Ranked game lobbies should be anonymous

Hi all,

First of all, I’m pleased to see that the devs are addressing the issue of dodging. It’s great to see because it significantly enhances queue times, especially in team games. I assume the same applies to high-ranked solo players. Hopefully, the search mechanic can be refined to add more nuance. Currently, we sometimes see platinum two players being paired against conqueror three players with top win-rates.

However, there is another issue at play, not just in my opinion. It’s an underlying mechanic related to lobbies not being anonymous. In the lobby, people can see names, divisions, win-rates, match history (albeit via aoe4world), and civilization selection. This allows for notable counter-picking. For example, someone might say, “Oh, this person always plays Civ A? Let’s pick Civ B since it hard counters Civ A!” As a result, people may face their statistically worst match-up more frequently than expected based on the player pool.

This creates a rock-paper-scissors dynamic in the lobby. The actual AoE game, however, should be a fun and, at most, casual game to play (for most). It shouldn’t be a mind-boggling game before the actual match starts. Making lobbies anonymous would fully address this issue and further reduce dodging. With anonymity, there would be no incentive to dodge based on measurable factors.

I would love to hear opinions and suggestions on this.



Although it is true that on paper it may seem like a good idea, the issue is that it is easy to search for the player’s name on any statistics page (aoe4world) as it is also easy to search for it in AoE2.

The point is that the vast majority of mid/low level players dominate 1 or 2 civs at most, so it’s not a big problem.

The difference is that they won’t be able to dodge, but several will exit the game at the start, wasting time on the other player and on yourself (even if you gain a few points).

  • The first thing would be to better polish the matchmaking as they have promised, adapting to the number of players there are.

  • The second thing is to include one more veto (4 vetoes in 9 maps is correct).

  • The third thing is to choose a map pool that you know the majority of the players like based on the statistics collected from months ago until now.

  • The last thing would be to apply the correct sanctions.

With that we would solve the problem.

P.S: And lower the waiting time to play to 10 seconds please. 30 seconds is a lot.


If people are anonymous, they cannot be searched for on aoe4world. With anonymity, I’d argue, the name of your opponent does not even show up. For the lobby, your opponent can be dubbed as just that: opponent. You seem to interpret anonymity as being unable to open profiles in games. This would indeed not prevent people from searching for the player on third-party applications, such as aoe4world. Hence, make the name a fictitious one, merely in the lobby, would fully resolve this inherent risk.

Just to clarify, many details can shift incentives to (not) do something. For example, 15 seconds in the lobby would make it harder to check on aoe4world. Better matchmaking would be nice, but at the cost of queue times? My intent is not to present a solution as the holy grail. As an end user, I can only provide feedback and suggest a direction for a solution. It is up to the developers to take that solution, adjust it, or take a completely different approach. They may also choose to ignore it, but considering that matchmaking is an essential part of the game, I hope that any decision can be a result of prioritization rather than a lack of conviction on the subject.

I personally think it’d already help a lot if you don’t see who you’re up against before the match even starts. That’s one of my main issues with matchmaking in AoE 4 since its release.


If you don’t see him in the lobby, you’ll see him in-game and post-game, you’ll realize he was a smurf or he was a player with a lot higher rating than you, you’ll get angry and stop playing.

The waiting time is long, it should be reduced to 10-15 seconds at the most.

That without commenting on the maps, which is also a problem.

Somebody proposed this a month ago and the same objections that applied to his proposal apply to yours:

I see no notable objections in that thread. My motivation has little to do with smurfing, nor I suggest full anonymity.

You didn’t see them? Well I just copy pasted my objections for you:

I also disagree with the author’s claim that there is no benefit to the player knowing his/her opponent’s rank before the match starts. Playing a match requires a time investment, and I would be reluctant to make that investment without knowing what I’m getting into. If the matchmaking system did not show the opponent’s name and rank prior to a match starting, there would be 2 options for when to reveal the opponent’s name and rank.

  1. Opponent name/rank revealed on the map loading screen, or as soon as the game starts. This would simply lead to players evaluating their opponent as soon as their opponent’s name and rank is revealed, and quite possibly leaving the match immediately after it begins.
  2. Opponent name/rank hidden until the match ends. In this scenario, players would likely play until the end of the match, but may feel additional fear, uncertainty, and doubt while playing. This would likely take a psychological toll on players. At the end of a match, after seeing their opponent’s name/rank for the first time, many players would feel they were abused and had their time wasted by being placed in an impossibly difficult matchup- the sort of matchup they would currently immediately dodge, i.e. platinum vs conqueror.

Depending on how it’s implemented, anonymizing ranked lobbies would replace dodging with either leaving or players feeling they had their time wasted, either of which is arguably worse than dodging itself.

I understand why the author wants to anonymize ranked lobbies. Some players would prefer anonymized ranked lobbies, especially those players who feel confident they can take on anyone. Other players prefer the existing transparent lobbies and the option of dodging, including those who have limited time for playing matches and want to make judicious use of their limited time. What I would say is this- the players who prefer anonymized lobbies may have more fun at the expense of others’ time if their wish is granted, but they seem to be devoted to the game and unlikely to quit the game if their wish is not granted. The players who want to maintain the exiting transparent lobbies and ability to choose which matches they play are probably not as dedicated and committed to the game, and might quit the game altogether if they feel their experience is degraded and their time is misused.