War Thunder - is an unique and complex game from different points of view. We are making things that were never ever done before by anyone and our challenge is that we have ambitious goals for our players satisfaction.
Players are fighting using vehicles that reproduce the actual ones with a high degree of reliability. Vehicles in the game are from different dates of release and operations, different countries, types, they were used for different tasks and which cannot be compared directly one to another: bombers, attackers, hydroplanes, fighters, carrier-based fighters, heavy tanks, anti-aircraft artillery, tank destroyers and so on.
In real life most of the vehicles would never be fighting together in one battle (or even at the same theatre of operations).
At the same time the battles themselves are made for random players. A player may choose any aircraft or ground vehicle and press “To Battle”.
Matchmaker (and the battles themselves) should be made so it won’t just create battles, but create them for any vehicles that will be in the queue, for example, there could be only bombers in there, or fighters, or only attackers (in any combination for any country and at any rank), and battle still need to start, since players won’t (and shouldn’t) choose specific vehicles to get balanced teams on both sides.
Matchmaker will try to select the most optimal combinations, but for battles with no ability to re-spawn multiple times, nothing can technically guarantee the ability to select teams based on vehicle combat roles.
Additional nuance is the fact that players progress is personal and not team oriented, a player should have ability to earn, and progress in research and play in any vehicle he chooses.
No real balance based on “technical characteristics”, or “historically fought against each other”, or “production date” is even theoretically possible.
For example, B-17 was produced in same years as I-15, it even has similar speed characteristics, but it is obviously not an equal foe for I-15. In an imaginary duel of B-17 versus I-15 (even against four I-15) the B-17 will most likely will be the winner.
At the same time in hypothetical battles (its impossible right now by ranks of the planes and their BR), where in one team there were one or two B-17’s and in another team - one or two I-15’s, victory can be achievable by any side given decent team play - more so, the personal effectiveness for the I-15 may be higher than for the B-17 (because there are obviously more aircraft than just B-17s on the other team).
The matchmaker system (and the battles themselves) are calculated this way:
it will gather battles for any vehicles in the queue
it will provide the maximum possible balance in sessions (in average)
it will provide maximum equal personal efficiency (based on research points and silver lions amounts) in battles (in average)
Matching occurs only based on the BR and the vehicle rank: vehicles of 3 rank differences cannot be in the same battle, only one rank or two, the BR difference will not be more than 1 for aviation and 0.7-1 for ground forces (we are not counting that there is a possibility to get weaker vehicles into a battle while in squad or in games with multiple re-spawns).
We are calculating BRs based on statistical data. It is gathered from the amounts of fly outs, average life time, shot down enemies, lost vehicles, critical hits, destroyed AI vehicles, destroyed bases and generally by everything what affects victory and personal progress, but without accounting if the team won or lost (we collect that information as well and analyse it to evaluate matchmaker job and also balance of the mission, but since teams are not necessarily created balanced by the type of vehicles, the fact of the victory and loss is not considered for BR calculation).
This happens approximately once per month and also usually after 2 weeks after changes in FM/DM/Missions etc. The BR update is not always happening right after it.
Incoming changes to BR are aimed to complete two goals.
For aviation - it is just a regular re-calculation based on the statistics. We have taken into account players opinions and, possibly, will change only the most changed planes BR (by statistic) from last patches. It will allow us to better analyse those changes and make them smoother.
For ground vehicles we also plan to increase possible brackets, while saving the possibility of any tank is able to destroy any tank it meets in battles. The old brackets (for 0.7 BR that is more than 20 possible brackets) was leading to the possibility of very long queues for tank battles, especially at 3-5 ranks, and at the same time variety of the vehicles in combat was very limited.
Discussion and further changes for matchmaking
Players always discuss matchmaking saying that its not ideal. Partly it happens because people instinctively think that vehicles with equal BR should be “equal” and “fair” (based on technical characteristics, date of construction or participation in real battles), while forgetting that comparison of the incomparable - different types of vehicles made for different tasks and often never encountering each other in real life battles, like carrier-based fighters or long-distance fighters and frontline attackers and fighters.
Often players forget that specific aircraft can meet other planes more often from the list of possible opponents, than those which they are comparing one to each other, vica-versa, its rare that there will be teams made from one type of vehicle only. At the same time balance should be based on teams and within the limits of our in game missions.
But we are listening to every constructive suggestion and are ready to participate in any dialogue.
Of course we cannot physically participate in dialogue with all the hundreds of thousands of our players at the same time.
So if you will collect suggestion for matchmaking (with taking into account specific points, like, for example, not excluding from the system any type of vehicle and not creating the situation that some player may never get into the battle if the rest of the players select same type of the vehicle as he did) - then we will look into it and will answer to them. At least to those that take into account all the specifics tasks required of the matchmaker.
We are also ready for online discussions and answers to questions in real time with “emissaries” of the community - of course you will need to select those who will be presenting your case and asking your questions.
I hope you understand where I am coming from with this and would ask, rather than assume we are not listening, try and appreciate we are really only doing our best for the entire community, not just one group or another.