many passes at adjusting the matchmaking, Bungie says the system is a combination of connection-based and skill-based matchmaking, with connections being prioritized most of all.

To try to settle the debate, which seems to have picked up steam with fans once again, Senior Designer Derek Carroll took to Reddit and Twitter to explain:
Destiny [matchmaking] doesn’t “favor” skill over connection. In a nutshell, we attempt to find the best connections within a skill range, and if we can’t find a good match, we expand the skill range and try again. If it’s taking you minutes to find a match, it’s not because we’re waiting to find you the perfect skill match, it’s because we’re having trouble finding you a good connection. We give up on skill almost immediately, because it’s less important than having low latency.
According to Carroll, here’s how Destiny‘s matchmaking system is currently working: When a player enters into a Crucible lobby, the game takes the skill ranking of a player and searches for a game that has a good connection within a range close to that player’s skill ranking. If a game within that skill range cannot be found, the skill range is expanded and the system searches for a good connection within that range. It continues until a suitable game (based on connection, according to Carroll) is found. Finding a match geographically close is used as a “first pass” but the search area will expand if one cannot be found.

Many fans will continue to debate how effective Destiny‘s current matchmaking system is working, but according to Carroll, “[Bungie is] not skill-obsessed, but I do believe that the best matches are where both teams are evenly matched, and have low-latency connections.”

On Twitter, someone asked why Bungie does not just split lobbies into purely connection-based and purely skill based, to which Carroll replied “[N]ot totally unreasonable, but splitting the population isn’t super-healthy, either. There are always other factors to consider.”

Discussion and tweaking is bound to continue, but Carroll says Bungie wants to continue to improve matchmaking in Destiny: “No one is saying Destiny’s MM is perfect, but I’d love to be able to improve it (with your help!)” It’s not the first time Bungie has asked for help from fans, so players should not be shy about letting the developer know about their experiences.

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