Zadina

Blue Posts: MMR Debate, Tracer Nerfs, Account Suspensions

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As the title indicates, there were some blue posts recently about three interesting topics.

The "MMR Hell" topic is quite popular in the Heroes of the Storm subreddit. Nostromia's challenge has heated up the discussions on this matter. BlizzLoesby explained how the system works and admitted it needed improvement. His post makes for an interesting read.

Blizzard LogoBlizzLoesby

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Hello, everyone!

There's a lot of interesting discussion going on in this thread, and I've been glad to read a lot of it. I'd like to clarify a few points to help you all understand some of what Nostromia is seeing on this account.

When Nostromia started playing seriously with this account, her MMR was in the bottom 0.01% of the Hero League population of Europe. As of this morning, when I started looking into this case, the account's MMR has risen to the 45th percentile. This is a massive improvement given the initial placement for her experiment. However, the Matchmaker has been performing admirably, according to the information it had at the time. Each of Nostromia's matches during her rise has been with and against players of similar MMR and Rank to her account's current rating, with very even win probability predictions. Because each of these matches looks even according to the available data, the Rating Update system will think "This player won in a game I thought was even. We'll increase her rating a small amount, since we were pretty sure she belonged here, and see how it goes with and against slightly better players." Winning and losing streaks are not factored into this update, because streaks of this length and consistency are extremely rare occurences, and honestly only happen when there is an extreme change in quality of play for a single account.

To put it simply, one player consistently beating players in Bronze League means the player should rise, but it does not mean the system should move them immediately to Platinum.

There is also talk of the seeming mismatch between Rank changes and MMR changes, indicated by Nostromia's consistently negative Personal Rank Adjustment which, as we've said before, is intended to push players to keep their MMR and Rank closely in sync.

By design, visible Ranks change more quickly than internal Player Ratings. Going on a winning streak is meant to feel good, and will get a player promoted, many times to a Rank that is a little bit higher than the player's normal skill. The length of Nostromia's winning streak is very much an outlier, which exposes the different update speeds much more visibly than players who stick to one account and slowly improve their skills will see. Once Nostromia reaches a rank with other players of her true skill, she will start winning and losing games at a more even rate. At that point, the two different systems will converge on each other.

I've watched Nostromia's stream for a while today, and it is very clear that her play is not that of someone in the lower half of our player base. We're actively researching ways to learn from players' individual performances, in order to move them to where a player of their skill belongs, more quickly. I can't promise timelines on this, or even that the research will bear fruit. We hope to be able to share news on this soon.

Thanks to everyone in this thread for the discussion and interest! All of your feedback is enormously helpful. We will continue to monitor the health of these systems, and work tirelessly to improve your experience as players.

Stay Tight!

P.S. As a side note, I do want to mention that we don't condone players intentionally losing games to lower their rank, nor do we condone account sharing. Intentionally losing games creates a negative experience for 9 other human beings in the game. Account Sharing is a violation of the Battle.Net End User License Agreement. The best thing players can do for themselves, and for their fellow players, is to play on their own account, work hard to win every competitive game, and treat all other players with respect and kindness.

(source)

The Auriel patch will launch this week and Tracer is going to get hit hard, as you can see from the PTR patch notes. A lot of people felt that these nerfs were too harsh, especially for an average-tier, gimmick hero. Game Designer AZJackson pointed out that Tracer can be extremely frustrating to play against and her current win rates are satisfactory.

Blizzard LogoBlizzAZJackson

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Hey there Eugenie,

I've seen a lot of debate about our Tracer changes and wanted to shed some light on what our reasoning was behind the upcoming patch.

To start, we're OK with heroes being under 50% at different points of play. There are a fair number of heroes who are under that win rate that are highly contested in either Hero League or Pro Play that would get out of control if we tried to buff them to be "healthy" at 50%. Tassadar, Illidan, and Abathur are some examples of these kinds of heroes. Tracer definitely falls into this category because she has a ton of mobility, is fairly difficult to play, but in the right hands and team compositions can be a nightmare for the enemy team (and incredibly frustrating to play against). Just because a hero is under or above 50% doesn't mean we will never nerf or buff them to make them match that number. I can tell you that Tracer is not a hero that we intend to be good in every team composition, and we don't expect her to perform at the same power level as a hero like Raynor in every game (we expect Raynor to be more consistent).

One of the most common reasons why we would, for example, nerf a hero who is under 50% is that they have a style of play that we don't consider healthy for the game. This was the case with Tracer's Spatial Echo talent. Tracer already walks a fine line in regards to counter-play where there isn't as much with her as many other characters, and Spatial Echo blew that completely out of the water by taking away the possibility of enemy players learning to look for her Recall location and punishing her once she uses her major cooldown. In general, we're pushing for Recall to be a stronger decision for Tracer players, and for her opponents to look for that cooldown as a window of time where she can be heavily punished.

In regards to her other talents, the changes were along the same line of thinking. Bullet Spray and Total Recall were giving Tracer powerful tools that were missing in her base kit (self-healing and wave clear + AoE damage), so we decided to tone them down to make her more streamlined overall.

Looking at her stats, since Gul'dan was released, her win rates look like this:

All Games (Quick Match + Unranked Draft + Hero/Team League): 49.8%

High rank Hero League: 49.3%

Considering she is intended to be more of a niche hero, these numbers are looking really good for her.

We'll be continuing to keep an eye on her, and if she is hit too hard in the upcoming patch, we're more than willing to buff up some other parts of her kit in the future. :)

(source)

Lastly, Blizzard has taken action against players who disrupted matches by going AFK or intentionally dying. Similar measures (targeting cheaters or win-traders) were taken this week in Overwatch and World of Warcraft, as well.

Blizzard LogoSpyrian

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We’ve just issued a round of account suspensions for players who are frequently reported for AFK/Non-Participation or Intentionally Dying during their matches. This initial wave of suspensions was targeted at a handful of users who have received an extraordinary number of reports over the past 30 days and whose in-game performance data clearly indicates a consistent lack of contribution to their matches. While only a few players have been suspended in each region this time, we anticipate that the number of accounts suspended, or in extreme cases, banned, will increase with future waves as we continue to refine and improve our processes.

Going AFK, refusing to participate, and intentionally dying are behaviors that ruin the experience for everyone else in a match and undermine the spirit of competition that’s essential to Heroes of the Storm. Taking part in such actions will not be tolerated. We encourage you to use the relevant reporting options when you spot players doing these things in your games. (source)

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So basically what the system is doing explains MMR Hell! You win games you go high but your mmr only changes a little bit? so that means if you go high enough, your mmr is way lower than what your rank indicates, so you keep losing to stay in the same rank your mmr is. 

She might go up but what Loesby said is that she will lose more games soonish. So we can see her stuck in mmr hell sooner or later. I'm watching her stream right now, she's winning games where her team listens to her, but right now she's getting frustrated because her team is ignoring her pings and hints and they are losing, exactly a problem any skilled player might have. Specially in diamond where players think they are doing the right thing and ignore pings.

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I just love how Blizzard nerfs heroes with high skill cap into the ground, because "  in the right hands and team compositions [a hero] can be a nightmare for the enemy team". But that's the whole point of having heroes like that in the game! They are very bad if the player is bad, but they are extremely good if the player is good. What's the point of having 50+ heroes in HOTS if no matter how skilled the player is, he/she is always limited by the hero design?

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On 8/6/2016 at 4:52 PM, Zadina said:

Tracer can be extremely frustrating to play against and her current win rates are satisfactory.

So the Hero is at a satisfactory level, but because people find her annoying to fight she gets nerfed? Classic Blizzard, nothing but a slave to the complaints they get on the forums, whether it's balance or not. The whole point of Tracer is to be a high skill cap annoying dps... she fit that perfectly before. Stop basing changes off what people don't like and start actually balancing your games.

under 50% win rates should never call for a nerf, ideally that would show balance in a character, over dominance such as 53%+ maybe but 49% win rates being worthy of a nerf? Seems like the balance team needs to learn the definition of the word.

Edited by WildNerdAppears

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