Unlike other games and game modes, Call of Duty Warzone does not have a separate casual and ranked mode. So, how exactly does Infinity Ward decide which players end up in which lobbies?
Are they completely random lobbies, or are skilled players put against equally skilled opponents? Since the game's launch in 2019 with Modern Warfare and many Call of Duty games later, Warzone's matchmaking systems have left players interested in how exactly Warzone's SBMM works.
Whether you're dressed in Camo or as Captain Price, here is everything you need to know about COD Modern Warfare Warzone's matchmaking system. And if you want to know how to get free COD Warzone skins, check out our article on how to get free COD Points in Warzone.
Does Call of Duty Even Have Skill-Based Matchmaking?
A lot of players have questioned if Call of Duty Warzone even has skill-based matchmaking. Indeed, Activision and Infinity Ward have denied using any skill-based matchmaking system for Warzone, stating there are too many players, however player testing suggests otherwise.
After much research, players even developed a Warzone SBMM website, so that people could identify suspect accounts and players who gain ranks could see how it affected their SBMM. This added an extra layer to Activision's own anti-cheat, read our article on how Activision anti-cheat software works for more.
Unfortunately, Activision shut down the website, citing the protection of player data from the gaming community. Despite their best efforts to hide it, there's no doubt that skill-based matchmaking exists in Warzone, which allows for competitive video gaming - for more info on competitive COD, check out our article on the best COD players of all time.
What Factors Influence Warzone SBMM?
Although we can't know for sure, it's clear that a player's skill is a key determining factor in their matchmaking. It is not the only factor, however, as the time at which you play, your teammates, and the difference between your overall skill and your past few games also play a part.
Get On At The Right Time
When you have your play session is one of the most important factors in avoiding those sweaty lobbies. Inevitably, those platinum and diamond lobbies are going to be easier to fill with above-average players when nobody is online.
Generally, skill-based matchmaking will be more vigorous between 8pm and 2am local time, as this is when servers are busiest, and the most skilled players are on.
You will get much easier lobbies against less skilled opponents if you play outside of these hours, as there will be less players on and Warzone's skill based matchmaking will have to broaden the skill level range for the lobby.
Your KD Matters!
Many aspects of players' skill levels factor into skill-based matchmaking, including headshot percentage, downs, and movement percentage, however a player's KD (Kill/Death Ratio) is the most important factor in placing people of the same skill level in lobbies.
What is really interesting is that although your KD is the key factor in your lobby strength, YouTuber Thexclusive Ace and later JackFrags discovered that Warzone only actually takes your most recent five matches to determine if you need worse or better lobbies.
This means if you want a more casual experience, you can simply mess around and get a low KD for a few games, and you will probably end up in bronze lobbies, making it an easy way to bypass SBMM.
Choose The Right Teammates
When queueing for Battle Royale Duos or any other team-based Warzone lobby, take into account that the average skill, and by that mostly the average KD of all the players on your team is what the Warzone SBMM uses.
That means if you're playing with noob friends, you'll be blessed with below-average opponents in your lobbies, but with pro friends, you're gunna have a tough time.
What is Engagement-Based Matchmaking?
Engagement-based matchmaking technically is what Warzone uses, which takes into account skill to try and keep players engaged. This is why Warzone's SBMM only uses your last five matches.
The aim is to keep players on the game for as long as possible, which means if an amazing pro player is having a bad night, they will eventually get easy lobbies, even if they are really much better than all the other players.
Similarly, players who generally struggle with lower KDs will get easier lobbies until they find their level. The idea is to ensure every player gets an enjoyable experience at least once when they play, increasing player retention.
And that is everything you need to know about the Call of Duty Warzone matchmaking system! So, if you're ever having a difficult night, make sure to just mess around for five games to get yourself some easier lobbies against less skilled players.