Algorithmic Handicapping (MMR/PBSR) is WRONG for Overwatch 2

In 2017 on the Battlenet forum, I made a post about an emergent issue with the implementation of E-Sports by private corporations like Activision/Blizzard and Microsoft. In that post, I described an issue which I see as both obvious and subtle, banal and profound, simple and complex. So inherently riddled with contradiction is this topic that it beggars comprehension, while at the same time demanding explanation. I am talking about the algorithmic handicapping of online games, and Overwatch’s ranked competition in particular.

Such was my dedication to the topic of algorithmic handicapping that I facilitated five years of discussion on it, conducted polls and engaged in debate with thousands of participants. And though more than 85% of players favored my argument, that algorithmic handicapping is wrong for online games and Overwatch in particular, we received no reply from any Activision/Blizzard representative. I’m here to say now that no answer, is not an answer.

In 2022, is it time for me to start another discussion about a glaring problem with false advertising in E-Sports which should be self-evident? Waste another five years of my life in execrable distraction on forums of the very corporate entity I decry? Break my voice shouting over a glaring conflict of interest between private enterprise and the public good, which should be obvious to everybody?

Let me tell you, I’m not making another video. That took a lot of time and effort, which has been virtually wasted because it is dead in the water with only 2K views after 1 year. If more people would like, comment and subscribe then it might be another story. And if some people would help me get the attention of the gaming channels and influencers on YouTube, that would be extremely helpful. If you haven’t seen the video, just look for it in this thread (the one with over 61 thousand views and 3,000 replies, yet no developer responses):

Or must I sacrifice another five years of my life, pleading for the enforcement of laws against false-advertising which are already on the books with the Federal Trade Commission? Another five years on my knees begging for basic consumer protections like the anti-fraud, anti-discrimination, and antitrust laws that should have been put in place decades ago, to prevent egregious and widespread abuses by Big Tech?

Sigh. I’m here for it.


I said it once, I’ll say it again. Cope + Seethe making up reasons why ur hardstuck won’t make you unhardstuck


If you look at the current direction of society and gaming there is a large push towards making it a more equitable space. This means the active removal of biases and the equalization of outcome in a system to promote fairness.

For gaming this likely means the dynamic in-game modification of player feedback, inputs, etc… to minimize biases between player skill levels and output value for a more equitable player experience. Whether or not you agree with this, it will happen. I am an AI/ML researcher and the investigation of AI biases is a huge topic right now. This will certainly find use in mainstream products.


this would undermine the entire point of competitive fps games

to make everything fair, there would be no such thing as META.

in your ideal, “fair” world, everything would just be CSGO Deathmatch. no interesting heroes or abilities, no counterplay, just the same stock weapons and skill-based gameplay. News flash, thats not what OW is.


Who let this kid back on the forums, lol


Exactly. Overwatch would become blander than a bowl of rice


well by playing this overwatch 2 beta and having no mmr at all and completely random games i am thinking that im kind of glad we have a mmr system. ive lost so many games in this beta and its all so random. at least with overwatch 1 if i lose 5 in a row my subsequent games would swing in my direction lol… i mean i dont mind 50/50

or is it all in my head? is there an mmr system in the overwatch 2 beta? doesnt seem like it…


If you put this much time into trying to get better at the game instead, you’d probably see better results


I’m so confused… you’re saying you would prefer an unbalanced game?


oh god no not this guy again


This is the most stressed out post I’ve ever read in the forums. Most of the people here don’t even understand what you are even talking about. However nobody is making you play this game… Nobody forced you into a treadmill here. Just like you don’t have to log into Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. You don’t need to log into Overwatch either.

Overwatch algorithms aren’t even close to as devious as social nets have been buddy. Have a nice day.


This is such a childish, low IQ and ignorant response. OP has put in actual research on MMR, blizzard patents and matchmaking algorithms. The Overwatch ranked system is highly selective and judgemental and by making comments like you did you’re assuming blizzard, a company who’s main design philosophy has been to make games addicting since wow, has designed a fair ranked system that accurately judges every players skill level and puts them where they belong on ladder. To not even consider it a possibility that the system is designed to be addictive over fair and accurate is simply stupid.

An intelligent person would ask the question why is MMR, selective matchmaking and predictive outcomes even needed? An accurate and fair ranked system is very simple. Random matchmaking within an sr range.


Disgusting, isn’t it?

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If you truly believe that big tech is a soulless monster that fixes matches, what exactly do you think making this post again on their forum is going to do? Make them change their ways? Shame them?



lmao I went from silver to diamond solo q in 2 seasons dont bring that bs to me


Good to see you here again, Cuthbert. Out of curiosity, what is your opinion on PvE modes, since they don’t involve matching one group of people against another group of people, but just one group of people against bots? Sad to say, I don’t think BlizzActivision are going to remove the matchmaking algorithm since they have a huge financial incentive not to (it basically makes their game more addictive for competitive people).

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Your post intrigued me and I proceeded to look up your video. Overall its an interesting watch and you make some good points.

It got me thinking about my experience with Paladins. While I’ve played Paladins much less than Overwatch, I’ve found myself often carrying matches in that game. That feeling of carrying rarely occurs in Overwatch.

I’m finding myself playing paladins more these days as the experience seems far less frustrating and they’ve recently added a hero that more closely resembles the playstyle of my favorite OW hero.

I think that the removal of mmr matchmaking would be a good experiment to try.

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I’m pretty sure that Blizzard mentioned in a recent blog that queue times were better than live without having to tweak matchmaking, which would indicate that it is being used.

I’m guessing that what you’re seeing is players adapting at different rates to different heroes. OW2 is also quite imbalanced right now.

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from about ~10 people talking in circles over the course of a handful of years, forgetting the points that have been made to them ad nauseum as soon as it’s convenient


it’s like watching entropy, you can’t stop it, but it’s always there putting on a show