Why Handicapping (MMR) is Wrong for Competitive Play

Competitive Discussion
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01/02/2018 02:03 PMPosted by Cuthbert
I see some comments here I need to circle back on. For the moment just wanted to mention I've edited and added a couple important sections in the middle of the OP. The new/revised sections are titled "Handicapping/MMR defies pattern recognition" and "Worst game-design ethics since World of Warcraft."


LOL what a joke. Still haven't seen match making rigging from 2405->3005. Please tell me more false conspiracies. I think you're infatuated with lying or that you need to lie in order to protect your fragile mind from the truth, that you just aren't good at video games.

Yes obviously you are right and the 10 thousand other posts about this subject are wrong.. GG.. If you want to talk about jokes you can start with OW's competitive mode.

It's okay not to be good at games, someone has to be that bronze player.


01/03/2018 09:16 AMPosted by TeamAmerica
how does this thread have so many upvotes when its so inaccurate, i am pretty confident this handicapping of mmr doesnt happen, there is SR and mmr and they work together and work pretty well. its not perfect but it does what it is trying to do very well.


Out of my 6600 games of comp.. I can say its pretty rigged... Using MMR is rigging to begin with. You would have to be blind to not see this.
01/03/2018 10:35 AMPosted by Whistler
Out of my 6600 games of comp.. I can say its pretty rigged... Using MMR is rigging to begin with. You would have to be blind to not see this.


What's rigged about using MMR, the same general system that literally every video game uses? You have a number that represents your skill, and it goes up when you win, and down win you lose. With some details that make it go up/down more or less. No one drops rank while winning games.

That's it. It's really not that crazy. If you think you are good, you should win more games, and your MMR will go up. If you can't win more games, how are you better than other people at your rank?

In the mass of incoherent rambling that is this post, the few specific things Cuthbert says are demonstrably wrong. This thread had someone agreeing with Cuth that the system is rigged, while saying the exact opposite thing occurs. One believes if you playtoo well games will be rigged against you, while the other believes games will be rigged against you if you don't get good stats and the system thinks you didn't play well enough. Yet they sat and agreed with each other.

Because it's all illogical incoherent ramblings with absolutely zero evidence. So many people are so desperate to blame anything but themselves. Always their teammates, always the system, never them. Anything to protect their ego.

Tell me, how does the system decide who it handicaps or rigs to hold down? Because hundreds of thousands of players have improved and climbed ranks. Does Blizzard just randomly assign who gets to climb?
01/03/2018 10:30 AMPosted by Whistler

Yes obviously you are right and the 10 thousand other posts about this subject are wrong.. GG.. If you want to talk about jokes you can start with OW's competitive mode. Even the Pros at the top of the ladder have come out and said its rigged..


The 10 thousands of posts?LOL! You realize that less than 1% of the OW population uses the forums right? Maybe you didn't know that, but also the vast majority of those who come to the forums, only come to complain. Just because you see it so often doesn't make it true, it's all in context. You people want validation of "rigged match making" that you take everything out of context.

Pros complain about match making because they some times get placed in terrible matches (things like playing against masters and below), which you guys then in turn make it seem like that's your problem.

@Whistler, so you're saying its "rigged because you can no longer advance in skill? That you're at you skill limit so it's your team's fault for you not being able to go above your SR cap.
This makes a lot of sense

The SR system will never get fixed though, they just don't care about non pro-league opinions

I dare any league player to start in bronze and try to tell me that the system isn't borked as all hell. I'll eat my hat if they can ever make it to gold again.

11/14/2017 09:26 AMPosted by Cuthbert
Author's note:
This thread is a continuation of a topic which has reached its post limit for comments:
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759237722

Players want to continue the discussion, and no Blizzard representative has addressed our complaint. Players are welcome to continue discussing and voting here. We have voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposed change (at last count, 403 to 50).


Objective
I argue for MMR to be removed from Competitive matchmaking. In Competitive matchmaking, MMR ensures the type of match that Blizzard wants players to have: hotly contested and as long as possible, with a 50% chance for either team to win. However, competitive players want no such guarantee.

And because the matchmaking system ensures those 50% odds by arranging teams based on hidden skill-metrics (MMR), it:
  • Covertly *handicaps* Competitive matches,
  • Favors new players over experienced players,
  • Fails to prove the skill difference between players,
  • Requires prohibitively long wait times for groups,
  • Assumes a warrant to persecute players and groups who are winning, and
  • Fractures the correlation of team-based strategy and victory.

How is such a travesty possible? It is possible because most players do not know matches are handicapped. And those of us who know of handicapping fail to see its implications. Overwatch's own designers seem to have missed the point.

Overview
Overwatch's designers say they "balance" matches with MMR. The system sorts the twelve players from each match into teams, based on the merit each player has shown in matches past. Matchmaking uses merit-tracking algorithms (MMR) to keep matches from being 'uneven.' Principal designer Scott Mercer explains:
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20749737390#post-3

However
In Quick Play, we do not count wins and losses as we do in Competitive Play. We do not stake our rank and reputation on a number, like we do with SR. And MMR skews everyone's SR. Because if you are a *relatively* skilled player for your SR, handicapping/MMR makes your teams worse than they would be on average, by random chance.

Not only does handicapping/MMR affect your win/loss ratio (SR), it precludes you from teaming up with players who are truly your peers, in skill and experience.

Semantics – "Balance" vs. Handicap
This discussion has a fulcrum, a single word around which it turns. It is a word that Blizzard has chosen incorrectly, misappropriated from the design parlances of casual, non-competitive games. The word is “balance,” which is actually handicapping in the context of a competitive game.

Dictionary.com defines a handicapped contest as one in which “certain disadvantages or advantages are placed upon competitors to equalize their chances of winning.” For example in old Quebec (French Canada), parishioners had a tradition of racing home from church in horse-drawn sleighs or wagons, which they would handicap by placing different numbers and sizes (weights) of passengers in either vehicle.

That’s an example of a friendly competition where handicapping is appropriate, because the important thing isn’t who wins the race; it’s the closeness of the race and the fun to be had along the way. The race itself is merely a pretense for a good time. Any scoring that took place between drivers would be in jest. That is what some of us expect from a game mode like Quick Play.

But players expect Competitive Play to be different. We have an individual score (SR) that ticks up or down when we win or lose. That number is both our reputation and our right to compete with other players of our caliber. Handicapping makes light of that number and, in turn, it makes light of Competitive Overwatch players.

When you play Competitive Overwatch you may be a horse pulling your team along, or you may be a passenger just along for the ride. And the handicapping system might designate you as such correctly or incorrectly. But those designations happen to determine the nature of every match you play.

This is where the difference between individual and team competition comes in. Players participate in matches as teams, but they participate in the SR system as individuals. The handicapping of teams in a match is not the same as fair treatment of individuals in the SR system. Blizzard wrongly conflates those ideas, distorting players' very notion of what fair competition is, and what they are doing in Competitive Play.

Blizzard says that handicapping/balancing matches makes them fair for competitive players, and that is false.

“Forced 50% win rate”
When players talk about this, they are trying to talk about handicapping. An argument against handicapping has already taken place in the Overwatch community, based on wrongly chosen terms and phrases that do not address the problem. Without *clear* terms to inform the discussion, players have turned away from it like a losing battle.

But ‘handicapping’ is a real gaming term that many players understand. It is a *word* with history, meaning, and definition. I bring the word as a banner to rally under. I urge you players: use this word to understand what MMR truly is, to frame your own discussions, and petition Blizzard for Competitive Play that is *free* of handicapping.

Evidence of handicapping
Here are two very simple things you can observe for yourself, which show that the MMR system is handicapping your matches.

Group and queue for matches with other players who you know are good at Overwatch. You will see that your wait times for matches scale up in direct proportion to how good you are, and how many of you are in the group. If you win a match, your wait time will increase for the next match. The MMR system is delaying your matches in order to handicap them.

When you join any match, note the spread of player experience across teams. You will see that each team has roughly the same number of experienced and inexperienced players. The MMR system has arranged the teams this way to handicap the match.

It's relative
Whether or not you sense the skewing of your matches depends on how good you are, as a team player, and where you find your SR rank to be. But if you are a relatively skilled player for your SR, then handicapping/MMR is designed to make every match difficult for you, specifically. It sounds like a persecution fantasy, but it's patently real.

Fighting your own shadow
Under MMR's influence, every player has to 'fight at their weight' in every match, regardless of SR standing. Handicapping/MMR ensures that every standout player finds a doppelganger or a *set* of players on the enemy team who are able to counteract them. This might sound fair-handed, but let me explain why it's not.

Suppose your SR is low for your skill level, and you are the best one of twelve players in a match. If that is the case, you will find that handicapping/MMR has placed the second, third, and even fourth-best players in the match on the enemy team. Hence you, like a baited bear, must counteract their joint efforts.

That becomes a self-perpetuating cycle. The harder you try — the more you kill, heal, and play the objective — the more skilled opponents you will be *faced with* in your next match...the more skilled teammates you will be *separated from.* The challenge of the game is literally guaranteed to ramp up, whether or not you win your present match; whether you climb or fall in the SR system; as long as you try your hardest.

It is not enough to be good, to climb in SR. MMR follows you from match to match, figuring out how good you are. Then it informs matchmaking, which forces you to be better than *yourself* if you want to advance.

In this way, you can experience the same difficulty playing at most competitive ranks, regardless of how good you are. From a game design perspective, this seems like a magic formula, a dream. But from a player's perspective, it is a nightmare.

Handicap favors inexperienced players
If you are an experienced player (with one or more stars of experience), you have a strong interest in MMR's removal from matchmaking. MMR ensures that players of similar experience will be distributed evenly across teams.

If you are the most experienced player in a match, handicapping/MMR teams you with the most inexperienced player in the match while placing the second, third, and even fourth-most experienced players to oppose you on the enemy team. It is inexperienced players who benefit from that arrangement, and experienced players who suffer.

You may deny the correlation of experience and skill. Why then, does matchmaking never place a slew of experienced players against a slew of inexperienced players? Is it interesting to see the outcome of such a match, or is it *no contest*? Why doesn't handicapping/MMR allow those matches to take place?

Devalued experience
Inexperienced/unskilled players think they are being tested by placement matches and regular competitive matches in the same way that more experienced/skilled players are being tested. So a player with less than one star of experience assumes that they are equal to all players at their SR level, regardless of experience.

It does not occur to inexperienced players that they have arrived at their SR standing through the assistance of a handicap. And who can blame them? The handicapping/MMR system is hidden, after all. But it is not fair to experienced players that they should be forced to contribute to the success of less experienced players.

New players may have a right to prove themselves in Competitive Play. But they do not have a right to be braced by veterans in every match, and escorted to victory.

Handicapping has caused millions (billions?) of pointless arguments between experienced players and newbies who will not accept their advice or command. New players deride experienced players for not being ranked higher, for all their hours of practice. And since newbies and vets alike are unaware of the handicapping system, the situation suggests to everyone that experience counts for nothing.

Classification without consent
It's not only about the number of stars under your portrait. If you are the best healer, tank, or DPS in a match then MMR brands you as such, and pits you against the next best player in your hero class.

If you step out of one role to fill another, your team is likely to crumble because no one on your team matches your proficiency with the hero/class you switched from. This effectively locks you into a role without your knowledge or consent. And it ensures that if you are proficient with many (or all) of Overwatch's hero classes and characters, you gain no advantage from it.

Handicapping/MMR discourages *groups* and *teamwork*
By punishing outstanding performances, handicapping/MMR catches the most effective Overwatch strategies in its snare. When a group chooses characters who complement one another, they create 'statistical anomalies’ that the MMR system ‘corrects for’ in its 'matchmaking problem.’

When a coherent group presents itself, the MMR system *painstakingly* matches them against equally coherent groups, despite the availability of less coherent groups of the same size, at the same SR level. Not only does that mean prohibitively long wait times for everyone involved, it costs such coherent groups the advantage they are supposed to have, by working out strategies and vetting their teammates.

MMR costs coherent groups countless opportunities to apply strategy against opponents who do not. It negates the advantage a coherent group would naturally have, under an *impartial* matchmaking system. Conversely, handicapping/MMR coddles players who ignore the principles of good strategy, sheltering them from competition with coherent groups they should be facing in their SR level.

MMR makes Overwatch the *antithesis* of a team-based game – a running contradiction to the idea that group cohesion and synergy mean anything at all.

Handicapping/MMR encourages 'DPS instalock'
Healing and tanking are desperately ineffective when you have unskilled/inexperienced players filling the other roles. Solo players know this intuitively, and that is why we start every match pleading for sanity with 3-5 DPS instalocks. Despise these players if you will, but they are acting in their best interest under the handicapping/MMR system.

When a player climbs in SR by playing DPS well, they are essentially locked in to that role. That is because handicapping/MMR ensures that equally skilled DPS players in subsequent matches will be placed on the enemy team, so changing to tank or heal leaves the enemy DPS unchecked.

The leaderboards are absolutely dominated by DPS players (https://masteroverwatch.com/leaderboards/pc/us). Is it because DPS characters are intrinsically more effective than tanks and healers? Or is it because they have an advantage in the handicapping/MMR system?

Blizzard wants to use Competitive Play as a mere filtration system for people with *fast reflexes,* nothing else. It is a casting call for e-sports celebrities, not a proving system for team players who understand the game; who are truly the best at the game of Overwatch.

Those experienced and skilled players are buried in the middle tiers, the dumping grounds into which they are swept by a never-ending stream of new Overwatch players. New players have no problem qualifying for gold and higher, because of the boost that handicapping/MMR gives them.

Meanwhile smurf account buyers scramble over us, like drowning swimmers, clawing their way up by pushing the rest of us down. They are gaming the MMR system that Blizzard has created by giving them more money. Is it any surprise that Blizzard is complacent in that behaviour?

What this means for players
It contravenes the faith we all have had in Competitive Play; that we can climb the ranks of the SR system by showing merit as team players. SR is our only form of rank and reputation but when we show true merit, an invisible hand guides us to challenges that are virtually assured to destroy our SR, our rank and reputation.

Reverse karma
MMR works like reverse karma. It restricts our mobility in the SR system. If you're interested to watch your SR trend up and down, and figuring out the strategies involved in your losses and victories, then no governing system outside of SR and your own group selection can serve your interest.

Double standard
In SR/MMR, we have a set of systems that judge us on the performance of our team as a whole (SR), but divide us on our individual merit (MMR) at every instance. It is a galling and obvious double standard.

While SR decides the level we are allowed to compete at, the majority of us are stuck in a quagmire we cannot climb out from, because rising up makes you a target for handicapping/MMR to strike down.

Performance-based SR adjustment...
...is a tacit admission that the SR system fails its *supposed function* of ranking players according to their skill. "Performance-based SR adjustment" is Blizzard's feeble attempt to offset the profound SR-skewing effects of handicapping/MMR.

Artificial equality
A handicapped match is much more likely to hang in the balance, making it more exciting for players. But by handicapping a match, MMR makes its outcome intrinsically unrelated to the skill of the individual players and groups participating.

No Competitive Overwatch player has a *fair chance* of winning a match according to their skill. Because of handicapping/MMR, unskilled/inexperienced players are more likely to win and skilled/experienced players are more likely to lose.

Stop worrying and love the MMR?
Once you realize what MMR is doing to your odds in Competitive Play, it is still possible to enjoy yourself. If you think you can rank up, you just have to recognize that you are guaranteed to be teamed up with a statistically unlikely number of inferior players in every match. But don’t ignore that fact, or you’ll go insane.

Handicapping/MMR defies pattern recognition
Pattern recognition is our birthright as human beings, who evolved to use the very stars for guidance. Our brains have grown to run advanced heuristics in wars, and heated battles against enemy tribes. We play games like Overwatch to enjoy our faculty of pattern recognition.

But handicapping/MMR circumvents the *math* that we would all use to understand Overwatch and *game* an impartial matchmaking system. It contradicts the calculations that we all make, based on *reasonable assumptions* about how matchmaking works. We assume that matchmaking is impartial, but that is not true.

When the *fact* and the *metrics* of handicapping are hidden from players, it takes away players' ability to rely on their own senses. When matches are handicapped without our understanding or even our awareness, it debases our perception of the game we're playing.

Worst game-design ethics since World of Warcraft
Blizzard is violating the right we have as players to see the factors affecting our matches. Handicapping/MMR is the *dominant factor* of Competitive Play, and it is completely hidden from view. That raises ethical issues about consent, because most players would not engage in "Competitive Play" if they understood handicapping/MMR.

Nothing in Overwatch's user-interface even mentions "MMR," nor does Blizzard define it elsewhere. Blizzard fails to warn players about handicapping, leaving players to labor under a delusion.

Cause of toxicity
Much toxicity in the Overwatch community stems from cognitive dissonance (a kind psychological distress) caused by handicapping/MMR. When a player succeeds in one match, they are challenged in their next match *by design.* Wondering "What changed?" they can attribute the sudden challenge to unrelated factors by mistake. They may blame their own character selection and actions, or those of their team.

I've been toxic in my own matches. I've chastised many of my own teams who didn't deserve it (especially new/inexperienced players). Because they weren't meant to play with me in the first place; they were destined for lower ranks just as I was destined for higher ones. But handicapping/MMR intervened to everyone's misfortune.

Handicapping/MMR renders the SR system meaningless, and leaves us without means to differentiate from each other. We are not in a proving ground, we are in a mill, churning inexorably with players who are not our equals.

I sound immodest, but I face this problem with tens of thousands of players like me. It is a massive and systemic problem. But it's a simple problem, and it's Blizzard's to fix if they have the mind.

"Soylent Green is made of people!"
The most insidious aspect of MMR is the way it uses people. It uses the appointment of your teammates and adversaries to create your handicap, suppressing your chance of being teamed up with players who are *as good* as you are. So your teammates are guaranteed to be your inferiors or superiors, on a per-match basis, while your enemies are guaranteed to be your equals. What a grand, dystopian future we live in.

The travesty
Dictionary.com defines a travesty as "a grotesque or debased likeness or imitation; an artistic burlesque of a serious work or subject, characterized by ludicrous incongruity of treatment, or subject matter."

Handicapping/MMR makes Competitive Overwatch a travesty because it forces us, in every match, to play against those who are *most* like ourselves and with those who are *least* like ourselves.

Want a teammate who is as good at Hero X as you are? MMR prevents you from ever meeting them. At every instance, in every match, MMR ensures you can only be that player's adversary; never their ally. And if you group with such a player, MMR prevents you from finding a match to play in.

Conflict of interest
If you would still defend the handicapping/MMR system as ‘fair-handed,’ reader, consider your principal interest as a Competitive player: victory.

When you queue for a match, you deserve the same *chance* of victory as any other player in the match, do you not? Would you accept a system that *explicitly* subtracts from your chance of victory, and adds to your chance of defeat? If you are an experienced player, do you accept that you must babysit the inexperienced?

This is about more than just "victory." It is about the poetry of group synergy, of lucky random encounters. The uncanny lack of that poetry is what players feel when they rail about incompetency and toxicity in their team mates. Blizzard redacted that poetry when they imputed the handicapping/MMR system to Competitive Play.

Competitive players have an interest in fair, impartial matchmaking; randomly assigned teams of players with similar SR. We want to win or lose *according to* our merit not *despite* our merit. If that makes for short matches, then so be it.

It's about money for Blizzard
Blizzard has an opposing *commercial* interest in making matches as drawn out as possible; they designed the handicapping/MMR system to ensure that every match is a struggle. And it comes directly at the cost of players' mobility in the SR system.

The handicapping/MMR system does not make Competitive Play fair or even fun for long-term players. It makes matches protracted and desparate. Because that is what gives the appearance, the illusion of fairness, regardless of the truth. And it leads to repeat sales from Smurf account buyers who try to eschew the system.

The impetus
When Blizzard took the decision to apply MMR in Competitive Overwatch, I think they were driven by fear. They feared that players would reject their game as unfair when they had one-sided matches, and especially when they had one-sided losses.

Thinking that MMR worked for Quick Play and apprehensive of the ‘negative customer experience,' that could result without MMR's careful stage-work, they put it in Competitive Play and we've been suffering for it ever since. Blizzard warped their own game to suit their business interests (or the business interests of other stakeholders) at the cost of user experience, ultimately failing Overwatch players.

Déjà vu
Let me share an eerily similar experience that I had, arguing for sanity on another game developer's forum:

Thread 1
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/index.php?threads/suggestion-make-revival-count-for-tdm-match-points.665745

Thread 2
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/index.php?threads/tdm-score-system-problem-points-for-knockdown-instead-of-death.765853

In those threads, I used common sense and spoke out against user-experience problems that profoundly concerned player reputation and the fairness of scoring. These are team-based online games with great production value, just like Overwatch.

I doubt that many Overwatch players know ‘War of the Vikings’ and ‘War of the Roses.’ But they feature the same control-point-objective-based gameplay structure that Overwatch does. They compare on many levels, though the developer and publisher are both less famous than Blizzard/Activision.

Just as with Overwatch’s MMR/handicapping problem, the problems affecting War of the Vikings and War of the Roses:
  • Were insidiously hidden from players by misleading user-interface
  • Defied user’s assumptions of the game they were playing
  • Punished altruistic behavior, and rewarded selfish behavior in players
  • Confused player’s intuitions, causing cognitive dissonance
  • Fractured the correlation of team-based strategy and victory

I proved the players' overwhelming consensus in those threads by gathering votes, just as I have done here. The game developer, and their publisher, decided not to fix the problems. Why do so many game designers and publishers fail to recognize the principles of fair competition, in the games they give us players?

It is because the creation process inevitably falls prey to greed; to blind, slavering stakeholder interest, all forms of commercial interest. Marketability trumps integrity behind closed doors.

The cholicy baby
Overwatch players themselves are to blame when they tell Blizzard that one-sided matches are "unfair" or "boring." In handicapping/MMR, Blizzard is trying to give us what we want. But a good parent knows the difference between wants and needs.

Realistic expectations
One-sided matches are a perfectly natural thing, and we would see a lot of them at the onset of an impartial matchmaking system. But at the end of a great sorting process of *natural selection,* we might have clearly established leagues and be able to expect some standards of play, outside of the bottom rank.

If you were playing in a baseball league, would you expect every game to be hotly contested? Would you expect teams to swap their strongest and weakest players to even the odds of every match?

Once again
The MMR system is *handicapping system* that is hidden from players, rigging their every match and dampening their best efforts. Instead of experiencing natural winning/losing streaks, we get a carefully monitored slow-drip, with victory and defeat in as nearly equal measure as matchmaking can arrange. The effects of the system are confusion, incumbency, and a completely incoherent narrative for every player's career. It detaches a player's merit from their rank and reputation.

We Competitive players want to deepen our knowledge of Overwatch and keep discovering its nuances by playing with our peers. But we can't find our peers in a system that *decides the nature* of every match we play by pitting the best of us against each other.

My proposal
For the SR system to really work, it must be the only system. Teams should not be "balanced" based on anything besides their SR and their group size. Throw all the handicapping/MMR metrics out the window.

To Blizzard
We know you worked hard on the handicapping/MMR system, Blizzard, but you can't justify its existence in principle. You're effectively forcing your best players to babysit your worst players, which is bad. But you are also deceiving players by hiding the handicapping system from them, and that is detestable.

Only when matchmaking is *impartial* can the win/lose outcome of an individual player's matches be reflection their skill. Until then, Competitive Overwatch will be as a rigged slot machine, causing cognitive dissonance for all who play it.

To the incumbents
Many Overwatch players (let’s say Platinum and above) have reason to be satisfied with handicapping/MMR. I haven't been Platinum for several seasons, but I know that the most *successful* Overwatch players are lone-wolf DPS types.

Many incumbents have reason to fear the change I am suggesting, because it would reveal they are not as good at Overwatch as they think they are, or as the SR system suggests them to be. Their leadership and teamwork would be proven weak by an impartial matchmaking system, which would expose them to real competition.

These are folks like Blizzard's precious cadre of "professional players," who have been allowed to earn their titles under a false competitive system. I see the conflict of interest for them as well. But I hope they'll prove their smarts by taking my side.

Let us see what Overwatch really is, together :)

Other forums
If you would like to discuss this topic on Reddit's Overwatch forum, go here:
https://www.reddit.com/r/Overwatch/comments/7ihrdh/why_handicapping_mmr_is_wrong_for_competitive_play

If you would like to discuss the topic of handicapped Competitive Play in the General Discussion forum of this site, go here:
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759427864

This discussion is not limited to Competitive Play. All experienced Overwatch players have an interest in removing MMR as a handicapping system. If you want to contribute to the Quick Play discussion go here:
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759211324

Appeal for action
The handicapping/MMR system prevents good team players from transcending the ranks of the bad. It uses experienced Overwatch players as training wheels for the inexperienced, rather than allowing us to separate as we would naturally.

Players, please speak up for yourselves. Complain to Blizzard and send them to this thread. Send other players here to comment and vote. Blizzard wronged us by designing Competitive Overwatch this way; let's prove we are aware of that and demand better from them.

Player consensus
Blizzard, look at the like-to-dislike ratio on this post.

Look at these posts from other players about the problem of handicapping/MMR in Competitive Overwatch:
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759260419
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759301615
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759340096
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759229380
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759209261
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759279876
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759379241
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759209922
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759159335
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759278600
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20758216593
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759278427
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759278554
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20757355972
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20755546064
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759289719
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759298451
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759377774
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20757305767
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759149294
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759239213
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20753337220
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759279880
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759351269
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759359184#post-11
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759359184#post-11

Players, tell Blizzard that you want fair Competitive Overwatch. Make your own thread on the topic and I will index it here. Include "#faircompetitiveoverwatch" in your post so I can find it.
people who actually believe the information in the OP of this thread are why Trump is our president, There is so much inaccurate information.

THERE IS NO HANDICAPPING, you just need to win, and you will climb

if you win, you can climb, I am one of the few people with a legitimate complaint about the SR system and I can see how it works very well for 99% of the players. I just happen to have found a strategy that was very effective at winning, but put me in low %tile statwise so i had to beat up on inferior players at over a 60% clips for 3 seasons.
01/03/2018 01:25 PMPosted by TeamAmerica
people who actually believe the information in the OP of this thread are why Trump is our president, There is so much inaccurate information.

THERE IS NO HANDICAPPING, you just need to win, and you will climb

if you win, you can climb, I am one of the few people with a legitimate complaint about the SR system and I can see how it works very well for 99% of the players. I just happen to have found a strategy that was very effective at winning, but put me in low %tile statwise so i had to beat up on inferior players at over a 60% clips for 3 seasons.

Frump is president because Killary was even worse than he was, pretty much handing him an Electoral Blowout. It has nothing to do with fake news, and that has nothing to do with what people perceive to be a bad system in Overwatch.

But gratz on successfully fishing for "Likes."

It's pretty obvious that winning most of your matches will see you climb. That's not what anyone is arguing about, so you can stop stating the obvious. Learn to read.
01/03/2018 02:22 PMPosted by Trensharo
01/03/2018 01:25 PMPosted by TeamAmerica
people who actually believe the information in the OP of this thread are why Trump is our president, There is so much inaccurate information.

THERE IS NO HANDICAPPING, you just need to win, and you will climb

if you win, you can climb, I am one of the few people with a legitimate complaint about the SR system and I can see how it works very well for 99% of the players. I just happen to have found a strategy that was very effective at winning, but put me in low %tile statwise so i had to beat up on inferior players at over a 60% clips for 3 seasons.

Frump is president because Killary was even worse than he was, pretty much handing him an Electoral Blowout. It has nothing to do with fake news, and that has nothing to do with what people perceive to be a bad system in Overwatch.

But gratz on successfully fishing for "Likes."

It's pretty obvious that winning most of your matches will see you climb. That's not what anyone is arguing about, so you can stop stating the obvious. Learn to read.


this isnt about politics really, but hillary did have 2.5million more votes cast for her, thats not how teh country works but calling it a blowout is pretty silly.

and i did read the post and there is no handicapping, the matches are fair, if the game was actually handicapping matches, how the hell did i have a 64% winrate last season in 30 hours and 61% winrate in my last 260 hours
01/03/2018 01:14 PMPosted by Legend
This makes a lot of sense

The SR system will never get fixed though, they just don't care about non pro-league opinions

I dare any league player to start in bronze and try to tell me that the system isn't borked as all hell. I'll eat my hat if they can ever make it to gold again.


Do you know how many players, not even "pro players", have made "Bronze to GM" streams or videos? This has been done countless times lol.... I bet even a top 500 support main could do a Bronze to Master on dps heroes. They are just plain better. Period.
I wish we could see our MMR....

For real.
<span class="truncated">...</span>
Frump is president because Killary was even worse than he was, pretty much handing him an Electoral Blowout. It has nothing to do with fake news, and that has nothing to do with what people perceive to be a bad system in Overwatch.

But gratz on successfully fishing for "Likes."

It's pretty obvious that winning most of your matches will see you climb. That's not what anyone is arguing about, so you can stop stating the obvious. Learn to read.


this isnt about politics really, but hillary did have 2.5million more votes cast for her, thats not how teh country works but calling it a blowout is pretty silly.

and i did read the post and there is no handicapping, the matches are fair, if the game was actually handicapping matches, how the hell did i have a 64% winrate last season in 30 hours and 61% winrate in my last 260 hours

It was an electoral blowout. If you understand how the elections work, you'd see how silly calling that silly actually is. The nature of our elections means that politicians don't even bother campaigning in certain states, because it's all about the Electoral College. This means that a Republican will barely campaign in California (or New York), and a Democrat will barely campaign in Texas.

Everyone in Political Science knows that you can easily win the popular vote while losing the election - by being Democrat and carrying California and New York with large majorities. Shocked and Awed! :-P

Electoral Vote amounts per state are based on population, but the elections specifically do not use popular vote because it makes it possible for a few states (i.e. California and New York) with very high population density to dictate the direction of the entire country.

This means that they single-handedly dictate policy direction, as politicians are easily corrupted and would evolve to pander to those high-density population centers to win the presidency (though we have seen this tactic used heavily in recent years on a number of issues, like immigration, tax reform, job market debates, etc.)... It can also suppress voter turn-out in all other places, as people will not feel as if their vote are important (many people DON'T vote because they already know who will win their state, for example - so this works both ways - you just have to find the most fair middle-ground).

Also, popular vote is easy to defraud via the introduction of fake ballots and never-ending lawsuits over recounts (which still happens in close Electoral victories i.e. 2000). A lot of those votes are... quite questionable, given how relaxed some states are - intentionally - because they tend to swing reliably for a specific political party. That's not a debate we should be having here, though. This is why voter fraud is so often thrown around as a means to stall elections.

Lastly, because voting is not mandated, the popular vote is a fairly worthless metric as you do not know how those people who did not vote would have voted. You're basically forced to guess. The electoral system is much more fair in that regard.

I responded the way I did, because of the content of the post I quoted - made by someone else. I didn't [i]make it about politics[/I]. The person who came into the thread to insinuate certain types of people were ill-informed ignoramuses did by using a political reference.
01/03/2018 11:02 AMPosted by AnsatsuKen
01/03/2018 10:30 AMPosted by Whistler

Yes obviously you are right and the 10 thousand other posts about this subject are wrong.. GG.. If you want to talk about jokes you can start with OW's competitive mode. Even the Pros at the top of the ladder have come out and said its rigged..


The 10 thousands of posts?LOL! You realize that less than 1% of the OW population uses the forums right? Maybe you didn't know that, but also the vast majority of those who come to the forums, only come to complain. Just because you see it so often doesn't make it true, it's all in context. You people want validation of "rigged match making" that you take everything out of context.

Pros complain about match making because they some times get placed in terrible matches (things like playing against masters and below), which you guys then in turn make it seem like that's your problem.

@Whistler, so you're saying its "rigged because you can no longer advance in skill? That you're at you skill limit so it's your team's fault for you not being able to go above your SR cap.


You do the math.. What is 1% of 30 million?? Still quite a lot of people.. Not to mention reddit or other outlets either..
'Largest Audience Ever to Witness an Inauguration, Period'.
Cuthbert's larger point is easy to prove:


    Take the twelve people cast into the random competitive game.
    Put the six most experienced players on one team.
    Put the six least experience players on the other team.


Anyone want to take bets on which team is more likely to win?
01/03/2018 10:55 AMPosted by FriendlyFire
What's rigged about using MMR, the same general system that literally every video game uses?


I never heard of "MMR" before Overwatch. And I don't believe that using hidden skill metrics to handicap competitive matches is industry standard for multiplayer games.

01/03/2018 10:55 AMPosted by FriendlyFire
You have a number that represents your skill, and it goes up when you win, and down win you lose. With some details that make it go up/down more or less. No one drops rank while winning games.


You're describing SR now, not MMR. So your assertion about MMR is void.

01/03/2018 10:55 AMPosted by FriendlyFire
Tell me, how does the system decide who it handicaps or rigs to hold down? Because hundreds of thousands of players have improved and climbed ranks. Does Blizzard just randomly assign who gets to climb?


No. Read the original post, and the supporting post from Scott Mercer linked in the OP.
01/04/2018 05:25 AMPosted by TankSchool
Cuthbert's larger point is easy to prove:


    Take the twelve people cast into the random competitive game.
    Put the six most experienced players on one team.
    Put the six least experience players on the other team.


Anyone want to take bets on which team is more likely to win?


Exactly. I want to play games like this because they would actually *prove* something about the players involved. And then we could all rise or sink to ranks that make sense, relative to our peers.
Let's not talk about politics, please.

As we near the 500th post in this thread and its automatic closure, I want to thank everyone who contributed, including the detractors. And especially those who *voted* in the poll. Debate is about showing superior logic. Petitioning is about showing consensus. Let's keep those things in mind for thread number 3!
11/14/2017 11:47 AMPosted by OMeiGA
So I shouldn't play characters that will get gold medals then? Maybe I should stick with Mei, Zar and Lucio till platinum? No more Rein, Mercy, and Junkrat for me then.


dude, as Zarya, I often outplay the dps in my team in number of eliminations,obj kills and damage.Sometimes I do it as Orisa too. heck, I even do it as Zen.
competitive is rigged AF. If you win a match being the best player in the team, blizz makes sure you will receive the worst dps possible in the next match.considering that the pool of dps players is huge, is not hard at all.
I had 2 very good SR climbs since I started to play the game(that is since open beta).I mean that won more than 15 almost consecutive matches.It made me feel that getting to masters is a piece of cake.well,blizzard rolled the dice and got me back where they want me to be. they don't want a big pool of players in higher ranks.So they make sure that a lot of players with skill above their league get cemented in lower ranks.

I never heard of "MMR" before Overwatch. And I don't believe that using hidden skill metrics to handicap competitive matches is industry standard for multiplayer games.


You've never played Starcraft 2, Heroes of the Storm, TF2, Dota 2, CS:GO, League of Legends, Rocket League, or literally any competitive online game? (That I can think of at least).

I realize you're going it ignore this because you want to remain ignorant, but Blizzard isn't doing anything unique. Ranking players in a well-established problem in machine learning. Microsoft released a seminal paper on the subject a decade ago, and most systems (including Overwatches) clearly share many of it's traits based on how they work.

The paper: http://papers.nips.cc/paper/3079-trueskilltm-a-bayesian-skill-rating-system.pdf

Friendlier website explanation for those without the background: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/project/trueskill-ranking-system/

You have a number that represents your skill, and it goes up when you win, and down win you lose. With some details that make it go up/down more or less. No one drops rank while winning games.


You're describing SR now, not MMR. So your assertion about MMR is void.


No, I'm describing MMR. You're own linked post from Scott says the exact same thing: that MMR goes up when you win, down when you lose, just adjusted by a few things.

And again MMR is all that's used in match making, hence it being the match making rating. SR is just the "pretty" presentation of that to the player, no different than the tier icons. Again, people can and do get into games where every other player is 1000+ SR above their "SR" if their MMR is high. We know SR doesn't matter.

Hell, they could remove SR, leaving only tier icons, and nothing would change. That's actually exactly what CS:GO does. You don't see any number, you just have tiers (though there are a lot more tiers to make this more precise). If you win or lose a bunch of games, you'll go up or down a tier.

Tell me, how does the system decide who it handicaps or rigs to hold down? Because hundreds of thousands of players have improved and climbed ranks. Does Blizzard just randomly assign who gets to climb?


No. Read the original post, and the supporting post from Scott Mercer linked in the OP.


His post literally says nothing that agrees with you, unless you think "making balanced matches" means "rigging". What do you want them to do, throw all ranks together so that GMs win most of the time and bronze almost always lose?

It's not complicated. A balanced game isn't made by throwing high MMR people with low MMR people on one team. It's made by throwing a bunch of people (or groups) with the same MMR into a game.

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