Valve unveiled the newest update directed towards Dota 2 matchmaking system, which has been hit with several updates in recent months, with the most recent making some much-needed changes to the scaling MMR based on relative skill and the ranked game modes.
In the announcement, which surfaced on Thursday, January 16, Valve revealed they are removing the variability in the amount of MMR players gain and/or lose from a match, meaning there will no longer be games "that give results like +10/-40".
Solo games which previously gave 25 MMR will now give 30 MMR, while party games are said to award 20 MMR. Valve explained that they decided for this move because they believe players who play solo have much greater impact on the way the game is played, compared to those who enter ranked matches in a party, and will for that reason award the solo players with the ability to climb the ladder faster, while players who play in a party will see their MMR increase at a slower pace. That is, however, something that works in theory, will that translate into the real games, however, remains to be seen.
Additional update note unveiled, that Dota 2 will no longer have fast/slow queues which will be replaced with Ranked Roles and Ranked Classics.
The Ranked Roles will from now on be "locked" behind a so-called ticket system. Previously, the players earned the fast queues by selecting every role, meaning they could be assigned to play any of the five roles. Now, the Dota 2 players will earn four Ranked Roles games when selecting all the positions and will be eligible to play Ranked Roles if they pick two support boxes. Ranked Classic, which does not let you select any roles, on the other side, will replace the Slow Queue games
Valve stated they are making those changes because they realised the slow/fast queue was not a successful concept when it came to producing good quality games. That issue was already addressed by Ylli "garter" Ramadani, who publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with Dota 2 in his announcement, where he unveiled he will be leaving Dota 2 in favour of League of Legends, where he looks to continue his gaming career.
"Ranked Classic has replaced the Slow Queue, and it does not let you select roles. We are making this change because the slow/fast queue concept has not been successful in producing good quality games," read Valve's announcement.
"The end result was slow queue waiting a little bit longer, and then forcing very bad quality matches on the entire player pool. We think it’s a fair requirement to enforce that if you want to have the advantage of playing a specific role, you have to contribute to the matchmaking system by sometimes playing other roles, or just queue role-less as in previous years."
The updates overall failed to inspire much enthusiasm in the Dota 2 community, however, the Ranked Roles game mode has been widely accepted as one of the best additions Dota 2 have made to its matchmaking as it mitigates the all too familiar arguments between the players about who will play what role, which more times than not lead to abuse and ultimately toxic community and unpleasant games. While Ranked Roles is by no means a perfect solution, it is a step in the right direction and the Dota 2 community seems to be accepting the changes with open arms.
As far as the MMR changes are concerned, it seems like it could lead to some high-ranked players earning significantly more MMR than they did under the old system. That could, however, change if Valve introduces a new matchmaking algorithm, but since there were no announcements that would indicate that, we can expect some MMR inflation. What effect will that have on the game and the ranked games, however, remains to be seen.
That said, Valve is releasing new updates to their Dota 2 matchmaking system at a rapid pace and we can expect even more changes to be implemented by the end of the month. Whether those changes will be enough to stabilize Dota 2 and help Valve persuade players to return and boost Dota 2 player base numbers, is anyone's guess, however, one thing is for sure - changes are coming and it would be hard to argue they're anything less than positive.