The Road to Nowhere: Ranked Matchmaking Removed from Dota 2 Servers

Valve has implemented possibly the biggest patch to its ranked matchmaking as of yet, and has implemented several new features that may help the system slightly better.

Speaking on the official Dota 2 blog, Valve said that “Quality matchmaking is a core component of an enjoyable Dota session, and today’s changes work to address several issues that can affect the player experience when queuing for a game.”

With that in mind, the first major change (and one that might scare many thanks to the loss in anonymity) is the need to link your phone number to your Dota 2 account in order to queue for Ranked matches.

Yes, you read right, you have to link your phone to your Dota 2 account. This is to try and stop players with multiple accounts abusing the system. “Players using multiple accounts create a negative matchmaking experience at all skill brackets, so our goal is to add just enough friction to this process that the number of players doing this will be noticeably reduced,” said the announcement.” Having more players using their primary accounts will have a positive effect on both Ranked and Unranked Matchmaking.

There will be a bit of time before this becomes mandatory, as Valve has allowed a two week grace period but, starting from 4 May, accounts without a registered number will no longer be eligible for Ranked play.

If you remove a previous number to add a new one, the original number will have to wait three months before it can be registered to a new account, so as to stop people “number-hopping” between accounts.

The second change is the return of Solo Queue, except now players will have the ability to choose to be matched with only solo players as well, which easily avoids getting crushed by parties searching Ranked.

The way parties search for ranked games and how party MMR is calculated has also been tweaked:

“Starting today, if a player’s Solo MMR is higher than their Party MMR, queuing in a party will result in the matchmaker assigning a higher MMR to that player. Effectively, these players will search for a match as if their MMR were halfway between the Solo and Party MMR values.

While the current Party MMR number generally reflects the likelihood that you’ll win a given match correctly, we’ve found that when a Solo MMR is dramatically higher than a Party MMR, the match becomes extremely volatile, resulting in an unpleasant and uncompetitive experience for both teams.”

Matchmaking in general has also been adapted, in the hopes to further help people avoid and remove “undesirable behaviour” from the pool. Being marked for low-priority will now result in a duration-based ban from Ranked in addition to the current game-count-based low priority requirement to get out of the trenches. This ban starts at a few hours, but can increase up to four days if you are a continuous miscreant.

Valve has also added “better detection for clear cases of intentional feeding, and will be applying stricter punishments to those who violate this rule,” as well as better bot detection. On this line, Valve has also stated that with this patch it has banned a “large number” of recently-detected bot accounts, which should hopefully help some of the problems that currently plague the South African server.

On that note, there is a final piece of somewhat sad news, as Ranked Matchmaking has been removed from South Africa, India and Dubai. Valve stated the following reason:

“We will update these servers as the unranked populations in these regions grow to the critical mass needed to be able to support splitting the user base into Ranked and Unranked queues.

While there are some players that used these servers for Ranked, the low populations made them prime targets for various Ranked Matchmaking abuses. For the time being, players in these regions will need to join Ranked Matchmaking queues in one of the other nearby supported servers.”

It is good to see Valve trying to fix Dota 2‘s matchmaking, and although this may hamper South African’s a little, a majority of the local players that search Ranked matchmaking already search on Europe (and it is recommended in general to do so), so it shouldn’t affect too many people.

Do you like the changes made to matchmaking, or are Valve going backwards again? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.