After eight years, Valve have finally updated Dota 2's matchmaking system to end those frustrating situations where five randos are thrown together against an organised party of five. You know, where your team starts bickering over buying wards and you end up muting at least one teamie, while they're laughing with their natural rapport and practised teamwork. Awful. No more! Thanks to last night's update, five-stacks should now only ever be matched against other five-stacks. And solo players will now only ever go against teams who have, at most, one party of two. Glory be!
Valve are in an experimental mood, saying they're not sure how it'll work out but hey, people want it. They explained:
"For any five-player party, they will now only be matched against other five-player parties, regardless of any other matchmaking consideration. We are unsure if an absolute requirement like this will result in net higher quality matchmaking due to the more limited opponent spectrum available in that case, but we know this is an aspect the community talks about often and we are going to do our best to work within those constraints. Similarly, any solo player will now only ever be considered for matches against at most one party of two. This means that from a solo player's perspective, matches will always be either against a team of all five solo players or against three solo players and one party of two. This will be a hard requirement for the matchmaker instead of a situational consideration."
To help get a sense of how well this works, they're brought back the post-game match quality survey and expanded the match evaluation screen too.
Valve are also continuing to crack down on dickheads. Following a spree of 19-year bans for the worst of the worst, they're now blocking text and voice chat for players who have a low-but-not-quite-that-low player rating (3000). Valve say it's unlikely anyone will have a score that low without having consistently been an arse, so don't worry about yourself unless you're an arse. Players who behave themselves enough to climb back above the threshold will regain communications privileges.
"We believe this more gradual user-facing reinforcement mechanism will be valuable for both protecting the larger population from outliers and as a warning system for players who are moving in the wrong direction that might encourage them to improve," Valve say.
Valve have made a whole load of other matchmaking tweaks and fixes too. Read the blog post for more on it all. They also note that they're also planning a big revamp of the new player experience. Again.