Enjoy playing Dota 2 with your friends more than grinding MMR in a possibly hostile pub environment? Valve’s latest matchmaking update just might be the thing you need to pick up your phone and text your friends to get them back in the game.

“We think Dota is best played as a group with friends,” Valve wrote. “To encourage this style of play we’re introducing a few experimental changes with the patch today to improve overall match quality for these kinds of games.”

Dota 2 matchmaking with full parties will be faster, but balance might be an issue

Dota 2 Clash of Heroes loading screen by kunkka
Credit: Valve

The Dota 2 developer released an update this morning, with several restrictions lifted on full five-stacks. These include:

  • Full parties are now permitted to match against any valid opposing team, and are no longer required to match against a full party in ranked.
  • Adjusted matchmaking tuning to make finding a game as a full party faster.
  • Full parties may now all chat “gg” to surrender a match after 30 minutes of game time with the same 10-second countdown and cancel UI as in pro games. This is scored as a loss.

Five-man matchmaking, especially at higher ranks, have a notorious reputation. Parties with Immortal players will all be tagged at that specific MMR, which can result in hugely imbalanced games. Some players are simply not up to par to the particular match’s standards.

Smurfing is also rampant, with many players picking up lower MMR accounts in order to get shorter queue times, play with lower-ranked friends, or simply to stomp on others.

One concern about the latest update is the fact that five-man stacks can now meet solo players, or smaller parties of two and three. This is an inherent advantage that might be difficult to account for. But over time, players who usually play in 5-man parties should have their MMR reflect that.

This could also be another chance for Valve to bring back the old split MMR system, where each account had separate party and solo MMRs.

Still, this feels like an experimental update. Valve, hopefully, will be able to readjust any parameters as necessary, once more data regarding matchmaking is available.

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