Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 public matchmaking fully explained after fans demand dedicated servers

After many fans have asked exactly how public matchmaking works inside “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2,” either out of curiosity or through complaints of lag issues, Activision has described the entire process of how their multiplayer system groups players together. Before now the process has been largely secretive, leaving players to speculate why they believe whether they have been placed in a properly ranked match with good connection or not. This has left many players to ask for dedicated servers as opposed to the peer-to-peer setup currently in place. The following steps are how “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” filters all matches to players during the matchmaking process.

1. Filter all games that can be joined by proximity to the player. Proximity does not adhere strictly to city, state or country as seen on a map. Rather, it breaks down into four tiers of geographical region surrounding the player. The query starts in the tier closest to the player and expands from there if it cannot find enough matches. The query also ignores all full or “non-joinable” games, which could be half or more of the total available games in a playlist.
2. Filter by broad skill range. This step takes the proximity-filtered list and narrows it further to the set of games that fall roughly in the same broad skill range. This is very loose criteria in Public Match and is a broad-stroke filter that avoids games at the extreme ends. A player of very high skill should generally not get matched to games where the average skill of players is very low, and vice versa.
3. Steps 1 and 2 normally take a fraction of a second and result in a list of “top 50” available games. From here, the game tests for the best connection quality of those 50 games. Connection quality includes a measure of ping, bandwidth between you and the host, and NAT compatibility. The game attempts to join you to the game with the best connection quality of all possible matches, starting at the top of the list.

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HeavenlySnipes2348d ago

Thats fine and all, but the games still lag

blackbeld2348d ago (Edited 2348d ago )

Yep. It's the spawn issue and they not fixing it.

When you get killed first then its over. All your enemies will spawn right behind you. Ahh and you never got the change to turn around :)

Bad game and still people buying it. And get frustrated every day lol.

Lag my lover..... COD brand!

supersonicjerry2348d ago

What does a spawn issue have to do with lag? You must be playing nuketown to much to be having that issue.

JeffGUNZ2345d ago

@ Blackbeld. The only time I ever experience any bad spawning is in Nuketown. The map is the size of my bedroom, what do you expect? When the enemy is on both sides of the map, where do you expect the game to spawn you? It's not like they are going to spawn you down the road. You obviously don't play this game after that comment. All the other maps the spawn system works well. Also, lag and spawn are completely irrelevant so stop trolling.

csreynolds2347d ago (Edited 2347d ago )


Treyarch needs to stop pushing blame onto the consumer. If it's the consumers fault for not having the right settings, or having a sub-par connection, why do the older games play better? Why weren't guidance notes released for previous CoDs? I know why: because the netcode for recent titles has been s**t, and I imagine lag compensation - y'know, that feature introduced in Black Ops 1 designed to IMPROVE online multiplayer performance - is a big part of the problem with BO/MW3/BO2.

I've lost all respect for this company, and will not be buying anymore games it develops.

venom062348d ago

THIS IS B.S!!! we as gamers that put hundreds of millions of dollars in these idiots hands DESERVE dedicated servers... BF3's dedicated servers are awesome for one on one gun battles.. but i blame the gamers for this garbage... until we speak with out dollars, and stop being sheeple and giving these people our money year after year, we're going to keep getting the same garbage..

blackbeld2348d ago

Not all of them.

COD 4 is still the best! I still playing it.

MW2 and 3 and all Black ops are not dedicated.

Spenok2348d ago

No CoD has dedicated servers....

meatnormous2347d ago

Cod 4 on PC has dedicated servers.

Timurse2347d ago

Though MW2's network code was somehow a lot better than the one used in BO1/MW3/BO2. I just don't know why but there were a lot less lag issues in MW2. Here in BO2 watching kill cams makes me laugh so hard.
I shoot half of my clip into a guy, then he kills me with 1 bullet. I watch killcam - I didn't shoot EVEN 1 BULLET, just running as a sheep blatantly right into my enemy's fire.
So it seems like the ping with host is about 500-900ms which is totally ridiculous as my 20mbps internet connection has a very low lattency (most of servers below 90ms).

FarCryLover1822348d ago

The game has inherent lag and it is seemingly "built-in." Every time I play and get killed, it seems as if my enemy is playing about .75 seconds in the future.

Mutant-Spud2348d ago

All the COD games are like that, I played a bit of MW3 last night and after playing other shooters online for the last couple of months the difference was startling. I'm an average player, my K/D in all FPS games is usually about 0.9-1.0 but I never seem to have an average game of COD, I'm either on a killing spree or unable to hit anything. At level 80 I don't sporadically get worse or better because I know the maps and can anticipate other players to a certain extent, it's the game .

blackbeld2348d ago (Edited 2348d ago )

Lag my lover..... COD brand!

Janitor2348d ago

You just answered yourself...if your enemies seem to be in the future that tells me they're not lagging, and you are. Your connection sucks.

JaredH2348d ago (Edited 2348d ago )

Or he never gets host because he's not from the US. That's my experience with Call of Duty games. I'm in Canada and have a 15 mb connection and use Ethernet but I still never get host or 4 bars. And yes it feels like everyone else is in the future for me too.

There's videos of it online too. If you record your gameplay and then compare it to what theater mode records there is a difference even when you are not noticeably lagging.

Mutant-Spud2348d ago (Edited 2348d ago )

I'm in Australia, I've got 100 Mbps cable and it's still as laggy as hell, there's more than likely something in this geographical and matchmaking disparity, I suspect what's happening is that the filter is matching me with compatible peers based on connection speed more often than geographic proximity. It stands to reason that if I'm being put in with people with good connections from the U.S more so than people with slower speeds in Asia or Australia there are still going to be latency issues.

MRMagoo1232347d ago

Hmm i'm in Australia and i only usually get in matches with Australians or kiwis even with everyone having full green bars cept maybe a couple kiwis there is still lag I have actually filmed my games and watched them in theater mode and there is around a second to half a second discrepancy.

Soldierone2348d ago

I'm fine with dedicated servers as long as its them hosting it. I don't want custom lobbies. I can't stand them. I haven't played BF3 since they did that, and will gladly leave COD if they do it too.

I think Resistance did it best. Ranked games were their servers, non-ranked games were allowed to be custom.

However either way, I don't think dedicated servers fix the issue either. BF3 still has its fair amount of lag, not as bad as COD, but its still there.

BuryYourHead7072348d ago

The thing is with BF3's lag, it's the person who's connection is weak that lags.

Jon's connection is weak = Jon Lags
Jons connection is good = Jon doesn't lag

You might still see someone ELSE lagging in BF3, but once again that's their own fault, not the game.

Jon's connection is weak = Jon Lags
Jon's connection is good = Jon lags

This is caused by the connection relying on host bandwidth.
You could have 50mbs down/20mbs up and still lag on COD because little Billy's
Host and his connection is 1mbs down/.5mbs up.

Shit, my connection is 12/3 and I show 1 bar one match and full the next so.

For The Record, no matter what game, dedicated servers or not, there will be lag.:)

Soldierone2348d ago

Thats what I said. Dedicated servers still lag lol

I had a 20mbs connection, connected through Ethernet, and I was still lagging at times on BF3. No not like COD (like I said) but it was still there.

I understand how COD's work, but people pretend dedicated servers fix the issue entirely. It doesn't. Also if dedicated servers were so grand, then why do games that come around offering them die so often. You'd think people would jump ship to go support those games if the feature was so important....

SJPFTW2348d ago

When i still had my PS3 I experiences almost no lag in servers in the US east coast where I reside. It is a good experience

Tetsujin2347d ago


Socom Confrontation does the same thing; Ranked Rooms are on their servers, and unranked is to the player.

csreynolds2347d ago (Edited 2347d ago )

That was silly, as there are still plenty of DICE servers available to join...

BuryYourHead707 summed it up very well. Connection matters in BF3. It doesn't in CoD: you lag regardless. I have a 55mb down, 17mb up connection and a 25ms ping (average). On CoD, I'm b***hed by players with weaker connections. On BF3, the bullets I fire actually kill people.

Which to play, therefore, is an easy decision for me.

BaconBits2348d ago

I have no problem being put into games with high ranked players and long as some of them are on my team too. When I am just an average player it helps to watch the tricks/pointers of higher ranks. I am more concerned that the connection is good.

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