The State of Ranked Play
With our Closed Beta patch on January 13, we released early versions of ranks and ranked points for initial playtesting alongside Hero League. While we feel these features are off to a good start, they’re not quite finished, and we still have a number of changes in store for them with future updates. We’ve also read a lot of great feedback about Ranked Play in Heroes of the Storm, and today, we’d like to address a few of the more common topics we’ve seen.
Ranking System Breakdown
Recent community discussions about the Heroes of the Storm ranking system have produced some interesting theories about how it works, and we’d like to shed a little more light on this topic. Heroes is a highly competitive game, and we wanted to create a ranking system that clearly reflects the skill of its players. With this in mind, we decided to split the system into 50 different ranks, and made each represent roughly 2% of the Hero League population at any given time, so that players can more easily identify how they stack up against the rest of the Hero League playerbase. If you achieve Rank 10, for example, you can generally assume your current skill level is among the top 20% of all Hero League players.
The Heroes ranking system is rather similar to the system we employ for StarCraft II, which strives to keep you around a 50% win-rate, constantly measures your prowess based on your performance against opponents of different skill levels, and calculates where you should be ranked accordingly.
In order to keep ranking-up, you’ll have to exceed the ranking system’s expectations for your performance by continually improving as a player, and beating increasingly skilled opponents along the way. It’s also possible to improve more quickly than your current rank indicates, and in cases like this, you’ll earn a few bonus points to help more quickly align your current rank with where you belong.
Changes Coming to Ranks and Points
With future updates, we want to offer more variety in the amount of points you can earn after completing ranked matches, depending on the skill levels of your opponents as they compare to your own. You’ll earn more ranked points by beating highly-rated opponents than you would by beating equal or lesser-skilled players.
We’ve also read feedback from some players who feel that earning points and ranking-up could be both more exciting and more informative. We agree, and we know there’s not a lot of fanfare that accompanies ranking up or earning points right now. This is because we first wanted to get ranks and ranked points out into the wild for playtesting and feedback alongside Hero League, and then make improvements as we move forward. We’ll be making rank-ups and point gains feel more engaging with future updates, especially on end-game score screens, and also plan to make it easier to understand why you’re gaining or losing points at the end of your matches.
Additionally, we’d like to give you more ways to show off your prowess in ranked play, and are currently planning to display your rank on your Player Profile with our next patch. Many of the other improvements mentioned here will be added a little further down the road.
Hero League kicked off with a rather limited pool of players, and as a result, some games haven’t been as evenly matched as we’d like. We knew this would be the case at the beginning, but we wanted to get Hero League up and running so that we could test Draft Mode and the ranking system in a live environment. The good news is that we’re seeing the Hero League population growing with each passing day. As this continues, the matchmaker will have many more competitors to choose from when constructing games, which will result in evenly matched games a lot more often. It’s very important to us that we have very even matches, because Ranked Play in Heroes is competitive, and we believe that evenly matched games are more fun.
Coming Soon: Team League
Team League is still on its way to Heroes of the Storm with a future patch, and we’re actively working on this feature internally. Team League will be an entirely separate Ranked Play experience in which you and your friends will be able to create dedicated, five-player teams to compete together in ranked, competitive matches, exclusively against other five-player teams. Much like Hero League, your team will receive a rank, which can rise and fall based on your performance. Unlike Hero League, however, each team you create will receive its own separate ranking. This ranking is not based on the individual members of a team, but rather on the team’s performance as a group. Additionally, we have an entirely different experience in store for the top of the Team League ranking system beyond Rank 1, which will function much like Grandmaster League in StarCraft II, or Legend rank in Hearthstone.
Team League will also make use of the First Come First Served (FCFS) Draft Mode, which will allow anyone on your roster to select a hero when it’s your team’s turn to pick. A version of this Draft method is already playable in Heroes, and you can check it out right now by switching a Custom Game’s lobby mode to Draft, and the ready mode to FCFS.
We’ll have a lot more information to share about Team League once we’re closer to implementing it, but until then, we hope you’ll continue playtesting and sharing your thoughts on Hero League.
As always, thank you very much for all of the great feedback you’ve shared with us so far. Your thoughts have been very valuable to us, and are helping to shape the improvements we’ll be bringing to the game in the future. We have many plans to continue leveling up Ranked Play, as well as other aspects of Heroes of the Storm, and we can’t wait to roll them out to you.