Why Dota 2 Ranking Algorithm is Flawed

Dota 2 might be one of the most popular MOBA e-sport games out there right now, but it is by far the best when it comes to calculating who should be matched versus who and most importantly, it the algorithm is flawed when it comes to deciding MMR. It is obviously not a bad algorithm, it just needs a hell of a lot of improvement. For all you Dota 2 fans out there, you are probably wondering what the flaws are.

For the most part, Dota 2 has it right. However, there are so variables that it surely does not take into account that for at least 25% of Dota players out there, they get stuck with the wrong rankings.

  1. When your team picks all carries, and you turn carry to support

This is a bit of a joke in Dota 2, but something that Dota cannot control. However, saying that, when a carry then turns support because no one else will, Dota does not take this variable into account; especially when that carry was 1st, 2nd, or 3rd pick.

Think of all the negative effects this has on the player that is educated enough to understand that he is playing against a team of invisible heroes and so he buys sentry wards. Sometimes just buying wards themselves is a sign of intelligence.

That player may also cease to farm in order to let the other carries farm. In the end this carry becomes a support and useless as a carry. His/her gold per minute is going to become a lot less even if that hero farms. The hero cannot farm as quickly because it takes longer to kill creeps and survivability is a lot less because the hero will also be lacking in levels and armoured items.

GPM (Gold per Minute) and XPM (Experience per Minute) are totally crushed for this player. Furthermore, the player is then penalised by Dota because the algorithm clearly does not take into consideration forward thinking.

  1. The matchmaking often makes no sense at all

A lot of losses in lower rank games can be put down to players not picking the right heroes. That is to say that the draft is often the reason some teams do so well and others so badly. Therefore, this is a tough one to call – whether the skill of the player comes into question or the draft was just a bad one.

Nonetheless, the matchmaking is also sometimes very strange. I am not sure how Dota can deal with this but point number does bare some effect on the outcome of someone’s MMR. There are players out there that are clearly not matched to the level their MMR and division suggests.

How Dota have come up with this algorithm is very strange indeed. There is the obvious problem of people boosting that has a dramatic effect on the game. Then again, how many people are actually boosting out there? It must be below the 1% mark, so you cannot wholly blame this on the fact boosters exist. Or on the fact that people can buy Dota accounts.

Something in what is still an extraordinarily well-designed algorithm. is amiss. I have seen unbelievable Invoker players as low down as 1,000 MMR. I am talking about players with amazing reflexes or reaction times when it comes to Invoker spells. It may just be that these players are playing at a lower level and so this is why they shine and seem so good at that level.

Even so, there needs to be something changed about the way people are matched up. I am not sure if this is totally randomly selected or Dota uses some kind of indication of how to match players. One thing is for sure, those players that sulk and get reported a lot need to be put in another bracket.

Maybe Dota does this already.

  1. DCs in the Middle of a Game

This is one of the biggest flaws of any MOBA game. When someone DCs, the whole team must suffer. It is not until someone has DC’d for 5 minutes does a team start to get additional gold in order to make up for the loss of a player by buying better items. This really is not fair if the other team has been dominating with Late Game team, and then the Early Game draft is suddenly able to push harder because they have better items.

There are several scenarios where extra gold really is not the solution. The solution is to have a marker in the game. That marker should indicate how well or badly the team with the DC were doing at the time of the DC. Then MMR should be deducted according to this. Not a full loss of MMR. I have literally seen my friend play 5 games in a row where his team had a DC whereby the player would be off for 3 minutes, back for 10 minutes, and off for 3 minutes and so on.

Literally, this is so frustrating for Dota players, and Dota should put a ban on these players for more than 5 Low Priority games. Also, Low priority should be forced to play ranked games as a punishment. This would further put them down the ratings.

  1. Low Priority Needs to be Stricter

Making Low Priority a non-ranked game is not a good enough punishment for players. Low Priority should ne forced ranked games. This means people will think twice about abandoning a game in a bad mood. It will also force those with bad internet connections to actually be proactive and go to find a decent internet connection.

OK – so not everyone can afford a great internet connection. Plus, Dota is free so anyone no matter their financial situation can play the game. Nonetheless, a game is a game and life is hard. Footballers don’t get a break because they have no money. There are plenty of footballers that have come from poor backgrounds and not made it to the big leagues.

Giving sympathy votes just makes the game’s standard worse. If someone is always DC’ing because that person has a bad internet connection, that person will be LP most of the time anyway. Why not just make LP ranked and let them try there? Maybe this is because Dota does not think it is fair to discriminate against people with bad internet connections I really am not sure. The point is, if the internet connection is bad, so is the player, and so is that person’s abilities to play.

In the end, Dota needs to take into account the intelligence of a player that is only trying to help his/her team when scoring their MMR. It needs to really work hard on its match making because this is not very well done at the moment – certainly not as well done as League of Legends. DCs need to be dealt with – and people not punished so harshly for other people’s DCs, and finally LP should be made into a ranked version of the game in order to stop people being complacent.