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 the better you get, which means knowing if a skill-based matchmaking system exists.
Developer Epic Games has never confirmed if this is true, but it also never said it doesn’t exist. Many players believe Epic has implemented some kind of skill-based system in default playlists such as Solo, Duos, and Squads without mentioning it in any patch notes.
In such a system, players join matches with other competitors who have the same skill level. Something similar exists in Events such as Pop-Up Cups that have players paired with opponents who have about the same amount of points as they do during a session.
If skill-based matchmaking existed in Fortnite, it would have an immediate effect on how players get into matches and how competitive their lobbies are.
Here’s everything to know about what a skill-based matchmaking system would be like 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. If this system existed in Fortnite, it would probably take into account things such as percentage or number of wins, average kills per game, average placing, and matches played. All of these components would factor differently into the measurement of a player’s skill level—and they would be taken into account to calculate a number that would be that player’s skill rating.
Since every player would have a skill rating based on these stats, the game would be able to create matches that would 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, such as Overwatch and League of Legends.
The distribution of players in skill ratings almost always shows there are very 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, that means 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 no proof that a skill-based matchmaking system is active in Fortnite, and there’s no way to prove it would have these positive and negative effects if it existed.
Dot Esports has reached out to Epic to ask if there is skill-based matchmaking in Fortnite.