Ever feel like Hearthstone purposefully matches you up against decks that counter your own? Surely you've had that feeling when you're getting destroyed by decks that almost always win against you and then the second you switch suddenly you're in the exact same situation. You probably aren't alone.
One player recently took to the Hearthstone forum to complain about it and Game Designer Max McCall is quick to deny any kind of bias based on what archetype you're playing.
"When you go into a game, the only variable that affects who your opponent will be is your skill rating." McCall goes into more detail, "We use a formula to assess player skill. After every game, the formula looks at if you won or lost and uses your current rating, your opponent’s rating, and your rating history to generate your new rating.
"We call this rating MMR for short."
It's important to note that MMR isn't a factor in every situation, "In casual and at Legend rank, we pair players with similar MMRs. In Ranked below legend, we pair people with similar star ranks instead of similar MMRs.
"Your rating is the only input that the matchmaker receives. It doesn’t know what deck you’re playing, what deck you just played with or against, or anything else, except for your rating."
McCall provides an example of the process. "When you press ‘play’ you enter a queue for your chosen game mode. The matchmaker looks at your MMR and compares it to the MMR of everyone else in the queue. If it finds someone else with the same MMR as you, it pairs you into a game. If it doesn’t, it will wait a few seconds and look again. The second time, it doesn’t look just for someone with your MMR; it will also look for someone with an MMR that’s almost the same as yours. If it still doesn’t find a match, it waits another few seconds and looks again.
"The bound for what MMRs are considered a good match keep widening the longer you’re in the queue; this is to ensure that you don’t have to wait too long to play. Usually a match is found so quickly that the widening bounds never really matter.
"After the game, your rating is updated, and the process is repeated the next time you queue up."
Over the last few days, McCall has been very busy talking about Hearthstone and he's showing no signs of slowing down. It's refreshing to see more voices on the front lines. The Hearthstone community is used to Senior Producer Yong Woo, Game Director Ben Brode, and Game Designer Dean Ayala being the faces of the game, but it doesn't necessarily have to be that way.
A few weeks ago, Brode talked about wanting to communicate the development team's intentions and discussions more frequently but admitted that "not everyone is as excited about being a public face" acknowledging that "there is a lot of harassment that comes with being more public."