New MMR Experiment and the Life of the Solo Queue Support

A few months ago I mentioned Juice’s MMR experiment where he took a 2900 rated Dota 2 account to 5400 in under 150 games at an 85% win rate.  Now we have another, similar MMR experiment from reddit user kyuronite, that deserves mentioning for a couple reasons.

First, he wrote a description of every game with absurd detail, keeping track of the hero and role he played, the game conditions, his KDA, and a lot of other stuff.  This allows you to see his average KDA decay from over 15:1 in the 2250-2750 range down to a 6:1 at 4250-4500.

But what also makes this experiment noteworthy is that it was mostly done in Captain’s Mode and Captain’s Draft, with the experimenter only taking captain when no one will step up.  This resulted in the experimenter playing support nearly half of the time despite him believing “that [he is] better as a core or carry than a support.”

What support skeptics might point out at this is that he had the lowest win rate as a support at 74% compared to 88.5% for mid.  This on its own is fine.  No one said raising your MMR through support would necessarily be as fast as doing it through mid, just that it’s possible, and this project ought to show that boosting MMR while supporting is certainly possible.  But with that said, let’s consider the attenuating circumstances.

First, the player admits that they are weaker at support than the other role.  Second, they didn’t formally record the win rate of each role in each bracket.  If he played a larger proportion of his support games in the higher brackets, that would lower his support win rate relative to the other roles.  I don’t know whether this is the case.  It’s totally possible to go back and manually calculate it, but I don’t care to.  I just want to remind that in general this effect is important to take into consideration.  Third, these games were played in the two draft modes where captains were at least attempting to create well-formed teams.  This is going to diminish the value of a support relative to All Pick where the mere presence of any support can be the difference between having and not having any lane control, early ganking potential, or even any sort of CC.  That doesn’t mean that you should always instantly pick a support in All Pick, just that there’s value of being able to bust out a complementary pick to whatever dumb lineup the rest of your team locks.  This admittedly can be difficult when people won’t pick before gold loss.

One of the biggest differences between, say, a 3200 and a 4200 player is mere farming ability.  Playing a support admittedly makes it more difficult to exploit this advantage, so if you’re a 4200 player playing at 3200, mid or carry will likely gain you MMR more quickly.  However, if you’re 3200 rated, and you’ve been 3200 rated for a while, then you’re probably farming like a 3200 player and that inherent advantage of playing a farming hero over a support doesn’t exist.  You can improve your economy game to play a better as carry and mid, or you can improve your early game aggression to perform better as a support or offlaner.  Either are viable options, and you’ll be best off being willing to practice both as team compositions allow.


6 Responses to New MMR Experiment and the Life of the Solo Queue Support

  1. Spaghetti Jedi says:

    I honestly don’t understand how anyone can still believe it’s not possible to raise your MMR if you are better than the average player at your current MMR. Unless you’re just a few hundred points shy, the difference is huge in my experience.

    And a few hundred points variance isn’t a big deal anyway, my ‘true MMR’ probably changes by that much depending on whether I’m tired or not.

    • halikon says:

      Dunning Kruger Effect sums it up, I think.

      I’m looking forward to going through Le Reddit to see what kinds of mental gymnastics people perform to try to discredit this experiment, like they did with Juice’s.

      • While Elo hell isn’t the norm much of the arguments you use are mathematically flawed. There something call deviation in a probability distribution, some people, by mere chance if you will, are and can be trapped in Elo hell, even if the vast majority isn’t (the opposite effect also exist, and some people are raising more than they should).

  2. erronius says:

    My own experience with “ELO Hell” is quite real to me, not in that I am necessarily more skilled than the people I am playing with, but that the people I am playing with are not playing to win (often even in ranked games). This manifests in a variety of ways – not being able to communicate or simply refusing to do so. Not being willing to communicate specifically about hero choices or lanes. Every ranked match I queue into I will ask people what heroes they are planning to pick, and usually I get few responses. Another example would be insisting on playing a hero you aren’t skilled with in a ranked game – not because this hero counters the enemy team or complements us but “just ’cause”. Maybe this occurs at all MMR levels. But it makes raising MMR very unfun and definitely feeds into my perception of “ELO Hell”.

    • snowdrop says:

      While I have experienced what you erronius tell us about, I also believe that the same goes for the opposing team to an, in average, equal extent: The morons you describe can always be found on the other side as well. This of course doesn’t negate the fact that it creates a lousier gaming experience, but, it suggests that it isn’t necessarily as contributing to “Elo-hell” as one might initially believe…

      • erronius says:

        Absolutely. And I do believe that if I am playing better than average for my MMR (whatever that is) over time it will go up (though in the short run there is a lot of luck involved). It’s really the lousy gaming experience as you put it that defines the “ELO Hell”. I would really like to see a culture shift personally to where people take ranked games more seriously. Otherwise what is the point of having the distinction of some games being ranked?

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