Dota 2 Ranked Matchmaking
Like any other competitive online multiplayer title these days, Dota 2 has its very own ranking system integrated into its own matchmaking queue. Ranked matches in Dota 2 put players into specified competitive tiers, in the form of leagues with associated medals. These medals and the names of their respective leagues are displayed on each player’s profile, showing everyone the highest competitive level that a player has achieved.
There are eight distinct leagues in the ranking system: Herald, Guardian, Crusader, Archon, Legend, Ancient, Divine, and Immortal. Each league has five levels, which appear as stars above a player’s medal. In order to climb to the next tier, players must reach the fifth level of their league, and win enough games to break past that level. The system will then place them in the next tier, with a one-star medal. Once players achieve a certain rank, the system will not demote them no matter how many games they lose; thus, each rank is a representation of a player’s highest overall achievement.
In order to get their ranks, players must complete a string of ten ranked matchmaking games, which are dedicated for calibrating their rating. After the calibration matches are completed, players are assigned to leagues based on their wins and losses throughout the ten games. Prior to the June 2018 update, calibration matches took individual performances in games into account when placing players into leagues. This mechanic has since been removed, making it so that only wins and losses matter when it comes to calibration.
A player’s rank does not last forever, though. Each competitive season lasts for about six months, which medals and leagues resetting at the beginning of every new season. Players that wish to be ranked after each reset must go through recalibration matches, though these games are based on their rank in the previous season rather than starting from scratch.
Dota 2 MMR
Hidden beneath each player’s medal is a numerical value called “matchmaking rating”, or “MMR” for short. MMR is an exact quantification of a player’s skill level—and unlike medals, this number fluctuates freely when a player wins or loses games. MMR goes up and down by approximately 25 points per win or loss.
According to Valve, calibration matches will never rank fresh accounts (i.e. ones that have never played ranked matchmaking before) at more than 3,500 MMR. Players who hit this threshold must win games in order to climb over it and into higher ranking tiers.
MMR is only visible to the player himself, and is hidden from other players that are not logged into that account. Thus, player can only track their own MMR’s progression, and not that of their friends or players they encounter in pub games. Moreover, Valve’s method of placing players into leagues based on their MMR is kept under wraps, and no one knows the exact formulae involved in the calculations. MMR is also not the sole determinant of a player’s medal, since there are many cases of players having medals far above the usual MMR range of that ranking tier.
The system also remembers and judges players based on their peak skill level more than their current MMR, in order to more effectively prevent smurfing and deranking
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