How Strong Is The SBMM (Skill-Based Matchmaking) In Modern Warfare 2?

There is SBMM in MW2, as there has been in every CoD game for over a decade, but how bad is it? Will you get punished for playing well?

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How intense is the SBMM in MW2? | © Activision

SBMM is pretty misunderstood by the community (but not by you, dear reader, I'm sure). It's been around in Call of Duty since at least as long as Black Ops 2, it wasn't invented by MW2019, and what's more, it's really more of an engagement-based algorithm that's specific to each player. If you have a history of logging off after hard games, for example, then you're less likely to face hard opponents than someone who happily plays through the challenging matchups, even if you're both as skilled. For this reason, it's hard for any one observer to get an accurate read on SBMM. But we'll try.

In our office, we have dozens of players who might hop on for a game or two, but only a few committed CoD fans (who have been grinding like hell to put together tier-lists like this for you). I monitored the games and average placements of those more hardcore players, and I think I have a fairly good answer for how strong the SBMM is in Modern Warfare 2. You won't like the answer, but you can probably predict it.

How Strong Is The SBMM In Modern Warfare 2?

The SBMM in Modern Warfare 2 is noticeable (especially to very good players) but it isn't nearly as strong as Modern Warfare 2019, and it doesn't react as quickly. In MW2019, it seemed to put you into a hard match almost immediately after finishing a match where you performed well. This time around, it feels like it takes closer to 3, 4 or 5 games before it begins to noticeably react. And what's more, there's more variation in the lobbies you're going up against. One moment you can be facing an absolute bot and the next minute, you can run into Cellium's burner.

We need to continue with more extensive testing, but for now at least, we're able to confirm for you that it's in the game, but it won't be as big of an issue for the community as it has been in year's previous. Much more importantly, the community have been requesting a classic minimap, the return of Dead Silence as a perk (or Ninja, as we suppose it would be called in perk form), and perpetual lobbies. Will we get these things? Probably not.

If SBMM is punishing you, then at least you know you're a good player, and if you just feel like you're getting smoked, maybe you need a better loadout?

For all the other changes coming in MW2, check out this vid: