Dota 2 Makes Changes To Matchmaking, Adding Core And Support MMR

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2013-07-09
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Changes made to matchmaking. Valve

Valve revealed that it is introducing an update to Dota 2 aimed at making some engineering changes to the core matchmaking system. With the change, Valve hopes that it allows for bigger changes along with better analytical capabilities. The goal is that the matchmaking system should be comprehensive enough to allow players to enjoy Dota 2, no matter which hero or role they are playing.

According to Valve, in order to make the overall experience of playing Dota 2 fun for everyone, it is going to spend the next year focusing on the different parts of matchmaking which include, among others:

  • Intra-team balance
  • Player conduct
  • New player experience
  • Abusive behaviors
  • Account buying
  • Friend and team play aspects
  • High mmr matchmaking dynamics

Since matchmaking includes a number of trade offs, the goal is to find a good balance between all these factors. To find this balance, the new update is going to include some experimental changes that are going to be in effect until the end of the season. In a blog post, Valve said that once the end of the season draws near, it is going to "do a direct call for feedback on how the changes have worked out and use that feedback, along with data we are gathering in the meantime, to help inform the direction for the next season."

The first experimental change involves removing the idea of having a Solo MMR and a Party MMR. Valve admits that this move is going to be controversial to the community and even goes as far as saying that they too are not that confident that it is going to be a good change. This change involves two major aspects:

  • Teamplay
    • Currently the game puts high emphasis on playing solo resulting in many players preferring to play alone rather than with friends. This has since caused negativity in playing Dota 2.
    • Dota 2 remains to be a game that values teamplay and Valve wants to look into that aspect even further.
  • MMR Value
    •  There is always a tradeoff on the MMR data quality if the mach has solo MMR with party MMR. Valve has since found out that the impact of the data noise is lower than what was initially thought.
    • There have been cases where there is the expectation that playing with a friend having a high MMR could cause their MMR to go higher. While this may have been true in the past, the update addresses this particular issue.

Another thing that Valve looked into is that players have different comfort levels when playing either core or support roles. Valve revealed that "some players perform really poorly when they play a role they are not used to, and in turn introduce a lot of volatility in the system for everyone by causing your MMR number to drift away from your actual skill level as well as causing imbalanced games."

One way of addressing the issue raised is introducing the concept of Core and Support MMR. To move this forward, Valve wants to know what roles players prefer before the match. Thus the Ranked Role feature is going to be moved to the base Ranked matchmaking and will expand its capabilities. When players go matchmaking, they have the option of selecting roles 1 to 5. If a player, for example, likes to play Mid or Hard Support, they can choose these roles and is going to be matched based on either Core or Support MMR.

The update is being released through a Summer Scrub and in two parts. The first part is going to be for the matchmaking rework while the second part is for bug fixes and some quality of life additions.

A list of all the changes in the Summer Scrub can be viewed here.

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