One of the greatest mysteries of Fortnite: Battle Royale isn’t what happened with Kevin the Cube after it exploded in season six or what the dragon eggs that were once under Polar Peak have inside them.
The greatest mystery is if your Fortnite matches become more difficult as you get better, which means knowing if a skill-based matchmaking system exists.
And it does exist now, according to developer Epic Games. The company confirmed that skill-based matchmaking will be active starting in season X's v10.40 update, which should release in late September.
Many players believed Epic implemented some kind of skill-based system in default playlists such as Solo, Duos, and Squads without mentioning it in any patch notes. Now that the official announcement is out, it seems unlikely that this system previously existed.
In such a system, players join matches with other competitors who have the same skill level. Something similar exists in Events, such as Arena, that have players paired with opponents who have about the same amount of Hype as they do during a session.
When skill-based matchmaking is on in Fortnite, it'll have an immediate effect on how players get into matches and how competitive their lobbies are.
Here’s everything you need to know about how the skill-based matchmaking system works in Fortnite.
What is skill-based matchmaking?
In any skill-based matchmaking system, players join matches with opponents that have roughly the same game knowledge and mechanical skills as they do.
These are generally estimated through every player’s match history and stats. In Fortnite, this system will probably take into account statistics like percentage or number of wins, average kills per game, average placing, and matches played. All of these components should factor differently into the measurement of a player’s skill level and they should be taken into account to calculate a number that would be that player’s skill rating.
Since every player will likely have a skill rating based on these stats, the game should be able to create matches that will only include players within a certain skill range, making all 100 players in a Fortnite match have roughly the same skill level.
This sounds like a fair deal, but there are positives and negatives to a skill-based matchmaking system.
High-skilled players will always find interesting matches to play in a skill-based matchmaking system. They’ll face players who might have a different playstyle, which could be a challenge to overcome.
For new and casual players, this system ensures they'll avoid any high-skilled player who'd just run them over and make the match impossible to win. They wouldn’t have to deal with extremely-fast builders and players with nearly perfect aim.
This may seem like the perfect scenario for all kinds of players, but there are downsides that could become significant, as seen in other games with skill-based matchmaking like Overwatch and League of Legends.
The distribution of players in skill ratings almost always shows that there are few players with very low and very high ratings, and the population grows toward the intermediate skill ratings. These intermediate levels are where most players will be and that would probably be the case in Fortnite as well.
An average player would have no problem finding a match since most people online would be within their skill range. For really bad and really good players, though, it could take a while to start playing since very few players are in their level.
It'd probably take several minutes for streamers and professional players like Turner “Tfue” Tenney and Tyler “Ninja” Blevins to find a Fortnite match in this system. And young and casual players who just play the game for fun would probably have the same experience.
This could lead to high-ranked players creating secondary accounts to play in lower skill ratings just to be able to play their matches.
All these upsides and downsides are still theories, however. There’s not enough data yet to assess the impact of skill-based matchmaking in Fortnite and there’s no way to prove it'll have these positive and negative effects when it's on.