Dota 2 Ranks: What Is MMR?

by Fabio

In Dota 2, players can enter into ranked matchmaking. This means they’ll be paired with and put up against players of a similar skill level. This is hugely important for player development. It allows new players to get into the game and learn by playing against comparatively easier opposition. At the same time, better players can refine their skills against top competitors. In order to determine who gets to play with whom, the game uses a ranking system. Dota 2 ranks are determined by a mechanism called MMR.

What Is MMR?

MMR is a shorthand term for “matchmaking rating”. It is a number that gets calculated for every player after completing a  ranked game. The game’s results are then applied to the overall MMR of the players. In that sense, it works similarly to the ELO rating system, where winning matches will increase your rating value and losing will result in a decrease.

However, MMR is not the only factor in matching up pairing up players for matchmaking. The experience of the players and other game metrics, such as gold difference, are applied. Nonetheless MMR serves as the most crucial factor in creating Dota 2 ranks. So how is MMR calculated?

How Is MMR Calculated?

That’s the big question. Valve, the developers of Dota 2, keep this a well-kept secret. This makes perfect sense. If players knew exactly how this metric was being calculated, they could try to abuse it. Finding ways of artificially boosting their MMR, they could climb the ranks and severely mess up the player distribution that the rating was originally designed for. In the end, this would break the system.

So there is no concrete explanation for how MMR works. In a detailed blog post on the introduction of MMR, Valve gave a lot of context around the system. Most importantly, they stated that there are four different figures of MMR at play. Their system tracks solo queue and group results for both normal and ranked games, giving a rating to a player’s performance for each of these scenarios. This makes perfect sense, because the performance of a lone players shouldn’t be compared with their performance within a premade team, where communication and teamwork is likely to be much better.

Uncertainty is also a hugely important value for Valve. Similarly to, for instance, the Glicko rating method, the individual’s performance is not the only metric. Especially for newer players, results won’t be as meaningful because the system has likely not determined their actual, adequate rating just yet. Results with a high amount of uncertainty won’t affect the overall rating as much, since the system can’t accurately capture the participants’ real skill level. Overall, the players’ MMR values highly influence Dota 2 ranks. So what are these ranks?

What Are the Dota 2 Ranks?

Dota 2’s ranking system splits into 9 different overarching categories. Players without prior matchmaking experience are sorted into the “Uncalibrated” category. The medal for such a player will simply show a large question mark. From worst to best, players are then split into the “Herard”, “Guardian”, “Crusader”, “Archon”, “Legend”, “Ancient”, and “Divine” ranks. Each of those ranks then has five subcategories, which are depicted  as stars on the medals. One last rank is reserved for the very best Dota 2 players in the world. 

"Immortal": The most prestigious rank in all of Dota 2
“Immortal”: The most prestigious rank in all of Dota 2

Dota 2 Ranks: Immortal

According to Valve’s own description of the system, there is much more to being an “Immortal” player than just an MMR value. The game features leaderboards for all of the four regions (Europe, America, Southeast Asia, China) and if a player makes it onto that list, they are eligible for the Immortal medal. 

For that to take place, the player needs to have at least 300 matchmaking games on record. 100 of those need to be solo queue games and the player needs to have been active in their division within the last 21 days. Additionally, the player in question needs to have their official information on record. This means that the official leaderboards feature extensive information on the best Dota 2 players in the world. 

The “Immortal” medal is only handed out to the most talented and gifted players the game. So which players have the highest Dota 2 ranks and MMR on record?

The Highest Ranked Dota 2 Players

Platforms such as Dotabuff monitor the Dota 2 solo queue. They regularly publish the highest-ranking players in terms of MMR. Amongst them are mostly professional players.

The ranked leaderboard on Dotabuff

Player such as Zhang “Paparazi” Chengjun from Vici Gaming or Alliance’s Linus “Limmp” Blomdin dominate the international standings. They have recorded all-time highs of over 9000 MMR. But these figures don’t tell the full story. There is still one player beating them in the all-time standings. In 2017, Abed “Abed” Yusop was the first player ever to reach 10k MMR rating during ranked gameplay. Valve updated the ranking model and in 2019, Abed was the first to achieve a five-figure MMR under the new model. The Evil Geniuses player has held this record for some time now, but in May of 2020 he was finally beaten… by himself!

It’s Over 11,000!

Abed is now the proud owner of a third matchmaking record. With an overall MMR that is constantly within the region of 9000 and above, he is at the very top of the world when it comes to solo-queue matchmaking. In terms of Dota 2 MMR ranks, he is obviously a member of the Top 1% and the proud owner of an “Immortal” badge.

Read this: Dota 2 Items, What Items Should I Buy?

What Is My MMR?

If you want to find out your MMR, you can simply open Dota 2 and head to your profile. Under the “Stats” option, your MMR value will be shown. It will also tell you whether you have to complete any more matches before the system can determine your ranking. Beware, these rankings and values get reset at the beginning of every Dota 2 season!

With MMR and ranks, Dota 2 has never had a better system to help young players grow and seasoned players become professionals. The ranking is yours to climb! In time, you will evolve and become ever stronger in this game. There is one more resource you can try out when it comes to improving in Dota 2. As you become increasingly stronger, you will start to develop a competitive mindset. At that point, you might be tempted to enter into amateur- and semi-professional esports tournaments. Bitspawn offers the perfect platform for this. Simply register and start joining virtual competitions. You can fight for real prize money and display your skill level to the world, all while improving in the game you love so much.

Join Bitspawn now and start playing in real esports tournaments!

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