If there’s one thing gamers will never be happy with, it’s the matchmaking system in their PvP game of choice. Whether it’s “Why did I get put against these higher-ranked players?” or “Why did I get all these noobs on my team?” there’s always something to complain about — unless you steamroll over the opposing team, in which case it was perfect.

Wargaming has been tweaking the matchmaking system in World of Tanks for years, and the latest iteration is due to go online today. Its primary goals are to reduce the number of battles that span three tiers of vehicles and to make battles with Premium vehicles more enjoyable by more frequently matching them up with same- or lower-tier vehicles.

As a result of the additional factors in matchmaking, Wargaming estimates that queue times will be a little longer for solo players and a little more longer for platoons. Wargaming believes, however, that the difference won’t be too significant. You can learn more about the new matchmaker on the World of Tanks site.

Before we close out, let’s think for a moment on the notion of Premium vehicles getting “preferred” placement into battles with lower-tier opponents. Although my first thoughts leaned toward it being pay-to-win, it’s really not. Battles will still have the same number of tanks of each tier, so Premium vehicles occupying certain slots shouldn’t really matter in terms of overall win-loss percentage.

The actual wording in the announcement, though, is that this change is being made “To make battles more enjoyable for Premium Vehicles with preferential matchmaking.” As anyone who’s played any Wargaming title knows, being “low tier” can really suck. On the other hand, when you’re “high tier,” you’ve got a distinct advantage over lower-tier opponents. It’s definitely more enjoyable, being able to frag your way through multiple opponents with less worry about being fragged yourself. Even if you don’t win the match, doing a bunch of damage and getting three or four kills is fun.

Now, the question to ask is, is that an experience that you should be able to pay money — in the form of purchasing a Premium vehicle — to enjoy? I’m not sure that I dislike it, and I can see it being spun as additional perk that Wargaming is offering paying customers without going into pay-to-win territory. I’m also not sure I fully like it either, because the obvious reverse implication is that, if you don’t pay, you’ll have a less enjoyable experience. What do you think?

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

1 COMMENTS

  1. As a longtime WOT player, let me explain the preferential MM issue. Many years ago, WG started selling premium vehicles (mostly tier 8) that would only see up to one tier higher than their own, rather than two, which would be standard. So an IS-6 (tier 8!pref mm heavy tank) would only see up to tier 9. In exchange for that benefit, perf MM tanks were made kind of bad in some respects—for example, the IS-6 had a very low penetration gun for a tier 8 heavy. So when a pref MM tier 8 ran into tier 8s and tier 9, it was hurting. But against 6s and 7s it was quite strong if played well. And the matchmaking assured that you’d get plenty of games against 6s and 7s in exchange for getting beaten up by higher tiers.

    Then, a year or two ago, WG tweaked the matchmaking to a template system that made it extremely likely that your expensive tier 8 pref MM tank would be bottom tier and see only tier 8s and 9s in a large majority of battles. At that point you were just constantly playing against stronger tanks. And because of power creep along the way—such as the addition of some very heavily armored tier 8s, and the introduction of many guns with much higher average penetration—pref MM tanks had gotten *even worse* by comparison. So much so that you rarely see many of the classic old friends refer MM tanks—like the IS-6 or Jagdtiger 8.8–on the battlefield anymore. Mine just sit in my garage. Which pisses me off, because I paid real money for them.

    Fixing the MM was the best option for correcting the problem. Yes, in a sense it’s “pay to have more fun,” but just realize that at this point these tanks are not fun at all for the most part. So the baseline is very low.

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