Two of the forthcoming features that will help the transition for more people getting to T5 is in the roadmap (and going live on PC by the end of this month):
In the PC 1.9 update (coming in late September if things go according to plan), one of the major changes you will see has to do with matchmaking. We understand the frustration some folks have when they queue for a recruit fleet game and get pulled into a veteran match. At the same time, legendary squads getting pulled into vet matches or not being able to get matches with a tier five ship in your fleet because there aren’t enough players at that level of the game yet.
The fixes to address these issues are as follows:
We will have hard divisions between the fleet queues. That means, even if you have all decked out T2s in your recruit fleet and a high MMR and you queue for recruit, you will 100% of the time get only get a recruit match. That said, we do not want to dissuade people from having T2s in their veteran fleet if they feel that they need that ship to fill a role. So in short, the only time you’ll see a T2 in a vet match is when a player has deliberately placed it in their vet fleet and queued for a veteran match. That same player may well have full T4s in every other slot, but he’s choosing to play the T2 either for progression, xp conversion or just team comp needs.
We do still want to have a “safe” matchmaking pool for solo-queuing newer players, so they aren’t immediately fed to more experienced sharks who happen to also be playing their recruit fleet. There will eventually be a matchmaking pool specifically for those players. Once they reach a certain fleet rating or MMR rating from skillful play, they will graduate to the “general” recruit fleet pool.
At the higher end of the spectrum, similarly, if you queue for a legendary match, you will only get a legendary match (not a vet level match that includes T2 and T3 with legendary battle bonus rewards). This should help players who have T5s currently going unused and who are unable to make progress in kitting out those ships with amazing new modules. Hopefully this approach will also create a draw for those players with T4 ships to step up to tier 5 and those real legendary battles, where the greatest challenges and rewards lie.
These changes will have impact upon matchmaking logic and thus queue times. Our game is reaching an audience size where we feel comfortable making some of these changes but one of the things we’ve learned is that folks leave and quit the game when the queue times get too long. So we need to manage that issue carefully. Also, it’s not as fun sitting in a queue as it is battling. We want the Dreadnought experience to be about play, not about waiting.
We have two features coming in the future to address these issues:
AI “slot” filling - There’s two elements here. First, we will be tweaking the AI to have greater skill granularity between the easy onboarding/early proving ground matches and the brutal teamwork and skill shown in the Havoc mode AI. Second, we will then set a “hard time limit” for queues where we will make the best possible matches with folks in the queue at that moment given the parameters above. We will then supplement any open team positions, taking care to balance the teams, with an appropriately skilled/talented AI player. In most games, we expect there to be no AI players, but at certain times of day and certain matchups (particularly T5 legendary matchups for now) it’s likely to be unavoidable. This situation will evolve over time.
This next bit is further out on the time horizon, but re-queuing from end-of-match screen directly will be possible. The objective here is to have players who played well together, continue to play and socialize together. This will take the form of being able to requeue directly from the end-of-match screen and then being able to chat or squad up with folks from the prior game who have also just requeued. The goal is have folks spend more time battling, making friends and less time queuing.