Matchmaking, a curious creature

What I thought to be impossible happened today, I’m still amazed so I thought to share my story (TLDR at the bottom).

I live in Chile - South America and I play on PC, most likely the worst possible combination if you want to play ranked versus (or so I thought since forever). Gears being gears I was happy to find the occasional game within 15-20 minutes of wait time (occasional as in twice a month) , so I played social and horde a lot. For the past months Horde was pretty much the only mode I played since social had turned into Bot Land, just the way things are, not much to do.

Horde can be quite fun and interesting and it could’ve lasted a long time for me if not for the terrible map rotation that TC has in place, they claim they can do nothing about it yet banning maps from public horde is no problem at all and new modes apparently have no problem of having tailored maps for rotation: TrackerBall was the first time ever I saw Checkout and War Machine for public Horde. It is evident to me that changes CAN be made but they just don’t want to… I guess I’m fine with it, I had my good run playing Horde.

After watching the NOLA event, the urge to play versus resurfaced, it would be awesome to find some games but highly unlikely. Today I thought I’ll give it another try yet after a 38 minute wait I had to accept that it was simply not going to happen. I tried social and to my surprise every single game I played (about 6-7) had at least 6 human players, waaaaay above average. I had my share of fun, got some kills, played 3 different modes, it was good. I was about to quit when I received 2 different invites from friends I haven’t played nor heard from in a loooong time (few months after gears 4 was released).

No need to talk about the old gearheads reunion (we know each other from gears 1 on PC), so to cut a long story short it was like this:

  • Them: yooo what a surprise, let’s play some gears.
  • Me: wow of course (we have a party of 4, I’m about to tell them we can’t play social so pretty much Horde is the only option).
  • Them: okay then, let’s search.
  • Me: you guys still on PC?
  • Them: duh of course we are.
  • Me: I can guarantee you guys we won’t find a game at all, even if we wait for 3 hours (all 3 of them are no reup lv 25-45).
  • Them: that’s strange cause we were just playing a match.
  • Me: yeah right (2:45 min searching) surely you were playing social.
  • Them: nope, it was … there you go, we found a match.
  • Me: speech less.

We had a party of 4 all on PC and we played for over 2 hours, every single time the wait time was no more than 3 minutes. We got our ranks (2 bronze 1, 1 bronze 2 and I got gold 1). One left, we searched for another game (this one took 3:30 minutes), we got our butts handed to us, I got promoted to gold 2, we called it a day (more like night as it was 2am) and hopefully we’ll play again tomorrow.

Can someone care to explain what happened? The last time I found two ranked games within the same day was in September last year yet somehow 4 PC players in South America, a region that is supposed to be dead can find several games without a problem? (all games were played in our region, no hopping at all). Back in february a friend who plays on console gave up playing gears because like me, he couldn’t find any games.

The only logical explanation seems to be searching in a group vastly improves (as in ridiculous higher) your chances of finding a match. Should this be the case then TC has to tweak the system to allow solo players to find games more easily in low populated regions. If they say there is nothing to be done then at least consider it for Gears 5. Sorry for the long post, if you made it this far thanks for reading.

UPDATE: Thursday and Saturday with a 3-5 player team and we found games all the time, clearly this is something that needs to be updated. I consider it a flaw in the system if 4 players can’t find a game by themselves no matter how long they wait but put them together and we find a match in 5 minutes or less. Just made it to Onyx, I’m having a blast playing versus.

TLDR: South America is pretty much a dead region, being on PC equals social against MOSTLY bots or Horde where I usually end playing on US East, yet strangely enough 4 PC players HAVE NO PROBLEM AT ALL FINDING RANKED MATCHES (in our region). Is this normal?

It’s easier to find games in a party, since you’re searching for less people. That’s all I can think of.

I have also been noticing an unusually alot of social players ever since the NOLA event too. The last 2 days has been nothing but full lobbies for me which is rare because there’s always at least one bot on both sides everytime i play. Cool, i guess. And I’m glad you were able to play some versus. I couldn’t imagine what it’d be like for me not to find human lobbies in sight… more servers outside of USA is really needed.

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Thanks a lot, I appreciate the good vibes.

More servers would certainly be helpful but what really would make a difference would be changes on Microsoft’s pricing policy: If the idea is to sell more while demand is low, logic dictates you should lower your prices right? nope, for Microsoft makes perfect sense to charge more in poorer regions, for example Gears 4 pre order + season pass was about 100 US dollars but for me it was about 130. Another example is State of Decay 2, the pricing everywhere is 30 but for me is 43, go figure.