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The Battle Lobby is the online mode category selection screen in the Splatoon series where players can choose a type of battle mode to play. In Splatoon, the player can enter Inkopolis Tower from Inkopolis Plaza or tap on "Lobby" on the map to access the Battle Lobby. In Splatoon 2, the player can enter Deca Tower from Inkopolis Square or select "Lobby" after pressing .
Upon entering the tower, the player is presented with five different connection options to choose from. These options are Squad Battle, Ranked Battle, Regular Battle, Join Friends, and Private Battle. Selecting any of these options allows players to join online or create lobbies. A sixth option, Recon, is also available, although it does not connect players to online lobbies.
Squad Battles allow for players to join Ranked Battles. However, unlike the Ranked Battle option, this allows any two to four friends to form a squad to battle in ranked matches against another squad. If a squad is comprised of only two players, it is paired up with another two-player squad to form a team of four against four other players. If a squad only has three players in it, it can be put in a 3v3 or 3v4 battle. Four-player squads can be put up against three or four-player squads. Players' ranks go up and down as they win and lose until they reach either of the "S" ranks. The matches are played on either of the two stages in the rotation and with the mode currently in the rotation for normal Ranked Battles. Unlike other online modes, players can change their weapons and gear before matches and can leave the lobby at any time.
This option allows players to join Ranked Battles with players around the world as a random online version of Squad Battles. This mode has a ranking system that groups players of similar skills together in a battle. This mode is more competitive as teams get significantly more Battle Points and Cash upon winning a battle. The players' ranks are also negatively affected by a loss, making winning an even bigger priority in these battles. Due to this competitiveness, players cannot join their friends in this mode. There are three potential modes in Ranked Battles: Splat Zones, Tower Control, and Rainmaker.
This mode returns in Splatoon 2, acting identically to how it did in the first game. Additionally, one extra mode was added, in the form of Clam Blitz.
This option allows the player to join non-ranked online battles with all players around the world. These battles are for more casual play and both the winning and losing teams get rewards at the end of each battle. The only mode in Regular Battles is Turf War, Splatoon's main mode.
This mode returns in Splatoon 2, acting identically to how it did in the first game.
This option also allows players to join turf wars or ranked battles (although this can also be done in league battles). However, rather than joining a game with random players from around the world, it instead allows players to join any friend who is currently playing in a Regular Battle. If the friend is joinable, upon selecting their name, the player has to wait in a loading screen until their friend's match is over before being able to join. After the results screen is finished, and if one of the eight slots opens up in the friend's lobby, the player can then join them. It should be noted that this option does not guarantee that the two friends are put on the same team.
This mode returns in Splatoon 2, acting identically to how it did in the first game.
Private Battles allow players to create a custom lobby that friends can join. The host of the lobby can change several different factors of the match, including which mode is played and which stage is played on. The host can also decide which players can go on each team. The team match-ups can range from any combination of one to four players. Players' ranks and levels are not affected in these battles. However, like Squad Battles, players can change their weapons and gear before the match, and any player can disconnect from the lobby at any time.
This mode returns in Splatoon 2. In addition to the eight players in each battle, there can now be up to two additional spectators added to the lobby. The host can also set a password for the lobby.
Recon, accessible by pressing while in the Battle Lobby, allows the player to freely explore any of the stages currently in the rotation for Regular Battles, Ranked Battles and League Battles before going into an online lobby. This mode is useful for finding vantage points on a stage or getting used to a new stage in rotation. If the player does recon on any stage currently in the rotation for Ranked Battles, the Tower, Splat Zones, and Rainmaker will also be on the stage (along with any changes to the stage layout), depending on which mode is currently in rotation.
This mode returns in Splatoon 2, acting identically to how it did in the first game. With the addition of Clam Blitz, clams and the clam basket can appear on the stage as well.
Upon entering Deca Tower, the player is presented with six different connection options to choose from. These options are League Battle, Ranked Battle, Regular Battle, Join Friends, Private Battle, and Online Lounge. Selecting any of these options allows players to join online or create lobbies. A seventh option, Recon, is also available, although it does not connect players to online lobbies.
League Battles allow for players to join Ranked Battles. As the replacement to Squad Battles, it acts very similarly - rather than having eight random people from around the world join the lobby, this option instead allows any two or four friends to form a squad to battle in ranked matches against another squad. If a squad is comprised of only two players, it is paired up with another two-player squad which is put up against four other players. Four-player squads can only be put up against other four-player squads. Players' ranks are not affected. The matches are played on either of the two stages and the mode in rotation. Unlike other connection options, players can leave the lobby at any time.
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|“||Welcome to the lobby! It's your portal to online battles... and where you stash all your gear. As you splat forth in online battles, you'll level up and earn cash, to boot. Why level up and get cash? So you can access and afford the freshest gear in Splatsville! And some battle modes are restricted to players at a higher level too. So get that level up!||”|
— In-game description
Unique to Splatoon 3, the Battle Lobby is now a physical area the player can walk around in. The Lobby houses a test range in which players can practice while queueing for a match, the locker room, and Crab-N-Go where players can purchase food and drinks. Anyone on the player's friends list can be found inside near the exit, where each friend is represented as a ghost. Players can interact with these ghosts and use them to join their friends in an online battle. Anyone who is queued for battle alongside the player will also be represented as a ghost to said player, with their actions in the shooting range being displayed in real-time.
Lobbies are the areas where players wait for battles to begin. Once a player joins a lobby after selecting any of the options listed above, they cannot leave or change their weapon or gear unless it is a Private Battle.
Before a battle
When the player selects one of the connection options, Nintendo's matchmaking service finds a lobby for the player to join. If there is no joinable lobby for the option the player selected, they are placed in a waiting screen with a timer that shows when the first joinable lobby will become available. Upon joining a lobby, the player must sit on a lobby screen until the battle begins. This screen displays eight slots on the right of the screen, each of which fills up as players join the lobby. The screen also displays several other things, including:
- The names of the players currently in the lobby, their Levels, and their rank, if in a Ranked Battle.
- The current mode and stages.
- The player's vibe meter or Splatfest Power during a Splatfest as well as their amount of cash.
- A countdown in the upper-left corner of the screen. If this countdown reaches zero before eight players have joined the lobby, everyone in the lobby is disconnected.
While waiting for the battle to start, as well as while waiting to join a lobby, the player can play a minigame on the by pressing . Squid Jump is the only minigame available from the start, but more minigames can be unlocked by playing through amiibo challenges. Once eight players have joined the lobby, the screen will display "BATTLE TIME!" in the North American version of the game, and "Let Battle Commence!" in the European version. Then the minigame will pause and the battle will start.
After a battle
After the battle has finished and Judd has determined which team has won, each player is taken to a results screen, which shows how many splats and deaths each player had and how many Battle Points each player earned. After this, the player's Rank (Ranked Battle only) and level may change depending on performance, and the player is given the option to either play another round in the same lobby or disconnect from the lobby. If the player chooses to disconnect, they are taken back to the Battle Lobby.
Matchmaking mode choices are available from the battle lobby menu. The matchmaking mode determines which stages a player can play on, which game modes can be played, and how opponents are chosen.
In Ranked Battles, players play against players with the same letter grade as the players are split between different skill brackets.
Each matchmaking mode in Splatoon 2 has a specific "index number" assigned to it. These indices differ between regions. Each number represents a specific matchmaking configuration. While everyone is put into the same matchmaking pool (per matchmaking mode), the matchmaking server will attempt to match a player using the configuration for their region and matchmaking mode. To determine which session someone should be matched with, each criterion in the configuration is assigned a score value, and the session with the highest total score is chosen.
Here is the list of criteria that Nintendo can assign scores to, among others:
- The difference in power level between the session owner and the joining player
- The difference in the rate of disconnection between the owner and joining player
- How far the distance between the owner and the joining player is
- If the country of origin matches
- How long the session has been waiting for players
In Ranked Battles, before Splatoon 2 version 4.3.1, The number of players using weapons from different classes such as shooters or rollers had a significant impact on team breakdown. From version 4.3.1 onward, the specifications for each specific weapon are given more weight when splitting up teams. Each weapon got a rating value named matchmaking range that is relative to its firing range. The matchmaking server forms teams with a similar average of the weapons' matchmaking range.
If a player's internet connection is not good enough to stay in the lobby or battle, they are disconnected from the lobby. This is also called a communications error. If this occurs before the battle starts, the player simply receives a message that states that "A communications error occurred" and they are disconnected from the lobby. If this happens during or directly after a battle before the results screen, a message comes up saying the same thing, and the player will again be disconnected. On the results screen, it shows that the disconnected player had zero splats and deaths, and in Regular Battles, it shows that they inked zero points of turf (unless their team won, in which case it shows that they earned 1000p). In both instances, the disconnected player returns to the Battle Lobby. If a player disconnects too often, they will not be able to play online for a while.
During Splatfest, the lobbies are a bit different than normal. Upon first entering Inkopolis Tower, the player is not given the five normal connection options. Rather, the only options in the Battle Lobby are to create a Private Battle or to join a Splatfest Battle. Upon joining a Splatfest lobby, one can notice other differences in the online lobbies as well. Rather than having eight player slots on the right of the screen all in a row, the eight slots are divided into two groups of four. These two groups represent the players that will be battling for both Splatfest teams. Once all the players of one team have joined, the screen says that that team is ready. Once the other team joins, the game says that they are ready, and then the battle starts.
Counters and meters
Several different counters and meters are displayed in the lobby, each serving a different purpose.
- Main article: Level
- Main article: Vibe
The vibe meter shows how well a player is doing in the current game session. It is measured using flags, with every victory scoring one extra flag, but every loss decreasing the number of flags by a variable amount. A player's vibe determines the amount of Cash they get from Judd when they talk to him.
- Main article: Power level
- Main article: Rank
The rank meter shows what rank the player is at and how close or far they are to going up or down a rank. Ideally, players in Ranked Battle get paired up with players with similar ranks.
- Main article: Splatfest#Reward Tiers
During Splatfest, players had a meter that started them off at the lowest classification, and as they battled more, it went up. A player's classification determined how many Super Sea Snails they got at the end of the event.
- Main article: Cash
The Cash counter shows how much Cash the player currently has.
Super Sea Snails
- Main article: Super Sea Snail
The Super Sea Snail counter shows how many Super Sea Snails the player currently has. It only appears once the player collects their first Super Sea Snail. Using up all the snails does not remove the counter.
|“||With that out of the way, let's talk a bit more about how the lobby works in Splatoon 3. At the center of all multiplayer battles, the lobby is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to help Inklings and Octolings get matched up in Turf War battles and more.||”|
— @SplatoonNA on Twitter
|“||Splatlands' main tower is home to the all-new lobby. Here, you can customise your locker, warm up on the test range, view recent results and replays, and team up with friends by talking to their ghost!||”|
— @NintendoEurope on Twitter
- Main article: Music
- In Splatoon, while in the Battle Lobby, if the player presses and opens the Friends List, it causes a communications error when the player returns to the game, being sent back to Inkopolis Plaza and having to connect to the internet once again.
- In the battle lobby screen, the player can make their own remix of Dubble Bath while waiting for the remaining players to join. Each input pressed will make their own notes or recording. The and will adjust the volume and distort the sound respectively. , , and will add different "echoing" voice effects. , , , and play different voice recordings. This feature can't be done in Private Battle lobbies though.
- In Splatoon 3, the lobby has a chance of playing a previous multiplayer song from Splatoon and Splatoon 2.
Battle Lobby menu (pre-Version 2.0.0).
Battle Lobby menu during a Splatfest (pre-Version 2.6.0).
A Private Battle lobby.
Names in other languages