The new curve of the CS:GO matchmaking


Even if you don’t follow the discussion threads or the game updates and only play CS:GO for fun, you must have certainly noticed a change in the ranking system. In December, starting from the revolver update, a new trend has suddenly spread: players started to derank after each loss. Being in a win streak would not influence or stop it; eventually everyone deranked about 1-4 times before reaching a certain stability. In the patch there was no info about the new ranking system, and as expected, players panicked while losing their precious ranks. 
On reddit, brianlev, a Valve employee, explained what was actually happening:
“We did initiate a slow shift of the Skill Group boundaries recently, due to an increase in players and a substantial upward drift over time in the skill groups distribution. While this won’t impact the quality of your matches (you are matched based on an underlying rank value and not the visible Skill Group), many players will experience a change in their Skill Group as the distribution returns to a bell curve centered approximately at Gold Nova 4. We also shipped a recent update that will automatically monitor and maintain consistency of the players skill groups distribution. That should eliminate the need to make such disruptive boundary adjustments in the future.”
Initially only the best players had a high rank, but over time, more and more people attained a better rank by “exploiting” the old system’s weaknesses. This trend ended up creating a weird rank curve: only 15% of the players were distributed among the first 9 rank levels, while most of them were scattered among the highest ranks. This situation can be considered unrealistic; it is almost impossible to have so many skilled players and so few newbies. The new system heavily modified the curve so most of the players now belong to the average ranks. We can find almost 15% of them in the first 4 ranks and less than 10% in the last 4 - the Global Elites dropped from 2.8% in November to 0.6%.
Credit for the data goes to CS:GO Squad, a database that fetches data from players in random matches. Currently, it includes more than 514,423 players, so it can offer us a proper view of the current rank distribution. We compared the actual results with the ones in November - the average rank now is Gold Nova II. 
Each player has a own hidden ELO, a numerical rank which represents his skill, which has not been modified by this update. Theoretically, we will continue playing against players of our same skill level. The rank shown in our profiles doesn’t heavily influence our matchmaking life. We aren’t against the new system, but we believe that a major degree of communication from Valve is necessary. An official statement included in the update could have surely caused an initial burst of complaints, but in the end, the players would have accepted the new situation. Acting secretly, Valve confused their own players and betrayed their trust. 
Valve and any other game developer should place higher value on their players because we are all human beings who can be heavily affected by the environment in which we live and, in today’s society, games also have a huge impact on our life. While playing CS:GO along the years, you have certainly developed your ideas on certain cultures or kinds of people. These ideas can be wrong or right, it does not matter, but we can’t deny that our gaming life is also going to affect our everyday life. With this sudden change, without the slightest warning, Valve has probably upset the mental state of many passionate players who have devoted months or years to their game.
AuthorSkulz Date11 January 2016, 12:56 Views208601 Comments0
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