Why am I always getting bad teammates? Why are my opponents strong? Am I really just the unlucky one? For those of you who may or may not have these questions, heres an explanation that may potentially clear your doubt.
It is pretty obvious that the matchmaking system makes the teams by trying to balance out the effective rating (aka ladder ranking) points between the two teams. However, as you might have noticed, if the system was only like that, then it will not make very good matchups. Guild Wars 2 has many gamemodes to play in such as Fractals, Open Worlds, WvW and more. People don't play all the time, some players can have a much lower effective rating than their skills enable them to simply because they haven't played in a while or they haven't played enough games or maybe even because they got unlucky facing strong opposing teams for a few games in a row. Better rating doesn't necessarily indicate better skills, and matchmaking using only the rating will be a disaster.
I have researched and compared some other competitive games with similar laddering systems, and I came to a system called the hidden point system that exists in most other popular games, which I feel is most likely the system that exists in gw2. The logic behind is simple: you have a hidden point for your account that you cannot check based on your performance. How this system works is that both your ladder ranking and your hidden points are use when matchmaking. For example, if you have a streak of winning, your hidden point increases. Vice versa, if you are on a losing streak your hidden point decreases. But what is going to also contribute a lot to your hidden point will be your statistics. In the gw2 terminology, you got any top stats (especially like kills or healing), you are most likely going to receive a boost in hidden points. On the other hand, if you are not dealing a lot of damage compared to other players playing a very similar build as you are in your rank in a game, your hidden point is probably going to drop.
With the hidden point system in mind, the matchmaking system is most likely going to pair you up with players that are similar in rank, and it is also going to try to keep the average hidden points of one team to be similar to the average hidden points of the other. This is a very efficient way to balance smurfs and alts and in general, players who are stronger or weaker than an average player in their rank.
Here's an example: Imagine the hidden point system assigns hidden points to each player with a value between 0 and 100. You are a very strong player in gold 1, and your past performance is taken into account so your hidden point is 80. Now the matchmaking system is going to restrict the search of other players inside this game to be somewhere between silver 3 and gold 2, and the average hidden points of a team should be similar to the average hidden points of the other teams. So imagine you got four teammates paired up with you, all of them are in gold 1 just like you, but they aren't really good so they have 30 hidden points each. Your team will have an average hidden point of around (80+304)/5=40. Lets say your opposing team has an extremely bad player who goes afk a lot, so he has 0 points. In order for the matchmaking system to find a good game, the remaining four players will probably be at around 405/4=50 hidden points each in order to balanced out the average hidden points between your team and theirs. This means, during the game you are going to be the best player but your four teammates with 30 hidden points are going to face people with 50 hidden points, which are much more skillful players. You will then need to perform really well and hard carry the game in order to win.
Hence for people already having high hidden points, you are most likely going to be put into a match where you will need to carry. If you win the match because you carried, you are going to have an even higher hidden point not only because you won a match, but also because you most likely will have had great statistics while carrying. If you unfortunately lost the game because you couldn't carry the team, your hidden point will not drop as much because you are still the one that performed the best during the fight, hence adding bonus to your hidden point. The matches will only get easier when your hidden point drops because you are not performing as well in your latest matches or you went on a losing streak so that your hidden points rapidly drops.
Now at the end of this, I do need to repeat that this is just a likelihood of the matchmaking system and is not a confirmed mechanic of the game. The best way to go up the ladder is still improving your skills, and with practice I hope all of you can reach the rank you want