Why Handicapping (MMR) is Wrong for Competitive Play

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Yep on my main I won’t play off of my 3 mains even if I’m getting wrecked because playing a hero I couldn’t one trick to that SR will drop my MMR and I’ll just lose the next game instead.

I main Tracer Genji Zarya and for 3 seasons I don’t have one minute off of those. Even if Pharah is wrecking our team I won’t go mccree or soldier. If I’m on DPS I’ll go Zarya and let someone else play soldier but I won’t personally play it. I’ll be shooting a small airborne target, putting up bad numbers (damage), and it’ll drop my MMR and I’ll lose other games instead.
02/07/2018 01:35 PMPosted by tawT

10/31/2017 09:29 AMPosted by Jeff Kaplan

...
It's not. Stop being so paranoid.

Addressed.


To be fair this isn't neccessarily a response to the OP. "Rigged" is a very laoded term...


Actually when I posted this question, that was the name of this topic, Cuthbert changed the topic name there after.
Doing from my phone to show how easy it was

02/01/2018 09:28 PMPosted by Jorlan
(This is somewhat long as it counters pretty much every argument that handicapping isn’t possible in Overwatch. I’ve tried to keep it simple, and avoided trying to writing any more parody as it seems the mods don’t have a similar sense of humour to me.)

There are assumptions being made on both sides, but do not be confused - only FriendlyFire wants to claim his are fact. Honestly all of these assumptions are irrelevant. We don’t know if MMR can go up on a loss, and we don’t know that SR (or SR history) is not incorporated into MMR. Both of these points make a lot of the counter arguments against handicapping futile. The **new** blue post we really need is to confirm that SR is unrelated in all ways to generating MMR, and that MMR can only go up on a win.

So as the debate about whether MMR works as intended can’t continue without the above, I’ll address the core response – claims that handicapping can not occur.

But:

Note: Yes pro's can tilt (I mean !@#$, have you heard of xQc?) . Also, ironically, pro's are people who can actually claim "my teammates are all worse than me". When you're in the 99.999th percentile, there is literally not enough people at your skill level to make a game. There are almost never 11 players equal to IDDQD queueing up at the same time. So he does actually get worse teams and is expected to carry, because the only other option is he just gets no game.


That is a definition of handicapping.

Just continuing because apparently this example of another game is relevant:

This, again, happens in every competitive game. Used to happy in Dota when a 7K MMR pro would have 4K teammates against 5K enemies. Literal pro players push the match maker to the limit, and get crazy queue times and/or unbalanced teams. But it's an extreme edge case. Are you not top 500? You don't have to worry about the game not being able to find 11 players around your skill.


Which again is a textbook definition handicapping.

All we need is proof of it happening, nothing else. As the good old alchemy saying goes “as above so below.” FriendlyFire especially was asking for proof that it can happen, so there you go - FriendlyFire, I hope you can trust the source.

This “as above so below” has changed this season, with Diamond+ now using a different system. There was a thread about a Sym player climbing nicely from Diamond SR while only holding a 1.8 kill ratio, thanking for the changes as it obviously allowed that player to focus on winning rather than performing. Examples like that one show how skewed the system has been to this point.

Ok, so now we look at the ‘less data’ strawman recently brought up:

01/31/2018 10:50 AMPosted by FriendlyFire
No-evidence-cuthbert, I took the time to respond to your new section and you just ignore it? Come on now... I tried to carefully explain how you had things reversed, that putting the best players on one team gives a ranking system LESS information about the players skill in a game, not more.


For a single game FriendlyFire is correct regarding player information. However at 20+ games Cuthbert is also right, but now SR also has meaning and handicapping shouldn’t occur. The balance of the games has been reached naturally. Natural balance is better than forced balance.

Now let’s go into an example of why even using just MMR for balancing games can be handicapping anyway:

1) You have a win or loss streak for 10 games
Assumpion is your MMR may not change as much as SR because of your gameplay. If this is true then:
2) Your MMR can now be notably higher or lower than your SR
Assuming entirely everyone is the same MMR in your next match, then:
3) This means other players at your exact same SR are having games against players of different skill than you.

Again, this is a definition of handicapping.

So actual examples of handicapping at work:
01/30/2018 10:56 PMPosted by Kurytokun
for some reason even though i have a 70% winrate on my damage heroes i am struggling to climb higher than 2600 where as on my other account i maintain 3300 to 3600 with ease, the games don't ever feel stacked against me or anything. Why is this bracket so difficult to climb out of? I don't understand... the players here should be less skilled but it seems lack of intelligence is the main issue.


A recent thread I noticed, but these are cropping up more frequently now.

From this thread (and it’s own thread too):
01/15/2018 02:21 PMPosted by ZerkR
I can play proficiently at GM level and made this account to test the S8 SR adjustment. It appears they do handicap your games. I have a 72% WR on tracer and 85% WR on zarya on this account. The quality of my games has degraded substantially since placements.


Again this exactly matches the idea that handicapping occurs. Please read his entire post for more info you would like.

12/31/2017 08:53 PMPosted by AnsatsuKen
I was stuck all season around 2300 SR, ended at barely 2400.

Used my right hand, and after my placements I'm 2722 SR. Clearly the game is "rigged" right?

Edit: I love the downvotes, I'm at 3005 now, and still haven't seen that "rigged match making."


And then this guy. He claimed he would climb easily once he swapped back to using his right hand for mouse (injury apparently), used to be 4000+SR but had dropped to 2400SR, and then went 10 wins on placements and jumped up 300+ SR. Then after that point quickly slumped to close to a 50% winrate (have a look at the account). He tried a few excuses (even though he knew we were watching to see how high he could climb and had just made a boasting post about how easy climbing is), but it looks like he dropped the forums and maybe even quit the game after he realised he just experienced what I said he would. He got handicapped.

This MMR system is brilliant for qp, and I adore how it works for qp. It just has no place in competitive, as a big problem is thinking that competitive games should be balanced. If they used this same philosophy within Overwatch League they would be shuffling the players between teams to ensure that each team has a 50% winrate per match.
What if we were to actually try a Competitive mode without any form of MMR on the PTR, for example ? First of all, would you even play it ? Second of all, would that be the best way of testing a comp mode without MMR without having to change everything on live immediately ?
Third of all, do you believe it would actually fix this game's problems, if everything that has been said about the system handicapping players is true ?
I have so many questions. I really want to fix comp, but I believe a matchmaking system which takes into account the players' most played heroes in QP/Comp to build balanced teams(the heroes we can be sure they can decently play at their kevel) after a certain number of hours played could help in some way.
02/08/2018 12:40 AMPosted by GammaDelta
What if we were to actually try a Competitive mode without any form of MMR on the PTR, for example ? First of all, would you even play it ? Second of all, would that be the best way of testing a comp mode without MMR without having to change everything on live immediately ?
Third of all, do you believe it would actually fix this game's problems, if everything that has been said about the system handicapping players is true ?
I have so many questions. I really want to fix comp, but I believe a matchmaking system which takes into account the players' most played heroes in QP/Comp to build balanced teams(the heroes we can be sure they can decently play at their kevel) after a certain number of hours played could help in some way.


I don't think it makes sense to put this kind of thing through the PTR. The player base would be smaller. And it would be hard for players to understand what they're supposed to be giving feedback on.

Do I think that an impartial matchmaking system would fix all of the problems I described in the OP? Yes. But it would also result in more one-sided games, and make the Competitive Play more difficult and less accessible for new players. It might even necessitate other changes, like a narrowing of the SR range that players are allowed to group within. Still there is no doubt in my mind that a competitive matchamaking system must be impartial; that handicapping is wrong for competitive play.
02/07/2018 07:37 PMPosted by kitten
Yep on my main I won’t play off of my 3 mains even if I’m getting wrecked because playing a hero I couldn’t one trick to that SR will drop my MMR and I’ll just lose the next game instead.

I main Tracer Genji Zarya and for 3 seasons I don’t have one minute off of those. Even if Pharah is wrecking our team I won’t go mccree or soldier. If I’m on DPS I’ll go Zarya and let someone else play soldier but I won’t personally play it. I’ll be shooting a small airborne target, putting up bad numbers (damage), and it’ll drop my MMR and I’ll lose other games instead.


Thanks for sharing your experience! Would you say it aligns with what I described in the OP? Other players have posted similar tactics for gaming the MMR system.
02/07/2018 09:01 AMPosted by Mydriaze
My gosh, this discussion is going nowhere... :(


Please hang in there! Yes there are a few commenters trying to fill this thread with nonsense. But they are just a vocal minority. The poll results show that voters favor my proposal by 80% or greater, and the vast majority of comments from *unique* visitors to the thread are supportive.

If we stay on message and show Blizzard a strong consensus, I believe we can force their hand. We can get the impartial matchmaking and fair Competitive Play we deserve.
02/08/2018 09:07 AMPosted by Cuthbert
02/07/2018 07:37 PMPosted by kitten
Yep on my main I won’t play off of my 3 mains even if I’m getting wrecked because playing a hero I couldn’t one trick to that SR will drop my MMR and I’ll just lose the next game instead.

I main Tracer Genji Zarya and for 3 seasons I don’t have one minute off of those. Even if Pharah is wrecking our team I won’t go mccree or soldier. If I’m on DPS I’ll go Zarya and let someone else play soldier but I won’t personally play it. I’ll be shooting a small airborne target, putting up bad numbers (damage), and it’ll drop my MMR and I’ll lose other games instead.


Thanks for sharing your experience! Would you say it aligns with what I described in the OP? Other players have posted similar tactics for gaming the MMR system.

I think he would say that it's the exact opposite of what you described in the OP. He's saying that when his MMR goes down relative his SR he get's grouped with worse players. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the handicapping concept saying that if your MMR is high compared to your SR you get handicapped by being matched with weaker players?

Then again who cares really - this thread has become somewhat of a dumping site for everyone wanting to blame the matchmaker for losing games. It's quite funny actually how many contradictions there are when it comes to peoples views on how they are being handicapped and even funnier to watch these people agree with each other without even understanding that they are claiming to witness complete opposite phenomena.
While i don't think the system is "rigged" i do think it's broken at worst and unnecessary at best.

All this back end hidden voodoo accomplishes two things.

1: Foster conspiracy theories because no one truly knows how it works.

2: Encourages people to "play the system" in as much as they perceive it.

Look at some of the posts above. People saying they refuse to switch even if they're being hard countered in an attempt to control their MMR. It leads to people playing for themselves instead of playing for the team.

To say that the current system prevents one sided matches is laughable, and since that's the bulk of it's purpose there's really no reason to keep it.

Match 12 people according to their SR. No voodoo, no other complicated back end algorithms.

You get + / - X amount per game. This way there is no "playing for my mmr" you work together or you all lose the same amount, period. This is a team game, win by the team, die by the team.

Sometimes you'll get matched against people who are climbing and lose.
Others you'll get people who are about the same skill... coin flip.
Sometimes you'll get people who are falling and win easily.
... just like you do now.
02/08/2018 09:45 AMPosted by Patman
I think he would say that it's the exact opposite of what you described in the OP. He's saying that when his MMR goes down relative his SR he get's grouped with worse players. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the handicapping concept saying that if your MMR is high compared to your SR you get handicapped by being matched with weaker players?


Do you always speak for other people? It's an obnoxious habit. Let this player answer themself.

02/08/2018 09:45 AMPosted by Patman
Then again who cares really - this thread has become somewhat of a dumping site for everyone wanting to blame the matchmaker for losing games. It's quite funny actually how many contradictions there are when it comes to peoples views on how they are being handicapped and even funnier to watch these people agree with each other without even understanding that they are claiming to witness complete opposite phenomena.


Conflicting opinion does not mean that there is no objective truth. Seek the truth.

I'm concerned by the lazy thinking I see from detractors of this thread. But I am happy to introduce you to the concept of 'debate,' and the spirit of 'inquiry.'
i was in GM and master's since season 1-7. stopped playing then decayed to diamond. now i play again and stuck in plat. wtf happened?
02/08/2018 11:06 AMPosted by Cuthbert
But I am happy to introduce you to the concept of 'debate,' and the spirit of 'inquiry.'


There's nothing else to debate no-evidence-Cuthbert. You say something happens in game, record and post it. It's obvious to most that your refusal to provide this easy to collect evidence is essentially proof you are just making it up. If you weren't, you would have provided the video evidence to shut down detractors long ago.

The only people who believe you are those desperate for an excuse for their rank, who'd rather blames others to protect their ego rather than self-reflect and improve.

Did you not see the guy in this thread a while back? He went to recorded his games to prove you right. Then we he looked at it, he realized he played horrible too, it wasn't (always) his teams fault. Then he started climbing rank, as he focused on improving his own play instead of making excuses. These are you options: recognize the truth which can lead to self-improvement, or externalize all responsibility, blame anyone but yourself, and never improve.

Of course you get bad teammates. I've been bouncing between masters/GM all season and I still get bad teammates who throw games. This is just part of any team game. Sometimes, a player on your team will have a bad game or make a serious mistake. This wasn't Blizzard's doing, people just aren't perfect robots. And you're delusional if you think you've never been the "bad teammate" hurting your team.

I wonder where you denial sits. Do you refuse to record your play in fear of what it will show? Or did you do it, see the truth, and delete the evidence because you're far too invested in this idea to admit you were wrong.

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