# How does anyone get above zero points when you lose 20 points on every loss?

I understand how the point system works. My win/loss is roughly 60/40. When I win I get about +8. When I lose, though I always lose - 18-20 points. So I win 3/4 games and I still end up with Zero total points.

What am I missing? How in the world does anyone get 100 much less 1000 points?

• Perhaps a nitpick, but a win-loss ratio of 60-40 is a little under 2/3 wins, not 3/4. Also, aren't the points somehow affected by the difference between the players' rankings? Sep 20, 2010 at 23:32
• If the game loading screen says that you are favored, then there is only little to gain but much to lose. On the other hand, if your opponent is shown as favored, then a win will bring many points and a loss will only cost you slightly.
– sth
Sep 21, 2010 at 2:57

It depends on who you're beating and who you're losing to. You get more points for beating someone with more points than you, and you lose more points for losing to people with fewer points than you.

That being said, if you're getting about 8 points per win, you're beating people about on par with your skill level or slightly worse. If you're losing 20 points with your current low point total, it's because you're losing to people with a very low rating.

In order to advance in points you have to start winning games against more difficult opponents. In short, you must improve your own game.

• thanks. I'm def 'getting better' (slowly but surely). Just frustrating to be, in fact getting better and still break even on points. Sep 20, 2010 at 23:43
• @Moge try to think of it this way: Points aren't a measurement of your skill Sep 20, 2010 at 23:57
• heh, your talking to someone who has read Raph Koster's "Theory of Fun". Score is everything :) Yes, though, you are right. Sep 21, 2010 at 0:07
• A slight nitpick as the statement " You get more points for beating someone with more points than you, and you lose more points for losing to people with fewer points than you." isn't completely accurate. That's actually determined by a hidden score that doesn't take into account bonus pool (there may be other differences). The general concept of you get more points for beating someone that is ranked better than you is correct, just the real measurement is a variable not visible in the UI Sep 21, 2010 at 0:16

Through learning some new information, I have found out why you are experiencing this.

"In particular, Blizzard said that their solution to the Bronze Zero phenomenon (where players whose MMR is below Bronze Zero win only 2-4 points for a win but lose 20+ points for a loss, thereby anchoring them to 0 points) was to place those affected players in new divisions."

In other words, your match making rating (MMR) fell below the Bronze Zero cutoff, which essentially doomed you to stay at 0 points. There are actually rankings of divisions within leagues, and thus Blizzard plans to move people experiencing this to new divisions with high modifiers to fix this issue. Thus, other people manage to earn points because they have not fallen below that threshold, and thus are not trapped by the bug in blizzard's match-making code. For more on division rankings see this thread.

Specific quote is from this post. That poster is essentially the leading source of information on how the ladder system works in SC2 outside of blizzard itself.

Blizzard designed the placement system so that your wins and loses will tend to fall at 50/50. If you start doing worse it will drop you down, and if you start doing better it will bring you up. However the spread is going to be about the same. The moral of the story is literal, if this is how it's programmed then don't expect to win more than 50% of the time on average.

If you are starting to lose bad it's precisely because of your 60/40 spread and being matched against tougher opponents. Be glad though, these are the steps it takes move up through the divisions.

• yep, bang on comment. My question, though, is if you are at 50/50 - then how do you ever gain points? Or am I just in the odd period where I am at 60/40 learning curve and once I plateau I'll be at a genuine 50/50 and also have points. As someone mentioned earlier, I am probably just to focused on points. I look at the guy in #1 spot in my bracket and he has roughly a 55/45 split but has 1000 points. Yet I win a decent amount of games but always end back at zero points. Sep 21, 2010 at 1:54
• You can gain points thru winning more 50%, but also thru the bonus pool. An "average" player will win 50% of the time (matchmaking encourages this), but gets double points for the wins thanks to the bonus pool, and so will gain points overall. Sep 21, 2010 at 2:13
• Yeah was about to mention bonus pool. Just like others said and is related to the spread thing, since you are doing so much better you are given a greater chance to lose harder and advance slower because of the more difficult opponents you are being put against faster than people hanging around 50/50. Sep 21, 2010 at 3:01

Perhaps a nitpick, but a win-loss ratio of 60-40 is a little under 2/3 wins, not 3/4. Also, aren't the points somehow affected by the difference between the players' rankings? – sjohnston Sep 20 at 23:32

It's not 2/3 but 3/5 (take 60–40 out of 100 and you get 3/5 not 2/3) — which actually means winning less often than either 3/4 or 2/3. If you're going to nit pick at least be accurate!

More on topic:

I have a lower win ratio and still the problem affects me. Typically I win 2, 4 or 6 points per win and for a loss I receive a whopping −18 or −14. This obviously really cuts into the fun of the game and creates the feeling of inability to progress despite win/loss ratio. (Currently I am winning more often than losing but this is not reflected in terms of my score over the season as I was still learning the game at the beginning of playing.)

The only solution I can see is to play many many games or wait until a new gaming season to try to improve my score. Similar to Warcraft Arena; for many players the fun has been completely removed due to ranking systems like these. We're all wasting our time anyway but it's particularly annoying to have it displayed in a points-based system that you most definitely are wasting your time.

• @ebin, "60-40 is a little under 2/3 wins" was a correct statement (0.60 < 0.66). You are correct that it is exactly 3/5, but the statement accounted for the inaccuracy. Apr 6, 2011 at 15:34

As others have said, you are being matched against people that are considered worse than you (where you are considered 'Favored'). That comparison is done by battle.net's MMR rating. It's very hard to gain points if you are always favored.

If your MMR rating is stable, then you should usually be playing 'Even Match'es, in which case your score will increase as you win, even with a 50% win ratio.

If you win several matches against opponents that are favored, then battle.net starts to pair you more and more with favored opponents, and if you continue to win, this is when your score can shoot through the roof. Winning against favored opponents brings in something like 20-35 points per game.

What you are seeing appears to be the opposite. If you lose several matches where you are considered favored, then battle.net will pair you more often with opponents that are worse than you (i.e. have a lower MMR rating).

If your MMR rating is stable, in other words you tend to win when you are favored, lose when your opponent is favored, and 50% win ratio on even matches, then your score should improve.

Also remember that as you improve, so does everyone else. So if you are improving slower than your opponents, your score will not improve as fast.

This score is not a measurement of your skill or improvement. There are a lot of metrics in sc2, and I haven't found one yet that can really measure your skill level. I am pretty sure this is intentional, because Blizzard wants sc2 to be a game without a grueling level-up system which encourages players to punish themselves against game mechanics in order to "win". Instead they are encouraging players to have fun and be creative. This is one reason they removed the "losses" metric.