Why Handicapping (MMR) is Wrong for Competitive Play

Competitive Discussion
Bumping because I would play much more ranked if they changed this.
01/22/2018 06:05 PMPosted by Steelclaw
Thank you for the original post! I never understood exactly how the matchmaking system worked, and it's very informative.

I'm in total agreement with your argument - I've wondered for a long time why my teammates seemed consistently less capable than my group, but put it down to my own bias - I simply can't see a reason for MMR to exist in Competitive except to make unskilled and inexperienced players who don't know about it feel better about themselves. (Even thinking purely from the perspective of low-skill players' benefit, it seems rather disingenuous to give them a false sense of being good at the game.) It would vastly improve my competitive experience if all the people at my SR were at roughly the same skill level, rather than many of them having been carried there by the system.

But it might be worth briefly summarizing the main problem at the start of the original post so as to emphasize the most important point (that, as a matter of system design, the better you are, the worse your teammates will be) for people who lack the patience and/or reading comprehension to take in and properly interpret the whole essay. It would make for a strong, impactful start to the post. :)


Cuthbert does not understand anything about the Matchmaker and is misinforming you. The game does NOT try to balance good players with bad ones. It balances better players by putting them in games with better players. Your initial assumption that it was bias was actually correct; at higher ranks you play against tougher competition, so the game feels harder, and it's extremely typical of people in online games to assume it's their teammates that are the problem.
01/23/2018 09:56 AMPosted by Cuthbert


But everyone experiences the handicapping/MMR system differently. I've found it is easy to say things that are untrue of the MMR/SR systems as a whole, by focusing too much on how they apply to me. That's why I'm trying to keep everything high level, and focus on the objection in principle that I find with the design of the game.


The real reason you no longer discuss things as they personally relate to you is it made it too easy to catch all the blatant bs. You still refuse to upload gameplay footage or evidence of any sort that matchmaking is "handicapping" anyone.
01/24/2018 06:43 AMPosted by Arzoo
The real reason you no longer discuss things as they personally relate to you is it made it too easy to catch all the blatant bs. You still refuse to upload gameplay footage or evidence of any sort that matchmaking is "handicapping" anyone.


This is a stupid request, and my unwillingness to comply does not prove me wrong. Make *counter-argument* if you can.
01/24/2018 06:39 AMPosted by Arzoo
01/22/2018 06:05 PMPosted by Steelclaw
Thank you for the original post! I never understood exactly how the matchmaking system worked, and it's very informative.

I'm in total agreement with your argument - I've wondered for a long time why my teammates seemed consistently less capable than my group, but put it down to my own bias - I simply can't see a reason for MMR to exist in Competitive except to make unskilled and inexperienced players who don't know about it feel better about themselves. (Even thinking purely from the perspective of low-skill players' benefit, it seems rather disingenuous to give them a false sense of being good at the game.) It would vastly improve my competitive experience if all the people at my SR were at roughly the same skill level, rather than many of them having been carried there by the system.

But it might be worth briefly summarizing the main problem at the start of the original post so as to emphasize the most important point (that, as a matter of system design, the better you are, the worse your teammates will be) for people who lack the patience and/or reading comprehension to take in and properly interpret the whole essay. It would make for a strong, impactful start to the post. :)


Cuthbert does not understand anything about the Matchmaker and is misinforming you. The game does NOT try to balance good players with bad ones. It balances better players by putting them in games with better players. Your initial assumption that it was bias was actually correct; at higher ranks you play against tougher competition, so the game feels harder, and it's extremely typical of people in online games to assume it's their teammates that are the problem.


At the end of the day, by saying this, you're still proving a different one of the OP's points: that the MMR system is not clearly understandable by most players. You claim one thing and the OP claims another - besides Blizzard and at least one of you two, how is anyone to know which of you is right?
01/24/2018 06:19 AMPosted by Cuthbert
01/24/2018 02:24 AMPosted by Valkas
That would explain why i get matched up against almost full high plat to mid diamond teams in QP all the time, meanwhile my teammates usually sit somewhere between low and high gold SR like i do right now.
Also its not like there arent any stomp games with the current system...I have an awful lot of stomp games when i play, way more than the close games that should be created by this system.
I just dont see any need to let MMR influence your SR.
Why not start at "0" SR and then gain/lose based on win/loss and ONLY on win/loss.
Hearthstone uses this system for ranked and it works well imo. You wont encounter people in higher ranks that have absolutely no idea how to play because then they wouldnt be there.
Yes its not a team game, but why does this matter?
This "SR only" system would be harder on newer players for sure because smurfing would be a bigger problem for newbies because everyone starts at "0".
The easy solution: Make smurfing bannable. But they wont. Cause smurfs = $$$.


Smurfing would be a complete non-issue, without handicapping/MMR. Players would have no reason to do it.


Haha I wish that were true...people do it in all kind of games where there is "no reason to". They do it because its fun to stomp newbies into the ground and feel good about it. Thats the reason for 80% of smurfs even if most would never admit it :))

Still nobody seems to be able to explain me why in QP I go up against teams with an average of 2700-3100 SR while my team is usually between 1900-2300 SR most of the time.
Then when I join friends at a more or less the same SR suddenly the opposing team has a much worse average than when I play solo.

I'm not saying OP is 100% right. I really can not say anything like that without real evidence.
But something really doesn't feel right about this.
The removal of performance based sr for 3000+ sr players literally does nothing when performance still influences mmr which in the long run WILL affect sr. Blizzard hasn't fixed any of the problems.
Blizzard may have done the competitive matchmaking a bit too technical. It's like science. We do not need that. More simple SR based matchmaking would be just fine.

I have noticed some MMR handicapping as sometimes games feel like I have no impact or no control over the round as my teammates are letting me down. And sometimes (quite rare) I feel like I'am the one who is being carried.

Every season I lose a bit more of my interest for competing for higher skill rating as the "skill rating" has almost nothing to do one's actual skill. Just accept that competitive is just ranked play with winning chances of a coin flip.
Sorry about this over dramatic reply.
Excellent topic and the reason why I would have stopped playing, if it weren't for my friends!
I just honestly don’t know
01/25/2018 01:48 AMPosted by Heittis
Blizzard may have done the competitive matchmaking a bit too technical. It's like science. We do not need that. More simple SR based matchmaking would be just fine.

I have noticed some MMR handicapping as sometimes games feel like I have no impact or no control over the round as my teammates are letting me down. And sometimes (quite rare) I feel like I'am the one who is being carried.

Every season I lose a bit more of my interest for competing for higher skill rating as the "skill rating" has almost nothing to do one's actual skill. Just accept that competitive is just ranked play with winning chances of a coin flip.
Sorry about this over dramatic reply.


I don't think you're being too dramatic. The patterns you describe in your career are consistent with what I say about MMR/handicapping. You're right that handicapping turns every match into a coin flip.
01/25/2018 12:22 AMPosted by Evonoucono
The removal of performance based sr for 3000+ sr players literally does nothing when performance still influences mmr which in the long run WILL affect sr. Blizzard hasn't fixed any of the problems.


Yes, performance-based SR and MMR/handicapping are intimately related design decisions.
Cuthbert, one of your oppressors, Kaawumba posted spreadsheet of his play time and tracked matches. He has only a total of 63 hours ever played on this game in competitive, but he thinks he understand matchmaker... this make me laugh so loud.

Maybe this is not fair and he has played more that does not show, but he hardly play at all
Forums often feel oppressive, when a vocal minority interjects to thoughtful discussion with mindless rhetoric. But democratically minded, enlightened individuals can take comfort in the polls attached to my threads, which show my supporters to be in the majority.

And yes, it's also validating to watch these guys trip over their own...body parts. Makes you realize they don't know !@#$ about the scientific method they invoke. Anyway, I don't mind an unworthy opponent if they bump my thread.
A useful presentation about match making and ranking
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pglxege-gU&feature=youtu.be
this game has nothing to keep people playing; no guns to unlock, scopes or skills.

they only thing they have is SR, my three accounts hammsammich/hamsammich/pasha

its BS; unless your are padding your stats as DPS will you NEVER EVER get up.

i can tank, take all golds all day, and never get any where. i can be on fire as dva 80% of the games and still not move out of where you are in s/g/p/d you might move up, but a bit but when the season ends or you drop SR you will face the same fight whatever rank.

the system, is made to keep the servers looking full. and most of that weight is being pulled by b/s/g

I would love to see a g/gm play 300 single Q games a season. most of them play 50-60 games or less because decay does nothing to their MMR,

open ELO, single performance ranking for everyone

this is how other games run, and its fine; noobs play with vets and vets teach the noobs how to play.

as it is now, you only learn the bad habits of people how are just as bad as you; you dont get to see a higher game, because hidden MMR makes sure you dont get a chance to play with people who could show you a better game.

instead, they leave a random group of poor players bring thier youtube and "pro" POV analytics. "the pros used widow and tracer, and they won." they dont udnerstand we are not pro's and dont know the strat they have already praticed 1000 times.

with a open ELO this game would be ruff for a second but it would even out, and everyone would fall where they should and not where they are froced to ruin other peoples games in order to change.
hidden MMR is cancer, medals are trash; we need a proper score board so players know what they need to improve on, and we need a game log.

enough with this well " i got..." dude you got nothing...but 90% assist's at best. the medal system is by far the most toxic part of this game i cant say that loud enough, its a lie its misleads people, and it does not help players understand their game.

i love to play OW its fun, at any level but it feels fruitless when you see the same patterns over and over.
Author's note:
This thread has been wrongly relocated to the Competitive Discussion forum. Moderator, please move it back.
01/23/2018 10:11 AMPosted by Cuthbert
01/23/2018 10:03 AMPosted by BREDFAN
Having a 50/50 chance to win implies perfect matchmaking.

Most games would kill for such parity. Or even the population to support it.


Define "perfect matchmaking."

Perfect matchmaking is equality of opportunity.
Blizzard try to force equality of outcome.
Keep it up m8, still waiting for a Dev answer.
01/24/2018 11:29 AMPosted by Cuthbert

This is a stupid request, and my unwillingness to comply does not prove me wrong. Make *counter-argument* if you can.


Well that's Cuthbert for you guys, ignorant and always ducking the chance to actually show evidence. It's amazing that you deleted your posts of trash talking about bad teammates and how you always had them on your team.

Post your gameplay already, you keep making excuses. It's the easiest way to validate your argument, but for some reason you don't have the balls to do it.
01/25/2018 07:20 AMPosted by MHz
Cuthbert, one of your oppressors, Kaawumba posted spreadsheet of his play time and tracked matches. He has only a total of 63 hours ever played on this game in competitive, but he thinks he understand matchmaker... this make me laugh so loud.

Maybe this is not fair and he has played more that does not show, but he hardly play at all


Dude. Stop lying. It's not good for you or for your arguments.

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