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I've googled this question, and there are lots of answers; unfortunately the answers are all conflicting. Some say:

  1. You only have one MMR, used by both ranked and unranked, but only ranked affects it.
  2. You only have one MMR, used by both ranked and unranked, and both affect it, but you won't lose ladder points with unranked.
  3. Your ranked and unranked MMRs are entirely separate, though if one of your MMRs is not established, the system will use the other MMR to start, but after playing a while they will differ.

Does anyone have an answer, with some sort of proof to back it up, like an official note from Blizzard?

I want the answer to be 3, because I would like to offrace as Protoss. However, I'm only about silver at protoss, and after facing (and losing to) ten consecutive platinum opponents, it doesn't look like my unranked MMR is going down at all.

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According to this interview with a developer from November 2012 it sounds like it's option 3. –  hammar Mar 24 '13 at 21:36

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

There is a separate unranked MMR - option 3. It is copied from your ranked MMR, if you have one, or starts with a mysterious "default value" if you start playing unranked before ranked. As you play, two MMRs diverge.

Source: StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Preview -- Ways to Play video

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I have to back up on Orc JMRs post. TL link: teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=400828 There are still unconfirmed speculations about this. Though I am still holding on to my answer, as there is data backing this up. Note, there are several discussions like this one, on TL. –  AtlasEU Mar 25 '13 at 7:59
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Exactly like I said, there seems to be conflicting information out there. But, after losing thirteen consecutive unranked games against platinums, I finally started getting matched up against silvers and golds with unranked. But then, switching back to ranked, for those games I was still getting matched against platinums. So I think I'm finally seeing evidence of the two separate MMRs diverging; I just had to play enough unranked games. –  seansand Mar 25 '13 at 14:49

I can understand the confusion.

You do not have an unranked MMR. You only have only have one MMR - a ranked MMR.

Playing unranked games will let you face opponents based on, your one and only, ranked MMR. This will make you able to practice against players at equal skill level.

You can find further information here: http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/game/guide/bnet-overview

edit Team Liquid thread: http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=382994

In the privious MLG (first HOTS MLG), they interviewed a Blizzard Lead Disgner, who also confirmed this. (sorry for the missing entry from the interview)

TIP: If you want to practice another race, and you do not want to play at the same level as your prime race. You can change server, EU, North America etc.

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As people in that linked TL thread ask - if there's no unranked MMR, what keeps those feared grandmasters from bombing their ranked MMR and then indefinitely roflstomping poor noobs in unranked? Also, B.net overview page is outdated, has outdated screenshots and talks about Custom Games, not Unranked Ladder. –  Orc JMR Mar 25 '13 at 1:25
    
@OrcJMR: The same thing that has always kept them from continously bombing their MMR by simply surrendering every other game: NOTHING. However, It doesn't take a GM player to ROFLstomp noobs. Even with a two league difference it will most often be a one sided game. WIth a three league difference it's probably not fun for the better ranked player. –  user1129682 Dec 6 '13 at 22:44
    
@user1129682 Not nothing, there is one thing - that very need to drop every other game. If what Atlas said was true, they won't even have to do that - it'd be possible to achieve desired MMR in one mode and indefinitely exploit it in the other without any corrective action. –  Orc JMR Dec 9 '13 at 4:56
    
@OrcJMR: But that's not a hindrance. It's a formality and waiting for a game can even "productive" when flaming the most recent roflstomped noob. So the only cost is waiting for the game to load, negligible. The league system groups players proportionally. This fear of high league players making life miserable for lower ranked players is stupid and baseless. It's an unreflected reaction to the fact that lots of people, especially casual players, have stopped playing. It is to be expected to find former high-plat/dia in gold these days. I know many who were always ML but have dropped to dia. –  user1129682 Dec 9 '13 at 9:58
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@OrcJMR: That reason would be you, as I responded to your comment in which you bring up this topic, formulated as a question, which could just as well be stand alone. –  user1129682 Dec 9 '13 at 12:20

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