Topic: [Dota 2] Dota 2

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Three Spirits Update
14 November 2013, 8:14 pm

Here we go!

The latest Dota 2 update introduces the three amigos: Ember Spirit, Storm Spirit and Earth Spirit, and features like Crafting, Coaching and the givin’ of the Diretide.

You can visit the Three Spirits Update page for more info by clicking the image below.



 

The update should be hitting the Test client any second now and your regular Dota 2 client tomorrow.

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Posted: January 27, 2014, 05:00:09 pm
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Matchmaking
7 December 2013, 3:42 pm

Over the past several months we’ve been working on improving matchmaking. In this post we’d like to share with you where matchmaking currently stands and give you a sneak peek on an upcoming matchmaking feature.

Ranked Matchmaking is Coming

The next major update will add a ranked matchmaking feature to the game. This mode is aimed at experienced players who want to play in a more competitive environment and know their matchmaking rating (MMR). Dota 2 matchmaking has always calculated MMR and used it to form matches; in ranked matchmaking we make that MMR visible.

Here’s what you need to know about ranked matchmaking:

  • Ranked matchmaking is unlocked after approximately 150 games.
  • All players in the party must have unlocked the mode.
  • Currently, only All Pick, Captains Mode, and Captains Draft are available.
  • You may not participate in ranked matchmaking while in the low priority pool.
  • Coaches are not allowed in ranked matchmaking.
  • Matches played in normal matchmaking do not impact your ranked matchmaking MMR, and vice versa.
  • Your ranked MMR is visible only to you and your friends. The MMR used for normal matchmaking is not visible.
  • When you first start using ranked matchmaking, you will enter a calibration phase of 10 games. During this time, your ranked MMR will not be visible.
Your Matchmaking Rating (MMR)

Dota 2 uses standard techniques to quantify and track player skill. We assign each player an MMR, which is a summary metric that quantifies your skill at Dota 2. After each match, we update your MMR based on what happened in that match. In general, when you win, your MMR will go up, and when you lose, your MMR will go down. Win/loss is the primary criteria used to update MMR, but individual performance also plays a role, especially when our uncertainty about your MMR is high. It is possible for an individual MMR to increase after a loss or decrease after a win, but in general the winning team’s average MMR will increase and the losing team’s MMR will decrease.

We also track our uncertainty about your MMR. New accounts and those playing in Ranked Matchmaking for the first time have high uncertainty. Higher uncertainty allows larger adjustments after each match, and lower uncertainty leads to smaller adjustments. Together, the MMR and uncertainty can be interpreted as a probability distribution of performance in your next game; the MMR itself serves as the mean of this distribution and the uncertainty is its standard deviation. If the match outcomes (both the win/loss and individual performance) repeatedly match our expectations, the uncertainty tends to decrease until it reaches a floor. A surprising match outcome will tend to cause an increase in uncertainty.

We actually track a total of four MMRs for each player:

  • Normal matchmaking, queuing solo
  • Normal matchmaking, queuing with a party
  • Ranked matchmaking, queuing solo
  • Ranked matchmaking, queuing with a party
Each of the two ranked MMRs has its own calibration period. Under certain circumstances, we may need to reactivate calibration, if we think the MMR is inaccurate.

To give you a feel for the range of MMR, below are some MMRs corresponding to various percentiles.

 5% 1100 10% 1500 25% 2000 50% 2250 75% 2731 90% 3200 95% 3900 99% 4100
Note that this distribution is from normal matchmaking. We don’t know yet what the distribution will be in ranked matchmaking, but we expect it to be different. The players who participate in ranked matchmaking will be more skilled, more experienced players. We anticipate that any given player will have different expectations and play the game differently in ranked matchmaking compared to normal matchmaking.

What Makes a Good Match?

The ultimate goal of automated matchmaking in Dota 2 is for players to enjoy the game. The matchmaker seeks matches with the following properties (listed in no particular order):

  • The teams are balanced. (Each team has a 50% chance to win.)
  • The discrepancy in skill between the most and least skilled player in the match is minimized. This is related to team balance, but not the same thing.
  • The discrepancy between experience (measured by the number of games played) between the least experienced player and the most experienced player is minimized. More on this below.
  • The highest skill Radiant player should be close to the same skill as the highest skill Dire player.
  • Each team contains about the same number of parties. For example, the matchmaker tries to avoid matching a party of 5 against against 5 individual players.
  • Players’ language preferences contains a common language. Lack of a common language among teammates’ language preferences is strongly avoided. Lack of a common language across the whole match is also avoided, but less strongly.
  • Wait times shouldn’t be too long.
The matchmaker seldom achieves all of those goals perfectly. For any potential match, the matchmaker assigns a quality score for each of the criteria above and then takes a weighted average. When the overall quality score exceeds a threshold, the match is considered “good enough” and the match is formed. We’re constantly experimenting with different match criteria and how to prioritize them.

The matchmaker does not directly try to achieve any particular win rate for players. However, we do try to ensure that each team has a 50% chance of winning in any given match. (This is criteria #1 in the listed above.) We do not examine individual win / loss streaks or try to end them. However, if you are on a winning streak, in general your MMR is probably rising, which will tend to cause you to be matched with higher skilled opponents and teammates. Win rate is not a meaningful measure of player skill.

Win count is also not useful as indicator of skill, and the matchmaker does not use it for that purpose. We do try to group players by their level of experience (criteria #3 in the list above), primarily because we have found that players at the same skill level but different experience level differ in their expectations of how the game is to be played. Our measurement of “experience” for matchmaking purposes is an approximately logarithmic function of the number of games played. The difference in experience between 40 games and 120 games is considered to be about the same as the difference between 120 games and 280.

You can visualize the impact of goals #2 and #3 with a chart where number of games played is the horizontal axis and MMR is the vertical axis. If two players are close together in the diagram, they are considered good candidates to put into a match together. Players who are far apart are considered a poor match. The typical career trajectory of a player new to Dota 2 as he gains experience and moves towards the right is to gradually move upwards as their skill increases. When skilled players create new accounts, they follow a bit different trajectory. Their MMR rises relatively quickly, placing them into the top lefthand corner of the diagram, where they will be matched with other players whose skill is high relative to their experience level.

What About Parties?

When parties are involved, things get a bit more complicated. Parties often contain players with a wide discrepancy in skill and experience. For the purposes of measuring the goodness-of-fit criteria listed as #2 and #3 above, the matchmaker assigns each party aggregate skill and experience numbers. It is these party numbers that are used rather than the individual. In general, when a party with a wide skill range is matched with a solo player, the solo player will have skill and experience near the average of the party. If you notice that one player seems to be significantly less skilled than the other players in the match, it is very likely that they are partied with a high skilled player.

Also, when players are in a party, they typically perform better than players of equivalent skill who don’t know each other. We account for this in two ways. First, we track your skill when queuing alone separately from when queuing in a party. Second, we adjust the effective MMRs based on the number of players in the party and the distribution of skill within the party.

Here’s an example match that was formed today that demonstrates both of these principles in action.

        RADIANT                        DIRE Party     MMR   AdjMMR        Party     MMR  AdjMMR D        2994     3003        C        3046    3062 F        2788     2788        C        2920    2936 A        2687     2687        E        2716    2716 F        2626     2627        B        2672    2672 D        2401     2410        C        2100    2116 TOTAL            13515        TOTAL           13502
Observe that the average adjusted MMR for all of the parties is around 2700. When the players on a team are sorted by adjusted rank, as they are above, the solo players tend to be bracketed above and below by players playing in parties; furthermore, a party with a smaller MMR spread (party F) tends to get bracketed by a party with a larger MMR spread (party D). These patterns are typical. Also notice that party D got a bigger MMR adjustment as a result of the larger MRR spread. Party F, which is formed of players of more equal skill, received a lower bonus. These adjustments were determined using statistical tools (more on this below), but an intuitive explanation is that your performance improves more when partying with a higher skilled player than it does when playing with another player of your same skill.

Data Driven Process

Measuring success in matchmaking is difficult. Players’ appraisals of matchmaking quality are highly correlated with their recent win rate. This includes the members of the Dota 2 team! To avoid emotion and small sample size leading us to “Matchmaking is working well; I’ve been winning”, we try to make design decisions objectively using data. Fortunately, we gather a lot of it. For example, you might wonder how we determined how to adjust effective MMRs to account for the fact that players in a party tend to perform better than players of equivalent skill queuing solo. We used a statistical tool known as logistic regression, which essentially works by trying to create a function that predicts the odds of victory. This function contains several coefficients which determine the MMR bonus given to players in a party. Then we use numerical techniques to solve for the coefficients that produce the function which is most accurately able to predict the match outcome.

Another example of how data drives the matchmaking design process is in deciding when a match is “good enough” and should be accepted, and when we should keep you waiting in hopes of a better match. To help tune this threshold, we start with a measure of match quality. The ultimate goal of matchmaking is fun, and we have several metrics which we use to measure match quality. One such metric measures balance, based on the difference in gold farmed. To be more precise, it’s the time integral of the gold difference, measured since the last point in the game where the difference was zero. This is easily visualized on the gold difference graph. Find the last time when the graph crosses zero, and then measure the area between the horizontal axis and the graph. In general, the smaller this area is, the closer the game was.

Although at one point in this match the Dire had a 10K gold advantage, the Radiant came back and then pulled ahead, only to have their gold lead reversed again. Despite the fact that at one point in time one team appeared to have a significant lead, our balance calculation judges this match a close game.

Armed with this metric (among others) we have an experimental way to tune the wait time thresholds. We make an adjustment to the threshold, and then observe what this does to the quality of matches, as measured by the distribution of the match balance metric. It’s not critical if the metric misidentifies some edge cases (a game that it measures as close was actually a blowout), since we are typically are only concerned with the aggregate response after making a change.

Conclusion

Hopefully this blog post has given you some insight into how the matchmaker currently works, as well as how we evaluate success and make design decisions. Like most everything else we do, matchmaking is subject to constant reevaluation. Matchmaking will never be perfect, and the technical details in this post refer to the current state of affairs and are likely to change as we find better approaches. We listen to your feedback, and we’re constantly working to improve.

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Reply #1 Posted: January 27, 2014, 05:00:09 pm
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FINALLY FROSTIVUS
10 December 2013, 8:24 am



Events beyond our control caused last year’s wintry celebration to be cancelled, but this year we’re not letting anything stop us. Check in on our official Frostivus page as the Wreath-Night proceedings get underway…

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Reply #2 Posted: January 27, 2014, 05:00:10 pm
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Frosti… Wraith-Night
12 December 2013, 12:20 pm



Your benevolent King has declared this coming December 12th an official holiday with the introduction of the Wraith-Night. A great and prosperous time is guaranteed for the entire family with festivities like the Harvesting of Souls. The little ones will especially enjoy playing in the snow while our Great Leader watches over from his Altar.

We love our King and are happy to provide souls for his Second Coronation. Remember, kill as many enemies as possible to hurry the return of the Great One.

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Reply #3 Posted: January 27, 2014, 05:00:11 pm
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The Age of Sign-Ups has Ended
17 December 2013, 2:43 pm



For the past several months, access to Dota 2 has been granted through a queue system that gated entry into the community. We’ve used this system to gradually increase the size of our playerbase, as we ramped up our infrastructure and improved the experience for new players. As we have recently completed a set of server management upgrades as well as released a huge number of enhancements to the new user experience, we’re going to remove all restrictions to playing Dota 2.

Signups are no longer required to access the game, and we encourage everyone to join the 6.5 million active monthly users currently playing Dota 2. If you have a friend who hasn’t tried Dota 2 yet, be sure to take advantage of the new recruitment feature to get additional bonuses for both you and your friend.

To download and start playing Dota 2, you can head to the Dota 2 Steam page and click the green ‘PLAY GAME’ button. We hope you’ll join the Dota 2 community.

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Reply #4 Posted: January 27, 2014, 05:00:12 pm
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Be a part of the next Dota 2 Event
19 December 2013, 1:24 pm



With Wraith-Night now well underway, we want to put out a call to any artists who would like to participate, through the Dota 2 Workshop, in our next big event. A new event is coming to Dota 2 at the end of January, and we are looking for submissions that draw on visual themes from the Chinese New Year, Chinese history, and springtime. Be sure to mark your submissions using the “Spring2014″ tag when placing your items on the Workshop. For everyone else, the best way to help is to visit the Workshop often and vote for which items you’d like to see in Dota. All submissions must be on the Workshop by January 15th. Good luck, and have fun!

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Reply #5 Posted: January 27, 2014, 05:00:12 pm
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Wraith-Night Reinforcements
20 December 2013, 2:33 pm



Merry not-Frostivus! Though the Wraith King may have risen, the clueless creep hordes still seek to destroy his royal Altar. That means Wraith-Night continues, and to help ensure the Altar sees the light of dawn, five more heroes have entered the battle: Elder Titan, Queen of Pain, Storm Spirit, Templar Assassin, and Witch Doctor!

It seems a few of you have earned the Wraith King’s Favor and amassed a pile of Wraith-Night Ossuaries and Relic recipes, and now sit upon an oceanic treasure hoard of valuable Shining Fragments. Did you know you can exchange your Shining Fragments for Phantom Fragments in the “Redeem Fragments” menu? Don’t let a single Fragment go to waste. Tis the season to pry open Wraith-Night Reliquaries, and stuff your chainmail stockings with even more Frozen items!

Need more reasons to get back out there? We’ve crammed in a few new rewards to whet your appetite for more Wraith-Night carnage. Now you can put your hard-earned Fragments toward the new Wraith-Night Feretory, which contains a fresh handful of exclusive items, or pick up the recipe to craft the Evergreen Stalker treant for Nature’s Prophet. So grab your sword, your bow, your staff, or your hand-energy thingies, and make Your King proud!

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Reply #6 Posted: January 27, 2014, 05:00:13 pm
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The Final Fragment Doubledown
4 January 2014, 2:23 pm



In honor of those heroes who have valiantly fought the forces of Frostivus Eve to keep their King enthroned, we are extending Wraith-Night through the weekend and doubling the drop-rate for both Shining and Phantom Fragments.

If you happen to be just “this close” to collecting the fragments you need for completing a Wraith-Night Relic or Offering, you now have a chance to close the gap faster than ever.

While Wraith-Night ends on January 6, you will still have the ability to redeem your prized fragments for gifts through the end of the month. In addition, any time remaining on your Wraith King’s Favor will be converted into 80% Battle Point Booster time.

So give your thanks to the Wraith King for his double-edged generosity, and prepare to receive his puzzling gratitude as he rises and attempts to slay you for a few more nights.

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Reply #7 Posted: January 27, 2014, 05:00:13 pm
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Spring Event Deadline Extended
15 January 2014, 1:07 pm



Are you one of the many artisans eager to be a part of our Spring 2014 event? As you know, we had some technical issues, and a few of you asked if we could extend the deadline. Good news: we’re doing exactly that! You now have until Monday, January 20th to get your submissions turned in for consideration. We’ll also be doing several releases over the course of the event, so even if you’re cutting it especially close you’ll still have a chance to be part of the fun. Remember to mark your submissions with the “Spring2014” tag to make certain we see it. To everyone else out there: incredible new submissions are appearing all the time, so don’t forget to check back often and vote for what you’d like to see on the Dota 2 store!

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Reply #8 Posted: January 27, 2014, 05:00:14 pm
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Prepare for the New Bloom Festival
27 January 2014, 7:56 am

As the cold days grow longer and the first blooms slowly reach above the snow, powers both benevolent and savage have begun to stir. Discover the first of many developments that the coming renewal will bring to the world of Dota. The New Bloom Festival is about to commence!



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The Chaos of the New Bloom Festival
28 January 2014, 8:51 am

New life means new chaos. As the Year Beast stirs from its slumber, a much darker presence prepares to unleash itself upon the world of Dota. But the chaos doesn’t end there: every hero, and every power, will feel its impact. The New Bloom Festival approaches!

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Reply #10 Posted: January 28, 2014, 11:00:12 am
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Sweet TB finally and some good changes - can't wait for this new patch.

Reply #11 Posted: January 28, 2014, 06:51:08 pm

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Rebirth in the New Bloom Festival
29 January 2014, 7:59 am

Out of the cold and chaos come the very things that the New Bloom Festival is here to celebrate: rebirth and renewal. In this final rush of revelations, a cosmic force arrives to light the skies, while the past itself begs to be rewritten. The New Bloom Festival makes ready!

So majestic.

The New Bloom Update will be available tomorrow.

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Reply #12 Posted: January 29, 2014, 11:00:05 am
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The New Bloom Festival Has Arrived
30 January 2014, 1:09 pm

The snows have begun to melt, revealing a ton of new features. Destroy your foes with Terrorblade and Phoenix. Rewrite history using the Replay Takeover feature. Mix up your matches in Random Ability Draft, now accessible at level 5 thanks to your feedback. Then check out all the new content in the Dota store, while keeping an eye out for flash sales throughout the event.

As you’re taking it all in, prepare yourself to face the Year Beast. As you play matches you’ll earn Flamesalt Ingots, which are used to purchase the weapons you’ll need to battle the Year Beast when it appears. The more damage you deal, the better your loot will be.

Need more Ingots? Activate Fortune’s Favor to boost the number of Ingots you find after matches, and begin earning Jade Tokens you can redeem for various prizes.

As you can tell, there’s a lot to see and do during the New Bloom Festival. Fun and prizes await, so dive in and discover for yourself everything that’s in store!

 



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Reply #13 Posted: January 30, 2014, 05:00:12 pm
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The Year Beast Has Come
6 February 2014, 9:06 am

Gather your courage (and your Ingots), for the Year Beast has come! For the next 24 hours, you’ll be able to turn the terror of the Year Beast into the treasures of the New Bloom Festival. Yet facing the beast is not a challenge to be taken lightly. To prepare, we strongly suggest gathering a group of friends, then entering Year Beast Practice to learn about the new weapons at your disposal and to sharpen your strategies. Once you think you’re ready, choose “Fight the Beast” to enter the real battle, where you’ll spend your hard-earned Ingots to equip your chosen hero.

Each Ingot translates to 40 in-game Gold for you to use purchasing equipment and fireworks, as well as using buyback should you expire. Once you’re equipped, start the fight and deal as much damage to the Year Beast as you can. The more damage you deal, the higher you’ll rank, and the more Jade Tokens you’ll receive to redeem toward New Bloom rewards.

After the Year Beast departs, players from groups who dealt damage in the top 10% will each receive the elusive Redhoof courier, and those who earn their way into the top 1% will earn the coveted Jadehoof courier!

Hey
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Good luck!

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Reply #14 Posted: February 06, 2014, 11:01:28 am
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Beasts of New Bloom
7 February 2014, 5:24 pm



At last, true darkness is unleashed! Terrorblade’s Fractal Horns of Inner Abysm are now available for purchase. Equip this Arcana and he’ll have new animations, new spell effects and icons, new death and respawn music, an altered voice, he’ll be able to change the color of his abilities and weapons with gems, and more! If you buy the Fractal Horns during the New Bloom Festival, it will come with an ‘Exalted’ quality.

Meanwhile, as heroes return to their day-to-day grudges and prepare for the Year Beast’s return, a number of changes are being made. First, we’ve significantly increased the number of Flamesalt Ingots you’ll receive after a match, and now you’ll find more Crimson Parcels as well. We’ve also boosted how many Ingots you’ll find in those Parcels.

Additionally, we’re changing how Year Beast teams are formed in order to make sure you’ll be matched up with players investing the same number of Ingots as you. When the Year Beast returns on Friday, you’ll choose from one of several Ingot Tiers. When the match begins, a set amount of Ingots from each player will be collected based on which Tier was selected, ensuring that all players have the same amount of gold to spend on the fight. Jade Token rewards will differ based on which Tier you’re playing.

Speaking of rewards, there will be times when we feel it’s necessary to update the Year Beast battle in the middle of a cycle. When we do so, high scoring players from matches both before and after those changes will be counted and rewarded separately, so you don’t need to worry about competing with players who played a significantly different version of the fight than you.

And for those of you not competing for high damage, but still eager to get your hands on Redhoof, you now have a chance to obtain the Redhoof courier by redeeming Jade Tokens to open a Bloom Harvest or Bloom Bounty.

Prepare yourself: the Year Beast returns on Friday!

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Reply #15 Posted: February 07, 2014, 11:00:08 pm
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New Bloom’s End
18 February 2014, 1:57 pm

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With a defiant roar, the Year Beast prepares to make its final stand. This battle will mark the end of the Year Beast’s reign, so spend all your Ingots and show it what you’re made of! After the beast has departed, remember to redeem your Jade Tokens. Next Tuesday (February 25th), unused Ingots will vanish, and all unspent Jade Tokens will automatically be redeemed toward New Bloom rewards. Good luck, and good hunting!

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Reply #16 Posted: February 18, 2014, 05:00:26 pm
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Free to Play Documentary: Coming Soon
20 February 2014, 7:33 am



Experience the first International through the eyes of players who lived it. Free to Play is Valve’s feature length documentary detailing the efforts of three Dota 2 players as they battle to win the first million dollar grand prize in the history of competitive videogames.

Free to Play will be available for free on Steam March 19th. When the film is out, you’ll be able to show your support for the featured players by purchasing the Free to Play Competitor Pack, which will be available through the Dota 2 Store and Steam. With the Competitor Pack you’ll receive several in-game rewards including pro player item sets for Pudge, Doom, and Sven. You’ll also obtain a Free to Play courier, a special ward, and a custom HUD skin. Plus a portion of each purchase will go toward the players featured in the film: Danil “Dendi” Ishutin, Benedict “HyHy” Lim, and Clinton “Fear” Loomis.

Visit the Free to Play website to watch the trailer and learn more about the film.

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Reply #17 Posted: February 20, 2014, 11:00:36 am
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