Of all the issues Valve constantly receives complaints about with Dota 2, the game’s ranked system has got to be the number one problem. While Dota remains incredibly popular and the MMR system, as we know it, has been around for years, that’s not to say that it’s perfect. One only has to browse a few forums to see the sheer scale of jokes and complaints aimed at imperfect matchmaking.
What’s the issue?
The truth is that, as with any team game, you’re going to be playing alongside other people whose actions you have little influence over. Players with good communication skills might be better at handling difficult teammates, and supposedly the better you get the better your teammates will be, but we’re seeing players even at the highest MMRs regularly having teammates actively feed or abusing the rest of their team. This problem has got to be even more prevalent at lower MMRs, and whilst the bad luck should even out over the course of many games, it’s something that creates a negative atmosphere and detracts a lot from the actual gameplay.
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What has Valve done so far?
Valve are aware of the issue and have recently tightened up the report system. Now players who are getting regularly reported will end up in low priority as a punishment and have to cooperate with their teammates to get out of it. Low priority games do act as a deterrent, but the players reporting the player will still be left feeling frustrated. The same thing could happen in their very next game. Or the next one. Or the next one.
What’s the best system?
If there was an easy answer to this, then Valve would already have introduced it. One concept that is regularly suggested is the Prisoner’s Island model. With this system, toxic players only play with other toxic players. Of course, this model does seem quite harsh: cooperative players often get reported just for playing poorly and some toxic players do change their behavior over time. Certainly, when it comes to deliberately feeding couriers there must we a way for Valve to detect this behavior in game, and when it comes to players abandoning, they should lose more MMR than their teammates who have to suffer a loss as a result. Let us know if you have any good ideas!