Why Handicapping (MMR) is Wrong for Competitive Play

Competitive Discussion
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02/17/2018 06:05 AMPosted by Wilfre
What if you had few bad QP's or play for the giggles/lootboxes? Wouldn't it make more sense to have a QP/Arcade MMR and a Comp MMR?


They are separate.

01/04/2018 02:39 PMPosted by Jeff Kaplan
01/04/2018 02:31 PMPosted by steelman
I'm a player who has only played less than 10 games in Diamond in all seasons. Whenever I play 4v4 Deathmatch, the enemy team always has Grand Masters. Is there any way to prevent this from happening?


We're looking into cases like this. We had a similar discussion about this yesterday as it can sometimes occur in Quick Play as well.

Long story short, you have a separate matchmaking rating for Competitive Play than you do for other modes so sometimes players playing more or less of those modes can cause occurrences like this. We have some solutions in mind.
I've added a proper excerpt in the original post, of Scott Mercer's post about matchmaking. Some of us, especially the skeptics, were asking for this and I'm sorry I delayed doing it. I think this will benefit players on both sides of the argument, and help us have a sensible debate based on credible information from a true authority.

Everyone please have another look at the OP if you're still interested in discussing this. Let's take it back to what Blizzard is actually telling us. Look at what Scott Mercer is saying. What about these systems do you find agreeable or disagreeable? Please make sure to read Mercer's post, which is excerpted and linked in the OP.
I've experienced this first hand. Those who deny the existence of handicapping do not have the ability to experience it first hand. Otherwise they wouldn't deny it.

I have 4 accounts. 2 are high masters and 1 is grand master. I made this account this season and regret it.

I'm a good enough player that I used to be able to plow through the ranks no problem, even with the trolls/throwers the system threw at me, thanks to performance-based SR. Don't get me wrong - I always play to win, and have very good winrates - but it really helped that I gained more than the trolls on my team and helped me separate from them.

I compete at masters/GM level on my other accounts no problem. However, on this account, I struggle in diamond even when playing out of my mind. If you don't believe me you can check my overbuff "ZerkR" - my stats are all top 1% or close to it. I am consistently performing at the top 1% for diamond rank but cannot climb. I went 2 - 4 today with top percentile stats on genji and averaging 41 elimes, 22k damage, and over 1 dragonblade kill / minute. My stats continue to go up, but my winrate continues to plummet.

Why? My MMR is so disproportionately high that is pairs me with complete sandbags. I kid you not, of the 6 games I've played today, 5 of them had players with 30-40% WRs on their main heroes. I had a mercy main decide to main genji this season, most likely due to the fact that blizzard is shafting healers when it comes to SR gain. Every game on this account is either impossible or a very narrow win, which I guess is what blizzard wants to make the games more interesting. It's also a great way to remove the process of natural selection and force the good players to hold the hands of total sandbags that refuse to cooperate with the team. My teammates generally consist of players blatantly deranking on heroes they are not comfortable with. The enemy team is usually a team of players on heroes they know how to play with decent winrates. These players are at the rank they deserve. My teammates are not, and I'm tired of holding their hands just because I am an anomaly in the system.

How's this for an analogy. Put a highschool track athlete against an Olympic sprinter in a race. Tie weights to the Olympic sprinter until both runners have ~50% chance of winning the race. The winner is then declared the better runner. This is Blizzard's logic and is flawed beyond belief.

My experience on this account is over the course of 80 games. Anyone who denies that blizzard handicaps matches with MMR has not experienced it. The recent removal of performance-based SR has made it even worse. Blizzard believes they benefit from a system like this, but it only creates frustration and makes people turn away from their game. If anyone disagrees and has any other ideas as to why this is occurring, I'd love to hear, but this is my only explanation. Cheers.
02/16/2018 10:02 AMPosted by Cuthbert
I'm wondering why the system doesn't work like that for all competitive tiers.

Do you find your wait times for matches generally increase when you win matches?


Sometimes they increase, but i put that down to less players up top more than anything.

It is odd that they made the change for only Diamond+, from my experience you need to have it equal across the player base. Realistically that is the only form of "handicapping" in the blizzard MMR system, the sub diamond personal taken into account.

02/17/2018 06:05 AMPosted by Wilfre
Why should we have a single MMR tied to both quick-play and comp? What if you had few bad QP's or play for the giggles/lootboxes? Wouldn't it make more sense to have a QP/Arcade MMR and a Comp MMR?

I understand MMR is some convoluted number rank to help find quicker matches. So are custom games the only safe space to enjoy off-comp games?


The only time QP MMR is taken into account is a brand new account that has never placed, that is one of the reasons they make you play QP, it influences the first time you play.

After you have placed that initial time, all MMR is based from COMP, so what you do in QP doesn't matter.
02/18/2018 01:06 AMPosted by ZerkR
I've experienced this first hand. Those who deny the existence of handicapping do not have the ability to experience it first hand. Otherwise they wouldn't deny it.

I have 4 accounts. 2 are high masters and 1 is grand master. I made this account this season and regret it.

I'm a good enough player that I used to be able to plow through the ranks no problem, even with the trolls/throwers the system threw at me, thanks to performance-based SR. Don't get me wrong - I always play to win, and have very good winrates - but it really helped that I gained more than the trolls on my team and helped me separate from them.

I compete at masters/GM level on my other accounts no problem. However, on this account, I struggle in diamond even when playing out of my mind. If you don't believe me you can check my overbuff "ZerkR" - my stats are all top 1% or close to it. I am consistently performing at the top 1% for diamond rank but cannot climb. I went 2 - 4 today with top percentile stats on genji and averaging 41 elimes, 22k damage, and over 1 dragonblade kill / minute. My stats continue to go up, but my winrate continues to plummet.

Why? My MMR is so disproportionately high that is pairs me with complete sandbags. I kid you not, of the 6 games I've played today, 5 of them had players with 30-40% WRs on their main heroes. I had a mercy main decide to main genji this season, most likely due to the fact that blizzard is shafting healers when it comes to SR gain. Every game on this account is either impossible or a very narrow win, which I guess is what blizzard wants to make the games more interesting. It's also a great way to remove the process of natural selection and force the good players to hold the hands of total sandbags that refuse to cooperate with the team. My teammates generally consist of players blatantly deranking on heroes they are not comfortable with. The enemy team is usually a team of players on heroes they know how to play with decent winrates. These players are at the rank they deserve. My teammates are not, and I'm tired of holding their hands just because I am an anomaly in the system.

How's this for an analogy. Put a highschool track athlete against an Olympic sprinter in a race. Tie weights to the Olympic sprinter until both runners have ~50% chance of winning the race. The winner is then declared the better runner. This is Blizzard's logic and is flawed beyond belief.

My experience on this account is over the course of 80 games. Anyone who denies that blizzard handicaps matches with MMR has not experienced it. The recent removal of performance-based SR has made it even worse. Blizzard believes they benefit from a system like this, but it only creates frustration and makes people turn away from their game. If anyone disagrees and has any other ideas as to why this is occurring, I'd love to hear, but this is my only explanation. Cheers.


Man people complain when personal performance is in, they complain when it is taken out....

If you are as good as you claim to be you will still climb, it will just take a bit longer than with the personal performance.

I think people are getting confused with the term "handicapping"
02/18/2018 01:54 AMPosted by Anfanee
Man people complain when personal performance is in, they complain when it is taken out....


I think what really frustrates people is that they are not being allowed to play for the simple goal of *victory.* ZerkR is describing a frustration with the self-serving, manipulative behavior of "de-ranking" that performance-based SR engenders in players. MMR does not serve people who play to win.

And yes, Blizzard has put themselves is a 'damned if they do, damned if they don't' situation. They have gotten players used to the expectation that all of their games will be narrowly contested, no matter what the relative skill of the players participating.

Blizzard produces these narrow matches with subjective Match Making Rating (MMR), rather than objective Skill Rating. If they remove MMR, it's anybody guess as to what will happen. We might find that Overwatch comes alive with new heart. Or it might go into organ failure.
02/18/2018 01:06 AMPosted by ZerkR
How's this for an analogy. Put a highschool track athlete against an Olympic sprinter in a race. Tie weights to the Olympic sprinter until both runners have ~50% chance of winning the race. The winner is then declared the better runner. This is Blizzard's logic and is flawed beyond belief.

02/18/2018 01:54 AMPosted by Anfanee
I think people are getting confused with the term "handicapping"

ZerkR's analogy of competition between track athletes is not perfect because it's about 1-on-1 competition where Overwatch is a team competition. But my horse-racing analogy from the OP suffers from the same problem, so please give us some leeway. The reason it is so hard to find a real-world analogy is that there *are no* team competitions in the real world that are organized like Overwatch matches.

Try to imagine how a "Match Making Rating" system could apply to any other team sport. Imagine a baseball league where every team is expected to exchange strong and weak players to even the odds of every match they play. Where players compete on teams, but only advance through the tournament as individuals. Where each player is assigned a personal judge who tracks their performance, not to give them any kind of award but to determine the handicapping of their next match.

There are no real-world equivalents of this. This is competition organized and re-organized in ways that only computing technology makes possible. Blizzard is taking competitive players into uncharted waters. They have chosen a vernacular that confuses players and hides what they are doing.

That is exactly why we should seek out analogies to the familiar, and rely on words that have proper definitions, such as "handicapping." Not made up terms such as "Match Making Rating," which Blizzard does not define for players and only the game's own developers are allowed to know.
Cuthbert is absolutely right, but Blizz won't change it, because they want us to keep spinning on our hamster wheel and playing for as long as possible, like in all their other games.
Another former WoW player?
Reading your OP all the way through, everything rings a bell. Also, I have recorded my SR progression over this season (in Excel). Hundreds of games. I climbed a lot. Now the system is "correcting" itself by smacking down my SR with worse and worse teammates. I had two win streaks of 9 and 10 games on my way from Silver to Diamond. I think this "pissed off" the MMR system. It wasn't sure about my MMR now it is giving me the worst sacks of s**t it can find. I had a loss streak of 8 recently, and back in plat. I have practiced Moira for hours and days and weeks and I can say I am fairly skilled with her.

However I have to say that performance based SR is not the enemy. MMR/handicapping definitely is. Performance-based SR doesn't solve the underlying issue but it's better than nothing.

Without performance based SR, like a previous poster stated, skilled players would have almost no way to separate themselves from weaker teammates. If you think about it, going for performance doesn't make you selfish. Doing lots of healing or damage is inherently GOOD for the team. How could you pump out tons of healing while simultaneously not contributing to a victory? It doesn't make sense.

I honestly think they removed performance SR in diamond and above to prevent skilled players from climbing further than diamond. So even if you are lucky enough to climb out of platinum by performing well, you'll be stuck in elo hell (by design). I wouldn't be surprised that the more games you grind (to infinity) you'd end up in silver or gold. At that point, the handicap system has you right where it wants you. There simply needs to be more transparency about MMR values and how they are calculated. All they have given are general statements.
02/18/2018 06:56 AMPosted by Cuthbert
Another former WoW player?


Haha yes, played for a few years. I've played hundreds of games across different genres though.
02/18/2018 06:38 AMPosted by JTMoney
Cuthbert is absolutely right, but Blizz won't change it, because they want us to keep spinning on our hamster wheel and playing for as long as possible, like in all their other games.


So you agree with the guy that went to University to major in English? Has zero evidence to prove anything and is unable to BASIC MATH.

It's infuriating how many stupid people there are in this world and how they're so proud being ignorant. It's honestly disturbing how people ramble about things they don't understand.

YOU GUYS PREFER TO BELIEVE AN IDIOT STUCK IN SILVER, WHO BLAMES HIS TEAMMATES FOR BEING STUCK THERE, RATHER THAN LOGIC BECAUSE YOU ALSO WANT AN EXCUSE.

I'll probably get forum banned, Downvotes, and silenced, but I don't care. You guys seriously need to stop playing video games and pick up a damn math book. Don't go to college or university to get an English degree like Cuthbert, go get something that's actually useful.

Peace.
02/18/2018 07:17 AMPosted by JTMoney
Haha yes, played for a few years. I've played hundreds of games across different genres though.


Do you know any other games that mess people around the way this one does, with matchmaking? I can think of a few but none that are branded "Competitive Games" with "E-Sports."

Does WoW use Match Making Rating the same way? Another commenter said something about this.
02/18/2018 07:10 AMPosted by JTMoney
Reading your OP all the way through, everything rings a bell. Also, I have recorded my SR progression over this season (in Excel). Hundreds of games. I climbed a lot. Now the system is "correcting" itself by smacking down my SR with worse and worse teammates. I had two win streaks of 9 and 10 games on my way from Silver to Diamond. I think this "pissed off" the MMR system. It wasn't sure about my MMR now it is giving me the worst sacks of s**t it can find. I had a loss streak of 8 recently, and back in plat. I have practiced Moira for hours and days and weeks and I can say I am fairly skilled with her.


I haven't had the discipline to document my wins/losses, but other players have and report similar findings. I think this is a valuable exercise for some people but I don't know if we can prove our point with crowd-generated data.

02/18/2018 07:10 AMPosted by JTMoney
However I have to say that performance based SR is not the enemy. MMR/handicapping definitely is. Performance-based SR doesn't solve the underlying issue but it's better than nothing.


To me they are both just part of the same broken paradigm. If Match Making Rating/handicapping did not exist, there would be no reason for performance-based SR and it would be just as intolerable.

02/18/2018 07:10 AMPosted by JTMoney
Without performance based SR, like a previous poster stated, skilled players would have almost no way to separate themselves from weaker teammates. If you think about it, going for performance doesn't make you selfish. Doing lots of healing or damage is inherently GOOD for the team. How could you pump out tons of healing while simultaneously not contributing to a victory? It doesn't make sense.


I'm not saying you're wrong, but I'm concerned that these double standards artificially select some skills over others. The system favors players who preserve their own lives to rack up large numbers in damage, healing, kills, etc. But *altruistic* players, who often do the most to secure victory, do not always get to rack up these numbers. Playing the objective often means sacrificing your own stats for the greater good.

02/18/2018 07:10 AMPosted by JTMoney
I honestly think they removed performance SR in diamond and above to prevent skilled players from climbing further than diamond. So even if you are lucky enough to climb out of platinum by performing well, you'll be stuck in elo hell (by design). I wouldn't be surprised that the more games you grind (to infinity) you'd end up in silver or gold. At that point, the handicap system has you right where it wants you. There simply needs to be more transparency about MMR values and how they are calculated. All they have given are general statements.


Anything is possible, if Blizzard is shifting the paradigm of competition from one rank to the next. I don't see how any of this makes sense, and I'm shocked that Blizzard can get away with such a lack of transparency. Where are the disclosures to the public about any of this? Are we all supposed to learn about it on the forums?

I appreciate the information you've added to the discussion. Whatever our differences in opinion about performance-based SR, I can see we both want Blizzard be open and honest with us about matchmaking. So we're on the same side.
Actually Cuthbert sorry to burst your bubble but an MMR system sort of does apply to all sports. You are looking at 1 part of sports (the teams/players), not the entire picture (how they got there).

People are picked and advanced quickly according to "promise" shown. From a very young age people get picked and put into specialised training. People showing really great promise even skip steps and get fast tracked to the highest rank. I'll give you a prime example:

Max Verstappen (the F1 driver) was well known coming through the ranks to be a "future prospect" of the sport. Because he did so well in the early stages he actually skipped multiple classes that almost all F1 drivers have to go through in order to make it into F1. The result was a guy racing in F1 that didn't even have his drivers license and yet, here he was driving in the top echelon of Motorsport. All because people saw his "potential" as an F1 driver... One might say his MMR was raised straight to GM hey???

Your problem is that you are looking at teams playing and handicapping... Thing is... That handicapping has already occurred. That is why we have different levels of sport. Now players can/will advance quickly depending on merit and potential, which is where said MMR might apply. Thing is, you can have teams lose, but individual players move up based on their performance. What about that sole win/loss and personal performance not being taken into account?

Not to mention that your argument might apply... If OW used preset teams and solo queue was a thing, but it doesn't.
Anfanee, you are correcting a self confessed apples and oranges argument with another apples and oranges argument.

F1 has decades, almost a century, of history to determine what to look for in a driver. It uses panels of past professionals, each with a different team, choosing what to look for. This isn't comparable to automated stats based mmr in a game heading to 2 years old.

There are threads on this forum of people diamond+ doing really well with terrible stats. This is at complete odds with your example. A team of humans could assess this player as good, but the automated system would say they belong lower and would work to push them down through SR diff on win/loss.

The fact they changed it meant a human looked at the numbers and realised this example was happening frequently.
02/18/2018 02:06 PMPosted by Anfanee
Actually Cuthbert sorry to burst your bubble but an MMR system sort of does apply to all sports. You are looking at 1 part of sports (the teams/players), not the entire picture (how they got there).

People are picked and advanced quickly according to "promise" shown. From a very young age people get picked and put into specialised training. People showing really great promise even skip steps and get fast tracked to the highest rank. I'll give you a prime example:

Max Verstappen (the F1 driver) was well known coming through the ranks to be a "future prospect" of the sport. Because he did so well in the early stages he actually skipped multiple classes that almost all F1 drivers have to go through in order to make it into F1. The result was a guy racing in F1 that didn't even have his drivers license and yet, here he was driving in the top echelon of Motorsport. All because people saw his "potential" as an F1 driver... One might say his MMR was raised straight to GM hey???

Your problem is that you are looking at teams playing and handicapping... Thing is... That handicapping has already occurred. That is why we have different levels of sport. Now players can/will advance quickly depending on merit and potential, which is where said MMR might apply. Thing is, you can have teams lose, but individual players move up based on their performance. What about that sole win/loss and personal performance not being taken into account?

Not to mention that your argument might apply... If OW used preset teams and solo queue was a thing, but it doesn't.


This is an interesting rebuttal. You're right that performance-based SR below Diamond rank is analogous to the practice of 'scouting' in the pro sports scene. But I would argue that all players deserve to engage in Competitive Play according to the same standards. Players should be treated equitably and impartially at every level of the SR system.

I don't think players above Diamond are competing on acceptable terms either. The Match Making Rating system still applies above Diamond and as JTMoney has pointed out, the absence of performance-based SR exacerbates the effects of MMR as a handicapping system.
"Your analogy is not perfect so therefore it's wrong, but mine with a million holes in it is somehow correct".

-Cuthbert
02/19/2018 08:48 AMPosted by Player
"Your analogy is not perfect so therefore it's wrong, but mine with a million holes in it is somehow correct".

-Cuthbert


Cuthbert doesn't even know the difference between SR and MMR, you seriously can't be taking that clown serious. He just learned what PBSR was like 2 days ago, but doesn't understand it's function. Cuthbert is honestly making people with English degree look more stupid by the day.

This is why no one will listen to a person with an English degree when they lack basic logic. That's why Blizzard isn't even going to bother responding to this thread, or the countless threads Cuthbert has made. Go read a math book.
Read the first few pages and too lazy to read the rest. So sorry if it's already said.

One of the question is how SR and MRR are related or unrelated.

https://imgur.com/a/Pg6GT

They are clearly related somehow, otherwise why limit people from queueing together if they have very different SR.

As for the topic in general. I think there's clearly something wreid with it. But I don't think it's the system itself, and more how the numbers are "balanced".
Comparing hero performance sounds like a good idea. But it seems like it's effecting too much. Especially in a game with such inconsistent balance. Where one hero is overpowerd one patch, and nearly useless another.

An example of that is the ppl here saying how the have have multiple accounts and each in different division. And others asking them "but what's you hero choice on each account".
Why does the hero make so much difference? If you know enough about how an OW match flows, you can play good enough on any hero. And you'd improve on that hero faster, so the difference shouldn't be more then 1k SR.
But this is all "he said she said" so it's validity is scetchy at best.

And I think the more experienced player benifit more, as opposed to what OP thinks. I've played more(and started sooner) then my brother and he's matched with less competent players more often than me. Even though we are similar in skill(althoguh we have different playstyles so it's hard to tell). And I know this to be true because when we queue together, we get these less competent ppl more often then when I queue alone.
Granted this is anecdotal evidence and we don't play that often, especailly competetive. Mostly just the placement matches.

And I play in europe only, if that matter. I sometimes visit the US forums because it's more active. Hence this post.

And what about the "preffer player" option? And the "report player" too? How do they effect the matchmaking? Or are they just a placebo there to make us feel better? Which, if it is tha latter, only adds to the point that the match making is "unethical" since not only they hide it from us, they give us false "control" over it.

(tried to make this post already, putting this here incase it already got posted and I don't see it, just so you know)

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