Last weekend's Trials of Osiris are almost over, and it looks like the new win-based matchmaking has turned out to be a bit of a dud. Total players are less than half they were when Trials of Osiris returned at the beginning of Season of the Lost, and only a quarter of those players managed to go Flawless.
Bungie announced that last weekend's Trials would be a bit different. Rather than having a Flawless matchmaking pool, Trials of Osiris adopted a win-based matchmaking system that would try to match teams based on their total number of wins for the weekend.
The Flawless pool was problematic for several reasons. While it allowed more players to go Flawless by having the best PvP players only match against themselves, it also caused a difficulty spike for better-than-average players that only just barely managed their seventh win, leading them to just quit the game mode or reset their card before achieving that seventh win. And since the Flawless pool only opened Sunday afternoon, it did little to help any non-North American players.
Win-based matchmaking simply matched players based on their total number of wins, but it had some unintended side effects. Matching players based on total wins meant that matches did tend to be fairer, but it also meant that getting 7 wins in a row for Flawless was much more difficult after their first run. Pro players who often would repeat their Flawless runs over and over again throughout the weekend stopped playing as they were matched against one another, thus making repeat Flawless runs impossible as they achieved skill-parity with their opponents. Meanwhile, less-skilled players found little incentive to keep playing either as it became even harder to achieve a lucky win-streak.
The first weekend of Season 16's Trials saw 237,000 players go Flawless out of 750,000 players. According to Destiny 2 Trials Report, only 358,000 Guardians played Trials of Osiris last weekend and only 80,000 of them managed to go Flawless.
While the matchmaker itself might have made games fairer, Trials of Osiris has a perverse incentive to encourage unfair matchups by requiring players to achieve seven wins in a row for the best possible loot. Thus, a fairer matchmaker made people play less by removing the loot incentive.
Community manager dmg04 addressed Trials in a tweet earlier today, writing, “It’s been three days with a new matchmaking system on a single map. Team is continuing to monitor and plan changes. We have no plans to let anything “rot.” We’ll likely find out more on Thursday when Bungie publishes their findings for the latest Trials weekend.
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