The topic of responsibility has been touched numerous times in our previous discussions of the core role. While, undoubtedly, each and every hero on the battlefield should serve a purpose, it is the core that will usually deliver the final blow. A very disenchanting trend, especially among the lower MMR players, is the lack of aforementioned responsibility. It can manifest itself in a variety of ways, be it suboptimal itemization or general unwillingness to coordinate.
Overcoming this obstacle is a first step towards becoming a better player. To do that, an understanding of these trends is necessary. What exactly do the better players do? What thought process do they go through when evaluating their next move? Statistics has an answer to that.
When talking about the cores in this post, the main focus will be on the carries, rather than the utility ones. Carries are expected to deal damage, take objectives and generally do a lot of heavy lifting in the later stages of the game.
The differences between the core pick preferences between 2k and 5k+ players are surprisingly minor. The former tend to over-rely on Legion Commander, Sniper and Phantom Assassin, while the latter are more likely to pick [missing hero: outworld-devourer] and Morphling. Otherwise, the usual bunch of Pudge, Invoker, Juggernaut and Slark are roughly equally represented in either bracket.
Interestingly, the most popular picks in 2k are more successful. PA and Sniper both have above 50% win rate, while Legion Commander is only marginally below the “perfectly balanced” mark. Moreover, Slark and Juggernaut are also more successful in the lower brackets.
This is the only point that goes in favor of the lower MMR players — their popular heroes are actually based on their success, rather than what better players perceive as the current meta. In a patch where everything works, relying on the same heroes over and over again can be a mistake, it seems.
This subsection is more or less self-explanatory. Better players farm better. They utilise more of the map’s resources, are more likely to land a last hit and generally have much higher GPM.
What a lot of people do not realise, however, is that, to a certain degree, it is the difference in the lineups that allows for more carry-friendly environments. Looking at the numbers, it is clear, that the average last hits by a certain minute in the 5k+ bracket frequently exceeds the possible amount of creeps killed in the lane.
It often boils down to players in higher MMR games having better supports. Not only are you more likely to get a proper support in these games, but they also tend to be a lot more impactful. Stacking the neutral camps, harassing the enemy offlaner and sacrificing yourself for the greater good is a well-known support guideline, but not often it is actually applied.
However, better carry players themselves also tend to stack more. The recent changes to the terrain made it possible to make a second pull, from the hard camp close to the lane. There is a reason this camp is so contested — the amount of utility in terms of lane control you get from pulling to it is comparable, if not higher, to the pull to the stacked small camp. And it is some extra farm on top of it, if you can time the pull correctly.
Better players tend to have marginally lower amount of kills, marginally higher amount of assists, but a significantly higher average KDA on carry heroes. Given relative equality of the two KDA factors, the difference has to come down to the amount of deaths — better players value their lives and lives of their teammates higher, than the players from the lower skill bracket.
There can be several reasons for the lower amount of deaths in higher skilled games:
Given a slightly higher amount of assists, it is more likely that the teams are more often grouped up. Not only does it prevent certain pick-offs from happening, but it also allows your supports to have a larger impact — support heroes tend to be less mobile and it is frequently the case that the carries run away from their team, chasing farm.
Better map awareness also fits here. Reading the map is a very complicated skill to develop, but it can pay off by allowing you to farm more reliably. Vision plays a crucial role in this as well, and the vision is often lacking in the low MMR games.
Higher amount of kills in the lower bracket is a direct result of the higher amount of deaths, obviously. But it is also reliant on lower MMR players playing more aggressively and taking unnecessary fights too often. Trading your life for the life of the enemy support as a carry is almost never a good deal. Especially if it jeopardizes the lives of your teammates.
The Deaths and Gold Tab is a good evidence of the points made — for almost every hero, the highest amount of gold fed is in the <2k games.
While miniscule, there is another very interesting difference between the 2k and 5k brackets — the average match duration. The difference fluctuates between 1.5 — 2.5 minutes for any given hero, but it significant enough (especially given the amount of matches) to make a point.
Better players finish games faster. This is partly due to higher farming efficiency. Heroes get stronger faster and it catalyzes the match progression. It’s also partly because better players tend to stick together more, leading to less pick-offs, leading to less time waiting for a respawn. Higher skilled players also have better focus and know that taking objectives is ultimately how you win the game.
As a general rule, the carries are the shot callers in the later stages of the game. It might not involve actual voice or chat communication, even though it is preferable, but can be as simple as actually moving towards enemy towers. More often than not, especially after a successful fight, the carry hero will be followed by his team. If, however, instead of capitalizing on an opening, the carry player decides to go farming, the game will drag on.
Many of the things 2k players don’t do are not bad in absolute terms. Farming is good, so is killing enemy players. What they often fail to understand is the opportunity cost of their actions.
If a player is presented with a choice of gaining 5 units of abstract utility and 10 units of abstract utility, going for the former is always going to be a mistake. You can only farm your lane, without paying attention to the neutral spawns and you will gain gold. But you will not gain as much as you realistically could. You can go safely farming after a successful teamfight and you will be able to get higher net worth, but it is likely you will get more as a team by taking the objective. You can run around solo making kills and it will slow the enemy progression and will earn you some bounty, but it might get you punished and it might not amount to anything in the end, given the comeback mechanics.
Finally, you can get a higher MMR despite the obstacles in the form of uncooperative teammates, but it will take time and effort.