Epic is making a big change to the way matchmaking works in Fortnite. With the game’s next major update, v10.40, the developer will be introducing skill-based matchmaking to the battle royale. “Since battle royale launched, the matchmaking strategy for our core modes has remained mostly unchanged,” Epic explained in a blog post published today. “Over the past two years, however, the range of player skill has grown considerably.”
It’s not clear exactly how this will work, but Epic says it is “introducing improved matchmaking logic to battle royale core modes to create fairer matches.” According to the developer, this means that “you will be more likely to match with players of similar skill, and as you get better, so should your opponents.” The new matchmaking system is expected to slowly roll out across all regions.
It’s a big change for the game, and it could have a substantial effect on how competitive even Fortnite’s standard modes feel for brand-new, casual, and high-skill players. For professional streamers, it could make broadcasting the game markedly different. The change also goes against previous statements from Epic, when the company stated that Fortnite was designed for players of various skill levels to compete alongside each other.
When top-tier players complained about the devastating mech, for instance, Epic issued the following response:
The mission of Fortnite is to bring players of all skill levels together to have a fun experience where anyone can win. For example: everyone having a shot at that first elimination or victory royale moment and the satisfying feeling that comes with it. Right now, we know there are players out there who have never had that opportunity.
Epic eventually backpedaled and severely reduced the mech’s in-game abilities. But the disparity between regular players and professionals has become even more pointed as Fortnite steadily shifts into a more viable e-sport, with major events like the World Cup and the current Fortnite Champion Series.
Somewhat related, starting in season 11 players will finally have a proper way to practice in Fortnite, thanks to the introduction of bots. “They will behave similarly to normal players and will help provide a better path for players to grow in skill,” Epic says. “Bots will work in conjunction with the new matchmaking system, and as your skill improves, you’ll face fewer bots.”
It’s likely bots will only remain present for the lowest-skill players as a way to help them improve to the point of competing against humans. Epic says bots will not be present in its competitive “arena” playlists.