Forced 50% winrate, the handicap, and how!

Discussion in 'Dota 2 Matchmaking and Communication' started by GodlyKha, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. GodlyKha

    GodlyKha Well-Known Member


    The current matchmaking system punishes players for doing well, and rewards them for doing poorly in order to average out games, which in turn artificially converges player winrates to 50% no matter how skilled they are. The drawback of this system isn't merely the reflection of player skill (MMR, DSR, DBR), which I find irrelevant, not being an epenis whore like so many of you, but rather what is lost is the game quality for players- the better you do at this game, the bigger the handicap you take, and less enjoyable games are. And that bothers me a great deal. So I will explain what is occurring in the matchmaking, and how it is a dirty socialist system, and how it could be improved to give equal opportunity to each player without coddling to the lowest common denominator.

    How the socialist matchmaking works:

    Right now, the matchmaking works by taking the 10 closest MMR players it can find that are searching online at the same time. This is a deceptively low number- while you might have "100000 online", those players are divided between afk, spectating, bot games, tutorials, being already in-game and not searching, and then a whole host of server options and game modes that further divide the playerbase. A player might spend 3 minutes searching and 30 minutes playing. When you look at only one or two servers, for one game mode, for only solo queue- you've divided the playerbase so much that the matchmaking has very limited options on matching players. It starts off with a certain MMR spread allotted to each player to be matched to other MMR players, and expands this the longer that player searches.

    The result of all this is that there is a large degree of skill breadth in each game. The less players available, the more disparate their MMRs, the more imperfectly matched a game. I should note here, that what is important to understand is that this imperfection is a degree of its inability to match players based on their MMR, not an imperfection with the metrics used to evaluate MMR in the first place. If your gripe is with the appraisals, this is not the thread for you- its irrelevant to the dire flaw in how the MMR is actually used. And what is that flaw?


    How the socialism is applied

    When 10 players have been chosen for a match with different skill levels, the matchmaking arranges them so that both teams have as close to a 50% chance to win as possible, as determined by this MMR value. This might seem innocuous at first inspection. The teams have been made fair? Whats the problem? The problem is, when teams are *balanced*, it is accomplished by putting good players with bad players to average out the team. A handicap. If you are good, you will get worse allies, if you are bad, you will get better allies- this is statistically on average, across a large number of games.

    The better you are at dota 2, the worse your allies will be compared to your opponents.

    Now you might think- well thats a truism, isn't it? A good player will have worse allies than himself on average, because he's above average. Trivial. But then comes the fundamental problem. When you balance two teams by giving the good player bad allies, then good players will on average have worse allies than opponents. THATS the handicap- not that the teams themselves are inequal, but that a good player will be disadvantaged compared to his opponents. His allies are worse than them, and he has to work that much harder to make up for their lack, just to bring the score up to 50:50.

    And that, gents, is nothing short of winrate redistribution. Taking good players who have gotten where they are by being better than other people, and saying that they should suffer handicaps so that worse players can feel good about themselves and win more. Its a coddling to the lowest common denominator. Its inequal opportunity.

    There are those who will say that sometimes handicap will be in your advantage, sometimes against you, and its supposed to even out in the long term, right? It won't. The higher you are above average, the more it works against you. You'll be the good player on a team of 4 shitters more likely than you'll be a good player on a team of 4 pros, weighting them down. This is simple logical necessity for a playerbase with a bell curve of skills available and real world limitations on the number of players it can choose. This isn't a phenomenon that applies "only to the upper crust 1%". While it is indeed us top 1% elite of build creators that get taxed the hardest by Ogaben here, this actually applies to everyone above 50%. The handicap you get on average is proportional to the amount you deviate from middle. Those just slightly above 50% get just slight disadvantage via handicap. The better you get, the more handicapped you get. The inverse is true for the worst players.

    • The matchmaking's ability to find 10 equal players is inversely proportional to the handicap it applies
    • The handicap applied to you is proportional to how far above/below average you are
    • Winrates of good players are redistributed to make bad players feel better about themselves
    • Players have inequal opportunity: If a good player logged onto the account of a 46% shitter, he'd easily win 75%+ of his solo queue games, but on his own account, he'd only win 52%-

    So to reiterate the important bit: This is about how good players are handicapped by giving them worse allies than opponents on average. The actual winrate you get isn't what matters. Indeed, in an ideal system with infinite resources, players would all win 50% of their games- the best players would just be matched in games of 9 equally skilled "also the best" players. But the limitations of matchmaking to find suitable players- the same limitations responsible for why match times are ~3-5 minutes- are proportional to the handicap placed on players.

    What can we do to overthrow comrade MMR?

    The preface for this portion is that we remember our goals. The goal is not to 'get winrates above 50%'. Its not to get winrates as a reflection of skill. I don't care for e-penis thumping. The goal, instead, is to improve match quality and enjoyability, by giving equal opportunity and fairness to all players.

    The immediate solution is obvious. Take the normal procedure for matchmaking:
    • Find 10 players of as equal skill as possible
    • Arrange them in teams to enforce 50% winrate
    and instead randomize it:
    • Find 10 players of as equal skill as possible
    • Arrange them randomly, same as -SP in dota 1

    Why randomly? Because statistically, in the long term, this ensures that all 9 players other than yourself are of equal skill level to each other. Not necessarily equal to you- good players will find the other 9 worse than themselves, but both allies and opponents equally bad. And then they'll win more games then they lose. They'll get above 50%. Again, not for the sake of letting them win more games, but because that is the simple consequence of having some players better than others in a fair game- they should win more. It is only in a game with a ludicrous handicap, like dota 2 right now, that good players are forced down to ~50% winrates no matter how skilled they are, if they play solo queue. This would make the inability of the matchmaking to find 10 equally skilled players no longer proportional to the handicap it gives you, but instead proportional to your winrate above 50%

    There are those who say that this would bring turmoil to low level pubs where the amount of one sided games would increase. Fair enough. Thats a legitimate criticism. You'd have fair games *on average* for all players, but in exchange, each game would be more one sided, balanced out only by the law of large numbers. Don't mistake the one sidedness for unfairness- games would be more onesided, but with no artificial handicap, the average would still be more fair to players of all stripes. And while the affairs of the abaisses normally wouldn't bother me, let us amend this system slightly to read- those players above average are sorted randomly, and those below average sorted according to "enforced 50% winrate". Thus securing the best of both worlds. The diamond crust elite at the top, us build creators from whom the knowledge trickles down- would no longer have our winrates redistributed to service the grovelling scum, yet those same masses reliant on valve welfare right now to prop them up would remain so, with bad players propping up worse players. The right to fair matches- to not be handicapped- would be one reserved for those players who exceed the 50% mark. Only when games are sufficiently high level would the handicap be removed.


    All this is well and good theorycraft about a hypothetical change, but remember that valve is even more sedentary and slothlike than it is socialist. For each desire to tax the hard working players there is ten times over the lack of progress. More unlikely than death by rejection is the death of silence and indifference. So the question is begged- how do we players respond to this handicap, how do we work around it within the reach of our own device? And to that I present a handy guide to the options available:

    • Stack

    Simple enough, you can stack with allies of your choice rather than take those given to you. With good enough allies, you will win far more than you lose, a simple product of valve being *forced* to give you fair games to within its ability, rather than handicapping you. Because valves only method of handicap is to give you allies worse than yourself, as long as you remove the extra player slots on your team from its grubby hands, you can break the shackles of matchmaking tyrrany. No solo queue player has broken 57% winrate. Stacking players exceed 70%. Thats the number one method

    • Feed

    Simple enough, just break your winrate. If you truly don't care about your epenis, and have little regard for your fellow man, lose games intentionally until you drop to 50% winrate. Once you are 50% winrate, you'll get fair games. You can lose more later. The drawback here, of course, is the unaltruistic feeding that you have to do to get there.

    • Smurf

    Unfortunately, thanks to valves extra precautions taken to shut down smurfing, you have to combine this with the former- feeding- in order to actually get fair games. One of the few tools given you, valve still felt it was necessary to abolish. So as a result, smurfing is highly ineffective unless you take concern not to get detected. My recommendation is to simply let your team play 4v5 while you do something like afk cliff jungle a divine rapier as furion. If you go 40-0 in your first few games, you'll wind up right back where you started.

    • Widen Search Options

    Since the handicap is applied inversely proportionally according to the ability of the matchmaking to find equally skilled players, searching in more narrow queues means putting yourself up for a bigger handicap. By searching in queues with the most players, you are more likely to find games with 9 equally skilled players. For example, don't search -CM in solo queue at 3 AM. But do search -AP on 7 PM on a tuesday with 3 servers and languages turned on.

    Why Valve hates you


    Because of hats. Hats hats hats, as always.
    The reality is, its not in valve's economic interests to make the matchmaking equal opportunity or fair. By coddling to that lowest common denominator and letting the worst players feel good about themselves, they get to retain a larger playerbase and in turn, sell more hats. The coins you line gabes wallet with are nothing next to the 48% winrate talentless bottom feeders who turn out in droves to suckle at the teat of valve's matchmaking handouts. Without this handicap, they would drop to 35% winrate. And at 35% winrate, they would quit the game, and there would be less revenue.

    This is why the handicap *must* exist. Because its simply bad business to have a game that actually reflects player skill. You make a game where you have to be skilled to succeed, and only that diamond crust is retained. You make a game that will pamper the assholes, and they'll think they're actually competent enough to play it. So to be sure, theres one group that has it in their best interests to oppose the end of winrate welfare, now lets hear from them.
  2. Lord_Talron

    Lord_Talron Well-Known Member

    didnt you get the same thread closed in dev forums?
  3. ali_foozy

    ali_foozy Well-Known Member

    there is a clear post on the dota 2 website about MM. Go look at it noob
  4. mhd54

    mhd54 Banned

    Soooooooooooooooo...nice day,huh?
  5. cairnebloodhoof

    cairnebloodhoof Well-Known Member

    I think it's clear that the way they think people should be balanced is giving good players bad teammates, and not good enemies. Which sucks.
    Proof? Go play a bot game, play in Unfair mode and see how your teammates no longer buy wards.

    THAT'S their solution to making the game harder, instead of giving better enemies. And I think that reflects in normal MM as well.
  6. SkyforgerXVIII

    SkyforgerXVIII Well-Known Member


    But seriously, post this on, I'm sure they'll appreciate your input.
  7. bhshawon

    bhshawon Well-Known Member

    games were better when mm took 3-5 min to find matches

    ---------- Post added at 01:38 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:33 PM ----------

    btw, dat lich
  8. Dany-

    Dany- Well-Known Member

    Those are the reasons i stopped playing already. Also, they can't even show the MMR to everyone because of flamers, instead of appropriate punishment the game gets anonymous more and more, which sucks in my opinion.
  9. GodlyKha

    GodlyKha Well-Known Member

    Pretty much
    The reality is, matchmaking can't find 10 equally skilled players each game, so it can't find 5 equally skilled opponents to you. The better you are, the more likely those opponents will be worse than you. And it compensates by just making your allies even worse than the opponents.

    Back in WC3 dota days, I *never* played games without -SP in them. It mostly served to dissuade stackers from joining, but it also ensured that I was getting a fair game on average. Nowadays, I played at night time during the worst hours for US servers, and watched my winrate plummet from 57% to 53%.

    Well, his heart was in the right place :S
    I might have done the exact same thing in his place, 2 sets of rax were down before I was really online thanks to the feeders, so the best we could hope for was a backdoor victory.
  10. master2080

    master2080 Well-Known Member

    I'm sure they won't.
  11. Ostarion

    Ostarion Well-Known Member

    When the game got out of beta my queue time went from 3 min to 1 min. It should be obvious to anyone with a working brain the MM isn't working. (working as in making balanced games).
  12. KitsuneSefam

    KitsuneSefam Well-Known Member

    Oh my god GodlyKha. That post looks absolutely delicious. Give me the time to read it pls.
  13. GodlyKha

    GodlyKha Well-Known Member

    Aye the playerbase didn't significantly expand that much, but match times dropped alongside a "we have tweaked our formula". Since time to find a game is inversely proportional to quality, it was pretty easy to figure out that this meant more unbalanced games, the more unbalanced the games are, the bigger the handicap for good players.

    Back in WC3 days, I had over 150 different smurfs. Back then the problem was really that once you got ~65% winrate in 20+ games you got thrown into an ultra elite tier and it would take 60+ minutes to find a game, which maybe was the opposite problem, but the solution was the same- smurf relentlessly and abuse the MM as much as it abused you. And I think that may soon be the only real solution to Dota 2- just start abusing the MM in whatever ways are possible. I wouldn't say no to starting a smurf 0-20 by afk cliff jungling furion

    pfft, be truthful, its like playboy, you just came for the pictures not the commentary!
  14. Frost

    Frost Well-Known Member

    So you're suggesting that queue times should be >15 minutes so the system can better find equally skilled players?
  15. GodlyKha

    GodlyKha Well-Known Member

    I'm suggesting queue times be more or less exactly the same and player skill width whatever they determine is acceptable, and players once put into a game are shuffled randomly instead of being arranged by MMR. At least, for high level games

    When players are shuffled, every player other than you is going to on average have the same skill level in any given game. Over a large number of games, this means all players have equal opportunity- no handicaps.
  16. DrFrank~

    DrFrank~ Well-Known Member

    Am I the only one who gets friendly English-speaking guys in my team who usually decide roles beforehand and are willing to try out fun strats and even screw around every now and then? Oh wait I play in a five stack lol.
  17. GodlyKha

    GodlyKha Well-Known Member

    I get games like that if I play on prime hours with all the flaps open. Searching at night time, on the other hand, you can expect a pleasant mixture of cykas and brs. Last night I had an alchemist max goblins greed with no concoction and rush midas while screaming at his ally lich in brazilian to "gank his lane"
  18. KitsuneSefam

    KitsuneSefam Well-Known Member

    The pictures are pretty fucking great, if I may say so myself.

    I think you're pretty much spot on. And the more you climb in MMR, the less opportunities you have to be matched with players better than yourself, so naturally, if you have a higher rating, if the search algorithm searches equally on both sides of the spectrum, you have more chance to be matched to lower MMR players.

    But then some people will bring this counter-argument: If matchmaking constantly handicaps you and brings you down, why are there some pro players at the top of the DSR rating?

    Also, what about role constraints? If a 1500 DSR player who's never played Meepo picks Meepo, does he really play with 1500 DSR? Also, the snowbally nature of Dota makes it hard for your skill to matter depending on the role you play.
  19. Sp12

    Sp12 Well-Known Member

    Statistically, if you're a better player you'll get matched with better players on average. TT

    It's not quite accurate to say that a better player will have worse teammates on average unless you're looking only at the very top tiers of matchmaking where there's not enough players above you. I mean, if you look at the DSR skill curve with a standard deviation of 145 it's like .2% "forced" winrate below 50% if you're in the top 90%.

    Also what's ur DSR.
  20. GodlyKha

    GodlyKha Well-Known Member

    Stacking, mostly. Its the only way anyone can break the 55% winrate barrier anymore, besides flat out MM abuse like lossbotting. But DSR and other metrics try very hard to appraise player skill along other means than winrate, and indeed, pro players having a high DSR is circular logic, as DSR is largely defined by *who* you play against, and if they are on top or not

    How you evaluate player skill doesn't really concern me, there are tons of arguments to be had on that, how you do the appraisals, how MMR is calculated, how DSR is calculated, etc. Whether you're using it just to compare for epeen or using it to use ingame, its not actually relevant to whether or not players are being handicapped. It doesn't matter how MMR is calculated so much as the fact that MMR is being used to handicap good players by giving them bad allies. Now I suppose the argument is that the more accurate a reflection of skill MMR actually is, the more teeth to your handicapping. So if anything, MMR being a *poor representation* is actually a good thing.