Warcraft III: Reforged Developer Update – Ranked Play
Greetings Warcraft III: Reforged players!
Since our last update, we’ve released a variety of changes to Warcraft III: Reforged with our 1.32.6 PTR and patch. From a major balance update, to more bug and desync fixes as well as additional matchmaking improvements, our quest to make Reforged ever better continues.
As we mentioned in our last Developer Update, we’d like to continue sharing details and insights on our ongoing development plans for Warcraft III: Reforged alongside each patch. For this installment, we wanted to give you a look at the changes we have in store for our highest-priority feature addition currently under development: Ranked Play.
When revisiting our designs for Ranked Play, we established a set of primary goals to guide our decision-making. Fundamentally, Ranked Play should provide a clear and trustworthy way for players to gauge their level of skill, as well as the skill of other players. In support of this, we’ve opted to make players’ ranks linked directly to their MMRs, rather than using a more detached, progression-based system. Additionally, while Ranked Play is the most competitive way to play Warcraft III: Reforged, it’s also important for us to ensure that this experience will be friendly for new players and veteran alike.
As we continue building this next generation of Ranked Play, we want to deliver an experience where the features and functionality build upon the original Warcraft III Ranked mode, while also considering the community-driven variants that have emerged in both legacy Warcraft III and Reforged.
A Look At Ranked Play
As with the legacy version of Warcraft III, all five of the game modes in Reforged (1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, FFA) will have their own ranked ladders. In keeping with legacy Warcraft III’s spirit, we also wanted to ensure that there are no requirements for moving up or down in rank beyond your raw point value. This means we will not institute systems like promotion or demotion matches.
However, we have made some changes from the legacy version that we believe will lead to a better Ranked Play experience for players. We will be moving from the previous levels system to a more distinct medal system. Those familiar with StarCraft II ranked ladders will recognize the Bronze through Grandmaster ranking system, which we are bringing to Reforged.
The Grandmaster division will now be the highest rank and will only comprise the top 300 players with the highest MMR globally. When players jump into Ranked matches, they will be able to see their rank badge next to each player’s name on the loading screen. Those in Master and Grandmaster will additionally have their MMR displayed to all players as well. In another change from the legacy Ranked system, we will now be displaying a player’s own MMR directly to them in the main menu and in their in-game profiles as well.
Additionally, we wanted to address the aggressive experience decay that was in place in the legacy Ranked Ladder for Warcraft III. The original intent behind such an aggressive decay was to retain active players so that they could maintain their ranks. We believe that this was too punishing and have now decided to remove experience decay from Reforged for all ranks. We may decide to implement experience decay for Grandmaster in the future, but we’ll continue to monitor the data and see what would make the most sense for our top competitive players.
To determine their Rank in the new system, players will now need to complete a series of five placement matches. These placement matches will only be required for any game mode or race combination where a player has not yet received a rank. For those who do have a rank, only one placement match will be needed after each season roll for any mode or race combination where a player has been placed.
Alongside the improvements coming to the Ranked Ladder, we are also going to be bringing Ranked Seasons to Warcraft III for the first time. Seasons will offer an opportunity to roll in balance updates, fresh map rotations, and other adjustments, as well as give players rewards for participating (and seeing how high up the ladder they can climb) in each new Season.
We will adjust player MMR and divisions between Seasons to maintain rank division sizes and prevent MMR drift to keep matchmaking times down. We think Seasons will provide structure for Ranked updates and give players the time to mentally reset and get excited for the new Season and new seasonal rewards.
Speaking of seasonal rewards—we plan to award a portrait for each division and players will earn new portraits as they rank up. Portraits will unlock for all divisions earned at and below a player’s rank. With each new Season, players can expect fresh new portraits to showcase their achievements for that season.
Work in Progress Ranked Silver and Gold badges.
While Seasons are brand new to the Warcraft III community, we’re excited about the benefits this framework will bring to the game.
Sharpening Skills in Unranked Mode
In addition to improving the Ranked experience for Reforged, we also want to expand upon it by adding an Unranked mode to the game. Unranked will be coming soon after Ranked mode is added to the game, for those players that would like to practice new races, tactics, and more in a competitive setting without the same stakes as formal Ranked matches.
Here’s a look at how this new game mode will work:
Unranked will have its own MMR attributed per race and per game mode, and is separate from the Ranked MMR system. Unranked MMR will never be displayed or reset, and the only way it will change is through the player’s progression as they play. We expect that there will likely be some MMR drift between Ranked and Unranked, but we feel this is acceptable as the Ranked and Unranked players are approaching each game mode with different mindsets.
As is the case in StarCraft II, Unranked players will be matched against Ranked players in 1v1 games. Wins and Losses will count as normal for Ranked players to ensure that players still try their best and continue to play to win. Ranked players will also be able to rank up by defeating an Unranked player as well.
When playing in Team games, we will only matchmake teams of all Ranked or all Unranked players onto the same team to ensure the fairest matches. That means Unranked players will only be paired with other Unranked players, and vice versa. For those players playing Unranked in Arranged Teams, the matchmaker will average player MMR and treat you like any other Arranged Team. However, at the conclusion of each match, team history is not tracked like ordinary Arranged teams.
Seasons will also have no bearing on Unranked mode. This means that there will be no Ladder resets for Unranked mode; however, wins in Unranked will count toward unlocking existing win-based portraits.
We know that this is just part of the complete Ranked play experience you’re expecting—we will be detailing our approach to Profiles and more in our next developer update. While we’re aiming to release Ranked Play in the coming months, it’s important that we take the time needed to deliver a combination of features that best serves our players and the Warcraft III community. We’re looking forward to seeing the community discussion around our current plans for Ranked, Seasons, and Unranked modes, and we’ll provide updates on our progress as development continues.
-The Warcraft III Team