Dota 2: New Algorithm Introduced in Matchmaking for Better Gaming Experience

Matchmaking at Immortal Rank has been changed.
For better game experience.
For better game experience. Valve

Dota 2 is a game where players form a team and fight to take down the Ancient of the enemy. This means matchmaking plays a very big role, so if a player is grouped with others who are not as good, they likely won’t be having fun. Fortunately, the New Frontiers update introduces a new matchmaking system.

According to Valve, matchmaking rating or MMR is made of two numbers which are Rank and Rank Confidence. Rank is an estimate of the player's skill while Rank Confidence is Valve's confidence in that estimate. When playing a match, the current system adjusts the Rank based on whether the player wins or loses. As more games are played, the Rank Confidence also goes up since the development team now has more data.

The Old System

In implementing changes to the Rank and Rank Confidence, the game has been using a modified version of the Elo algorithm. However, Valve revealed that it has since noticed some problems with this approach. An example of this is the distribution of MMRs, slowly shifting lower, leading to an undesired clumping in the zero to 1,000 MMR range.

Another problem is among players who took a break and later returned to the game. It was found out that they had a difficult time getting back to an accurate MMR mainly because their previous skill level was no longer representative.

The New System

All issues pushed the dev team to make the choice and switch to a different algorithm called Glicko. This one should have players be matched quickly and accurately with those having a similar skill level. This new algorithm also helps factor in the Rank Confidence of players.

Valve reminded everyone that the switch to the new matchmaking system could feel like the beginning of a new matchmaking season. So, these are what players should keep an eye on:

  • All players are placed back into a short calibration mode and initially seeded by their previous rank.
  • Calibration is no longer a fixed number of matches. A player is considered calibrated whenever their Rank Confidence is above a certain threshold.
  • Upon calibration, it is likely that players end up with a different medal than they had before. Even if the medal changes significantly, they should expect to be matched with those of a similar skill level.
  • Matches no longer have a fixed MMR gain/loss:
    • They will be variable based on a number of factors including the Rank and Rank Confidence of players.
    • The gain/loss per match are capped to prevent particularly negative outcomes.
  • A player's Rank Confidence slowly lowers over time if they do not play matches.

Immortal Matchmaking

Immortal rank also received adjustments. Players often prefer to have a good game with their team rather than thinking about MMR. This is why matchmaking at the Immortal rank has been redesigned.

Unlike in other ranks, matches in Immortal won't use pre-made teams anymore and instead have the two captains draft the players to be on their team. Hopefully, this should make the teams more impactful than simply relying on MMR to get lineups.

Don’t forget to check out our summary of the changes that arrived in this new update. Get Dota 2 on Steam now.

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