The MMR Problem (My Story)

Competitive Discussion
I started to play competitive this season since I thought it would be fun. I placed in the mid 1600's, and I did pretty well at the start, reaching the low 1700's the same day I got my rank.

Then, something happened. I began to go on a losing streak for seemingly no reason down to the mid 1500's. I was still doing fairly well, or at least I thought. Then once that finally ended, it was a slow trickle down to the upper 1200's. I'm now bronze.

So, what happened? I believe this thread by Cuthbert has the answer.
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/overwatch/topic/20760857618?page=1

For the TL;DR version, basically if I do well, the game puts tougher players on the enemy team, and less skilled players on mine, all because the MMR system wants to make a 50/50 chance game.

I believe this is what happened. I ranked up fairly quickly so the game decided I was good, so it gave me worse teammates. (As an example, I at one point, encountered a Torbjorn player on my team while playing king of the hill.) I quickly lost MMR and so the games I got began to stagger with a win/loss, with a mini losing streak in between. This caused me to derank all the way down to bronze.

Now, I don't claim to be a great player; decent at best. I know the role of my character and try to play them to the best of my ability. However when I start deranking this much it leads me to believe something is going on behind the scenes to sabotage my experience.

If anyone is willing to share their stories about how this system screwed them over, I invite them to do so.
So I've gone into a lot of detail of Cuthbert's post about why his theory is wrong. What you think of the match making system aside, his theory about how it is broken is based on significant misunderstandings about how it works.

It's like a person who thinks their monitor is their computer, and thinks their computer is broken because turning off the monitor doesn't reset the computer. I can go into those details if you want me to explain where he goes wrong.

But for now I want to focus on you.

I placed in the mid 1600's, and I did pretty well at the start, reaching the low 1700's the same day I got my rank... Then once that finally ended, it was a slow trickle down to the upper 1200's. I'm now bronze.


How accurately do you believe just 10 matches can place someone? The truth is your first ever placement is a bit of a guess. It can figure out the large range, it won't confuse a silver and diamond player, but it isn't super accurate. Likewise, climbing from mid 1600s to low 1700s literally takes 2 or 3 games. That's nothing.

Here's what happened: It placed you on the lower side, but not quite as low as you were meant to be. Despite winning a few games initially, overall you lost more than you won and dropped to closer to your real rank.

It's okay to be bronze. You're brand new to the game, who else should be expected to be there? You have plenty of opportunity to improve and climb rank.

There's nothing wrong with Torb on KotH. I've won with Torb's on my team in KotH up into grandmasters. That's not the system screwing you over. That's just a game that you happened to lose.

Don't get conned by angsty players upset they aren't great. No matter what you do in life, you'll find plenty of people ready to blame anything but themselves for not succeeding. You can either recognize your rank is under your control, focus on improving, and climb. Or you fall into complaining it's rigged, never improve your own play, and never get anywhere.

Remember, you can't control the outcome of any one game, but you are the only constant factor on every team. If you are better than other players at your rank, you should win more games (on average), and thus climb. You never lose SR on a win. Win more than you lose, and you'll climb. If you can't do that, why do you think should be ranked higher?
Why would blizzard sabotage your experience? Do you think they want you to stop playing this game?

You and everyone who has posted one of these threads, including the one you cited are wrong in that you think that it is an external cause for your losses. It is simple. If you play a match that is balanced you always have a 50% chance to win. Evenly matched teams means that your opponents are not better than you, and not worse than you, but actually at your level. Although they don't match it player for player, your team's SR should be close to the enemies SR.

Since a balanced match means that you have an equal chance to win or lose based on your and your teamates average performance, it's the little things you do right that win the match or the little things you do wrong that lose it.

It's not out of your control at all. You could win every match..... Every single one... if you did everything right. So the challenge to climb is to focus on what you are doing and what you could improve on. Make small changes and profit.

When this community stops looking outside for a solution to a problem that is inside then people will play better and rank up at the expense of those who have yet to figure out that it's always on them whether they win or lose.
01/14/2018 01:19 PMPosted by FriendlyFire
So I've gone into a lot of detail of Cuthbert's post about why his theory is wrong. What you think of the match making system aside, his theory about how it is broken is based on significant misunderstandings about how it works.

It's like a person who thinks their monitor is their computer, and thinks their computer is broken because turning off the monitor doesn't reset the computer. I can go into those details if you want me to explain where he goes wrong.


Yes, I would like to see some examples.
01/14/2018 01:24 PMPosted by Rhae
Why would blizzard sabotage your experience? Do you think they want you to stop playing this game?

You and everyone who has posted one of these threads, including the one you cited are wrong in that you think that it is an external cause for your losses. It is simple. If you play a match that is balanced you always have a 50% chance to win. Evenly matched teams means that your opponents are not better than you, and not worse than you, but actually at your level. Although they don't match it player for player, your team's SR should be close to the enemies SR.

Since a balanced match means that you have an equal chance to win or lose based on your and your teamates average performance, it's the little things you do right that win the match or the little things you do wrong that lose it.

It's not out of your control at all. You could win every match..... Every single one... if you did everything right. So the challenge to climb is to focus on what you are doing and what you could improve on. Make small changes and profit.

When this community stops looking outside for a solution to a problem that is inside then people will play better and rank up at the expense of those who have yet to figure out that it's always on them whether they win or lose.


Sadly, this does not seem to be the case. At first, I thought the amount of claims of leavers and throwers was just hyperbolic since I was doing well and getting good teams. However now it seems 50% of my games have leavers. I'm not sure about throwers, but I'm sure I got a fair amount of them too.

I am trying my hardest, I'm making callouts, getting eliminations, healing the tanks, I'm doing everything I can yet it seems like I always get steamrolled. The same even happens when I'm in groups. No matter what, it's always a loss because my team doesn't communicate and don't protect the healers. Oh, and Bastion, don't get me started on how my team just gives up whenever someone on the other team plays as him.
01/14/2018 01:26 PMPosted by Fastdash

Yes, I would like to see some examples.


Okay, let's get right to the point.

Cuthbert says high and low MMR players at a certain SR range are put together on teams to make balanced matches. Thus, "handicapping" the high MMR players.

The issue: SR isn't used to for match making at all, only MMR (or match making rating) is. SR is just a way to rank people based on their MMR. It's no different than the tier icons. You weren't only matched with "silver" players when you were at 1520, right? You had bronze people in your game too. Because matches aren't made based on your tier icon, it's just a way to rank you. Same thing with SR, it's just a more precise version of the same thing.

Proof 1: Blizzard official statements...

https://twitter.com/playoverwatch/status/850435344457543680?lang=en

Proof 2: Actual in game matches. In particular, your SR and MMR can diverge quite a lot if you are a high ranked player and decay down. Decay lowers your SR (down to a minimum of 3000) but doesn't touch your MMR. Which is the obvious call, as you don't want GMs who took a short break only to crush platinum and diamond players.

Video evidence of a decayed player in "diamond" SR playing exclusively with GM and top 500 people in their game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZdyrUpEXRs

I can post more videos and official statements if you want, but they'll say/show the exact same thing. That SR isn't used in match making. Which means nothing Cuthbert says can be true.

Possible question: Why is everyone in my game around my SR then? Because under normal circumstances, your SR follows your equivalent MMR pretty closely. Basically, your SR "chases" your MMR as you play. So you don't secretly have a MMR 500+ above your SR, unless you decay (which only happens above SR 3000)
I don't understand why people keep pointing to the 50% winrate thing. 50% winrate means you are at where you are supposed to be, that's all. It doesn't mean you get worse players if you do well - in fact, it means the opposite, only the enemy team is better too. That's all that happens when you win and your sr goes up.

Conspiracy theories are fun and all, but there's nothing shady about math. Obviously Blizzard doesn't want you to have a bad time.
01/14/2018 01:45 PMPosted by FriendlyFire
01/14/2018 01:26 PMPosted by Fastdash

Yes, I would like to see some examples.


Okay, let's get right to the point.

Cuthbert says high and low MMR players at a certain SR range are put together on teams to make balanced matches. Thus, "handicapping" the high MMR players.

The issue: SR isn't used to for match making at all, only MMR (or match making rating) is. SR is just a way to rank people based on their MMR. It's no different than the tier icons. You weren't only matched with "silver" players when you were at 1520, right? You had bronze people in your game too. Because matches aren't made based on your tier icon, it's just a way to rank you. Same thing with SR, it's just a more precise version of the same thing.

Proof 1: Blizzard official statements...

https://twitter.com/playoverwatch/status/850435344457543680?lang=en

Proof 2: Actual in game matches. In particular, your SR and MMR can diverge quite a lot if you are a high ranked player and decay down. Decay lowers your SR (down to a minimum of 3000) but doesn't touch your MMR. Which is the obvious call, as you don't want GMs who took a short break only to crush platinum and diamond players.

Video evidence of a decayed player in "diamond" SR playing exclusively with GM and top 500 people in their game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZdyrUpEXRs

I can post more videos and official statements if you want, but they'll say/show the exact same thing. That SR isn't used in match making. Which means nothing Cuthbert says can be true.

Possible question: Why is everyone in my game around my SR then? Because under normal circumstances, your SR follows your equivalent MMR pretty closely. Basically, your SR "chases" your MMR as you play. So you don't secretly have a MMR 500+ above your SR, unless you decay (which only happens above SR 3000)


Why hide MMR if it's what matchmaking is truly based on? It seems dishonest to show a fake rating when your skill level is actually somewhere else. We wouldn't even have conspiracies like this if they just showed the MMR of you, your teammates, and the opposing team.
01/14/2018 01:47 PMPosted by Mukarramma
I don't understand why people keep pointing to the 50% winrate thing. 50% winrate means you are at where you are supposed to be, that's all. It doesn't mean you get worse players if you do well - in fact, it means the opposite, only the enemy team is better too. That's all that happens when you win and your sr goes up.

Conspiracy theories are fun and all, but there's nothing shady about math. Obviously Blizzard doesn't want you to have a bad time.
Yes and people who play on their friend accounts who has much higher SR, get medals and win games must be where they belong too., ohh no, then they are being carried.
01/14/2018 01:26 PMPosted by Fastdash

Yes, I would like to see some examples.


Okay, let's get right to the point.

Cuthbert says high and low MMR players at a certain SR range are put together on teams to make balanced matches. Thus, "handicapping" the high MMR players.

The issue: SR isn't used to for match making at all, only MMR (or match making rating) is. SR is just a way to rank people based on their MMR. It's no different than the tier icons. You weren't only matched with "silver" players when you were at 1520, right? You had bronze people in your game too. Because matches aren't made based on your tier icon, it's just a way to rank you. Same thing with SR, it's just a more precise version of the same thing.

Proof 1: Blizzard official statements...

https://twitter.com/playoverwatch/status/850435344457543680?lang=en

Proof 2: Actual in game matches. In particular, your SR and MMR can diverge quite a lot if you are a high ranked player and decay down. Decay lowers your SR (down to a minimum of 3000) but doesn't touch your MMR. Which is the obvious call, as you don't want GMs who took a short break only to crush platinum and diamond players.

Video evidence of a decayed player in "diamond" SR playing exclusively with GM and top 500 people in their game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZdyrUpEXRs

I can post more videos and official statements if you want, but they'll say/show the exact same thing. That SR isn't used in match making. Which means nothing Cuthbert says can be true.

Possible question: Why is everyone in my game around my SR then? Because under normal circumstances, your SR follows your equivalent MMR pretty closely. Basically, your SR "chases" your MMR as you play. So you don't secretly have a MMR 500+ above your SR, unless you decay (which only happens above SR 3000)


There is ways to have a high MMR, but be in low tiers. Abruptly stop playing comp for huge chunks. Play the minimum placement matches only. Be very good at only one character. Depending on these. You can cause the MMR and SR to be imbalanced.
01/14/2018 01:42 PMPosted by Fastdash


Sadly, this does not seem to be the case. At first, I thought the amount of claims of leavers and throwers was just hyperbolic since I was doing well and getting good teams. However now it seems 50% of my games have leavers. I'm not sure about throwers, but I'm sure I got a fair amount of them too.

I am trying my hardest, I'm making callouts, getting eliminations, healing the tanks, I'm doing everything I can yet it seems like I always get steamrolled. The same even happens when I'm in groups. No matter what, it's always a loss because my team doesn't communicate and don't protect the healers. Oh, and Bastion, don't get me started on how my team just gives up whenever someone on the other team plays as him.


I'm by no means an amazing player, and because of that, for now I'm stuck in gold. I am still working out what I'm doing wrong in my matches, but trust that I will climb.

I know what comp is like at this and every level below. I've played them all. I know about leavers and throwers, but both teams have them all the time. If you play enough matches you will win as many as you lose specifically based on those factors. I've also won matches where my team had a leaver. 5v6 is winable if everybody steps up. In the long run, the nice thing about being below diamond is that if you fix what you are doing wrong, then every match win or lose moves you towards where you should be. You'll lose less SR when you lose and get more SR when you win.

I'm happy to play some qp matches with you and share what I have learned if you're interested. There are specific things that bronze players do consistently that lose matches.
01/14/2018 02:09 PMPosted by Rhae
01/14/2018 01:42 PMPosted by Fastdash


Sadly, this does not seem to be the case. At first, I thought the amount of claims of leavers and throwers was just hyperbolic since I was doing well and getting good teams. However now it seems 50% of my games have leavers. I'm not sure about throwers, but I'm sure I got a fair amount of them too.

I am trying my hardest, I'm making callouts, getting eliminations, healing the tanks, I'm doing everything I can yet it seems like I always get steamrolled. The same even happens when I'm in groups. No matter what, it's always a loss because my team doesn't communicate and don't protect the healers. Oh, and Bastion, don't get me started on how my team just gives up whenever someone on the other team plays as him.


I'm by no means an amazing player, and because of that, for now I'm stuck in gold. I am still working out what I'm doing wrong in my matches, but trust that I will climb.

I know what comp is like at this and every level below. I've played them all. I know about leavers and throwers, but both teams have them all the time. If you play enough matches you will win as many as you lose specifically based on those factors. I've also won matches where my team had a leaver. 5v6 is winable if everybody steps up. In the long run, the nice thing about being below diamond is that if you fix what you are doing wrong, then every match win or lose moves you towards where you should be. You'll lose less SR when you lose and get more SR when you win.

I'm happy to play some qp matches with you and share what I have learned if you're interested. There are specific things that bronze players do consistently that lose matches.
How many times people have to post this bs, I will give you example again, take 5 kids make them draw to 2 cards 10 times each, I guarantee you that they will have very different outcome and this is with just 2 cards, thing is that there are way more factors in this game that can lead to your lose, smurfs, trolls, bad team buildup, leavers, simply having better players on one side then other , there are tens of thousands of people in one skill group, you can not expect that they all are just as skilled as person next to you and many other factors.
01/14/2018 02:03 PMPosted by Fastdash

Why hide MMR if it's what matchmaking is truly based on? It seems dishonest to show a fake rating when your skill level is actually somewhere else. We wouldn't even have conspiracies like this if they just showed the MMR of you, your teammates, and the opposing team.


Because mmr changes more rapidly than sr. It's an important part of the system. They don't hide it because they don't want you to know it, they hide it so people don't get confused.
01/14/2018 02:05 PMPosted by PureRogue
Yes and people who play on their friend accounts who has much higher SR, get medals and win games must be where they belong too., ohh no, then they are being carried.


Account sharing is banable and every time someone says " I played on my friend's top 500 toon and got 12 gold medals" I cringe.

#1 I honestly believe those are mostly lies. I don't know many players in GM with Silver friends. Even if you do, you don't let them play comp on your account and possibly throw matches.

#2 If you are good enough to perform well at any level above your current rank, then you are good enough to climb. If you don't climb then you are not good enough. One or two breakout games at any rank are not enough to create a pattern. It takes consistent performance to rank up.

#3 Players at higher elo are able to pick up the slack that someone may be dropping. For example, you may play dva and get tons of damage and kills but you didn't peel for your healers because lower ranked players don't do that. You may not have matrix up to save your other tank from the burst damage. You may not be focusing the right targets. Finally you may be chasing irrelevant kills once a teamfight is won or lost.

In the long run you end up where you belong for the most part and in the short run yes players out of their elo are carried by their team.
01/14/2018 02:03 PMPosted by Fastdash
Why hide MMR if it's what matchmaking is truly based on? It seems dishonest to show a fake rating when your skill level is actually somewhere else. We wouldn't even have conspiracies like this if they just showed the MMR of you, your teammates, and the opposing team.


Some games do just that (like Dota) but most don't. Why?

  • Direct MMR does not make for a pretty rank system
  • They couldn't decay players
  • They couldn't change the distribution of players at certain ranks
  • They couldn't punish leavers with it (no, you don't want to make leavers smurf down to crush worse players)
  • As I said, most of the time SR pretty much just follows MMR, but it let's them play with certain stuff. It lets Blizzard separate the rating of how good you are, and the rank being that good gets you.

    Again, I'm not saying Blizzard have a perfect system. But do they rig the matches against people? Is anything Cuthbert says true? No. Overall, it works to get players to their correct rating. Just some people aren't happy about not being as good as they thought they were.

    If you put any better player on your account, they wouldn't be "handicapped", they'd crushed and climb quickly. People have done ample "bronze to diamond/master/GM streams" to prove just that.
    Looks like I started an argument over nothing. I guess I'll just pretend I didn't say anything and hope grouping with other players will help me in competitive.
    01/14/2018 02:15 PMPosted by PureRogue
    How many times people have to post this bs, I will give you example again, take 5 kids make them draw to 2 cards 10 times each, I guarantee you that they will have very different outcome and this is with just 2 cards, thing is that there are way more factors in this game that can lead to your lose, smurfs, trolls, bad team buildup, leavers, simply having better players on one side then other , there are tens of thousands of people in one skill group, you can not expect that they all are just as skilled as person next to you and many other factors.


    Your sample size is too small to show an overall trend. If you wanted to make this example more realistic, you'd take 100,000 kids and have them choose 2 cards 100 times each and then see if there is any one thing that stands out. I bet all cards would be close in the amount of times they were selected... within 1 or 2 percent. Even still, your theory is flawed in that there is no clear objective to selecting the cards.... it's like a lottery. However if you placed the cards face up and told the kids the goal was to get the highest score possible I bet the results would be more narrow.

    All of that to say, people know that they want to win. They don't always know the small details but they do know that they have to kill the enemy and push the cart or stand on the point. This means that overall, it is the small individual things that they do right that help them win matches... no matter what they play. Everyone has the capability to climb once they know how to do their job on their selected toon better.
    01/14/2018 02:27 PMPosted by Rhae
    01/14/2018 02:05 PMPosted by PureRogue
    Yes and people who play on their friend accounts who has much higher SR, get medals and win games must be where they belong too., ohh no, then they are being carried.


    Account sharing is banable and every time someone says " I played on my friend's top 500 toon and got 12 gold medals" I cringe.

    #1 I honestly believe those are mostly lies. I don't know many players in GM with Silver friends. Even if you do, you don't let them play comp on your account and possibly throw matches.

    #2 If you are good enough to perform well at any level above your current rank, then you are good enough to climb. If you don't climb then you are not good enough. One or two breakout games at any rank are not enough to create a pattern. It takes consistent performance to rank up.

    #3 Players at higher elo are able to pick up the slack that someone may be dropping. For example, you may play dva and get tons of damage and kills but you didn't peel for your healers because lower ranked players don't do that. You may not have matrix up to save your other tank from the burst damage. You may not be focusing the right targets. Finally you may be chasing irrelevant kills once a teamfight is won or lost.

    In the long run you end up where you belong for the most part and in the short run yes players out of their elo are carried by their team.

    idk anything about TOP 500 friends , have not seen such claims, I think you just trying to exaggerate to make it seem unbelievable.
    01/14/2018 01:05 PMPosted by Fastdash
    For the TL;DR version, basically if I do well, the game puts tougher players on the enemy team, and less skilled players on mine, all because the MMR system wants to make a 50/50 chance game.


    The matchmaker is trying to make every game a 50/50 shot for both teams, not make you lose because you're doing too well. It is counter-productive to put you into a game you're expected to lose, because in "putting you back where you belong" it has to screw up eleven other players' ratings. And if you think that the matchmaker saves up groups of six players who are "due to lose a game," and puts them with six players it thinks belong higher, well, that approach is far more difficult than just putting players in fair matches and letting them decide the match outcome. If you think about it, you can see why it wouldn't be effective.

    01/14/2018 02:30 PMPosted by Fastdash
    Looks like I started an argument over nothing. I guess I'll just pretend I didn't say anything and hope grouping with other players will help me in competitive.


    Grouping with other players will help you. You should definitely do it.

    I've been from gold to bronze at least ten times since season 1, and I always claw my way back. Here is what happens. You will lose a bunch of games in a row where someone quits, or there's a ten-year-old screaming racial slurs in voice chat, or you have a troll Mei on your side. You'll win some too, for the same reasons.

    None of the games will have anything to do with your skill. Face it, you might belong higher up, but so might half of the players on the red team.

    Then you'll have an overwhelming win in a game where people are playing as a team and cooperating. You'll click "stay as team" and have 2-3 more wins.

    Then you'll lose a match, and your group will dissolve, and you'll go back to winning and losing.

    If you can find and stick with players who are actually approaching the game as a team effort, you will consistently climb. If you're just grinding away you'll become a statistic. Most players win 50% of their matches. Some win more and some win fewer.
    01/14/2018 02:47 PMPosted by PureRogue

    idk anything about TOP 500 friends , have not seen such claims, I think you just trying to exaggerate to make it seem unbelievable.


    That's the point. It's not believable. No one shares account with lower tiered people, especially not people who are just barely climbing through the middle tiers.

    No one in gold, plat or diamond would ever want to risk their ranking so a lowbie friend could try it out..... anyone who says otherwise is pretty much full of baloney.

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