XDefiant Skill-Based Matchmaking (SBMM) explained

XDefiant Skill-Based Matchmaking (SBMM) explained
Antony Terence Updated on by

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✓ At a glance
  • The game has two modes where skill-based matchmaking is active, Welcome Playlist and Ranked (Trial Run).
  • Unranked playlist does not feature SBMM.

Ubisoft’s free-to-play arena shooter just dropped on PCs and consoles. While it’s a competitive title, the developers confirmed earlier that skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) won’t be baked into every game mode. So while it is still present, some playlists offer a casual experience. Here are all the playlists that implement SBMM and the ones that don’t.

Which playlists have SBMM?

During the Preseason, the Welcome Playlist and Ranked (Trial Run) playlists have SBMM. The Welcome Playlist is where players can “learn to play XDefiant with other players under level 25. Skill-based matchmaking is ON for the introductory playlist.” As for Ranked (Trial Run), it throws you into “4v4 teams with competitive rules for competitive players.” So if you prefer facing opponents who are as skilled as you (calculated by Rank Points), stick to one of these playlists. Ranked Play is currently in a trial phase and will be fully released in a future season.

A player wins a match by a close margin, resulting in a close win.
You won’t experience close matches as often if you opt for an SBMM-free experience. Image captured by VideoGamer.

Which playlists don’t have SBMM?

If you aren’t a fan of sweaty matches with teams that are very close in terms of skill, you can check out the Unranked playlist. This lets you pick from all game modes, letting you work towards objectives with allies and rivals of varying skill levels. This means that every match will feel different but this can also work against you if you enter a lobby of highly skilled players. Instead of sorting players by skill, the game checks factors like:

  • Latency
  • Party size
  • Region
  • Input device
  • Platform

Considering that some FPS titles like Call of Duty implement a form of SBMM across all game modes, XDefiant is a breath of fresh air. Removing SBMM from a casual playlist makes it a compelling choice for FPS newcomers and veterans tired of sweaty matches. The game’s executive producer Mark Rubin noted they weren’t a fan of SBMM for casual play back in October 2022 on X (formerly Twitter). Players who were forced to face harder foes in other FPS titles can take it easy in the Unranked playlist’s casual lobbies on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S.

Can you disable skill-based matchmaking?

While you can choose playlists that don’t have SBMM, you can’t disable the feature in ranked matches and the Welcome playlist. These two sections require them to serve their purpose well so it’s understandable that Ubisoft doesn’t let you disable it. But don’t worry, you can enter the Unranked playlist immediately. You don’t have to deal with SBMM if you don’t want to. The casual playlist even lets you pick from specific modes if you’re partial to any of them.