The system works since, all things being equal, a player will win more games than they lose over the long run if their skill is higher than other players at the same rank. Once we introduce performance-based matchmaking in the near future, our system will look at how well the individuals in a match are performing and use this to aid in calculating their MMR adjustments for the match. Our goal with this system is not to define a specific playstyle for each hero, since we are never manually setting which stats are considered important, but rather to let our machine-learning driven system define importance and weighting for stats based on millions of games of data.
HOTS Ranked Play & Matchmaking AMA summary
MMR stands for Matchmaking Rating. In order for the matchmaker to place similarly skilled players together, it assigns everyone a matchmaking rating that indicates how skilled the system thinks the player is.
HOTS Ranked Play & Matchmaking AMA summary
MMR is a behind-the-scenes stat that is only used for matchmaking. The system is fully dynamic and continually updating itself, so it automatically adjusts as balance changes, the meta shifts, and players find creative, new ways to use a hero. Winning or losing is still the primary factor in whether you gain or lose MMR so you still only gain MMR on a win and lose it on a loss. The performance-based adjustments just affect how much MMR you gain or lose.
While some stats are weighted higher than others to reflect their importance in that situation, every stat is evaluated as part of the performance calculation. Also, you still need to win the game to gain MMR. How does the system avoid double penalizing me for both losing and having lower stats?
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The comparisons to determine how well you performed are different for winning games versus losing games. This does not mean you are 'stuck' after you've played a few hundred games - it just means your MMR doesn't shift as drastically as it does in your first few games. Some players have contacted me, asking to remove certain games, or give them 'fresh starts' because they did not know their early games were their 'placement' matches. Starting with a losing streak is unfortunate, but so is starting with a winning streak.
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For example, I won all 5 of my first placement matches in Starcraft 2, and got placed in Gold league. I was so excited, I bragged to my friends who were placed in Bronze or Silver. I knew I had some lucky games, but the end result is what matters.
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And then I lost 13 games in a row and was dropped to Bronze. The reverse is true here: Unfortunately, if your MMR has indeed been inaccurately affected by a losing streak in your placement matches, the solution is to just play more games. It may take more games than if you had won some of your placement matches, but your MMR will end up where it should be eventually. The solution here is not to delete the replay, though; this would remove the replay from the other 9 players in the match as well, and we need more replays uploaded in order to be confident in MMR calculations.
Some players have contacted me about MMR accuracy, believing they should be higher on the leaderboard. Firstly, make sure you have played a good amount of games. When you start out, your MMR is unknown to me, and the system has to guess at your skill. Don't spend too much time thinking about MMR if you haven't uploaded at least replays, and preferably more. If you have a lot of replays uploaded, how can you determine if the MMR I calculate is accurate? Generally, each team's average MMR should be pretty similar. There are times where MMR isn't accurate. In cases where established players have only uploaded a few replays, their true MMR is unknown to me, while Blizzard probably has a pretty good idea of it.
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The best way to improve the accuracy of my calculated MMR is to upload more games: Ask your friends to upload theirs; the more replays I can look through, the more confident I can be about skill levels. On a related note, it is encouraging to see many of the more famous pro-gamers in the top of the leaderboard, as well as in matches against eachother: