A new Ranked season was announced on September 17 by the Dota 2 developer and with the matchmaking rating (MMR) reset Valve is pushing a lot of changes aimed at tracking players’ behaviour.
The MMR reset will come into play effectively on Thursday, 19th of September 2019, when although the two separate MMR numbers, core and support, will remain in place, after the recalibration the players will get both scores updated based on a “percentage of that game’s gains or losses,” says Valve, adding that they will adjust the ratio over time as they figure out “the best balance.”
Players who will queue for a ranked match in a party will notice a slight change in the way the searching algorithm will work. According to Valve, up until now the algorithm was averaging the MMR on both sides to match five players against other five. As the system doesn’t seem to have brought any positives, the party queue will look now to match the players based on each player’s role MMR.
“This tended to cause games to be really volatile and not enjoyable. In the past we used to prioritize rank spread between the two teams as one of the main criteria for the matchmaker to judge success, however as part of this update we are changing its priorities. It will now put a big emphasis on making sure that the roles are more symmetric rather than other criteria. This will also be something we will continue to tweak and iterate on over the coming weeks to make sure the algorithm’s search structure is correctly tuned and optimized for this.” – Valve
To prevent the new trend of “role steal” that snowballed out of control regardless of the skill bracket, Valve is now implementing an additional report function that will be available during the drafting and the very first few minutes at the beginning of a match. These reports, along with “some other detection mechanisms” for not playing the selected role, will allow Valve to be “much more aggressive in punishing players who abuse the system.”
Smurfing, boosting, intentionally ruining a game and the usage of scripts will be heavily looked into with the new update and will result in new waves of bans.
“The first ban wave is to players with exceptionally low behaviour scores. We will continue to do regular ban waves for users who fall into this small percentage of the community. Users that reach this low level of behaviour in the game are too big of a tax on the rest of the community and are not wanted. The second case where users will be banned today is for anyone detected of violating the Steam Service Agreement that prevents the purchase or sale of Steam accounts. Buying accounts to get a higher or lower rank is not allowed and causes negative side effects for the play experience of others. This doesn’t catch all account sales that happen, but we think we have caught enough to take some action. We are also banning players who’ve been detected using exploits to gain an advantage over other players. In the coming weeks, we will be refining the detection algorithms for these abusive behaviours and will begin issuing weekly bans that will go into effect without advance notice to violating accounts. Accounts that we ban will now also have the associated phone number permanently blacklisted from being able to have access to ranked matchmaking.”
Regarding the increased number of Smurf accounts, Valve states that they found a glitch in the system that allowed players to enter the Ranked matchmaking without having to link a phone number to their account. The issue is now solved and additionally, Valve is implementing a new mechanism to grant Ranked access.
In order to get access, players are not required at least 100 games anymore but rather a fixed amount of 100 hours of playtime. “Any users that already have access to ranked without meeting this requirement will be removed from ranked until they’ve played enough time.”
Moreover, the players who constantly over perform in their rank bracket will be placed in a higher MMR rank faster. “Moving forward, we will be spending more time on live detection of smurfing and boosting behaviours. This will hopefully allow us to put detected accounts into an aggressive recalibration, resulting in a much quicker adjustment to an accurate MMR while reducing the number of games that are ruined in the process. In addition to this aggressive recalibration, we’ll also be detecting and banning accounts for egregious boosting or exploiting of game mechanics, “added Valve in their blog post regarding the matchmaking update.
In hope of making the player experience smoother and clear the pubs of boosters, smurfs and cheaters, Valve is also throwing a few ideas for future development of the matchmaking system and invites the Dota 2 community to an open discussion to see where that leads. One of the suggestions coming from Valve, for instance, is to implement a one-time cost to access the ranked games.
“We look forward to seeing your feedback on this update, and to continue to hear feedback in the following weeks for how to improve matchmaking, valve ends their blog post which can be read in full here.