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People always talk about tenz being so good at the game and stuff, but sometimes I watch his stream and he will be bottomfragging vs diamonds and immortals. Not trying to hate but just curious. If he's so much better, wouldn't he be able to win vs low ranked players consistently?

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about 1 month ago - /u/EvrMoar - Direct link

This is an interesting comment, but when we investigate pros(or high ranking players) they are on those spots in the leaderboard because they do win against low ranked players.

Ranked, while complex in math, is simply a ladder. If you beat those around/above you, you climb. You can look at the top players in Radiant and most have a 60+% winrate.(of course because how MMR works winrate isn't always the best indicator of high ranking player, a high ranking player is worth more then a low ranking player when you win)

I think it may be a mix of confirmation bias, and the fact that at the end of the day our time to kill on lots of weapons is instant along with skill variance. You'll remember the streams where TenZ gets killed by an immortal 1, but he's still winning most of his matches.

In terms of why they may lose against low skill players, it happens. When I was in pro play we went from beating the #1 team in the world, and the very next day losing to a 32 seed team. Your skill, how you're performing, how you read your opponent, how your playstyle may clash, how your random teammates may work in sync, your mental, etc. are all a factor. Most players play within a range of skill, and if a player is burnt out they can severely underperform or get tilted. This is why consistency is usually a very big indicator of a high skill player, rather than a low skill player that randomly has a good game. If you look at the top players they are very consistent, and while they may drop games they are consistently winning more than losing.

about 1 month ago - /u/EvrMoar - Direct link

Originally posted by cyberprodigy

I think it may be a mix of confirmation bias, and the fact that at the end of the day our time to kill on lots of weapons is instant along with skill variance. You'll remember the streams where TenZ gets killed by an immortal 1, but he's still winning most of his matches.

I know OP's post mentions winning specifically but I think it is important to make the distinction between individual performance and match outcome while discussing this topic. No one can win 100% of their matches in a game like Valorant with so many variables outside of any single player's control. I think it is better to focus the discussion on TenZ's individual performance instead: how is the most skilled player in the world not just losing matches but getting dominated by players way below their skill level?

In terms of why they may lose against low skill players, it happens. When I was in pro play we went from beating the #1 team in the world, and the very next day losing to a 32 seed team.

Not a very fair comparison since TenZ wasn't playing against pros or in a team environment.

Your skill, how you're performing, how you read your opponent, how your playstyle may clash, how your random teammates may work in sync, your mental, etc. are all a factor. Most players play within a range of skill, and if a player is burnt out they can severely underperform or get tilted.

I doubt a player like TenZ is going to be affected enough by these factors to cause him to perform so poorly.

This is why consistency is usually a very big indicator of a high skill player, rather than a low skill player that randomly has a good game.

TenZ is arguably the best player in the world yet still inconsistent enough to bottom frag in Diamond/Immortal?

If you look at the top players they are very consistent, and while they may drop games they are consistently winning more than losing.

Big difference between losing to other professional players in Radiant and bottom fragging against randoms in Diamond/Immortal.

I think hand waving my above points and just saying "Why does he bottom frag against randoms in Diamond/Immortal" is not very fair.

I tried to tackle both sides of the "Win a match" vs "Win against X players"(When I say Win against X player, it means winning a duel not the match, sorry I speak this way because Encounter MMR is winning the duel, which is winning against that player specifically)

The fact of the matter is you have bad games. It doesn't matter how good you are, there will be days a Diamond/Immortal player can get the best of you. I beat TenZ in a DM in last Episode, but I'm not even Immortal, that's how the cookie crumbles. Maybe he was off, maybe he was trying something new, maybe he was having a tough game. Even grandmasters in chess lose games against people way below them because there is always the chance someone did something you didn't account for or you played poorly.

Also I think that there is a misconception in how much better Aim someone in Radiant has over a Diamond player. I am only Gold this season, but I play in playtest every day against players that are former CS pros and current Radiants. I have games where I top frag, and I win duels against these players regularly. Granted I've played in top esport teams(not tac shooters), and have the aim to stand against these players, but it's just a great example of aim vs game sense.

A combination of both current performance(Tilted or On Fire), as well as the roll of the dice in terms of players lucking into standing somewhere you didn't check/doing something unexpected, can make for vastly different game performances. Even if we were to look at just their Encounter MMR(the half of your MMR that measures duels you win) the top players are still at the top so they are consistently winning duels against those below them. There aren't players that are Radiant but have Diamond Encounter MMR for example.

Also MMR systems(even ours) watches your variance and knows you perform within a range and adjusts based on that range you can perform in. That's the whole reason you even get matched with players below you, is because sometimes you play at their level.

(Also I haven't seen these matches with pro players bottom fragging against Diamonds/Immortals. I don't doubt they happen, but when I watch streams I've never seen them occur. I would love an example of a match, but also know that the match maker is putting the player in matches it thinks is around their skill. Everyone bottom frags, people aren't immune to it. It might be weird if they were on a smurf and on their way up bottom fragged when in diamond. I think this whole argument rests on something I see occasionally and doesn't consistently occur.)

about 1 month ago - /u/EvrMoar - Direct link

Originally posted by cyberprodigy

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my comment even though it came across as unfair. I am just a faithful player who is genuinely interested in Riot's view on the current state of this issue.

The fact of the matter is you have bad games. It doesn't matter how good you are, there will be days a Diamond/Immortal player can get the best of you.

I agree with you but I am interested in why this inconsistency is so pronounced in Valorant compared to other e-sports games like CS:GO or Rocket League in which the skill gap between the top 5% of players and the very best is astonishingly high. Is it because Valorant rewards mechanical skill less much than these games?

I beat TenZ in a DM in last Episode, but I'm not even Immortal, that's how the cookie crumbles. Maybe he was off, maybe he was trying something new, maybe he was having a tough game.

You won the DM or you outperformed TenZ in your gunfights against him? Regardless, I think TenZ cares less about a DM than a competitive match and I highly doubt he bottom fragged.

Even grandmasters in chess lose games against people way below them because there is always the chance someone did something you didn't account for or you played poorly.

This is also a poor comparison because chess is a strategy game which revolves entirely around cerebral skill. It doesn't require any mechanical skill with a realistic impact on the outcome of the game. Valorant on the other hand is heavily reliant on mechanical skill as expressed through aiming, movement, ability usage, etc. There is a cerebral aspect to Valorant too but it is only part of what encompasses a player's overall "skill" in the game.

A better non-video game comparison in my opinion would be comparing TenZ to a world class athlete in a game like basketball. LeBron James is an easy example. Let's say you put LeBron James during his prime in a pick-up league consisting of random amateur-level players who never played professionally. How likely do you think it would be for LeBron to ever score the least amount of points for his team in this league? I know this comparison isn't perfect but I would be willing to bet that the answer will be no 100% of the time regardless of his teammates, his team's effort, the opposing team's effort, etc.

Also I think that there is a misconception in how much better Aim someone in Radiant has over a Diamond player. I am only Gold this season, but I play in playtest every day against players that are former CS pros and current Radiants. I have games where I top frag, and I win duels against these players regularly. Granted I've played in top esport teams(not tac shooters), and have the aim to stand against these players, but it's just a great example of aim vs game sense.

Is this not indicative of Valorant lacking a significant mechanical skill gap? Do you think it's a good thing that a Gold-Diamond player is able to (sometimes) compete against the best players in the game?

A combination of both current performance(Tilted or On Fire), as well as the roll of the dice in terms of players lucking into standing somewhere you didn't check/doing something unexpected, can make for vastly different game performances.

These things exist in CS:GO and other games as well. It doesn't explain why Valorant in particular feels so inconsistent.

As for the rest of your reply, I understand that MMR systems do the best they can to determine the "true" rank of a player and that they will never be perfect. However, the inconsistency being discussed is in relation to the gameplay of Valorant, not the matchmaking system.

I am just a faithful player who is genuinely interested in Riot's view on the current state of this issue.

I'm going to give you my thoughts on the subject. While I do work for Riot(almost a year now!) this is the opinion of someone who has worked in FPS's, played competitively, and now works on Valorant. While I may have insight in the game and what's going on, and of course I'm speaking as the competitive designer, this isn't an "OFFICIAL RIOT STANCE"; I don't think the statements you're making have a "This is the answer" because a lot of this is immeasurable and without data to support anything. I will just give you what I think is happening, or what I've seen over my time in the games space.

A great example of this is how do you measure the "Mechanical Skill" levels of a game? The answer is you don't, at least we don't know how right now. Plus you would have to be able to pull data from multiple games, and publishers that aren't willing to share that data with each other even if they did have it. Right now there is just a lot of "I think this game is harder/easier based off X, Y, Z" which can lead to great discussions but does not do anything in furthering this topic. I almost didn't want to write out as detailed of an answer I'm about to give because of this very idea. At the end of the day why does it matter? If the game is fun, and you enjoy it, and people enjoy watching it, it doesn't matter how complex or non-complex it is. The focus shouldn't be on "Why is this game more mechanically complex" and should be "Am I enjoying this game more then the other". Sure if the sole deciding factor is you wanting to know which is more difficult, then I think there are probably more underlying bias's in the decision(Like just favoring one over the other).

I agree with you but I am interested in why this inconsistency is so pronounced in Valorant compared to other e-sports games like CS:GO or Rocket League in which the skill gap between the top 5% of players and the very best is astonishingly high. Is it because Valorant rewards mechanical skill less much than these games?

I don't see this at all, I see alot of people THINK there is inconsistency without evidence. Immortal is top 1% of all players, diamond is still in the top 5%. So I would say that low Diamond to Radiant is a decent skill gap. Do I think it's possible that a Diamond player could have a good day and beat a Radiant, absolutely! Do I think that means Valorant has an issue with skill expression and mechanical skill requirements to play the game? No, that's ridiculous. I think my point that people can play in a wide range of skill, having good or bad days, is very valid.

You won the DM or you outperformed TenZ in your gunfights against him? Regardless, I think TenZ cares less about a DM than a competitive match and I highly doubt he bottom fragged.

I was just providing my personal evidence of an encounter where TenZ didn't perform well. We even see it on stream. Just because I like to DM a ton, and maybe don't have the game sense to compete at a high level with TenZ, doesn't mean I can't win aim duels against him.

This is also a poor comparison because chess is a strategy game which revolves entirely around cerebral skill.

Technically I think chess is closer then actual sports, when comparing to video games. Video games are all cerebral, with maybe requiring fine motor skill and reaction time not required in something like Chess. Someone can pick up a game and become a pro within a year, where as sports often requires a huge physical demand and can be very strict in the genetics department. Not saying genetics doesn't play a part in gaming either, but things as simple as height even effect your skill in sports.

I know this comparison isn't perfect but I would be willing to bet that the answer will be no 100% of the time regardless of his teammates, his team's effort, the opposing team's effort, etc.

continuing off my paragraph above, I think this is a bad comparison. Lebron is going to be way more physically in shape, have had a lifetime dedicated to perfecting this with multi-million dollar staff that have studied and built "How to build the perfect athlete" with the past 100+ years of learnings. Maybe in 100 years we will be able to do the same with esport athletes, but the physical fitness requirement is just so massive in sports. This is a big maybe because we need to learn more about the brain, because physical fitness isn't even a current requirement to be good in games.(we aren't even sure how age has a factor, we just found out reaction time might not decay like we thought it did)

Is this not indicative of Valorant lacking a significant mechanical skill gap?

Not at all. Reaction time peaks, take anyone above Diamond(maybe even plat) and I'm willing to be they have similar reaction time even to radiant players. We can't measure aim too well, I mean aim labs and aim trainers are probably the closest thing we have. So I can't make an assumption on aiming, but I'd be willing to bet aiming skill also peaks somewhere(or has diminishing returns). I think at higher ranks it's less of "When I peak will I land the flick" and more of "How consistently will I land that flick after I peak". A plat/diamond player can beat a Radiant in a duel, because they will sometimes land the flick just as fast/faster then the radiant. But if you made them do it over and over the Radiant would come out on top.

Do you think it's a good thing that a Gold-Diamond player is able to (sometimes) compete against the best players in the game?

Again, I don't think this is a problem. In Warzone you can go kill NickMercs or TimTheTatMan tonight, if you got the drop on them. You can watch some of the best players in that game go an entire night without winning one BR. That's FPS games. I've played with top players in the world in shooters and watched them bottom frag in COD, PUBG, CSGO, Unreal Tournament, Quake, etc. When the only requirement is react fast(which is something almost all high level players even out in), aim accurately, and "do you have the drop?", I think it's pretty easy to see how just a few factors can go right or wrong to have a good/bad game. Even in the days before match making and you just had server selection, the best players would play against the worst and sometimes the worst would show up. I remember plenty of insta-gib servers in unreal tournament running into "pro players"(which didn't really exist back then outside of Fatal1ty) and beating them, as a scrub 8 year old.

We really need evidence of these things happening, because a "feeling" or a few people saying "Oh this mechanic makes this game easier/harder" is just setting you up for confirmation bias. At the end of the day you are going to be aiming at a head and clicking, and you are going to be doing faster or slower then your opponent. You play by the same rules, one of you is going to mechanically be better. I have seen arguments of "Valorant is higher skill" or "CSGO is higher skill" honestly they are just different and people have their preferences. You approach both games as shooters, and maybe there is lots of basic skill overlap, but you have to have to actually think about moment to moment very differently in both games. Again, as my point above, I think that's amazing and exciting!

These things exist in CS:GO and other games as well. It doesn't explain why Valorant in particular feels so inconsistent.

To me, and lots of other people, I don't feel this inconsistency. If Valorant was inconsistent ranked would also be very inconsistent. People would not get hard stuck, they would fluctuate in extreme ways. You would go from being bronze, to gold, to silver, to iron, etc. We don't see this, most people get to a rank and stick around that rank for a long time and slowly improve with more matches and time invested. Inconsistency would be reflected in our data, in players ranked movements, and our match maker would be EXTREMELY inaccurate because it wouldn't be able to gauge where anyone belongs. But our match maker is accurate, and we see that players do settle in a certain skill area because consistency does exist. This isn't to shout out our match maker, it's just a way you would see your statement that Valorant is inconsistent, or ranks are in a sense "meaningless of skill definition"(which is basically what you are poking at I think?).

Lastly I think you also have to look at it this way. Valorant is EXTREMLY young. The communities you are talking about, especially CSGO, have been around for years if not over a decade. The community hasn't even figured out Valorants true meta, regions are just starting to interact with eachother, and the community as a whole is getting better extremely fast because the game is so young. Valorant a year ago is very different then today, but you can't say that for a game like CSGO where the game has been figured out and the whole community knows how the game should be played.

This can be seen by saying things like "There is 0 chance a player doesn't know how to counter strafe as a GE in CSGO". The community hasn't had those line in the sands drawn yet, hasn't fully figured out the requirements and strategies expected of certain ranks. I mean league of legends in the past 5 years has just really solidified what it means to manipulate waves of minions, that took almost 6 years before that was a required strategy for anything below the top players(now it's something even gold players know).

(continued in reply, I hit limit)

about 1 month ago - /u/EvrMoar - Direct link

Originally posted by EvrMoar

I am just a faithful player who is genuinely interested in Riot's view on the current state of this issue.

I'm going to give you my thoughts on the subject. While I do work for Riot(almost a year now!) this is the opinion of someone who has worked in FPS's, played competitively, and now works on Valorant. While I may have insight in the game and what's going on, and of course I'm speaking as the competitive designer, this isn't an "OFFICIAL RIOT STANCE"; I don't think the statements your making have a "This is the answer" because a lot of this is immeasurable and without data to support anything. I will just give you what I think is happening, or what I've seen over my time in the games space.

A great example of this is how do you measure the "Mechanical Skill" levels of a game? The answer is you don't, at least we don't know how right now. Plus you would have to be able to pull data from multiple games, and publishers that aren't willing to share that data with each other even if they did have it. Right now there is just a lot of "I think this game is harder/easier based off X, Y, Z" which can lead to great discussions but does not do anything in furthering this topic. I almost didn't want to write out as detailed of an answer I'm about to give because of this very idea. At the end of the day why does it matter? If the game is fun, and you enjoy it, and people enjoy watching it, it doesn't matter how complex or non-complex it is. The focus shouldn't be on "Why is this game more mechanically complex" and should be "Am I enjoying this game more then the other". Sure if the sole deciding factor is you wanting to know which is more difficult, then I think there are probably more underlying bias's in the decision(Like just favoring one over the other).

I agree with you but I am interested in why this inconsistency is so pronounced in Valorant compared to other e-sports games like CS:GO or Rocket League in which the skill gap between the top 5% of players and the very best is astonishingly high. Is it because Valorant rewards mechanical skill less much than these games?

I don't see this at all, I see alot of people THINK there is inconsistency again without evidence. Immortal is top 1% of all players, diamond is still in the top 5%. So I would say that low Diamond to Radiant is a decent skill gap. Do I think it's possible that a Diamond player could have a good day and beat a Radiant, absolutely! Do I think that means Valorant has an issue with skill expression and mechanical skill requirements to play the game? No, that's ridiculous. I think my point that people can play in a wide range of skill, having good or bad days, is very valid.

You won the DM or you outperformed TenZ in your gunfights against him? Regardless, I think TenZ cares less about a DM than a competitive match and I highly doubt he bottom fragged.

I was just providing my personal evidence of an encounter where TenZ didn't perform well. We even see it on stream. Just because I like to DM a ton, and maybe don't have the game sense to compete at a high level with TenZ, doesn't mean I win aim duels against him.

This is also a poor comparison because chess is a strategy game which revolves entirely around cerebral skill.

Technically I think chess is closer then actual sports, when comparing games. Video games are all cerebral, with maybe requiring fine motor skill and reaction time not required in something like Chess. Someone can pick up a game and become a pro within a year, where as sports often requires a huge physical demand and can be very strict in the genetics department. Not saying genetics doesn't play a part in gaming either, but things as simple as height even effect your skill in sports.

I know this comparison isn't perfect but I would be willing to bet that the answer will be no 100% of the time regardless of his teammates, his team's effort, the opposing team's effort, etc.

continuing off my paragraph above, I think this is a bad comparison. Lebron is going to be way more physically in shape, have had a lifetime dedicated to perfecting this with multi-million dollar staff that have studied and built "How to build the perfect athlete" with the past 100+ years of learnings. Maybe in 100 years we will be able to do the same with esport athletes, but the physical fitness requirement is just so massive in sports. This is a big maybe because we need to learn more about the brain, because physical fitness isn't even a current requirement to be good in games.(we aren't even sure how age has a factor, we just found out reaction time might not decay like we thought it did)

Is this not indicative of Valorant lacking a significant mechanical skill gap?

Not at all. Reaction time peaks, take anyone above Diamond(maybe even plat) and I'm willing to be they have similar reaction time even to radiant players. We can't measure aim to well, I mean aim labs and aim trainers are probably the closest thing we have. So I can't make an assumption on aiming, but I'd be willing to bet aiming skill also peaks somewhere(or has diminishing returns). I think at higher ranks it's less of "When I peak will I land the flick" and more of "How consistently will I land that peak". A plat/diamond player can beat a Radiant in a duel, because they will sometimes land the flick just as fast/faster then the radiant. But if you made them do it over and over the Radiant would most likely come out on top.

Do you think it's a good thing that a Gold-Diamond player is able to (sometimes) compete against the best players in the game?

Again, I don't think this is a problem. In Warzone you can go kill NickMercs or TimTheTatMan tonight, if you got the drop on them. You can watch some of the best players in that game go an entire night without winning one BR. That's FPS games. I've played with top players in the world in shooters and watched them bottom frag in COD, PUBG, CSGO, Unreal Tournament, Quake, etc. When the only requirement is react Fast(which is something almost all high level players even out in), Aim accurately, and "do you have the drop?", I think it's pretty easy to see how few factors can go right or wrong to have a good or a bad game. Even in the days before match making and you just had server selection, the best players would play against the worst and sometimes the worst would show up. I remember plenty of insta-gib servers in unreal tournament running into "pro players"(which didn't really exist back then outside of Fatal1ty) and beating them, as a scrub 8 year old.

We really need evidence of these things happening, because a "feeling" or a few people saying "Oh this mechanic makes this game easier/harder" is just setting you up for confirmation bias. At the end of the day you are going to be aiming at a head and clicking, and you are going to be doing faster or slower then your opponent. You play by the same rules, one of you is going to mechanically be better. I have seen arguments of "Valorant is higher skill" or "CSGO is higher skill" honestly they are just different and people have their preferences. You approach both games as shooters, and maybe there is lots of basic skill overlap, but you have to have to actually think about moment to moment very differently in both games. Again, as my point above, I think that's amazing and exciting!

These things exist in CS:GO and other games as well. It doesn't explain why Valorant in particular feels so inconsistent.

To me, and lots of other people, I don't feel this inconsistency. If Valorant was inconsistent ranked would also be very inconsistent. People would not get hard stuck, they would fluctuate in extreme ways. You would go from being bronze, to gold, to silver, to iron, etc. We don't see this, most people get to a rank and stick around that rank for a long time and slowly improve with more matches and time invested. Inconsistency would be reflected in our data, in players ranked movements, and our match maker would be EXTREMELY inaccurate because it wouldn't be able to gauge where anyone belongs. But our match maker is accurate, and we see that players do settle in a certain skill area because consistency does exist. This isn't to shout out our match maker, it's just a way you would see your statement that Valorant is inconsistent, or ranks are in a sense "meaningless of skill definition"(which is basically what you are poking at I think?).

Lastly I think you also have to look at it this way. Valorant is EXTREMLY young. The communities you are talking about, especially CSGO, have been around for years if not over a decade. The community hasn't even figured out Valorants true meta, regions are just starting to interact with strats, and the community as a whole is getting better extremely fast because the game is so young. Valorant a year ago is very different then today, but you can't say that for a game like CSGO where the game has been figured out and the whole community knows how the game should be played.

This can be seen by saying things like "There is 0 chance a player doesn't know how to counter strafe as a GE in CSGO". The community hasn't had those line in the sands drawn yet, hasn't fully figured out the requirements and strategies expected of certain ranks. I mean league of legends in the past 5 years has just really solidified what it means to manipulate waves of minions, that took almost 6 years before that was a required strategy for anything below the top players(now it's something even gold players know).

(continued in reply, I hit limit)

Valorant also is a community of players from lots of games like CSGO, league, or Rocket league which again have established communities built up over years. We have pros from Counter Strike, COD, Rainbow Six, Overwatch, League of Legends, all coming into Valorant to fill out our community. These players have different expectations in how the game should be played with their respective background and experience. It makes sense that there can be very different experiences in teammates or opponents, because a CSGO player is going to expect something different then their teammate who is a cracked aimer that mained widowmaker. I say this because right now Valorant feels like any new popular esport title that has come out. Players are trying to figure the game out, learning different ways to play, and more and more people are picking the game up and trying to learn. So you will be running into players of all skills, knowledge, and background and that's super fun even if a little chaotic.

If the reason you aren't going to play Valorant is because you want to try and figure out if it requires more or less mechanical skill then another game, my only suggestion is to ask yourself are you enjoying it and do you enjoy watching it? If not that's okay! Hopefully someday you can come back and maybe you'll enjoy how it's grown since then! I say this knowing you enjoy the game, but I think the conversation about mechanical skill is fun but also too big of a focus and can't be truly measured. I very rarely see constructive conversations when talking about game skill differences and instead just see arguments about mechanics and why they are more or less skillful(which without data or evidence turns into an argument where noone budges and it gets toxic). I hope that helps! That was super long LOL.(btw if any of this comes off as mean, it's not intended at all, I typed it up quick and was just kinda word vomiting. I love these talks!!! Thank you for engaging!)

about 1 month ago - /u/EvrMoar - Direct link

Originally posted by Faberjay

You should come and play some ut99 ictf in our pug channel ;)

OH WHAT, you have my attention. Hit up my twitter with the info.