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The Truth of Black Ops Cold War’s SBMM Revealed

After an in-depth analysis of Black Ops Cold War's SBMM, TheXclusiveAce has discovered the shocking truth behind the controversial feature.

Over the last few weeks, YouTuber TheXclusiveAce, along with Drift0r, JGOD, and S0ur, has been working on a full analysis of Black Ops Cold War's SBMM.

SBMM, or Skill-Based Matchmaking, is one of the more controversial topics in the Call of Duty community. The feature aims to pit players of similar skill levels together, but it's a deeply flawed system.

Black Ops Cold War SBMM truth reveal
(Source: Treyarch)

We've always known how much difference SBMM makes in Black Ops Cold War, but the investigation results are worse than we thought. After viewing the results for yourself, it's not hard to understand why Black Ops Cold War players want SBMM changed more than any other issue.

Black Ops Cold War's SBMM is Similar to Modern Warfare

Thanks to a new video analysis by TheXclusiveAce, we know a little more about how SBMM works in Cold War.

The YouTuber starts by confirming that the higher your K/D ratio, the more likely you are to run into others with a high K/D ratio. However, he also points out that this is not a perfect 1:1 ratio.

Skill-Based Matchmaking also heavily tracks a player's most recent performance, when it comes to placing them in appropriate lobbies. Should you have a particularly good few games against lower skill players, Black Ops Cold War's SBMM will bump up your difficulty to match your new 'skill level'.

Black Ops Cold War Multiplayer SBMM
(Source: Treyarch)

This SBMM system appears to be directly copied and pasted from Modern Warfare into Black Ops Cold War. Based on his collected data, TheXclusiveAce believes that SBMM is no stronger or weaker in the most recent release.

However, many users point out that the swings of difficulty from lobby to lobby are aiming to keep gamers playing as long as possible. Instead of a difficulty progression, players may experience several terrible matches in a row, only to be granted one fun match to keep them invested.

SBMM Affects Ping in Black Ops Cold War

Unlike Modern Warfare, Black Ops Cold War appears to give, on average, worse connections to high-skill players. As the game struggles to find higher skill level accounts, it widens its search, leading to higher Ping for better gamers.

TheXclusiveAce is quick to point out that while he's done significant testing with Drift0r, JGOD, and S0ur, their sample size is still relatively small. Although the results do indicate that higher skill accounts do receive on average higher ping, this is by no means confirmed.

Nuketown Black Ops Cold War
(Source: Treyarch)

Despite Treyarch's David Vonderhaar famously stating that "Ping is King" when it comes to balancing lobbies, this does not appear to be the case. Now, from what we can see, SBMM is the priority and Ping is less as a result.

If Skill-Based Matchmaking was less heavily-implemented in Black Ops Cold War, all users would be able to enjoy solid Ping. However, that would lead to less protection for casual users, which Activision seems to prioritize.

Black Ops Cold War Team Balancing Needs a Fix

Next, when it comes to team balancing, TheXclusiveAce draws another interesting conclusion. If you've ever seen a lobby where one player on a team is far better than the rest of their allies, there's a reason for this.

From the gathered data, TheXclusiveAce concludes that after SBMM has occurred, teams often consist of one stronger player with the rest of the game's weaker players.

black ops cold war reverse boosting
(Source: Treyarch)

In this way, Cold War attempts to balance a lobby by having one gamer act as a hard carry. If you find yourself with a terrible team, your stats are probably noticeably higher than others in the match.

After these discoveries, it's no surprise that Black Ops Cold War players are reverse boosting to protest SBMM. In an attempt to strike back against Activision, fans have learned how to lower the SBMM level in Black Ops Cold War.

Even big YouTubers are supporting this protest, leading to more and more users imitating their idols. Back when the game was in Beta, even DrDisrespect was reverse boosting to enjoy Black Ops Cold War.

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