Heroes of the Storm: repent sinners, because MMR Hell is indeed real!

So, if you’re playing a MOBA, chances are you are already familiar with the term “MMR hell”, or worse, you can even be stuck in it’s gory depths and wander it’s plains of frustration, despair and flaming. I’ve played DOTA 2 for quite a while, but lately my spare time was ocuppied with the brawls of the Nexus in Blizz’s Heroes of the Storm. In the first seasons i achieved rank 1, and i even wrote about it here, praising my beloved Zagara and giving some general gameplay tips.

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With the introduction of the new ranking system and league distribution, i found myself in diamond 5 after the initial 10 placement matches. After some games, wins/losses, things were going ok, i was climbing steadily, i made it to diamond 3 and i was on my way to the much desired master rank. Then, out of the blue, everything fell apart: i had some really close games that were fun to play by themselves, it really didn’t even feel that bad to lose, BUT there were some really bad ones as well, with people making terrible draft picks/banns, leaving or disconnecting from the match, or just feeding and, the thing i will talk about below, games that were lost due to other people in my team flaming each other and/or giving up, even if it wasn’t too late to comeback.

This game offers you a lot of chances to comeback, especially in the late game, where just a good teamfight can open your way to the enemy’s core, even if, let’s say, you have no more keeps left. There is no buyback here, so if you die around level 20, it will take almost a full minute to revive, and a lot of things can happen before then, like idk, lose the fucking game, even if the enemy’s core is at 2%, so comebacks are real.

One of the most important things i have learned and you should all know sooner or later is that raging and insulting your teamates for a wrong draft/play doesn’t help you win the game but quite the contrary, so i try to appease conflicts and motivate them. Just put yourself in the position of a player who gets shit thrown at him, even for good reason, like making a terrible play, if he would have been told in a decent way what his mistake is and be asked to stay with the team next time or whatever, there are a hell of a lot more chances he will listen, than when he is called a fucker/retard/idiot/moron/shit/kid etc. More so, he could find as well mistakes that others made and capitalise on them and create a gloomy atmosphere that can even culminate with a player being afk in base, leaving or just feeding. We have all been there and seen the results, and they are not pretty, to say the least, at one time i have been there as well, i raged at others for feeding and made them lash back, or if i had been insulted for a good reason or not, i would focus more on finding adjectives that described that person’s mother and noting with sarcasm their mistakes than focusing on the game itselft.

Now, this Hero League game is just an example of how you should handle this type of situations, where things are not looking good:

I’m not a pro HOTS or another MOBA player, but, as i said, i do understand the game, the map specific picks, hero counters and the general gameplay. There are games where i could have done better no doubt about this, where i took unnecessary risks just to get that extra kill and so on, but i can tell you one thing: i’m not the player to first pick Nova or Abathur in draft modes just because i want to play only that, i’m not the Ilidan that goes 0-7 while the rest of the team has 0-1 deaths, i’m not the guy that flames and types “gg” after losing the first teamfight of the game, i’m not the player that stays akf because he is at work and i’m not the one that plays an assasin like KT and has less damage than a tank. And you know what, most of the other people that i played with aren’t those kind of players either, but in this game, IT ONLY TAKES ONE in order to mess up everything and ruin the work of 4 others. Since winning or losing is the only factor that decides your rank/mmr, this can become really frustrating.

So, even if i know the right way to approach a game, i truly master some heroes but i can also fill whatever is needed by the team when we draft, i still found myself in mmr hell. So, i was diamond 3 at one time, and before i knew it i got dragged to plat 4 with 1-2 games away from demotion 🙁 But how can this be you must ask, surely the matchmaking will balance itself out, and chances are the other team will get a feeder/leaver/rager too from time to time, so if both teams are about the same skill and you are beyond that level, you will make the difference and climb the ladder. At least this is what Blizzard intended and actually this is how things went in the preseasons. Then, when i was a total noob, i played around with others same as me, i picked heroes that i liked instead of what the team needed (hell, we didn’t even know what were the good picks for each map or comp), i used bad builds and i even raged when someone correctly pointed that out to me and so on. Point is, i deserved to be there, up to the point i really wanted to improve (playing with friends that knew what they were doing, while i was just going in like a noob and then seeing how they were dissapointed but still wanted to be polite towards me contributed to this). I started to learn builds, try to understand the synergies or different talent choices, stop going alone, laning when the team wasn’t soaking, joining in time for objectives and making map calls myself. After some time i did make it to rank 1, even if i had loss streaks and all that.

Now, in season 1 of 2016, something felt wrong in the matchmaking process, sometimes even at diamond rank, i would have in my team people that didn’t even finish placement and/or accounts that had a few hundred games under their belt and were totally clueless about the game. But hey, don’t take my word for granted:

Played with this guy who was AFK from time to time as he played at his job and his boss would occasionally come near
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Oh and there was this time i filled with heal and tried to keep my team alive but that Tracer…
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I let others carry and tried again to keep them alive, but yeah, probably is my fault Jaina just kept suiciding and i couldn’t heal her for more than a few seconds and that i had more damage than her 🙁
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To hell with soaking, tactics & positioning, chaaaaaarge!
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Jut overall fail
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Even if i play my best hero, and i do my best, “in the end, it doesn’t really matter”
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ming-feeding-arthas

ming-feeding-tracer
ming-kera-feeder

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You have a decent draft, until the last man goes Nova when you don’t have a tank 🙁

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Some games are lost in draft, when people don’t know who to ban and/or make bad first picks, that can be easily countered after. Here some dude was actually telling me to “learn to play” and “who cares about Kt or Ming” A look at the final stats proves me right more than words could

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Or those times when you play tank, on a tank build, and have more damage than an assassin and when you tell him his talents are bad, and he should look up a guide, he says “nah son, i’m not a sheep”
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That low damage feeder Zeratul we all had in our team at one point

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Sometimes miracles do happen, but that still prooves my point
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Winning isn’t always easy, especially when your tank is dead most of the time
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There were some good times too, but still, i hope my point is clear and that i really was in mmr hell, and not in a position that i deserved:

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More so, Blizz’s own system agreed this wasn’t my merited rank, so i got penalised even up to 30 or more points for each match, so i got like 170 for winning and lost 230+ when losing a game. Sure, eventually this hemorrhage of points stops but only after you find yourself a few ranks lower. Ok, what to do now in order to escape this mmr hell?

As i have said above, the attitude and communication matters the most, flaming and name calling can lose a game that would have otherwise be winnable, if you really must tell someone he “fucking sucks” or that he “should go back to LOL/delete the game” you can do that in the score screen, but, if you want to have a chance, try to keep a positive attitude at all times and stop conflicts from escalating between your other teammates. “Chill guys, is still early, we got the better late game, is not lost yet”, or “X, next time please come with us and we win tf” and so on, and if you really know what you’re doing, use the pings to signal if someone is about to get ganked, to call for a regroup etc. IF you really are better than the people you are matched with, that means you have a better understanding or what needs to be done and you should take charge of the game, but if you stay silent and expect to be led by others (who probably deserve to be in that lower rank) then don’t expect miracles. If you take the role of caller and coordinate others, chances are people will listen to you, sure, there will be someone who disagrees from time to time, but in general people listen if you say legit things. Also, know your limits, tell others from the start what your best picks are, but you should have at least 2-3 heroes from each class that you can play decently and be prepared to fill if needed. Personally i preffer playing something similar to a carry in this game, a high damage dealer like Ming, as i can keep myself alive and focus the dps on a target, even if my team doesn’t, but, as i’ve said, that will not be always possible, so you should do your best in other roles as well, a good spec that is soaking 2 lanes can help win a game even if the others don’t perform so well, a healer can help and keep alive a reckless charger and so on.

Using all of these advices, i was able to climb up from platinum 4, where i was 1-2 games away from demotion, back to diamond, and at one time i even had 16 wins in a row. Still, this experience was frustrating, as in more than one ocassion i did everything in my power, but no amount of skill or civil chat can secure a win after someone in your team picks a Nova when you need a tank/healer or when you get matched with the type of person that swears and mutes the team, then proceeds to do his own thing, that usually means feeding. Or you can get matched with players that have a few hundred games and/or are still doing their placement, even if they are well-intended, they just lack the experience to handle some combos or specific situations. Now THIS is something Blizzard should fix, as they have done so many times in the past in all of their games, even if they sure did take their sweet time in some matters.

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