After queuing for 1 minute (for 2v2, 3v3 and 4v4) I got into a match with
1 diamond, 1 plat, 2 gold
2 conq, 2 diamond (premade team)
4v4 elos were about
1172.1083.1175.1000 (avg 1107)
1256.1563.1255.1954 (avg 1507)
This seems a pretty unreasonable game to have, and wasn’t particuarly fun to play. I’m guessing this happened as the premade team had been queuing for a while.
This is a bad user experience. It feels like the elo range the matchmaker is searching for is far too wide for me, or maybe just ignored (maybe the only elo range being used is the range of the premade team / the max of all players in a match?). A match with 400 avg team elo difference after <1min of searching seems very strange to me.
They published somewhere a list of ELO difference vs queue time when they changed it a bit ago. You might be able to find it if you search. It sounds like what might be happening is it’s allowing a wide difference if just one of the teams has been queueing for long enough for that difference to be acceptable. If you find the list and it seems like it shouldn’t have matched you in that way for your own queue time, I suggest raising it as a bug so they can at least consider whether or not it’s intended behaviour.
This has been my experience for over half the time in ranked team games. I feel like there just aren’t enough players playing the game to justify so many different gamemodes.
I’ve stopped playing the game as well for a while to see if some improvement has been made in the past few weeks. Queued today for a few matches, got matched up against teams that are on average two total ranks above my teams ranks (plat-conq) and decided there is no reason to play the game until this is fixed. This is either a bug or a design decision, I don’t care which.
No one enjoys matches that offer no real challenge or are so beyond challenging there is no reason to even try anything since you get steamrolled anyway.
You still get this in games with massively more players, though, as even when everyone is very close in rating you get big skill differences due to boosting/smurfing. I’ve seen people make the exact same complaint in multiple games that have very high player counts, that most games are a steamroll for one side.
AoE is also in general a bit steamrollerish in style. I was showing someone a replay of one of my team games where I baited an opponent into making quite a lot of cav by opening with archers, then I switched to spears and completely cleaned his entirely cav army. Viewing the replay where you can see everything, it was clear that it was gg at that point, yet the game actually continued for another 20 minutes because that was how long it took for it to become absolutely 100.00000% clear to the opponents that they had lost. In some other games, a mistake like that wouldn’t have an impact on the gameplay that follows, but in AoE the deficit just accumulates once you’re a bit behind.
In other games, that might happen every now and them, but definetly not 50% of the time like in AoE4. This has been an issue in quickplay as well, just harder to see since you have to manually look up the ratings. And sure some matches are really one sided not because of skill difference but strategy difference and that’s fine as well.
What is not fine is even if you play perfectly and as well as you can, you still get stomped because the opponent is simply better than you in everything that you didn’t even have a chance. I’ve had to play against the top 10 players on the ladder, even the best player in the world a few times!?! There is no way I can match that difference in skill and there is no justifiable reason why I should ever be put in a match against someone with double my rating. I’ve been in a match where my teammate got to feudal age after an enemy was in the castle age with no real reason why they were so slow other than skill difference.
If there are not enough players to sustain so many game modes, then some of them need to be removed and matchmaking should be more strict. I can happily wait for 10 minutes if I get a fair match, rather than be put into a match in 2 minutes which I will lose 99,99% of the time.
On reflection, yes, it does happen a lot in other games, some people complain 90% of games are a slaughter one way or the other, but it’s not happening for the same reason. Do you know if any numbers are published for AoE 4 for the number of people playing each mode at each point in time? It’s just that in another game, where I’m top 5% in a specific mode that only has ~2500 players worldwide at this moment in time, and where I’m only queuing on the European server, the matchmaking is still fine in the sense of finding me a game where everyone is fairly close in rating in that mode, generally +/-20 MMR spread, and generally pretty quickly, within maybe 10-20 seconds at a time when most people are awake. The games are still often a slaughter for other reasons, but in terms of making games where everyone has a similar rating in that mode, just a few thousand players seems to work fine. So it makes me wonder how many players are playing each mode in AoE 4, as the total player count on Steam alone is well above 2500.
I agree that fewer modes might be helpful, I think quick match could be killed off, and people told to use a different account via family sharing if they want to play more chill games without affecting their rank, or try out whacky strategies etc.