Dota 2’s much-needed ranked rework is bad news for smurfs

Regular players benefit in other ways, too.

Image via Valve

Dota 2 smurfs face their toughest challenge yet thanks to a much-needed re-work to the ranked system. Rather than using the traditional Elo algorithm based purely on wins and losses, it now uses a different algorithm, Glicko, which will make them move up quicker, thanks to the New Frontiers patch from April 20.

Valve explained it as follows: Rank is an estimate of a player’s skill. Rank Confidence is their confidence in that estimate. The new system puts more of an emphasis on Rank Confidence. To do that, matches no longer result in gaining or losing a fixed amount of MMR gain/loss. Instead, it varies based on the Ranks and Rank Confidence of others, causing those who are clearly too good for any given bracket to climb ranks at a faster pace.

It will, however, be capped at a certain amount to avoid tanking.

These changes leaked back in March, but now they’re finally live. And while it’s bad news for smurfs, it’s excellent news for returning players and everyone else, especially those who feel like they’re currently placed lower than where they ought to be. The new system ensures players will move up or down to whatever rank they should be with ease.

The changes were put into effect the moment the patch went live. To kick things off, all players have been placed back into a calibration mode loosely based on their previous rank.

Rather than being ten matches as it used to, calibration now finishes whenever the algorithm figures out a player’s Rank Confidence with precision.

Related: Biggest winners and losers of Dota 2 Patch 7.33

Valve warned players their brackets will likely be different than those they were placed in before, but insists the skill of others in those brackets will match theirs. The only thing that’s changed is the distribution. Rank Confidence also drops when players don’t play matches, so they’ll need to bump it up again after taking time off to make it more precise again.

Immortal-ranked players are also in for a treat. Valve has resigned matchmaking at that level to assign a captain on each team, who can then draft the remaining eight into their teams to help them pick and choose teammates they’ve gelled with.

What this means is everyone’s a winner, except for Dota 2 smurfs, who will have a much harder time ruining the fun for others in lower-ranked games to inflate their egos.


Alex Tsiaoussidis
Staff Writer for Dot Esports. I am a passionate gamer with years of experience covering all things gaming, esports, and streaming. I have extra love for Dota 2, Pokémon, and Apex Legends.