Is MMR/Handicapping Good for Quick Play?

General Discussion
In a Competitive forum thread, I have argued for MMR to removed from Competitive matchmaking. Please read that thread to understand what I'm asking about here:
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20759237722

I want to ask the Quick Play community:
  • What do you think about MMR, as a handicapping system?
  • What do you think are the effects of handicapped matches?
  • Are you in favor of keeping MMR in Quick Play or removing it?

Note: I'm not opening the floor to just any gripe one might have about matchmaking. Please try to answer these questions in your comments.

I am not sure that MMR is bad for Quick Play, as I am about MMR for Competitive Play. But as I was editing the main points in my Competitive forum thread, I realized that all five points applied equally to Quick Play.

In Quick Play 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. But because the matchmaking system ensures those 50% odds by arranging teams based on hidden skill metrics (MMR), it:
  • Handicaps matches,
  • Favors new players over experienced players,
  • Obscures the skill difference between players,
  • Assumes a warrant to persecute players and groups who are winning, and
  • Fractures the correlation of strategy and victory.

I think that all of those things are patently unfair in Competitive matchmaking. I am less certain that they are unfair in Quick Play matchmaking. Please let me know your thoughts.

Adapted proposal
Just to be clear about what my recommendation would be (en lieu of MMR), matches would be made according to experience level and group size only.
One sentence

It's !@#$. - podtaku
I hate that they use a hidden rating system.

Matchmaking doesn't match based on what your best at and has you carry majority of the time when solo queuing.

It's a carry or be carry set up for a 50/50 chance at winning.

I would rather have a better team that works together on specific roles they are good with without throwers or having to shine through and DPS carry %75 of the time.
11/05/2017 08:12 AMPosted by XIM4MnK
I hate that they use a hidden rating system.

Matchmaking is doesn't match based on what your best at and has you carry majority of the time when solo queuing.

It's a carry or be carry set up for a 50/50 chance at winning.

I would rather have a better team that works together on specific roles they are good with without throwers or having to shine through and DPS carry %75 of the time.


Every time I read a post like this, it mends a hole in my sanity! Glad you agree.
Your expierience level doesn't really say much about your skill. I've seen level 100 players play better than level 600 players, not everyone learns at the same speed and some people bring in expierience from other games that others dont have.

Especially smurfs would be a really big problem if you're basing it only on expierience level and group size. Imagine people completely new to overwatch getting matched with the alt accounts of grandmaster players over and over again, just because they are around the same level. I can't imagine that being fun for either of them.

The current mmr system is pretty broken, yeah, but they should work on fixing it instead of removing it. While the current mmr system can cause unfair matches, any other matchmaking system would almost ensure unfair matches, at least any other i can think of.

I support the idea to remove it from competetive, as we have the SR rating there, but we need some form of skill indicator to influence the matchmaking, and for quickplay MMR is currently the best we've got.
You can get an idea of what it would be like by playing on the PTR as either it isn't running MMR or the MMR doesn't do much due to the lack of players.

It's fun for a while but, it isn't something I'd suggest making normal play in a game that's 6 vs 6.

Why not?

Because even the PTR which primarily gets players that are quite invested in the game has a truly massive skill gap. As I'm not that good I meet many players that are better than I am on the PTR but, some are far worse and make even my bad QP teammates look good.

The better players can be nearly untouchable when they aren't goofing around. One of the matches I was in I spent much of the time just pocket healing a Tracer as they murdered virtually the entire other team over and over. Getting put against them a few matches later was decidedly less enjoyable.

When the game is 6 v 6 it's quite easy for one team to get a significantly better or significantly worse player that drags everything down. That'll lead to frustration and an increased leaver problem.

While the current MMR system can stagnate worse players by not making them face stiffer competition a loss of one would likely damage the abilities of better players.

Back on TF2 I played only on a community server when I was playing alone and only on Valve servers when I played with my friends. Needless to say, after a month or two of playing on a Valve server going back to the community server was not pretty in the slightest as I'd gotten significantly worse and developed bad habits.

The current system annoys players that think they'd win over 50% and that the system is holding them down but, it also keeps players that would quit if they won the amount that they'd win if they got tossed in with everyone in the game.

The MMR system may not be ideal but, outside of players that think they should win all of the time and are actually capable of it the system works better than nothing.

Players tend to believe that the MMR system is out to get them when for many the reality is the system is saving them.

For example, I am level 391 and the only competitive season I played in I placed at 2187. I am at best average for the game and I'm likely below average for my rank. You are over 200 levels above me and have an SR over 200 below where I placed. It is highly likely that the MMR is assisting you rather than harming you when it comes to winning matches.

Doing it based on groups or experience would likely lead to players quitting after a while and not grouping up with friends as much.
I see anything from bronze players to grand masters in my quick play matches, so either MMR is broken or SR means nothing. In any case "jump into a game against players of your skill level" is patent bullsh*t (or I'm a unicorn and the system just breaks when it has to put me into a match, I dunno).

I don't think quick play can be more broken than it already is, so as far as I'm concerned experimenting with other matchmaking systems is fair game.
11/05/2017 08:12 AMPosted by XIM4MnK
I hate that they use a hidden rating system.

Matchmaking is doesn't match based on what your best at and has you carry majority of the time when solo queuing.

It's a carry or be carry set up for a 50/50 chance at winning.

I would rather have a better team that works together on specific roles they are good with without throwers or having to shine through and DPS carry %75 of the time.


they have to with teams this small. every pick has a good chance of allowing your team to be winners or losers. so a system is needed so that people at lower skill levels are not constantly pubstomped by those at higher levels. in other games (COD, TF2) servers are allowed to have up to 32 people per team ... so pubstomping is still there, but its handled easier since there are now more bodies to throw at it.
Yeah these comments are along the lines of my thinking as well...but sometimes I wonder if we are compromising something important, accepting this notion that games have to be even to be "fair." I think it depends how much you prize victory.

I'm not gonna press the issue in this forum, but thanks for the sanity check. I want to reply in more detail I'm out of time for today...
So I read your thread. I don't mean to condescend, but I am not sure you understand this very well. A lot of the terminology is wrong and it looks very incoherent to me.
And what is really disturbing is, that it has 337 likes despite all that is wrong with it. I would have to assume, that they dislike the current system in place, but they didn't read through all the nonsense. Let me go through this:
10/04/2017 10:35 AMPosted by Cuthbert
Objective
I argue for MMR to be removed from Competitive matchmaking.

MMR stands for matchmaking rating. Every player has one, but unfortunately it's invisible.
Your goal is to remove it... but if you were to remove that value, were going to be matched based on... what? Mere chance?
What I would like to see is for Blizzard to make the value visible (the way it is in WoW for example), so that if there are irregularities, we can see them.
10/04/2017 10:35 AMPosted by Cuthbert
MMR ensures the *type* of match that Blizzard wants players to have: hotly contested and as long as possible

That does not match with the reality of my experience in Competitive. The hotly contested and long games are a very rare occurrence. I'd like to have more of those. Unfortunately though, most games are very boring, one-sided stomps.
10/04/2017 10:35 AMPosted by Cuthbert
50% chance for either team to win. But because the matchmaking system ensures those 50% odds by arranging teams based on hidden skill metrics (MMR), it:

IMO this is the biggest problem. They define the goal of the matchmaking system to be to produce a match, where the teams have 50% chance to win. This is wrong, because it says nothing about the individuals on those two teams.

What the system should aim for is for all the 12 players to be of similar skill. With such condition, you can't have both gold and diamond players within the same game. The system should not allow for a difference of SR and MMR higher than 400.

Again, the problem with the matchmaking rating is not, that it exists... it's, that it is invisible and there is no sufficient limitation.
10/04/2017 10:35 AMPosted by Cuthbert
Overwatch's designers say that they "balance" matches with MMR. The system

The system is not called MMR.
There are two systems that I know of. One is called Elo and originates from chess. It's spelled Elo, not ELO (like I see many players on this forum spelling it or using terms such as "Low ELO"). It's not abbreviation, it's the name of the guy who invented it.
The other is called True Skill. From what I can tell, this is the system that Overwatch is using, since unlike Elo it features personal performance stats, that affect your SR (skill rating, basically the current rating you can see).
http://www.ets.org/Media/Research/pdf/RM-15-03.pdf
Not only does matchmaking/MMR affect your win/loss ratio (SR)

win/loss ratio is not SR. SR is your Skill Rating, the rating you can actually see.
10/04/2017 10:35 AMPosted by Cuthbert
it precludes you from teaming up with players who are truly your peers, in skill and experience

The matchmaking rating is not what does that in and of itself.

What I believe to be the problem is basically, that 1:
If you have 4 people on one team on ~2500, one guy on ~3k and one guy on ~2k... and the same is true for the other team, theoretically both teams have ~50% chance to win,
but in reality it comes down to the 2x~2K players. One can pick a role, that would allow him to pull his weight, the other can select something he can't play for @#$% and this is the moment the outcome of the match is decided.

But to be honest, the same can happen even if all the 12 players are on the exact same rating and MMR...but I would assume, that maybe it would happen less though, who knows...
if you are a relatively skilled player for your SR, then matchmaking/MMR is designed to make every match difficult for you, specifically

If your MMR is higher than your SR and the system has put another player like you on the enemy team, it will come down to how each of you can contribute to your team. If you choose to be support (like I often do), you might find out, that no matter how well you play it, you wont do as much as the guy on the enemy team, who took DPS.
Last season I was better than 90%+ of the players on Zen according to overbuff. Got stuck in Plat...

So I believe the difficulty comes down to one team working in a homogenized way, while yours doesn't. Your team can consist of 5 people, who all play Soldier better than 95% of the player base and nothing else... and when they can't all select Soldier, one plays Soldier and the other play stuff they can't play for @#$%... and I don't believe the system is taking any steps to prevent that as of current.
It's about money for Blizzard
Blizzard has an opposing *commercial* interest in making matches as drawn out as possible; they designed the matchmaking/MMR system to ensure that every match is a struggle

Again, I don't believe most players would agree, that every match is a struggle. The most common complain I've seen on these forums, and my experience in the game is boring, one-sided stomps.

But you are being right, that in a way there might be a conflict of interest. Blizzard might not wanna address actual problems with the system (and I say that as a bit of a jab, because what you describe in your thread is mostly wrong), because it seems a lot of people are willing to buy multiple copies of the game in order to try and find a way to rank up faster. Whether or not they are successful in the attempt -- I do not know, since I've never purchased a 2nd copy of the game myself...
10/04/2017 10:35 AMPosted by Cuthbert
Double-standard
In SR/MMR, we have a set of systems that judge us based on the performance of our team as a whole (SR), but divide us based on our individual merit (MMR) at every instance. It is a galling and obvious double-standard.

The performance of the team as a whole is not SR. The performance of the team overall can cause you to perform worse than usual, which in tern can cause you to gain less SR or lose more SR than you otherwise would have with a team, that works well together... that is because of this thing called personal performance factor, that is not your SR or MMR. It's a feature of the True Skill system. Scott Mercer did mention, that it's supposedly a minor factor. How true is that -- I'm not sure...
I'm also not sure what double-standard are you talking about...

10/04/2017 10:35 AMPosted by Cuthbert
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're experienced player, you have a strong interest in playing with other experienced players like yourself, instead of noobs, that can't play the character they have selected.
Again, I don't understand how would you like us to be match if the matchmaking rating was to be removed... totally randomly? Then it would be even more about luck than already is...
10/04/2017 10:35 AMPosted by Cuthbert
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 the match then MMR brands you as such, and pits you against the next best player in your hero class. If you step out of your role to fill another your team is likely to crumble

If you can play only one character at certain lvl (say better than 90% of the player base), then you select another, on which you are significantly worse at, then you're a one-trick and the problem is entirely yours.

Instead of asking for MMR to be removed (you don't even realize what that means), you could ask for a different bracket -- one which allows you to select a character or a role in advance, so that you're guaranteed to be able to play that one character you can play at super duper high level... but you're not asking for that... you're asking for total nonsense...
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 other matchmaking/MMR metrics out the window. (I know you worked hard on these Blizzard, but you can't justify what you've done.)

My proposal: Introduce brackets!

Current competitive remains with limitation of maximum of 400SR and MMR difference between the participants. Allow the players to pre-select a character or a role they feel confident to play.

Introduce Team League, where players can form teams. Then they can choose whom they play with, they can guarantee they can play what they want and can deal with players, that sabotage their efforts by simply kicking them out of the team. For team League True Skill get's removed and only pure Elo is used. The rating belongs to the team itself, not the individuals.

Matchmaking/MMR discourages groups and teamwork

So you wanna play with a full premade (like me), but instead of asking for it in order to guarantee, that you'll have proper allies, you want to be matched vs what you call "less coherent groups", which means you want to easily stomp your way to higher rating. Sorry, that's lame.
I guess that's why you're not asking for Team League...

Matchmaking/MMR encourages DPS instalock

Only if you're a one-trick, that is.

10/04/2017 10:35 AMPosted by Cuthbert
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

It's not so much the strategies rather than the fact, that you're not playing with the same players.
If you were to play only with a full premade of the same players, then you can analyze what happened.
This is one of the reasons why it was much easier to climb in a game like WoW. You always play with the same arena team, you can try all manner of things and see what works consistently. When you have stable allies, the enemies are irrelevant. They can't surpass what their classes and comp are capable off. The same would be the case here... if only there was Team League...
Because you are correct. ATM if you queue as a full premade it takes forever...
11/06/2017 09:48 AMPosted by Cuthbert
Oh my god. The discussion here is so much more intelligent than most of what there's been in the Competitive forum thread.

I haven't read the 22 pages of responses yet, but given how many things about your post are wrong, you can't really complain if you got negative responses.

And again, 300+ people liked your post, probably because they agree with the sentiment and your best intentions, but if they liked it based on the pile of wrong info, I would have to conclude, that they are indeed not intelligent.

Mind you, I am not saying this in order to offend you. I am saying this, because it's how it is...
... and you've linked at least one of my threads on the matter, but your post shows how you misunderstand the information you read :*(
11/06/2017 12:19 PMPosted by Noxifer
11/06/2017 09:48 AMPosted by Cuthbert
Oh my god. The discussion here is so much more intelligent than most of what there's been in the Competitive forum thread.

I haven't read the 22 pages of responses yet, but given how many things about your post are wrong, you can't really complain if you got negative responses.


You only have to scroll down to the first two or three responses. I'm always appalled at how many forum posters are willing to assail logic, for spurious reasons. That behavior is usually coupled with personal insults. I've seen this many times before, on other game development forums.

I'm glad that this forum has a like/dislike function on posts. Otherwise, one might not realize they are arguing with a vocal minority.
So I read your thread. (


You should have read it again because it seems you didn't understand much.

SR is enough to match us in game. SR and MMR should have be essentially same thing. Like temperature that can me measured in Celsius or Fahrenheit scale.

20℉ = -6.666667℃

Both sides have different numbers but point at the same temperature.

It would be the same with SR/MMR system if not for handicapping - hidden algorithms that we don't really know what are doing. Deduction suggests the same thing as our guts - that we are thrown again and again against impossible tasks. That the harder we try, the harder it gets.

Also, if you look at this problem from perspective of recent Activision Patent about loot boxes and matchmaking, it really doesn't look too good. Oh boy.
11/07/2017 10:50 AMPosted by Bartman
So I read your thread. (


You should have read it again because it seems you didn't understand much.

SR is enough to match us in game. SR and MMR should have be essentially same thing. Like temperature that can me measured in Celsius or Fahrenheit scale.

20℉ = -6.666667℃

Both sides have different numbers but point at the same temperature.

It would be the same with SR/MMR system if not for handicapping - hidden algorithms that we don't really know what are doing. Deduction suggests the same thing as our guts - that we are thrown again and again against impossible tasks. That the harder we try, the harder it gets.

Also, if you look at this problem from perspective of recent Activision Patent about loot boxes and matchmaking, it really doesn't look too good. Oh boy.


Hello, fellow thinking person! Welcome to the discussion :)

Can you tell us more about the patent you're referring to?

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