|This article is currently under construction.|
Matched Play (aka Darwin's Thunderdome, Thunderdome, TD) is the automated matchmaking system in Natural Selection 2 introduced in Build 337. It was first officially mentioned in a Blog Post in March 2020. Testing began in early 2021 and by summer 2021 UWE released a Q&A.
The game mode is purely 6v6. The system automatically groups 12 players based on their geographic location and their Hive Skill, with the aim of normalizing latency among all clients. Matched Play ranks and skills will use the player’s current community rank until that player’s first Matched Play round is finished. Afterwards, the Matched Play skill-ranks will be handled separately. Map Voting is a priority-choice system, which means your first choice (of max 3) gets the greatest weight. Based on the choices all players that voted for at least 1 map and locked their vote the system chooses one map according to weighted votes.
Creating Lobbies and queueing with friends is currently not implemented, but is planned to be implemented in some form for the final release.
Getting into a match
From the Main Menu, clicking PLAY opens the Play Menu and selecting MATCHED PLAY will open a Menu with three options: Search, Group, and Private.
- Search: will start a search for a public Lobby. If no Lobby can be found within a reasonable geographical distance and skill level a new one is created.
- Group: will bring you to the Group Screen which allows you to invite one or two friends to play with. After at least one other player has joined, the Group Leader can search for a match. There can only be a maximum of two Groups in one Lobby and no more than one Group per team. Players that are part of the same Group will play on the same team. If the Group cannot find an appropriate public Lobby, they will start a new one.
- Private: will start a Private Lobby. This Lobby functions very similar to the regular Lobby, with the two major differences being that a Private Lobby can only be entered via Invite (this means no Groups can enter a Private Lobby, and games in Private Lobbies do not count towards Matched Play Rewards.
Upon entering a Lobby, each player can volunteer to play as Commander. Once volunteered, the decision is final and cannot be reverted. If more than two players volunteer, the system selects two out of the volunteers. The process will not progress unless there are 12 players in the Lobby and at least 2 have volunteered to play as Commander.
After volunteering to command or after 2 Commanders have been chosen, players can vote for Maps. Each player can select up to 3 Maps in descending order of preference, including a Random Map. The system picks the Map with the most votes (weighted by preference). Once the Map Vote is locked, it is final and cannot be changed. After 75% of players voted on maps, a timer starts limiting the time for the remaining players to vote.
From there on the Lobby progresses to the Planning Phase where the players see which players were shuffled onto their team, which map was selected, which side they are going to play first and which second. Field players (of both teams) can also select their preferred Lifeforms. This has no direct effect on the game, and is just a tool to help organize the team strategy. The chat in the Planning Phase is invisible to the opposing team.
During the Planning Phase, a server is spun up and once that is done, the players will automatically connect to it. After a short waiting period to give players a chance to connect, all players are sorted to their respective team, commanders are automatically put in the command structure, and the round starts. After the first round, teams are swapped automatically after a short break in the Ready Room. After the second round, players are given a short time to look at the post game stats and say their goodbyes before the server shuts down automatically and everyone is sent back to the main menu.
Stages of a Lobby
Players who intentionally leave an ongoing match will be penalized from using the feature, so as to encourage players to not create a detrimental experience for their teammates whom they match with.
- 1st penalty is for 1 hour
- 2nd penalty within 7 days time is 3 hours
- 3rd penalty within 7 days time is 24 hours
- 4th penalty within 7 days time is 3 days
- 5th penalty within 7 days time is 7 days
- If any incident occurs it resets the 7 day clock! So if your 2nd penalty occurs on the 6th day, you have another 7 days you have to complete without incident again, else you get the 3rd penalty.
- Penalties are sequential in both directions, earned and lost. So without further incident within that rolling 7 day period your status will revert to the prior penalty step. Meaning if you’ve earned the maximum 7 day ban it would take 4 weeks to essentially “reset” your penalty level to 0, but you would be able to use the system again as soon as the first 7 days passed. But should you have another incident soon after that, it would go right back to a 7 day penalty
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|List of Flavor Text during Server spinup|
This is a list of all balance changes exclusive to Matched Play:
|Max number of Web charges||3||1|
|Gorge Base Health||160||190|
|Cyst build time||4.5 seconds||3.3 seconds|
|Aura reveals Health||Yes||No|
|ARCs Health / Armor||2600 / 400||2000 / 500|
|Maximum number of ARCs||5||4|
You can earn rewards for playing Matched Play, after unlocking the Rewards Screen. The rewards are awarded for Playtime on the field and as Commander, and for victories on the field and as Commander. The rewards can be either Skins, Badges, or Calling Cards.
Full reward list
Calling Cards are images shown to a player on their death screen.
Mine • Shotgun • Welder • Hand Grenades • Grenade Launcher • Flamethrower • Machine Gun • Jetpack • Exosuit
Ammo Pack • Med Pack • Scan • Nano Shield • Power Surge • Catalyst Pack • Distress Beacon • Recycle
Sentry • Sentry Battery • Observatory • Phase Gate • Prototype Lab
Skulk - (Sneak • Wall Walking • Bite • Parasite) • Gorge - (Belly Slide • Spit • Heal Spray • Build Menu) • Lerk - (Flight • Roost • Poison Bite • Spikes) •
Fade - (Swipe • Blink) • Onos - (Gore)
Skulk - (Leap • Xenocide) • Gorge - (Bile Bomb) • Lerk - (Spores • Umbra) • Fade - (Metabolize • Advanced Metabolize • Stab) • Onos - (Charge • Bone Shield • Stomp)
Frenzy • Swarm • Phantom • Silence • Feign Death • Hyper-mutation
Heal Wave • Ink • Echo • Nutrient Mist • Rupture • Bone Wall • Contamination • Enzyme Cloud • Hallucination Cloud • Mucous Membrane
Crag • Shade • Shift • Whip • Shell • Veil • Spur