Tuesday, February 6, 2018

League Math; or, I Done Learned Something

The League of Legends season has been running for about three weeks. I finished my placements within the first week to take advantage of the quest reward (quests are the tastiest candy), but I've only played a half-dozen ranked games since then. I'm 3-3.

I have 35 LP.

If, by some miracle, anyone reads this who also doesn't know how the League ranking system works, it's based on the Elo rating system that dominates competitive games where people or teams need to be ranked who may never get a chance to play one another. This is common when the competitive pool is not structured in small leagues, but rather allows anyone interested to jump in. Elo ratings use a formula to determine the win rate any player should have against any other player. The more someone plays, the more accurate their Elo rating will be. In a perfect mathematical situation, where a person performs at the exact same level every time against players of the exact same calculated ability and has an exact 50% win rate (such as 3-3!), that person should not see a change in their rating.

LoL doesn't show anyone's rating, or MMR (match making rating). Your only shift comes in LP, and if you lose at 0 LP or win a promotional series at 100 LP, a change in division. However, in the aforementioned perfectly balanced scenario, a 3-3 record starting at 0 LP would also finish at 0 LP. Considering someone playing what the system considers to be a completely equal team will gain or lose 20 LP—which is to say, winning three games without losing any would put you at 60—being at 35 LP at 3-3 feels incredibly strange.

What particularly confused me was this: I'm Bronze 3 at the moment, and it's not like there are only a few players down at this level. Even if we were placed with players possessing a wide variety of MMRs, why would the game always put the highest ones on the other team?

Time for research!

It turns out, if op.gg is correct, that the game higher MMR players on the other team at all. Rather, everybody has a higher MMR than I do. Mine is only 935, which is fresh HOT garbage (although kadeem is only at 810, so at least I'm not a total statistical dumpster fire). Apparently—again, assuming op.gg is correct, though I can't imagine they'd start posting match MMRs unless they were pretty damn sure those numbers mattered—it's just my MMR versus the match MMR. It can't be the other team's MMR, because opposing teams have had pretty serious fluctuations while the game MMRs have been pretty steadily near 1100.

I have to assume going 2-8 in placements is the main reason my MMR is so bad. Still, if I'm 3-3 in ranked, it should have gone up... which means it was lower? Holy shit. Well, I'm not going to complain. If it gets me out of Bronze faster, I don't care if they put my garbage MMR over my name in neon.