Hello Community!

Last month we let you know about our plans to swap Deathmatch out from Ranked Matchmaking Queue in exchange for Empire Wars. What we weren’t ready to talk about yet, because we were still figuring out details, was the second piece of this change – how we intend to keep our competitive Deathmatch community in a good place. There were a lot of fantastic suggestions from you all on how to keep Deathmatch going which we greatly appreciated and now I think we have landed on a better solution. Thank you!

In a future update, we’ll be adding functionality to the lobby system that includes “Custom Ranked DM”. This will allow Deathmatch players to, optionally, compete for ELO using the game settings they are familiar with from the matchmaking queue.

We’ll be providing lots of that information closer to this change going live, but until then, here are some important bits things for you to know:

  • This won’t be specific to a map pool, map choice is open to the lobby creator
    • This means Michi players can now play Ranked games!
  • For now, this change is exclusive to Deathmatch
  • Custom Ranked DM matches can be either 1v1 or TG
  • Custom Ranked DM matches that are saved and restored will convert to unranked
  • All current DM rankings will be carried forward to the new custom lobby-based system
  • The decision on whether to create a “Ranked Lobby” will be made by the host on lobby creation
  • There will be an option to limit the ELOs of joining players to a specific range

Deathmatch will be the first mode to receive Custom Ranked support, and if we see good results (sentiment & matchmaking quality), we’ll look at adding ranked ELO to more game modes. That means that as other modes increase in popularity, we’ll slowly layer in (optional) competitive-friendly features for them. The system we are envisioning will have three levels, beginning with unranked Custom Lobbies for all modes (currently available), graduating to the DM implementation where there are things like standard competitive settings and ELO, and finally landing at Ranked Matchmaking. Modes will move up or down in this “graduation system” based on the number of daily matches being played and Community feedback, so in essence – we are putting YOU, our Community, in the driver’s seat for what happens with competitive play in the game.

For those of you that have been passionate about your favorite modes of play for many, many years, and are actively trying to build the eSports footprint, our interest is in making sure we can support that passion.

Once the Custom Ranked DM lobby system is implemented, you’ll probably see us tweak settings based on your feedback, so please keep engaging on forums and Discord. Hopefully those of you who joined the #SaveDM effort feel heard and validated with this move. We really do appreciate the time and effort you all spent giving us feedback on how to make the game better.

See you in the lobbies!

—Will McCahill
The Age of Empires Team

PS. Empire Wars is still coming to Ranked Queue next patch!

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