Updated - December 3rd 2020
To follow up on our initial round of testing performed over the past week with EORMM, I wanted to let you know that we've now switched this system off, and reset Breakthrough back to it's previous mode of operation.
We're really grateful to those who jumped into the mode over the past week or so, and subsequently took the time to share their thoughts and feedback with us.
We saw some really positive results with this test, and we saw some concerning behaviours that many of you were able to reinforce with your feedback. As originally noted, if we couldn't ensure that this would be an overall positive improvement, we wouldn't force the change, and we wouldn't sustain EORMM unless we had total confidence that we were fully improving the experience across the board.
What went well? We saw some much improved behaviours in terms of more folks being able to start fresh rounds of breakthrough with even numbers of players across the teams, and overall, better balance across the teams that encouraged more players to see out the rounds.
What surprised us? We saw fewer instances than we expected of players progressing at the EOR into a server where they were about to play the same map. We recognise that for some, the preference remains to have a predictable sequence of maps, and we're keen to explore what improvements we can make in that area if we can.
What encouraged us to end the test? We weren't satisfied with the behaviour of the system in certain regions, where at the end of the round, some players were being sent into fresh empty servers that had little to no chance of starting up into a complete round. For those players, we weren't satisfied that we were improving the experience enough of the time, as this was causing players to spend longer to get back into games, with little guarantee that they could continue on playing the game.
What happens next? We'll spend some more time reviewing our experience with this, and the feedback that you've shared so far (keep it coming by the way!), and determine what alterations and adjustments we can make in the new year. When we know what these are, we'll see about what further trials we need to run, and let you know in due course.
Big thanks again from us all for your feedback,
Freeman // @PartWelsh
- Original Post below for Reference -
Yesterday we started quietly rolled out a new system for our End of Round experience on Official Breakthrough Servers across Battlefield V. The system changes the behaviour of Breakthrough to see if we can improve the balance of teams in this mode, and ensure healthier gameplay on the server.
Before I get into the meat of how the system works, I wanted to let you know that this change itself is presently considered as a Live Test for us, and is locked behind what we call a kill switch, meaning that we have the ability to enable, and more importantly disable this feature at will. This new system is something that we’ve tested extensively internally, but with the current world of work from home video game development being what it is, we want to make sure that if we don’t see this behaving the way that we intend it to, that we can quickly disable it and make our next decisions on what happens next.
If the system shows to be working properly and creates healthier behaviours in the game, we’ll roll it out to more modes and continue on with the testing. I’ll also note that Custom Games and Grand Operations will not receive this functionality, these aren’t spaces where we intend to make use of this technology.
We’re testing throughout the entire rest of the week, and will be looking back over the performance of the system, and your feedback early next week.
That all said, let’s talk about what you can expect now that it’s on.
During the End of Round Screen in Breakthrough, we’re currently triggering a Matchmaking service to evaluate the health of the current server, analyse what squads are currently present on that server and how well they’re performing. From there we can make determinations on if the current population of that server can stay together and progress onto the next map, or if we need to get folks out, and into more balanced servers.
On average, this initially adds around 5-10 seconds to the current End of Round flow, and depending on how quickly the Matchmaking service can identify a healthier game for you, will largely get you into a new round in good time. The more balanced the round was, the less time this will ultimately take, as there’ll be less Squads to shuffle to new servers, and more opportunity to keep healthy servers rolling on to the next map.
We switched this on yesterday evening, and we’ve started monitoring it’s performance. Next step for us is to ask for your feedback.
To help answer what I believe are going to be some of the common questions, I’ve provided some extra detail below, but don’t be shy to tag in your questions about how the system works and I’ll work with the teams to get you some new answers.
Stay Safe. Stay Healthy. Play the Objective.
Freeman // @PartWelsh
No. This is only active on Official Breakthrough Servers. Community Games Servers are not affected and this function is 100% disabled here.
Not always. In the event that we can see that the server is running in a healthy state, and we have all the right squads in play, yes you will absolutely move to the next map in the rotation and the server will continue as normal. If we instead spot that the server will benefit from moving you, and your squad out to a new server, we’ll do that instead. This can result in very rare occasions where you may find yourself replaying a map you just played, but this time you’ll find yourself playing with much more balanced teams.
The more that server stays and plays together, the less likely folks will need to be shifted elsewhere.
No. We’re not working with any system that will disrupt Squad Play. Please let us know if you’re not having this experience so that we can investigate.
Not always. Where we know that the balance of the round will benefit from seeing one of you moved to a different, or new server, we’ll do that. The priority is for us to enable a balanced round where both teams are able to feel like they’re in for a good round of gameplay. If the server is viewed as healthy, you’ll likely stay together.
A reminder that this feature is not active on Community Games rounds of Breakthrough, so if you have enough friends to get a scrim together, be sure to set a server up and invite your friends to join on you.
We’ve explored and debated this one internally a lot this year, both in terms of Battlefield V, games we’ve released in the past, and the things we’re working on for our future in Battlefield.
Switching up the teams mid round is something that has happened in past Battlefield games and it’s been a divisive topic amongst the Battlefield community. If a round is going well, and you’re the reason that a team is coasting to victory, it’s felt to be extremely punishing to then be shifted to a team that’s currently being stomped. That’s not exclusively true for all players, and there are squads out there who would love nothing more than to switch over and help the other team to PTFO.
This change is targeted against addressing the imbalance, with the design being to force more rounds to start in healthier states vs. the current operation where some matches have already been won based simply on who is stacked up on one side before the round starts.
With more rounds starting in healthier states, we’ll hopefully see less of a need to create an intrusive, forceful balancer in future titles but we will be monitoring for both your feedback, and the performance of the EOR Matchmaker to help make the decisions around how we’ll approach improving the experience in the future.
We heard your feedback and saw your frustrations around playing a bad round of Battlefield. We looked at where we were seeing the issues arising, and asked ourselves what was the best way to approach the problem.
We talked with the Battlefront team, compared our EOR experiences and the behaviour of players in both games to see what changes we could make. We recognised that our best path forward was to emulate the experience found in Battlefront and ensure that our players were being appropriately matched with each other. It’s proven to be successful there, and we’re keen to see how it performs in Battlefield.