The Trust Factor

The Trust Factor

We’ve launched a new and improved method for matchmaking players who are likely to have a good experience together.

Improving Matchmaking

Last year we launched Prime Matchmaking with the goal of providing a better matchmaking experience. Initially the system simply matched players who linked CS:GO with a unique phone number. Later, the system additionally required in-game experience (players needed to reach rank 21).

As these constraints were added, the Prime status created a hard boundary in the CS:GO community, and players who might otherwise be perfectly happy playing together were separated.

We’re committed to the goal of getting dedicated CS:GO players together, but we’ve been looking into improved approaches.

A Matter of Trust

So what if the Prime system was re-imagined using a wider range of factors? We started with that question, and have been experimenting with matching players using observed behaviors and attributes of their Steam account, including the overall amount of time they had spent playing CS:GO, how frequently they were reported for cheating, time spent playing other games on their Steam account, etc. We call this system Trust, and these factors considered together form a player’s Trust Factor.

The results of the experiment have been positive. In matches created using Trust Factor, most players ended up generating fewer reports regardless of their Prime status.

We wanted to keep the best parts of Prime and ditch the parts that cause problems in the CS:GO community. Starting today, players will, by default, enter matchmaking using their Trust Factor rather than their Prime status and in the short term, players with Prime status can still choose to match using the old system.

Trust Factor F.A.Q.

Q: What are the factors used in the new Trust Factor matchmaking system?
A: We’re not providing the list of factors in the Trust Factor matchmaking system for a few reasons. We don’t want players to have to worry about any particular action while they’re playing CS:GO or other games on Steam. Additionally, because we’re constantly updating the Trust Factor matchmaking system, any list of factors would become out of date very quickly. That being said, in general we’re looking at your past experience in CS:GO and on Steam, to ensure the system is as accurate as possible.

Q: Can I look at my personal Trust Factor?
A: We don’t plan to display your Trust Factor – the goal is to provide a better matchmaking experience without you having to worry about optimizing anything. In fact, in most cases knowing your Trust Factor wouldn’t be very helpful – we’ll try to match you with similar players, but like skill groups, the range of players on a server will vary depending on the time of day, your region, the maps you’re queuing for, etc.

Q: What can I do to improve my Trust Factor?
A: All you need to do is be a positive member of the CS:GO and Steam community. We’re still iterating on the Trust Factor model and adjusting the way various factors are combined, but we want to make sure that all you have to do to improve your matchmaking experience is continue to play CS:GO and other Steam games legitimately. The more you play, the more information the system has and the easier it will be for the system to determine who you should be matched with.

Q: I used to have Prime Status. Does that improve my Trust Factor?
A: Yes! Phone numbers and CS:GO Rank are among the factors used in the new Trust Factor matchmaking system. If you had Prime Status before, your Trust Factor will benefit from your phone and in-game experience. If you have not linked your CS:GO account with a phone number, you should–doing so will improve your matchmaking experience.

Q: I’m a new player, will I have a low Trust Factor?
A: Not necessarily. Your Trust Factor is impacted by your experiences on Steam as well as CS:GO, so if you’ve been a positive member of the Steam Community in the past, you’ll likely enter CS:GO with a high Trust Factor.

Q: How will you know if this system is better than the previous one?
A: In addition to reading player feedback, we’ve been evaluating Prime by measuring the way players interact with each other. Objectively, we can tell that Prime is successful when players stick to their matches and report/kick each other a bit less (these tend to be good measures of a pleasant matchmaking experience). We plan to use the same approach to evaluate the Trust Factor system.

Q: I suspect that I have a low Trust Factor because the quality of my matches is poor. What can I do about this?
A: Send us an email at CSGOTeamFeedback@valvesoftware.com with the subject “Trust Factor Feedback” and include a description of your experience and your Steam ID. These reports will help us improve the system.

Q: I suspect that my friend has a low Trust Factor because of the quality of my matches when, and only when, I party up with them. What can I do about this?
A: Tell them to email us as recommended above. Be aware that when players are in a party, we use the lowest Trust Factor of any individual in the party for matchmaking purposes.