How Competitive Matchmaking and Rating Works (Season 26)

One thing buggs me out.(about separate MMR for competitive and other modes)
Maybe it’s just pure coincidence, but after getting to 2780 in open competitive I got the feeling that qp matches got harder too.
But that might be a pure coincidence.

Match Making Rating (MMR) is a handicapping system that should be removed from competitive play. Blizzard does not handicap matches to make competitive Overwatch fair, they handicap matches to make their product as addictive as possible. Handicapping makes “ranked” competitive play a farce.

For more information, see my thread on the subject:


I think you’re just a hard stuck player who can’t accept the fact that you’re not as good as you think you are, you don’t know as much of “how to play the game correctly,” as you think you do, and your consistent crying is going ignored because the powers over the game are more intelligent than match maker cry babies…


You’re wrong, I am not “hard stuck.” I haven’t played Overwatch in years.

Top comment gold



why type this when you cannot verify it?

I think that the opacity of what factors INTO MMR is what frustrates people.
Much of that is not known and will probably never be known.

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And it shouldn’t be… It’s proprietary intellectual property owned by BlizzActiv.

Like… If it’s so frustrating, why do they keep playing?

If you’re unwilling to believe that you don’t deserve the rank you’re in and the big bad corporation won’t give you what you want, there’s literally 1,000,000 other things you could do rather than rage baby about it.

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sure. but don’t claim it is a fair system when you yourself admit you cannot verify what drives it.

Fare is what you pay to ride the bus. That’s the only fair that exists…

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clever, but your posts heavily imply that there is some sort of integrity to ranked. You have no way to prove this. MMR is decidedly opaque.

If one were to rely purely on speculation, then one could only assume that the system is arranged in order to generate a profit and this would certainly alter the way a skill based system operates (especially one that can remain opaque in operation).

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Exactly. This copypasta was a great working theory years ago - the last time we had official comms on the subject. I respect the OPs efforts, but the disclaimer “unofficial and non-authoritative” needs to be front and center.

Here are some other gaps: it’s rigged af. It riggs in-game and out, through and through, to promote close/engaging matchups. This is anti-competitive and anti-trust in what is supposed to be a high-integrity, fairplay esports ecosystem.


US20200114268A1 - Rigged rank changes so you grind and feel engaged.
US10857468B2 - In-game rigging i.e. dda/hitbox scaling so kids think their hanzo actually landed 4 headshots in a row.
US20160001186A1 - Handicapping teams and rigging balance to make games “fun”.

Having your performance constantly analyzed is oppressive. Using that data trail to tailor your matches is invasive. MMR (KSR) has no place in a system that ranks and rewards by SR+pbsr.


EDIT: Nice post! I enjoyed reading it.
Well here the burden of proof rests with you Kaawumba as you are making a positive truth claim. Furthermore labeling the latter parts of this as “wild claims” is going a bit too far. Activision Blizzard holds patents for matchmakers that include both micro-transaction based matchmaking, matchmaking based on “players having a bad time” (paraphrase) and balancing matches by lowering MM standards to include wider skill ranges (“scrub-based” matchmaking). Certainly the last is present and it is a player retention based matchmaking system rather than fairness based one.
Theoretically the middle ranks should have the best matchmaking given the amount of players, but this has never been the case in overwatch’s 5 year history. They are a chaotic mess off all-skills-at-once. Rather than calling them “wild claims” I would call them “plausible hypothesies” that could explain this chaos.


They are completely separate. It is easy to imagine things though, especially when there is no rating visible.

The possibilities in that list, that have no references, are either implied by other things that can be verified, or contradict common sense, or require maliciousness on the part of the developers. That’s good enough for me.

I am frustrated by the opacity of the system, and the poor communication of the developers. This post does what I can to mitigate the problem.

There is no benefit to the game or the developers to intentionally make matchmaking poor. If the game isn’t fun, people quit. And we have a perfectly reasonable, no rigging required, explanation for why matchmaking is frequently poor:


Why do you need MMR or any kind of hidden analytics to ship a match? Why aren’t they matchmaking SR with SR? If there isn’t any rigging and/or those patents are fake, why not just open up the algs so we can audit the fairness ?

They have never said. My theory is that they find documentation boring, like most programmers.

Other possibilities:

  • Trade secret. They don’t want people stealing their algorithms.
  • Exploitation. They are worried that people will be better able to game the system to get extra points.
  • They read the forums, and think (correctly, for the most part) that their customers can’t do math and won’t understand it.
  • Published algorithms won’t stop conspiracy theories, because a conspiracy theorist will just claim that the given algorithm isn’t actually what is being used.

As I’ve said, many times, I would prefer if the matchmaking code (or pseudocode) was public.


“The possibilities in that list, that have no references, are either implied by other things that can be verified, or contradict common sense, or require maliciousness on the part of the developers. That’s good enough for me.”

if they can be verified them then verify them, otherwise stop making these appeals to “common sense”.

your “common sense” leads you to believe that the developers would not create a matchmaking system that is “poor”. I completely agree with this assessment but I believe the player and the shareholders at blizz-activision are going to have vastly different definitions of what “poor” means in this context.

If you deduce that their objective is purely to create a fair and integrous experience above generating a profit, then what is your “common sense” even based in?

“Other possibilities:”

Enough of these wild conspiracy theories!

Yet you claim to know how is matchmaker handicapping players when you didnt play for years. Thats hilarious. Maybe you should move on.

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Can we please add the links to the patents on rigged gameplay into the knowledge base? So people can be informed. We want the community to know clear as day what kind of hidden scam they might be paying for.


We cant because there isnt described that patent is used for overwatch. Also it has certain parts which are definitely used in different games and not in OW.

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