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What is Glicko Rating: Secrets of MM Rating

29 Jan. 2021

In Counter Strike: Global Offensive, the player selection system uses the Glicko-2 system. This was announced a few years ago by one of the game developers on the subreddit. CS.MONEY here to explain what this Glicko system is about and how it functions in the game. 

Elo Stats

The games by Valve, Dota 2 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive, use different types of rating systems. Dota 2 uses the Elo rating system, originally invented for chess and still used by FIDE. Counter Strike: Global Offensive, on the other hand, uses Glicko-2. It’s a kind of enhancement over the Elo system, so let’s take a look at the latter first. 

FACEIT uses Elo rating

How the Elo rating system works can be described in a simplified way like this: when a player wins, they get points, and when they lose, they lose points. The number of points is determined by the expected outcome of the match. If there are players of the same level, the winner will receive, say, 50 points, and the loser will lose the same amount of points. If one player has a higher rating, they’ll get fewer points for a victory and lose more points in case of defeat. 

Because of the large number of Dota 2 players, the Elo rating system works in a very simple and clear way. In the overwhelming majority of cases, a victory gives +25, and a defeat -25. At the limit values of the rating, these values change. Pro players can get 10 points for winning and lose 40 points when defeated! 

This is a valid rating system, but Counter Strike: Global Offensive uses Glicko-2. 

Glicko-2 System

Glicko rating system used in chess

Glikman’s rating system, or more precisely, its second version Glicko-2, is much more complicated. Based on the same changes in points as the Elo rating system, it now has two coefficients: deviation and variability. They’re applied to the points obtained or lost after each match.

The deviation coefficient, aka RD (Ratings Deviation), takes into account the regularity of each player’s match. The more frequent and regular the matches, the lower the RD. Those playing rarely, on the contrary, have a high RD, i.e. their rating points aren’t an exact value but rather a certain interval.

In practice, this means that after a long break, the victory will bring more points than usual, and a defeat will result in fewer points lost. The same is true for the opponent of this player, only vice versa. 

The variability coefficient depends on the predictability of the results. If a LEM player meets and beats a Silver player, their variability decreases because it’s a logical result. The lower this rating, the more the rating system is “convinced” that the player is in their right place.

How It Works in Matchmaking

Matchmaking in Counter Strike: Global Offensive is divided into two large groups: MM in the game itself and MM via third-party services. The third-party services, such as FACEIT, use the Elo rating system most often. The official matchmaking, however, is based on the Glicko-2 system, with the exact algorithm hidden from players. 

Despite the fact that the algorithm is unknown in its entirety, pointing to a specific version of the rating system suggests that Valve uses both coefficients when calculating players’ ranks. 

From this, we can draw some conclusions about how matchmaking works. First, there are more variables than in the “standard” rating system, Glicko-2. It was created for one-on-one games, and it was definitely modified for Counter Strike: Global Offensive.

Secondly, the more matches are played, the harder it is to change the rating. Frequent and stable results will affect the coefficient of variability, which in turn will reduce the fluctuations in the rating. 

Third, a break in matches, especially a long one, will change the level of deviation and thus can significantly affect the redefinition of the rank. 

How Do I Improve My Rank Quickly?

In short, you need to win more often. Each match affects the rating value, so victories will raise it. The higher the percentage of victories, the higher the increase of the variability coefficient will be — and the easier it will be to improve your rank. Inveterate players are unlikely to be able to do it quickly. 

There are many ways to increase the percentage of victories. The easiest ways are to play with friends and to approach the game more seriously. Warm-up, good mood, the desire to communicate with teammates, and theoretical knowledge such as timings or nade throws — all of these significantly increase the chances of victory. 

At the same time, note that it’s the win-to-losses ratio that’s important, not the number of victories. 40 wins against 20 losses will have a much stronger impact on the rating than 60 wins against 40 losses. So it’s better to play less often, but victoriously, rather than “farming” victories. 

Understanding all the tricks of the Counter Strike: Global Offensive rating system is difficult, but it isn’t necessary for successful play. The essential thing is to remember the rule: the higher your win-to-losses ratio, the faster you can get the next rank!

29 Jan. 2021

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