One of the parts of TEAMS.gg we've worked really hard on is our matching algorithm. The piece of TEAMS which makes sure that when you load Discovery, those at the top of your list are your ideal teammates.
We've improved the algorithm many times in the months since launch and it will continue to evolve for the foreseeable future. This also includes making sure that the questions we ask you are clear and they result in the best matches. One question, however, has caused us the most headaches... 'Would you prefer to discover players who are already in a team?'
The aim of this question is to determine which size groups appear for you in Discovery. Maybe you'd prefer to find an existing team of 4 people and be their final player or maybe you're happy to find individual players and form a new team.
However, we quickly realised that the question was confusing. Here's how it looked in an early prototype:
People signing up solo were choosing '4 and 5 players' because that's how Counter-Strike is played. They thought this quetion was asking 'Do you want to play 5v5?' without understanding how this would impact their results. In this case, they'd find no individual players, no groups of 2 or 3 and end up missing out on connecting with lots of other players who also wanted to play 5v5!
We knew we had to do a better job explaining this criteria, so we made our first revision:
We removed the choice of group size, updated the question to be about 'preference' and updated the algorithm so the size of groups that appeared were related to the size of your group. This was far clearer, and it did have a measurable impact - many more people were seeing, and connecting with, others. Great, we thought!
Fast forward to last week when we were digging into our analytics so we could see, at a glance, how TEAMS.gg is performing.
It was clear we still had a problem:
It's tough to see, but that spike at zero shows that a large group of you were still seeing zero matches. (Not ideal!) When we explored further, we found that the majority of you had specified you'd prefer to join an existing group.
The issue... We weren't treating your answer like a preference. If you chose "Yes" to the question, we would only show you group listings, and filter out all individuals. Again, you'd be missing out on connecting with a load of solo players who you should be playing with.
So, now we've made two new changes. First, we updated the question again to make it clear that this is a preference, without forcing a critical decision on you at the early stages of signup.
We also improved the algorithm once more. Instead of only showing you groups, if you choose "Yes", it'll instead show them higher in your list (as you've expressed that preference!) but you'll still see solo players who are a great fit.
We're much happier with the experience this gives to new players using TEAMS.gg for the first time and for those of you who have been with us on this journey we hope this opens up new connections.
If you are one of the players who previously found no people. Please let us know how you get on. Are the new people you're seeing a good fit? Have you connected with new players? We'd love to hear from you - Tweet us @TEAMS_gg