# FPS opponent matchmaking

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I had an interesting thought from a theoretical perspective, but curious whether it would horrify FPS people (or if it sounds infeasible).

The idea is continuing to matchmake *during* play based on playing style and/or success. If a player is having runaway success, find tougher players in an existing match for them to fight. This could be based on overall kill stats or "player type A tends to beat player type B". Similarly for struggling players, find a match that is more suitable.

The change could be achieved in three ways:
- The mismatched player gets moved to another match in the same level on respawn.
- Players are offered the opportunity to make a "guest appearance" in another match to take the top player down a peg for some kind of bonus.
- Players don't see the same set of opponents as each other. e.g. if players A-C are good players, players D-F are okay players and players G-J are poor players, then A-C see A-F as opponents and G-J as "ghosts" that they can't interact with. D-F see everybody. G-J see D-J as opponents and A-C as ghosts. The ghost system would allow A-C to understand that D-F are interacting with G-J even though they can't, and in fact they could even walk through the ghosts.

Thoughts?

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I think that it would be an interesting idea to experiment with, although quite jarring to players used to traditional FPS games and potentially very confusing. It may also become much more difficult to get an intuitive sense of your own performance in a match, so perhaps not one for the purist or extremely competitive player.

Your last point about creating tiered subgroups sounds the least workable to me in its most basic form - cutting shifting groups of players off from each other in the same arena could be a great source of confusion, and would serve to isolate the players and effectively shrink their games. I remember a mod/cheat for Unreal Tournament which made players grow larger (and easier to see/shoot) as they scored kills and thinner each time they died. This feedback created a handicap to level the playing field somewhat without isolating the players; I thought this was a straightforward mechanic which changed the dynamic of the game noticeably.

Switching players into entirely different matches could be done less disruptively, which is why I much prefer your first two suggestions. Of course this kind of system would not be appropriate everywhere, but in many competitive deathmatch-style games players joining/leaving occasionally does not greatly inconvenience other players, and switching them between respawns is feasible. This might fit with a dark, futuristic setting like The Running Man, where glamorised deathmatch game-shows are broadcast for the amusement of the public. Players could be thrust into gladiatorial combat and switched between arenas on the whim of the operators and producers, aiming to appease the viewers. Something like a "guest appearance" would fit right into this type of atmosphere.

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