Here's what the pros think about Dota 2’s new ranked system
There have been changes aplenty in Dota 2 of late, including notable shakeups to the public ranked system. We asked the pros just what they think of the changes.
Gone are the days of poor graphics on a temperamental Source One engine. A lot has changed since patches which ported a hero from the original Defense of the Ancient to Dota 2 were among the most exciting. We’ve seen Dota 7.00 effectively change the world as we know it, with the introduction of talent trees, new heroes and new items aplenty. The game’s constantly changing and evolving, and with the rise in pro talent, so has the way Dota measures skill – and with the latest changes now in effect, we quizzed the pros for their thoughts on the brand new ranked system.
Back when matchmaking rating was introduced, there were regular threads about the crème de la crème of Dota 2 reaching 6,000. As time progressed, professionals started pushing the boundaries further and further. We had players break a previously unthinkable 7,000 MMR. Then 8,000 fell. Amer ‘Miracle-’ al-Barkawi became the first player to reach the mammoth 9K milestone. Then Abed Azel ‘Abed’ L.Yusop became the first of a host of players to break five figures in MMR, reaching 10,000. With players pushing boundaries, naturally, the spread in rating became increasingly vast and Valve’s matchmaking struggled to keep up. Everyone remembers watching Artour ‘Arteezy’ Babaev’s streams where he would label it ‘queue simulator’ and wait for upwards of two hours for a game to pop, only for him to be swerved by another player who queues into him.
It was clear that something needed to be changed to improve quality of life for those at the top – and those stuck in the lower and middle echelons were all too eager to embrace a new system. Valve served up a new treat with a seasonal matchmaking system. After six months, the ranks will reset and each and every person will start afresh – albeit seemingly from a predetermined, yet hidden ELO rating. Those at the bottom will have their profile adorned with a shiny 'Herald' badge, while the best will eventually reach Divine 5, and a shiny badge to go with that rank. Once at the top, anyone in the top thousands has a number attached to them and in each game, everyone is clearly ranked by ability, while professionals strive to reach the coveted top-ten spots.
There’s rightly been debate as to whether or not the changes have made much difference. To those in the lower echelons, the grind to climb the ladder still hasn’t changed. The fact that the badge featured on one’s profile is permanent and can’t be diminished until the reset allows players to be proud of their lifetime achievement, however.
The ultimate aim of the matchmaking adjustments was to improve the experience for those throughout Dota, not least the players who were previously left queueing for hours to find a game and often left disappointed by the quality. OG’s Johan ‘n0tail’ Sundstein seemed happy, commenting, “in Dota there's no perfect system so, I think they've done a really good job.”
Mineski’s Chai ‘Mushi’ Yee Fung shares a similar opinion, jesting that it's, "pretty fun. But, I still haven't gotten into the top ten yet.” The positive sentiment is one also shared by one half of the Blomdin brothers, compLexity’s Chessie, who enjoys the glint of the new medals. He does, however recognise potential pitfalls for those in other ranks, saying, “for me it's pretty good. I can't talk for everyone else at lower ranks, though. It's probably a different perspective.”
It's not always a case of brotherly love, however as Linus ‘Limpp’ Blondin disagrees and says he prefers the old system. “It doesn't feel that nice, I kinda liked having a really high MMR rather than medals”, he says. He's not alone, either, as Yazied ‘YapzOr’ Jaradat is partially on the fence but shares an overall dislike: “I think it's not as good as the last one but it does have its own perks.”