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Engagement Using Matchmaking and Ranking in Competitive Multiplayer Games

Josh Menke

November 3-4, 2022

Repeat: December 8-9, 2022

 9 am-1 pm PT both days

Course Fee
$949- General (Ends December 5)

Seating is limited to ensure each student has time with the instructor, and registration for these courses will be closed when capacity is reached.

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Course Information

Course Description

Players expect high quality matchmaking and ranking in today’s world of free-to-play, AAA-quality competitive multiplayer games. Engaging players with matchmaking requires correctly balancing a player’s perception of playability, fairness, latency, wait time, and other variables for each activity a game provides. Engaging players with ranking requires balancing players’ trust in the system’s accuracy, its fairness, a sense of progression, and aspiration, in addition to understanding matchmaking’s effect on ranking. Designers also need to know how to evaluate and improve both systems using data.

The following course will cover:

  • How to accurately find a player’s skill for use in both matchmaking and ranking.
  • How to determine the best way to balance the use of skill, latency, and wait time in matchmaking.
  • Best practices for ranking players given different games and audiences.
  • Principles from state-of-the-art matchmaking and skill systems like TrueSkill 2 and TrueMatch.

It will draw from industry experience working on competitive systems for Blizzard, Call of Duty, and Halo franchises.

Course Type

Two-Day Course: This is a single course that takes place over two four-hour days with limited breaks.

Intended Audience

The course will be taught from the point of view of a designer however, because of heavy overlap with related disciplines, engineers and data scientists will also find valuable takeaways.

Key Takeaways

  • How to engage players using matchmaking and ranking systems
  • How to maintain a positive player perception of fairness in both matchmaking and ranking
  • What the state-of-the-art is in skill and matchmaking systems
  • How to decide what to include in determining a player’s skill or expected performance
  • How to use data to balance the use of skill, latency, and wait time in matchmaking
  • How matchmaking interacts with both skill and ranking
  • Best practices in modern ranking systems
  • How to tune a ranking system to balance accuracy against a sense of progression
  • How to tune the way a player’s rank updates at the end of a match to balance accuracy and a player’s perception of fairness


Attendees will be given the choice of two exercises to complete prior to the course to better prepare for the type of problems that matchmaking and ranking systems are designed to solve.

Instructor Bio

Josh Menke has spent the last 17+ years designing skill, matchmaking, and ranking systems, most recently as a Principal Designer at Riot Games for League of Legends: Wild Rift, and previously on Halo, Call of Duty, and multiple Blizzard entertainment games. Josh holds a PhD in Computer Science specializing in skill systems and neural networks.

Preferred Title: Principal Game Designer

Company Name: Riot Games

Please review the GDC Masterclass Registration Policies prior to registering.


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