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The use of “8k MMR” as an insult in the DOTA 2 community

In matches players would often comment “you must have an 8K MMR” or “you must be from reddit”, when a certain player (or players) act especially arrogantly.

Again, as seems to be the case with all jargons or phrases in the gaming community, no one is truly sure of its origin. However, it is easy to understand the meanings and intentions behind these two phrases.

“MMR” is the acronym for “MatchMaking Rating”, which is a number assigned to each player that reflects the player’s relative skill level. It’s calculated from the player’s performances in matches and in turn used to calculate the skill bracket the player should be placed in when he/she attempts to find a match. Most players have an MMR from 2000 to 4000. Professional players on average have MMRs around 6500. Naturally you can now see that an “8k MMR” – which refers to an MMR of 8000 – is virtually impossible. Henceforth it has become a phrase and insult reserved for those players who act as if they have already mastered the game beyond anyone’s level.

The connection to the reddit community stems from the fact that many reddit users act incredibly arrogantly in their comments when discussing strategies, players, heroes, or items. Also in the mix is the fact that reddit users love to boast of their skills.

THE INFORMANT

The informant is currently a student in university. We were teammates together on our DOTA 2 team. As of now he has been a player and an active participant in the community for 3 years.

He learnt of this folkspeech through in-game experience as well as the chatters on reddit. Later in one our team’s matches he told us about this folkspeech – all the while he was making fun of a player on the enemy team with this phrase.

THE ANALYSIS

It almost feels as if a piece of folklore cannot become popular were it not to contain an oddly specific element. Why “8k” and not any other ridiculous number? There’s also the device of synecdoche (or is it metonymy here?) at work: “8k mmr” or “reddit player” as a substitute for the entire population of arrogant DOTA 2 players.

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