Apex dev explains why ranked system seems ‘broken’

Ranks aren't quite as clear as bronze, silver, and gold.

Image via Respawn Entertainment

After players complained about Apex Legends‘ “broken” ranking system, one developer pulled back the curtain on the design philosophy behind ranks and match population.

Lead software engineer Samy Duc, who goes by ricklesauceur on Twitter, clarified Apex‘s matchmaking methods in a recent tweet. The game places people in ranked matches based on two different factors: their visible rank—which is a number as well as a category (bronze, platinum, predator, etc.)—and their matchmaking rank, or MMR. MMR is a hidden number that also fluctuates with a player’s skill level. Two players can be the exact same rank and have different MMRs; likewise, two players can have the same MMR but be in different ranks.

Duc explains this difference in the tweet, saying players who see opponents or teammates of different ranks in their matches might actually be closer in MMR than they are in rank, and that this helps to create more balanced rounds. There are a lot of average-level MMRs, they mentioned, but true predator-level numbers are rare.

Players have also been complaining about the difficulty of getting similarly-skilled teammates in ranked matches. Many claim their teammates are either total noobs or way above their skill level, leaving them frustrated at these perceived imbalances. Duc said players who solo queue at a very high level will have trouble finding others to play with, since the vast majority of predator-level players queue with a full party. This applies to both Arenas and the game’s battle royale mode.

While some players have suggested making a separate solo queue area for single players, the amount of work required to make such a lobby work is unlikely to happen. It would also further split players into smaller groups, making queue times longer across the board.