How has Street Fighter 5's new matchmaking update affected the online experience? Our early impressions show real improvement though it's not all good

You might be waiting for your first match for quite some time, so go grab a drink and a snack

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • March 25, 2020 at 11:37 a.m. PDT

After years of players voicing their complaints in regards to getting paired up against people in different countries when searching for strong connections, Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition's matchmaking services received a much needed update last night, but just how well does it work now that it's finally here?

Well, first impressions leave a lasting memory, and so far it really does seem to have been improved. To test out the new matchmaking changes, we had EventHubs' own John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero, Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez and myself wade back into the waters of Ranked and Casual sets with mostly positive results — though there may be some new drawbacks.

Tightening up the connection requirements for each different available bar selection does actually seem to have made a real impact on who the game pairs players up against now. The problem with that is, unsurprisingly, that wait times to get into those matches may go way up depending on a few factors.

A couple of us were forced to wait 10–20 minutes to get into our very first five-bar connection only matches after the update though those times did dramatically decrease afterwards for the most part.

Keeping that online setting at five-bars only does also seem to better keep you placed almost entirely to people in your own country (if it's large enough to support that) though turning it down any lower may bring back some familiar results from across the border.

You can find out more in our more detailed impressions on Street Fighter 5's matchmaking update below.

DarkHorse's Matchmaking Impressions

Since I own the game on both PS4 and Steam, I actually began the night searching for five bar connections across both systems at the same time in the hopes that it'd increase my chances of finding a battle more quickly... but it didn't.

It took about 12 minutes to get into my first ranked match of the night, and even then, I wasn't too impressed with the connection quality. I was still facing some one-sided rollback issues on a supposed new five-bar latency requirement though things did improve from there.

Wait times afterwards did end up dropping to maybe about 2–5 minutes to find a five-bar match since while four-bars and up seems to take 1–2 minutes to find someone.

Last night while I played on five-bar only, I was only paired up against other players in the United States which did certainly have a positive effect on how my matches went overall. This is still SF5's netcode we're talking about here, so you're still going to run into hitches, jitters and maybe even some slowdown even after all of these updates.

Putting the requirements down to only four-bars did match me up against players from Canada and the Dominican Republic, and though the first makes sense since I'm in the Midwest, it's still weird to see the RD crew popping up when they're thousands of miles away.

Overall, I'd say who the game selects for you to fight against is indeed a fair bit improved over what it was these past few years especially at five-bars only. That being said, however, we may be waiting a few minutes longer to actually find them.

Street Fighter 5 online is still Street Fighter 5 online, so your mileage may vary.

DreamKing's Matchmaking Impressions

Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition's matchmaking changes were a mixed bag for me, but overall were an improvement.

The game has an icon indicating if your match is peer-to-peer (stronger connection) or a relay connection (weaker), and from all of the matches I was put into, it looked as though I always had P2P – which is a good sign. Connections varied, but the worst were the two international players I was matched up with.

Fortunately, out of 20 or so games, only those two players were not located in the US, which is a large change from what I've experienced previously. On top of that, every opponent I came across was different, and compared to past sessions where I'd keep getting matched up with the same handful of competitors, this was refreshing.

In all of this, I did notice that I was frequently matched up with players that were way above my LP rank. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I felt as though it was more prominent after the matchmaking update.

As far as the matchmaking specifically goes, I feel it was quite a bit better than what I've experienced previously. That having been said, my experience while actually in the matches was about the same as I'm used to in terms of lag and such.

Velociraptor's Matchmaking Impressions

I don't have the strongest internet ever, (100 down and 10 up) but I do have the strongest internet available in my area. With my filter turned to 5-bar only, it took about 20 minutes to get my first match after the patch. I got another one about five minutes thereafter, and one more just about two minutes after that.

During my second test session I turned the filter down to 4-5 bars and got my first match in under one minute. The next match took about five minutes, and then I did not get another one for 45 minutes, after which I gave up.

All of my matches were smooth with just enough hints of lag to remind you that you're online. All felt valid and worth my time.

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