Algorithmic Handicapping (MMR) is Wrong for Online Games

They get this by removing MMR rigging and SBMM.

Getting rid of SBMM systems (like mmr) gives you non-invasive matchmaking, skill expression and contest agency, natural competition and unadulterated ladder progression. That’s certifiably more ethical and fair to people looking to efficiently know where they stand in terms of skill (pdf of %players by sr). Where skill means their ability to win.

There is a huge difference between “rigged close matches” and “fair matches”. Fair means you get stomped when you deserved to get stomped. You need to choose between “finely tuned” and “properly labelled” for ladder ranks to matter. Good rank labels means matches will be more open to skill expression above the backdrop for the rank, and seem less rigged to keep things close.

For esports the choice is already made via math. The rigging needs to go. There isn’t a quantitative and objective case for it. Just look on reddit and youtube for the backlash against all the patented rigging tech they implement in CoD (some of which is in OW). The gaming industry is going to have to move away from this as gamers wake up and jurisdictions flag it as predatory.


OP, this is Activision Blizzard. Microsoft is thataway. :point_right:

Microsoft OWNS Activision/Blizzard.

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The transaction is not even completed only approved. And will happen in 2023 and before Microsoft will most likely have no influence on Activision Blizzard. So this hole thread is meaningless.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and completion of regulatory review and Activision Blizzard’s shareholder approval. The deal is expected to close in fiscal year 2023 and will be accretive to non-GAAP earnings per share upon close. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard.


That’s fine. I made the connection to Microsoft before their acquisition of Activision/Blizzard, based on their shared history of matchmaking invention.

That is not what the thread is about, please read it or watch my video.

Why even mention Microsoft then ?
Microsoft didn’t create this game… Activision Blizzard did.

I have no problem with your message or idea.
Only feel that you have the wrong target.


Just by the first paragraph you sound like you trying to run for political office…


You strike me as an intelligent person with research skills, who likes to find their own answers. You are right that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision/Blizzard happened after the fact of Overwatch matchmaker, and won’t be complete until 2023, according to at least one source I can see (Digital Trends).

My point is that the history of Matchmaking invention begins earlier than the advent of Overwatch and other online games which use matchmaking. There are significant milestones of development in the patents of other game development companies, most notably Microsoft because of the similarities in details of invention shared by the matchmakers of Activision/Blizzard and Microsoft game holdings respectively. Both companies explicitly describe algorithmic handicapping in their patent filings.

This is exactly the kind of conspiracy nuttiness that makes no sense. It’s not forcing the enemy players to lose because they matched with me. It considers us in the same elo. The same ballpark. I regularly get very tight games. Which is a good thing. You say “instead og getting teams of players similar to my skill level”, when that’s contradictory because that’s exactly what MMR does. Yeah sometimes it can screw up, no system is perfect. But you act like MMR is the opposite of its actual job. And for that matter, the OP clearly wants stomps. He thought close games were “forced” and “handicaps”. So you’re not even on the same page as him. The OP doesn’t like these even matches. It’s just like with Destiny 2. They just want to have their chances to farm spackers and noobs that don’t know what they’re doing. Why would you ever want to side with that?

On an unrelated note: screw the forums disallowing the f bomb. Not like I’m using it a ton. But sometimes it’s the right word to use and it’s very annoying that the forums don’t just do the actual Overwatch thing of blurring the naughty words for people whose hearts stop and they hyperventilate at the mere sight of them.


Being in your elo and progressing up in the ladder are separate things. Yes I am one of the people who believes in an Elo Hell due to MMR being too loose; but ultimately it’s no one’s right to climb. And no amount of forced winrate conspiracy theory will have me take pity on those whom can’t handle their rank. I already revealed I’m not a real good player myself. But while I’m fine with that knowledge and can enjoy the game others just can’t seem to accept that maybe they’re where they belong. Overwatch’s competitive is not a PvE game where you can try to achieve everything 100%. No one is inherently entitled to a high rank without earning it.

And your rigged close matches thing is nonsensical. How would you even prove that a fair match is a “rigged close match”? Because you just barely lost (or even won) it’s the matchmaker’s fault? If we can just take the blame away from the individuals then why stop there? Blame the game for existing. Blame the developers for making it. By extension, blame this unfairness on the developers being born and growing up to develop said game. Why not stretch the blame to every possible thing you can to take it away from yourself? You may as well at this point.


The devs have gone on record outlining how the matches are rigged for 50-50 outcomes using a variety of factors derived from hidden data (mmr). The patents on SBMM explain it further. A fair match is most certainly not a rigged close match. A fair match is one where contestants are chosen at random from a narrow SR range. When you rig matches players lose agency over the contest and the ranks lose their expressive power. SR doesn’t show your skill anymore, and MMR doesn’t really track your ability to win against others of your rank, it tracks your ability to ‘surpise’ the rigging.

Hope this helps!

You just described MMR when explaining SR. You realize that right? And as long as you don’t start playing worse, it’s inevitable you’ll eventually hit a roughly 50/50 wall at any rank. It means you’re where you belong. No rigging necessary. And could I get a link to the devs describing how they rig matches instead of fair MMR?

So no, it doesn’t help. You’re still not being logical. You basically said “I don’t want MMR I want MMR that isn’t called MMR!”

It’s basically the same as that Facebook post where someone said “instead of vaccines we should inject people with a weakened version of a virus so they can build up immunity”. It’s on par with Anti-Vaxxers at this point.


It’s a good point to go back even further and think about competitive online games before automated matchmaking was a thing and how that went. I will take CS 1.6 as example.
There were tournaments (not allowed by Blizz), competitive ladders where people could challenge other teams like ESL and MLG (not allowed by Blizz), scrims (not as popular as pressing the Play button). Have to note that skill back then had to be determined by the players themselves, if they don’t participate somewhere that has a ranking system.

I guess what I want to point out is that there were alternatives to MMR, but both the playerbase and Blizz don’t want them to exist and funnel everyone into their eco-system.

You just showed you don’t know the difference.
MMR is completely different than SR.
Even a non-rigged mmr system (just random around mmr) isn’t the same as sr system.

In SRD system, SR is awarded for your ability to convert a win against a random backdrop of your rank. It uses no data, has no performance history. It is maximally efficient at describing “rank” and assigning “rank” a truly fair and competitive meaning. It is robust against noise and breakdown effects. In SRD system, the SR metric is self-constructive over the testing.

MMR is nothing like that. It invades your data trail, compiles your performance across several hidden features, classifies you and adapts every one of lobbies. The matches are rigged for everyone in them, so they all have as little agency and affectance over them as possible (50-50 outcomes). It ends up scoring your ability to surprise the rigging based on hidden factors that could have nothing to do with ability to win (the only real skill metric).

Hope this helps!


So basically SR is just worse and less accurate. But that doesn’t change the fact that what you were asking for was MMR. So if anything you just provided more evidence why SR is inaccurate and why MMR should be taken into more consideration.

Hope this helps.


No but don’t you see by cloaking with a bunch of menacing sounding words (and in some cases outright lying) he wants MMR to sound scary and nefarious when it is neither of those.


Destiny 2 is a game I used to play and one where people managed to convince the devs to remove MMR from most formats except the occasional Iron Banner, which also features unfair light level power differences.

The Crucible was absolutely ruined for everyone except skilled content creators to farm noobs because of this. And I do not want Overwatch to suffer the same or a similar fate.

we had seen this issue over in Team fortress 2. Where there is NOT skill based match making. It has its drawbacks and it also helps players at the same time.

Anyone of any skill rating can drop in and play.

If the player is really GOOD at the game. They can drop in and cause an entire server to LEAVE the match and people to not want to play against them.

If the player is really bad at the game. They have an opportunity to play against an opponent that is significantly stronger than they are.

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A fellow TF2 player!! Did you play at launch? Did you ever play on a TLGS server? Those were mine. When did you play it last?

I wish that there were more Team Fortress 2 players in the Overwatch community, since TF2 is Overwatch’s spiritual predecessor. I think that it is very helpful to understanding my argument when you have played the same format of game in a different, legitimate competitive environment. The modern paradigm of algorithmically handicapped matchmaking has warped everyone’s perception and in truth the reality of of what we are doing in these games.


We had our own college one we did. nothing fancy. DOS’ers and Cheaters became such an issue after it went through to F2p. we just didn’t want to do much more with it.

I did play a TON over on Nightteam, skial, sniper_orange, and we did CTF_DoubleCross, CP_granary.

2fort was LAME and over-played.

Ubuntu is what we used for ours, and setting that up was quite fun. I still have an old Poweredge 2650 STILL in RAID 1 running that old version of the game. Fujitsu 15k RPM Ultra 320s on that wonderful PERC 3 backplane… 6 sticks of RAM set for PAE. its like this time capsule sitting around. I remember the day I bought it off an Infospace liquidation sale and converted it over to a game hosting server. I still keep the key to that server on my keyring. the silver 2u vent cover with the glowing blue cover that flashed orange when a RAID config went sour and the HOTSPARE told to switch. :smiley:

(truth be told I never got rid of the IBM Blade center, the 220s units I had for the 2650, the 1750 or the 1850, and i STILL have my compact 38u rack) never could part with it :stuck_out_tongue: )

and my plasmon UDO/MO library STILL sits here today too. I have those big 5.25 MO cartridges here, but as for the software to it. Lost it, but i am NOT paying 5 grand for a disk loader software!!

still adding… yes I parted with the 2600 XL cat from Cisco, kept the 5000 switch, even rebuilt the power supply in the plasmon (waste of money, but fun!) …

and what i had left over was a PERC 3 raid controller, 3 ultra 320s from Fujitsu and I placed that in my Desktop to play WoW off of. It made lots of heat and noise, but gave me BLISTERING load-speeds, well before SSD went Consumer class. So I ran WoW off of win xp 64-bit with 8GB of ram, and would get through loading zones faster than other players. so it made World PVP really fun in WoW. I had a Koolance CPU-330 on an AM2 Windsor 3.2GHZ cpu at the time. so that was great…

– another joke was trying to get any of that to work on an HP netserver LH3000, because all it would want to run is Windows Server 2003 and the backplane RAID drivers would NEVER work well with any form of linux, even REDHAT and Debian. So that was a bust. but it was a unique unit since it could run the “odd” raid levels at 3 and 6 (at least on that specific controller chip), and i use to call it the “Cow” (Computer On Wheels)… “The cow” was awful to hear and work on, since it had those loud sounding Seagate Cheatah 10k RPM drives in it, that made that unique high pitch “shrill” which 10k SCSIs were more notorious for. The 15Ks had them, but it was almost above hearing threshold. I think most 68-pin Cheetahs are what I came across, but I had a PILE of 80pin drives that just seamed to work better, just because they could be back-planned on a hot swap cage. vs a 68-pin which was ribbon cable only.

I appreciated having LVD SE, and still have those cables too. which is when I went to using the dell with their PERC 3 cards onto 220s for extra storage.

Okay i think thats enough for now…

Skial stunk, because the mods there were full of themselves and very arrogant.

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