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Heroes of the Storm Placement and Ranking System Update

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Since the Heroes of the Storm patch that introduced Kharazim, Infernal Shrines, and balance changes nearly two weeks ago, a lot of conversations regarding Blizzard's modified placement matches and ranking system modifications have mentioned issues with conservative initial placements and problems with highly rated players being able to re-achieve their rank 5 to rank 1 range ranks.

 

Blizzard addressed those issues in today's update:

 

Blizzard Icon Placement and Ranking System Update

 

With our most recent patch, we reset everyone’s Hero and Team League rankings and implemented a placement system, which requires that all players complete a minimum of 20 ranked games before they are placed into the ranking system.

After reviewing internal data, we’ve found that the majority of players are being ranked much more accurately. However, we have identified some cases where this was not always true. Specifically, we want to make improvements to the top and bottom ends of the ranking spectrum. In addition, we’ve seen a lot of discussion and feedback about the new system over the past few days, and we’d like to clear up some things about placement matches, ranks, and our plans moving forward.

 

 

20 PLACEMENT MATCH REQUIREMENT

 

Ultimately, your rank is a reflection of your skill, and in our last blog on Ranked play, we mentioned that we wanted to make improvements to the accuracy with which players’ ranks and matchmaking ratings (MMR) align. To accomplish this, we need players who are brand new to Ranked play to complete 20 placements so that we can nail down about where you belong in the rankings. However, since these placement matches were a new addition with the patch, as a one-time change, we required everyone to complete 20 matches whether or not you were new to Ranked play. 

 

Since we did not wipe players’ matchmaking ratings, and placement matches use your current MMR as a starting point, we typically have a more accurate picture of veteran players’ skill levels. As a result, we’re going to do the following:

  • Moving forward, players who have already played through their placement matches and received a rank during a previous season will not need to play another 20 placements when ranks are reset with future season rolls.  New seasons will only require veteran players to complete a couple of placement games in order to receive their ranks.

 

CONSERVATIVE INITIAL RANKINGS

 

As mentioned in our last blog on Ranked play and placement matches, your matchmaking rating was not reset with the rank wipe, and your past performance is still accounted for while playing through your placement games. This means that your initial placement in the ranking system is determined by your MMR at the time of the rank reset, plus or minus the rating amount you gained or lost after finishing your placement games. What’s more, prior to our latest patch, it was possible that a bit of rank inflation could occur in some cases, even if your MMR hadn’t changed much. Additionally, to avoid a tumultuous experience after initial placement, we initially rank players somewhat conservatively.

 

These factors combined could result in situations where players who may have previously ranked-up into the 30s, for example, could wind up being ranked into the 40 – 50 range after placements.  We are making a couple changes to improve this situation.

  • With future season rolls, we are planning to tighten up this initial placement so that you receive a ranking that is more closely tied with where your MMR indicates you should be.
  • Among the lower ranks we believe we were a little too careful in giving out initial placements. In the coming days, we’re going to improve initial placement for the mid to lower ranks.
  • Additionally, we’ve taken steps to limit potential rank inflation in the future, so your rank and rating are more likely to stay closely aligned.

Keep in mind that you may receive “bonus” points after playing ranked games. These are extra ranked points awarded for winning when your current rank is below your actual MMR, which should help you more easily rise from your conservative placement to where you actually belong. Finally, you won’t lose any ranked points before reaching rank 40, so if you found yourself placed in the 40 – 50 range, you should be able to begin your ascent with relative ease.

 

 

HIGHLY RATED PLAYERS AND RANKS 5 – 1

 

Following the rank reset, we’ve seen feedback from players at the top end of the MMR spectrum who were frustrated that they couldn’t seem to make the climb back into rank 1. In our last major patch, a change was made which removed bonus points from the top five ranks.  As a result, highly skilled players who have also played a large number of games were not receiving enough points after a wins to allow them to rank-up.

  • This is not an experience we’re happy with, and we’re going to add bonus points back to the upper ranks so that top players can more easily return to their intended ranking.

 

We hope that this helps to shed a little more light on the placement and ranking systems in Heroes of the Storm. Keep sending us your feedback as we continue to make improvements for Ranked play. As always, we’ll keep an eye on the changes we’re planning to make, and will adjust further as necessary.

 

Hopefully these updates land very soon! Are you pleased with the tweaks Blizzard is suggesting above?

 

EDIT: Blizzard CM Spyrian has suggested that the 'soon' for less conservative placements and point bonuses at ranks 5 to 1 is only a few days!

 

 

 

This is great news for Heroes of the Storm players!

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