Dota 2

Fight the rage: smarter attribution of MMR at the end of the game

Collective punishment is never a good idea. It's not a good idea in education, it's not in employment, I don't think it's even done in prison, so why would it be a good idea in gaming?

The frustration of a bad solo ranked game is partially attributable to the collective punishment of this -30MMR penalty which is applied to all the members of a team. Regardless of what you did, whatever your individual performance was, if your team loses -> you lose 30MMR.

I can undersand punishing a team with -30MMR if they lost a game in a team queue, but why should a solo queue player receive the same MMR penalty than his other 4 teammates?

Of course this will lead to frustration, which piles up and turn into anger and generate the general negativity you all felt in DOTA. How can you not feel frustrated when you've played a great lane as a pos 4, killing faceless void as many as 4 times, but your carry failed to delivery mid to late game? There are examples for every role. You won the lane, but you lost the game and you feel that this -30MMR penalty is not representative of your performance. You feel robbed.

We cannot just say "focus on your own game", because the game doesn't work like that, the game doesn't focus on your own game, the game only focus on the end result and only cares about the end result when it comes to pushing you up or pulling you down on the scale of MMR. Players focus on the end result because the game itself focuses on the end result. If we want players to focus on their game then we need to care about their individual performance in the game.

Why should we accept this bad spot instead of trying to fix it? Of course you can have great game and lose, even Valve knows it! Valve knows it well because they keep track of everything, even of the number of the TP's that led to a kill, of your GPM, of your stuns, of your heals, of your stacks, of your saves, of where and when you pulled. You can save your Sven 10 times with force staff it won't affect your MMR if no one else does anything with it. We even have MVP's!

There is so much unused granularity available here. The collective -30MMR (or +30MMR) becomes more and more a nonsense. Specially when we clearly see that the games knows better. "Yep, we saw you, that was some great stuns here. But we still take 30mmr from you". "yep, you surpassed yourself with this gpm, but your mid fed a little too much and his dive into the fountain wasn't of the best taste, so we take 30mmr from you".

If the information is here then use it. Use it to attribute MMR changes with more granularity based on how the players behaved in game. This will reduce the net frustration, because if a player wants to act silly he can but now it's on him only. He can break his items all day long, it's on him.

You will say that in the long run the collective +/-30MMR works. But only in the very long run. Why should it take hundreds of games to make this MMR counter move? Why should your performance be diluted in the sea of smurfs, griefers, account buyers, afker, item breakers, drunks… Not everyone has the luxury to play 8 games a day. Do the math of the time it takes to move your MMR with the current system when you can play two games per day. When you can play only two games per day how can you not be frustrated by playing a great support game and be slapped in the face with -30MMR because your carry yoloed his way into the enemy fountain? The long run doesn't fix it, the long run only drag people in the defects of an unfair system for a very, very long time.

Recently the changes to the game have been oriented toward a more solo experience, less griefy. One courier per player, no more shrines, no more tango sharing, more neutral items for everyone.

Remember the following patch?

The initial Bounty Runes now grant 40 Gold to each player of the team, instead of 100 Gold to the player that picks them up.

Yes, because it probably generated frustration at the time. Just like having to share tango (or not receiving tango), or having to buy the courier. What happens if this dude activate the shrine without me? What happens if no one wants to upgrade the courier? etc…

Maybe it's time to also individualize the attribution of MMR: reduce the penalty if you've played very well, reduce the reward if you've been carried. This wouldn't be perfect by any mean but it cannot be worse than a blind +-30MMR for everyone. And at the point we are in term of toxicity I think that every solution which would reduce frustration is worth investigating.


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