Riot Games Dev Explains New Wild Rift Matchmaking System


Riot Games Dev Explains New Wild Rift Matchmaking System

John Dave Rossel
Updated On: 
Lead game designer at Riot Games, Josh “Nextdoor” Menke explains the concept behind the new matchmaking system in Wild Rift through a blog post.
The dev confirms that there is no "Loser's Queue" in Wild Rift.
The devs are looking to improve the matchmaking system even further in the upcoming Wild Rift Patch 2.6 update which is scheduled to be released on December 2021.

Lead game designer at Riot Games, Josh “Nextdoor” Menke explains the concept behind the new matchmaking system in League of Legends: Wild Rift through a blog post. The dev answered the frequently asked questions from players in terms of in-game matchmaking in Wild Rift. Nextdoor also explained why sometimes players are getting matched with other players who are lower or higher in ranks compared to them. In addition to this, the Riot Dev also debunked the existence of the “Loser Queue” in Wild Rift, explaining that it doesn’t exist and the matchmaking will work exactly the same regardless of whether players are having a losing or winning streak in their matches.

Riot Games Dev answers the frequently asked question from the Wild Rift community regarding matchmaking

Since the official release of Wild Rift back in October 2020, players have been asking for devs to improve how matchmaking works. It was not until a year later that the devs finally introduced a brand new matchmaking algorithm that was added on the Wild Rift Patch 2.5 update.

Shortly after the release of the new patch update, Riot Games posted a blog that answers the top questions that fans sent to the devs regarding the new matchmaking system.

Wild Rift uses the MMR system to match players of the same skill level

According to the lead game designer at Riot Games, Nextdoor, Wild Rift uses the matchmaking rating system or widely known as MMR. Ranked matches use the regular MMR system while normal matches use an upgraded version. Both game modes were supposed to have the upgraded version but due to how complex ranked matches are, it will take time to integrate this system in ranked play.

The matchmaking system is composed of complex algorithms.

Riot Games

The way MMR works in Wild Rift is highly similar to other MOBA titles. At a high level, at the end of each match, winners go up based on how hard the match was, and losers likewise go down. In an even match, players all go up and down about the same, whereas in a one-sided match, it depends on if the outcome was a surprise or not.

Each Player’s MMR will converge to a value equal to the skill of the players that play just as well as they do. This is why the game will try to matchmake players with and against players within that skill level.

How are matches made in Wild Rift?

Nextdoor explains that the matchmaking system has the following criteria in match players in a match;

  • Good teammates near your own skill or MMR

  • Fair matches where both teams have the same chance to win (similar MMRs on the other team too)

  • Good latency (ping)

  • Position preferences (if applicable)

When players hit the “Find Match” button in-game, the system will put players into a pool composed of other players that are searching for matches in the same game mode. The matchmaking system in Wild Rift will then repeat the following conditions until a full team is formed;

  1. Grabs the longest waiting player or party.

  2. Checks if there are enough players within a range of the player or party’s average MMR to create a match. If not, the system won’t find a match for this player this time around and will try again almost immediately.

  3. If enough players are found, the system will create potential teams while balancing both the amount of MMR on each team, as well as position preferences.

  4. Once teams are made, the matchmaker does a final check to make sure that the difference in MMR between the two teams is within a specified limit to prevent one-sided matches if possible. If it isn’t within tolerance, the match is thrown out and the system will go back to step 2 until it finds another set of teams for the player/party, or runs out of candidates.

  5. Once the match is ready, players are notified and pre-game can begin. The matchmaking system then goes back to step 1 and grabs the next longest waiting player.

According to the Riot Games dev, in step 2, the matchmaker only matches players if their MMR and rank are within a certain distance of each other. The distance starts small and then grows a set amount every second. This happens over a 2 minute period. After that, the allowed Rank and MMR gap has fully expanded, and the system will stay in an expanded state for the next 18 minutes for a total of 20 possible searching minutes.

Nextdoor added that players in Wild Rift might feel that they are badly matched against players due to the following factors;

  1. Snowballing: The game is designed where getting a small advantage and running with it is one path to victory. Any small successes that are snowballed can determine early leads, and then sometimes the result of the game. This means that it may seem that the match was well-matched, a small advantage could lead to victory for one side and the downfall of the other.

  2. Team composition: Which champions you choose and how you use them will greatly impact your matches. Building a team composition that can be of advantage against the opposing team will determine if you win or lose a match.

  3. MMR variance: The matchmaker was unable to keep the MMR of the players in the match as close as it would have preferred. Right now, the devs have seen some cases of players struggling to find matches. This means in order to let some players play the game at all, the MMR gap for all players has to be widened. This can result in matches where the MMR gaps within a team are larger than we would have liked.

  4. MMR prediction: The skill system sometimes misidentifies the skill of the players in the match. If the skill system thinks someone is better or worse than they actually are, then the matchmaker can end up doing its job just fine, but the matches aren’t as good as expected.

  5. Unlucky game: Someone is just having a bad game and not playing as well as usual. Nobody plays exactly at the same skill level every game. In fact, players can swing from Emerald down to Gold match to match.

The riot dev also revealed that since the current matchmaking system will try to match on both MMR and rank, players may be forced to wait longer than is necessary to get a fair match. This means that silver players with an MMR of a Diamond player will have a hard time finding a match in their division. TO compensate for this, the devs had to expand the allowed rank gap, leading to larger apparent rank gaps on your team.

Is there a “Losers’ Queue” in Wild Rift?

Nextdoor confirms that there is no such thing as a “Loser’s Queue” in Wild Rift. The matchmaker works exactly the same regardless of your current streak or even win percentage.

Losing is a normal occurrence in a competitive match.

Riot Games

The dev further expands to this answer by saying that some aspects of the older MMR system could lead to a player’s MMR being briefly overestimated, potentially resulting in a few losing streaks. However, the devs are working on improving the system even futher in the upcoming Wild Rift Patch 2.6.

The new matchmaking system in Wild Rift is still a work in progress and the devs are looking to make improvements for the next major patch cycle which is scheduled to arrive sometime in December 2021.

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John is a mobile esports writer for AFK Gaming that specializes in Wild Rift and Mobile Legends, whilst also maintaining an overview of the Free Fire, COD Mobile and PUBG Mobile esports scenes.

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