How Competitive Matchmaking and Rating Works (Season 20)

Why did you waste your time when there is nothing new? Maps have rotated but other than that same old, same old.

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I used to just edit the post when the system changed, but it kept getting auto-locked due to age.

It doesn’t take long to copy-paste it from season to season. If there are no changes, I can state this in the new post, and it gives a new place to link to and discuss each season.


Is there any info on being above or below the lobby’s average SR? Any effect that may have in addition to performance based SR?Because I’ve been keeping track of my games for some time now and it looks like there is a pretty strong link there.

Blizzard hasn’t said anything.

I have some data that shows a very weak effect. -> Rainbow 10, second plot.

Better data would be two people in a two stack, with an SR that is not close. I suspect that their SRs would converge to each other over many games played, but I don’t have this data, so I don’t mention it in my post above.

I could look at your data, as well, if you’d like to share it.

I’m confused with SR values, i lose all placement matches playing as DPS and i’ve got more skill rating points as than playing as support (and i lose only two matches as support).

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Here’s some data from my support games in the past two seasons.


(Not allowed to post links, copy/paste to docs google com)

This account was played exclusively 3-4 stacking with the same friends all the time. They are lower ranked than I am, so I end up being above lobby average by a couple hundred SR almost every game. Despite going 68-57-3 my rating has actually gone down slightly. We win 20% more games than we lose, but losing costs me 20% more SR than winning gets me. My friends climbed about 150SR in these games, so the gap is trending downwards.

For comparison, I have another account that I play solo queue only. Same heroes, similar stats. Lobby average is never more than 40SR away from mine. It has a 53% win rate and wins give me about 4SR more than losses cost me, on average, which is the opposite of the group account. I consistently rank about a tier higher on the solo queue account.

Your MMR/SR for your various roles are separate. Your placement depends on your previous season rank (in each role) followed by your win/loss during placements, followed by your statistical performance during placements (if below diamond).

Yes I would like to wonder how someone who has never been boosted, is not using cheat (has never will never), is not toxic, and does not break rules ends to be permanently stuck in the throwers queue. It is distasteful and unsatisfactory. These problems should be remedied, only the toddlers should be in it, not those who are undeserving.

Thanks for the data (the clearest I have seen for this phenomena). From everything Blizzard has told us, this should not happen.

This means that there is something that Blizzard is not telling us. The good part of this behavior is that friends will not drift apart, SR wise, and be unable to play together. That bad part is that people are punished for grouping with those who are lower SR.

How do they make teams? Just randomly toss people together and hope the 4 best players are not on the same team?

There is no throwers queue.


Hey, i see you are data guy. Maybe this would interest you:

Sure, no problem. Thanks for taking a look! My theory is because I’m an outlier in these games, the matchmaker uses the gap as a modifier on my PBSR, basically saying I’m not supposed to climb playing games below my rank even if my stats are okay. It makes sense in a way, but feels somehow counter intuitive.

The old forums have been wiped, so unfortunately, all of the links in References that were are now gone.

Blizzard has been pretty vague about how teams are assembled, but the comments that they’ve made, and my own independent research indicate that it is pretty complicated.

They don’t just pull people from an MMR range and randomly make a match. They have indicated that they test each match for predicted win probability before starting it. They prefer a 50% predicted win probability, but will accept (in difficult cases) anywhere between 40% and 60%. See Groups and Matchmaking in Overwatch

Where did this account come from?

A PBSR modification would be plausible: basically if you are playing below your rank, you are punished if you don’t carry super hard. However, it cannot be the exclusive answer, because I saw a similar (though small) effect in 3000+ solo queuing, where PBSR does not exist.

Sigh. Well, Blizzard warned that this day would come (and they ignored my protests), so I kept copies off all the MMR/SR/matchmaking blue posts from the original forums. I’ll repost them when I have some time.

You may use semantic but call it what you like, there are queues for ranking down and up forcibly. I have personally taken 4+ accounts to masters easily from scratch, yet the account that I post onto the forum with and say negative thing about Blizz is the one which I cannot rank up to the same tier. It is a disgrace, unfair, dishonest, and karma will continue to haunt those who have created it until it is done right.

The root of it all is that players don’t know all the ins and outs of the ranking system in Overwatch.

No player does. Not one.

The only people that do, are the OW Devs.

So without those unknown parts of the game? Who’s to say what. It’s essentially all conjecture because not one person knows the full story.

Add in the ‘talking points’ that Activision can impliment via patents they have?

I’m surprised anyone says word 1 about how mmr/sr works in this game. It’s a waste of time to do so.

Somehow cars still get me where I need to go without me understanding everything going on in them. Somehow commercial airplanes take me places even though I don’t have a commercial pilot’s license. Somehow I get electricity delivered to my house without me understanding every component.

Somehow, people are able to consistently do unranked -> GM runs.

You don’t need to know how something works to recognize that it does indeed work, and fairly consistently. Overwatch Curios is a great channel to check out on YouTube if you think (for instance) that there’s no difference between Gold and Diamond.

It’s also not my property. It’s Blizzard’s. If they don’t want to share and you don’t like it, don’t play their games.

And yet the specifications to both of your weak analogies are within arms reach. I can have a complete diagnostic of a 1968 Ford Mustang up and ready to pour over every inch, but you cannot explain the full ins and outs of mmr/Sr because no one knows.

So don’t tell me because an infinitesimally small amount of people bounce around to whatever rank they want on a whim, that everything is hunky-dory.

You’ll never change my mind, I’ll never change yours. Accept that, and move on to the next thread.

I don’t need to pore over the internals of the matchmaker because of all the awesome people who do unranked to GM/Top 500 runs. It works; if you can’t climb, you need to get good.