Are you getting a little frustrated with the Overwatch MMR Matchmaking system? Maybe you feel that Golds are getting matched up with Masters and Grandmasters way too often.
In a recent blog post, the Overwatch developers provided details about how the Overwatch MMR Matchmaking system works.
Matchmaking has remained a significant topic in the community. Fortunately, the Overwatch development team has been paying particular attention to this topic.
Undoubtedly, this issue is of vital importance to the players and their enjoyment of the game. Therefore, it is essential to keep the community informed about the progress and the efforts made in this regard.
Presenting Data on Overwatch Matchmaking Progress
The developers acknowledge the risk of sounding repetitive in their communication about matchmaking improvements. Therefore, they have now decided to share data that would help players better understand the current state of matchmaking and the impact of recent changes.
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Internal Matchmaking Rating (MMR)
The Overwatch matchmaker is designed to create balanced matches. To do that, the developers need some approximation of each player’s skill.
Everyone has an internal matchmaking rating (MMR) that’s a numerical value to describe your skill relative to everyone else.
However, MMR isn’t an absolute value, meaning your MMR can change even if your personal skill stays the same. This could indicate the general population is getting better or worse compared to you.
You can see this in the example below that displays player MMR in quick play, with most of us right around the middle of the curve.
Current distribution of Quick Play MMR.
Your MMR will rise over time if you improve your skill and win more games against players of your current MMR level. All the game modes, including Competitive, only look at MMR when forming a match. Overwatch developers never use your outward facing skill tier or division to form matches. Likewise, the rank you see in a player’s profile isn’t the same as their MMR.
Your MMR is only adjusted after you win or lose a game or if you come back after not playing for a long time. Your MMR is unaffected when at lower ranks at the beginning of a season, and everyone in your matches has a similar MMR as you.
Initial ranked matches can feel turbulent because many players return at the beginning of a season, and anything that changes player population is going to affect the matchmaker.
It’s also important to remember that your teammates are human. They don’t always perform the same from game to game or even team fight to team fight.
This inherent variance in individual performance means that the matchmaker needs the results of as many games as possible to get an accurate representation of your skill.
Changes in Skill Gap for High and Low MMR Matches
In the past week, modifications to the system have considerably reduced the skill gap between players in high and low MMR matches. The Ranked Skill Difference chart below demonstrates two spikes that adversely affected match quality in Season 3 and the recent changes bringing it down. The system is almost back to where it was when Season 3 began.
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Examining MMR Groups and Grouping Behavior
For high MMR group (GM players and above), about half of the matches have an MMR range of 4-5 divisions, while 25% have a difference of 5-6 divisions, and the worst 1% have roughly 10 divisions. Grouping behavior accounts for a significant portion of this gap – in Masters, players can group with others up to 5 divisions apart.
Insights from Competitive Role Queue Intra-match Player Delta Percentiles
Matchmaker Functionality and Improvements
The matchmaker aims to pair players with similar MMR. As it searches, it expands to players with larger skill differences. Before Season 3, the rate of expansion could be controlled independently for each queue. However, Season 3 brought changes that limited this control, affecting both Competitive and Unranked matches.
Restoring Flexibility with Systemic Changes
The developers have implemented the first of several systemic changes (more to come in Season 4) in the recent patch, restoring the flexibility to tune the modes separately and providing new ways to adjust the system. Competitive mode can now have its own set of parameters for skill gap, separate from other modes. This week, they will be fine-tuning these values to minimize the skill gap in Competitive while monitoring queue times.
Reducing Party Queue Times and Improving Player MMR Delta
With the mid-season patch, the developers added the capability to sort parties together based on similar player delta. This has led to significantly lower party queue times and has improved player MMR delta by concentrating wide parties together.
Continual Monitoring and Communication
The developers hope that this update provides much-needed context and showcases the efforts put into the system. They emphasize that player experiences matter the most and will be collecting data and feedback this week. Short updates will likely be provided through Twitter.
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