Dota Just Got Buffed 💪
A Wave of Updates Sweeps Across STRATZ
Sometimes good things are worth the wait. At STRATZ, that wait is only a few weeks. For our mid-summers eve release, we’re unveiling updates all across the STRATZ.com experience. Instead of saving the best for last, let’s jump straight into the most impactful update of all.
Every experienced Dota player knows that they’re more than their KDA, and that wins are earned through a diverse, and sometimes kind of wacky, combination of factors and contributions. For a game as sophisticated as Dota, decoding the recipe for certain victory is almost impossibly complex and ever-changing, both during the minutes of a match and across the waves of each meta. But that hasn’t stopped STRATZ from measuring the output of every player in every match, and training STRATZ AI to understand the parameters of success.
Over the past months and years, our team has been burning servers and GPUs searching for the ultimate answer to the biggest question in Dota: How do I win? Today, with the release of IMP 2.0, we take perhaps our biggest step forward in answering that question.
Less than 3 months ago, Ben “The Brain” Brain, the architect of much of STRATZ AI’s core, introduced our latest approach to measuring Individual Match Performance (IMP). Using 27 critical performance metrics specific to every players hero, lane, role, rank, and meta, IMP offers unrivaled insight into player performance for every minute of every match. No other esports statistic offers a comparable level of depth into the nuances of a player’s actions and decision-making.
It’s been 11 weeks since IMP was first updated to be powered by STRATZ AI. Since then, we’ve been relentlessly pursuing the highest possible win rate accuracy that a neural network can obtain using data from a single hero in a match with 10 heroes. Having the benefit of training on millions of real games, our win rate prediction accuracy can reach surprisingly high — getting it right in 2 out of 3 matches (66%). At times, this value can even be in excess of 80%.
As IMP has been getting smarter, and thus more closely correlated with win rate, we knew that it was finally ready to take its final form. It’s time for IMP to graduate from comparing you to the global “average” performance, to measuring your impact on the outcome of your match.
Introducing IMP 2.0.
IMP 2.0 represents the next generation of Dota 2 performance analysis. It transcends benchmarks and averages by getting straight to the point: how much you’re contributing to your team’s chance to win.
In the past, IMP had been an abstraction built around the global average for your performance, highly specific to your individual situation. The IMP value was meaningful in that it gave a very simple representation of how well you had performed in a match. However, understanding exactly what a 117 IMP means, or why one performance earned a higher or lower IMP than another, could be quite a challenge. IMP 2.0 removes this numeric abstraction, and replaces it with a very easy to understand value, ranging from -100 to +100. This value represents how much your performance affected your statistical likelihood to win your match.
IMP 2.0 has a 200 point range because it measures the full span of the impact of your performance on your win probability. For example, if you begin a match with a nearly 100% chance to win, then perform so poorly that your chances to win drop to 0%, then you’ve impacted your team’s chance to win by -100%. Conversely, the reverse can be true to earn a +100 IMP.
In practice, win probability is a dynamic value that changes over the course of a match, often with significant swings between teams. Because of this, your new IMP at the end of a match is a reflection not of the difference between your post-draft win probability and your end-game win probability, but rather a dynamically generated value that reflects the full range of advantage shifts that occurred during your match.
We’ve heard concerns from STRATZ users regarding the old IMP in situations where they felt it unfairly measured the impact of their actions, often due to a lack of stats being generated, especially early in a match. For example, stacking camps and zoning enemy heroes can be massively impactful, but doesn’t add anything in your row on the post-match scoreboard. The new IMP handles situations like this much more gracefully, giving credit where credit is due, and calling the bluff on your stats when the big numbers don’t necessarily add up to a meaningful contribution to your team.
The process of backdating all old matches to the new IMP is ongoing
As Ben introduced in his blog, STRATZ also now supports a metric called Team Match Performance (TMP). It’s worth noting that while the new IMP and TMP have strong parallels in their correlation with win rate, they remain mutually exclusive values. TMP measures the total win probability of a team in a match based on team performance and team performance differentials, while IMP looks only at your hero in your specific situation to measure your individual win probability contribution. As a result, the combined values of the new IMPs on a team at any given point in a match do not necessarily reflect the win probability of that team (TMP).
Along with the site-wide release of IMP 2.0, we’ve also finished development of a new area of your Match page called Performance. This area includes 4 brand new pages that give highly intimate insight into the inner workings of the new IMP for every player in every match, including the ability to modify individual stats to see how different variations would have influenced your win probability. Unfortunately, Ben stepped down from his helm to finish his graduate degree just prior to completion of this section, thereby postponing its release. Ken has been working nonstop to complete these final steps, and we’re very happy to announce that we have just today begun live testing of our new STRATZ AI model inside of a private STRATZ+ build. Once this new model is battle hardened, we’ll not only be ready to unleash STRATZ+ version 0.9, but we’ll also be ready to unlock your shiny new IMP toolset.
Ken hasn’t been going it completely solo these last weeks however, as STRATZ has recently welcomed aboard our newest artificial intelligence aficionado, Jesse! Perhaps you’ve seen her perusing around our Discord during the wee hours of the afternoon and evening. We’ll of course be giving her a proper introduction in the coming weeks.
While you have a little wait yet before you can explore the depths of your new Match Performance pages, we do have a couple massive updates to your Match page that have just gone live!
Introducing the new STRATZ.com Match Overview page. Redesigned with great care from the ground up, this update brings some of the best of Fantôme’s compelling STRATZ visual brand identity to the front and center of one of the most visited pages on STRATZ.
Your new Match Overview page stays true to the vision of taking the familiar post-match analysis experience in Dota 2 and expanding upon it with deeper statistical insight. As before, you can click any hero slot to reveal additional stats, which includes an entirely new view for a quick look at hero builds and stats.
One thing the old Match Overview handled very poorly was mobile, but not anymore! The new mobile experience allows for complete immersion of the desktop experience. And of course, your new Match Overview page offers a much more performant and welcoming experience to the growing STRATZ.com Match section.
Near the top of this page, you’ll also notice that there’s a new and improved Match Duration Slider. Your new Slider can be interacted with in multiple ways, including dragging, clicking to any point on the bar, or by clicking on the match duration values on the left or right side of the Slider to increment the position by minute. All the stats across the page update in real time as you move the Slider, allowing you to easily view or compare data at any point in a match.
Of course, we didn’t stop there.
Your new Match Scoreboard replaces the old Match Breakdown page, ushering in the same modern feel that have come with the new Match Overview. The Scoreboard is again an extension of the in-game Dota 2 experience, with expanded stats, team totals 🎉, and of course the ability to reflect on the comparative performance of all players at any point in the match using the same new Slider found on the Match Overview page.
Meters now accompany all relevant stats on the new Scoreboard, allowing for simple visual comparisons between players. Also, STRATZ+ pick grades have been added to give insight into pre-game decision making. We’ll still be adding a few additional stats to the new Match Scoreboard in the near future.
Outside of the beautiful redesign, the new Scoreboard also adds support for unparsed and partially parsed matches, allowing as much data to be visible as possible, even in the most limited situations, like very old matches, and matches with corrupted replay files.
Finally, your new Scoreboard has dramatically improved performance, allowing for outstanding responsiveness on desktop and mobile.
The game of Dota has many reliable constants. If you have a Faceless Void and you loss, it’s their fault. If you have a Techies and you win, it’s not their fault. And of course, if you have a Meepo, they’re either a smurf or gg. But not everything is so reliable, and in situations where things are undefined, the community tends to fill in the gaps.
One set of standards that Valve never attempted to define was what exactly constitutes the various combinations of lanes and roles that players choose to play in a match, and how to represent those categories in the game. Most experienced players consider it obvious that there exist two primary roles in Dota in the form of Cores and Supports, and 3 lanes, including Safe, Mid, and Off. Roaming is often added as a laning categorization to represent a hero that actively participates in more than one lane early in the game, and Jungle refers to a hero that doesn’t meaningfully participate in any lanes early in a game in order to prioritize farming neural creeps in the jungle.
On the surface, this breakdown feels clean and agreeable. However, when attempting to programmatically define exactly what differentiates a Core from a Support, or a Roamer from a map-conscious Off Lane Support, grey areas and exceptions begin to appear. Suddenly, seemingly obvious clarity becomes semi-reliable guesses, especially as the game changes and the meta shifts.
Much to our delight, a few months ago Valve introduced a new game mode that finally gave a definitive, albeit already widely accepted, definition for the 5 positions in Dota. They called it Ranked Roles.
It’s our belief that these 5 positions, as seen in the graphic above, represent an important step forward for defining exactly what a Dota team ought to be composed of. The 3 Core lane positions are obvious and essential in every game of Dota. The Hard Support, also known as Position 5 (positions 1–5 represent farm priority for each hero on a team), can be reasonably defined as the Safe Lane Support player, while the position 4 Soft Support exists as a catchall. Most commonly in the current meta, the Soft Support will serve in the Off Lane, but ultimate this Position can also support the Mid Lane, be a Roamer, or [least commonly] be a Jungler.
We’ve decided to put our full support behind Valve’s classification system by replacing most instances of lane and role with Position across STRATZ.com. This update gives us the opportunity to more concisely and elegantly represent play style decisions in a way that’s symmetrical to both the most widely recognized positioning categorization in competitive Dota (Positions 1 through 5), and the now officially recognized set of Positions from Valve.
Combining the updates from our new IMP and Positions, the widely recognized Behavior Chart found on every Player page has received a major upgrade, and has been renamed Trends to both better identify its content, and to differentiate it from the STRATZ Toxicity system and the Dota 2 Behavior Score.
Your new Trends contains similar data as the old Behavior Chart did for your last 25 matches, but no longer has the need to display Roles in the center, and benefits from a completely revamped design. There’s now support for viewing the new chart hovers via touch, and instead of offering an alternative view for your last 100 matches, we now show the difference between your win rate and average IMP from your previous 25 matches.
We hope you enjoy exploring all the many new updates across STRATZ.com, and we can’t wait to show you what we’ve got in store for you next!
Think you’ve got what it takes to join the STRATZ team? We’re looking for a new Machine Learning Developer!
Enjoy keeping up with what’s happening at STRATZ? Follow us on Medium, Twitter, or Facebook to get a new Supdate every Friday! If you want to get more involved, join us on Discord!
Did you miss our last Supdate? Take a look at the final pieces of the STRATZ Page Header and Navigation updates!
See you next Friday!