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Ranked Play Revamp Q/A Recap

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The Ranked Play Revamp Q/A on reddit has ended and here's a recap of all answered questions.

Ranked Revamp Q/A Recap

I heard that muted players will no longer be able to queue for ranked matches in the new system, but what about matches where toxic players leave and you have to play with A.I - are there plans to soften the rank loss when you have to play such matches?

Blizzard LogoBlizzLoesby

Hi Rodfar!

We're working out our plans for this kind of feature right now. There are a few things we're worried about with such a system.

  • We don't want to create an environment where players will feel like there's an incentive to leave a game rather than try to bring it back from a disadvantage. We're considering not only reducing points lost if you have an AI on your team, but increasing points gained if you manage to pull out a win.
  • The opposing team doesn't know you have an AI (though many players have learned to recognize AI's behavior). We don't want to give those players the appearance of a punishment for winning a game that, from their point of view, was fair.
  • Two players in a party should never be able to exploit the system to boost one up the rankings at the expense of the other.

We have a few options here, and we'd love your feedback on it.

Is any possible to adding the game/player rating system like OW in the future.

Blizzard LogoBlizzTravis

I love what Overwatch did there! I’m a big proponent of giving players ways to congratulate each other and we’re exploring ways to incorporate something similar for Heroes.

Will inactivity be penalized by ranking players down for not playing?

Blizzard LogoAldrexus

Thanks for the question! Travis has already answered this question here.

Do you plan to implement a tournament mode, like the one we have in StarCraft II? This could make 5v5 and team league even more attractive.

Blizzard LogoBlizzTravis

I want this!

Once of the benefits of being built off the StarCraft engine is that we can leverage the work they’ve done previously to make things a bit easier to implement ourselves. Tournaments are one of the areas. We don’t currently have concrete plans to bring it over, but I think there’s a lot of cool stuff we could do with it and I plan to start looking into it.

What is the estimated distribution of each league? Will I know what percentile of the population I'm by looking at my portrait or any other place?

Blizzard LogoBlizzTravis

We have target values for each division, but they’re a little flexible so I don’t want to get into exact numbers as they’re not guaranteed to be 100% accurate as things evolve. It’s expected the larger tiers will vary by a percentage or two over time. That said, Silver is the largest tier and each subsequent tier above that diminishes in size.

That majority of players will be in Silver and Gold and once you get up to Master tier, that’s only about 1% of the entire population. Grand Master is then an even smaller slice as it’s literally a leaderboard of the top Master players in your region. Top 500 for Hero League. Top 100 for Team League.

What metric do you use to evaluate your MMR? How it is performing in the last months? How much do you plan to change it in the future?

Blizzard LogoBlizzLoesby

We have a few different metrics for Matchmaking and MMR. The most important is how much fun players are having, which we use survey results to measure. Secondarily, we look at our predictions of who will win a match, and how accurately we predict different win rates. We almost always make matches where each team has a 45-55% win probability. We look at games where one team had a 55% win probability, and see if that team actually won 55% of the games. There are also metrics around how close the ratings are among all the parties in the game, wait time, and much more.

We've been very satisfied with most matchmaking results in the past few months. For most players, games are closer and more fun. There are still a few issues we want to address.

  • High level players and wide MMR spreads. One change coming with the Ranked revamp will be a very strong preference to make matches where all players are within 1 Ranked Division of each other. This should help to address the "anchoring effect" where top players will end up with a lower skill player on their team to offset their skill, in order to make a more even win probability. The changes will prefer to make an even game with all Masters and Grandmasters, but if we have to choose only one, we'll make a slightly uneven game with Grandmasters and Masters. This whole situation was also made worse by the long term effects of the old matchmaking on our MMR distributions; we're addressing that with the MMR normalization on season roll.
  • Win and Loss are currently the only inputs to the MMR system. In a 5v5 game with a lot of emphasis on team play, this may not be enough. We'd like to start looking at players' individual performance to help place you where you belong. However, it's very easy to create a system that players can learn and exploit; the right way to rank up and improve your MMR should always be "do the things that help your team win." We're going to take time with any such system to make sure it's great before we put it live.

We're going to keep working on matchmaking for as long as we can make meaningful improvements. We're willing to try out any changes that will help players have more fun.

Does the revamped Ranked Play have a system that automatically demotes players who have been inactive for certain time? If not, I’d like to see this ‘auto-demotion’ system to be added, in order to prevent inactive players staying at the top of the system.

Blizzard LogoBlizzTravis

Great question. We talked about adding a rank decay system for Master and Grand Master tiers, but since we want seasons to be short, in the 8-12 week range, there’s not a lot of time for someone to get into the top tiers and then go AFK for long periods. We’ll be watching how things go in Season 1 and will add it in the future if AFK players at the top tiers become a problem, though.

Is there any plan adding the voice chat system?

Blizzard LogoSpyrian

Voice communication is something we'd love to add to Heroes, and we're discussing how we might be able to implement it in the future. We don't have any details to share right now, but we'll let you know as soon as we do!

What are the reasons behind not wanting to show MMR if it seems we are fine with third party showing it as a substitute.

Blizzard LogoBlizzTravis

We’d actually like to display MMR in-game. 

The rank system is basically a friendlier representation of your skill and this new update should help make that more accurate than the older system. That said, as we’ve seen from HotsLogs (love that site!), there’s obviously a lot of interest in actual MMR from our high end players.

I think there’s a lot of value to be had from surfacing your actual MMR in-game as we can assure its accuracy. That would allow players to reference their true MMR when raising concerns, which would make it easier for us to track down any actual issues related to it.

So, yes, it’s something we’d like to do. I don’t have a timeline for it, though, as there’s a lot of stuff we want to do that all competes for development resources.

The addition of unranked draft is very welcome but it will create another queue. How do you think it will affect queue time?

Blizzard LogoBlizzZhang

Great question. Based on our simulation, we do know how much population we can afford to lose for each game mode and still maintain a healthy wait time. However we don't know how the population will shift in between different game modes in the real world. We expect the wait time for unranked draft would be reasonable. Our plan is to keep closely monitoring the situation including game quality and wait time.

Is it possible to add Overwatch’s “Avoid this player” feature to Heroes of the Storm or to add a feature that allows not to be matched together with Blocked players, in order to reduce toxicity in Ranked Play?

Blizzard LogoBlizzLoesby

This is definitely possible! We're hoping to add this soonTM. Everything has to compete in priority by what will help players the most. We're hoping that restricting Silenced players from Ranked Play will help address this concern in the meantime.

Are you working on implementing a feature that allows heroes exchange between players in the same team?

Blizzard LogoBlizzTravis

Swaps! Yes, we’re planning to implement swaps into the draft modes. No time frame for when it will be available currently, though.

Will you further improve your stats screen, to make it as exhaustive as Overwatch’s? - Do you want to promote “great moves” like you do with the Play of the Game in Overwatch? Similarly, do you plan on putting more emphasis on kills, like in other MOBAs?

Blizzard LogoBlizzTravis

Play of the Game makes me so happy. One of the things I’m working on right now, actually, is developing ways to better call out players for great performance, both in a single game and over time. I’m pretty excited with what we have so far, but it’s too early to go into detail so it’ll have to remain a tease for now.

This also ties into improving our stats display but I don’t have a time frame for when that might happen currently.

Dustin tweeted “New ranked = MMR”, what does that mean?

Blizzard LogoBlizzLoesby

When you complete your placement games, you will be assigned the exact league, division, and points that correlate with your internal MMR*. After that, you'll get around 200 points for a win/loss, but if your MMR and Rank start to diverge, we'll adjust your points each game to move them back together. With this patch, you'll be able to see when we make these adjustments on the post-game summary screen. We're confident that almost all players will have a Rank that very closely reflects their MMR.

  • Keep in mind that no players will be initially placed above Diamond 3.

Have you considered adding a map ban/pick system.

Blizzard LogoKatealyst

What do you think about adding a post-match party chat, so that players can continue chatting and grow friendships with other players, as long as they remain in the Recap screen?

Blizzard LogoBlizzTravis

Love it! This is a little tricky to do with how the system currently functions, but I agree that it’s important and we’re looking into ways to make it easier for players to continue to communicate after the core explodes.

Right now it's 300 points for 1 rank. the new system will be 1000 points. Is it 1000 points per bronze 5-4? or 1000 points total to get out of bronze? Also, Browder hinted it'll be easier to climb IE: a 51% win rate will still climb whereas now it doesn't, is this true? if so, what changes have been made to make this possible.

Blizzard LogoBlizzTravis

It’s 1000 rank points per division. So, it’ll take 1000 points to go from Bronze 5 to Bronze 4, for example. The entire Bronze tier, divisions 5 to 1, is 5000 points. You gain or lose about 200 points per game, modified by the difficulty of the match. 

At a basic level, climbing ranks is a matter of winning more games than you lose. The difficulty of the match comes into play as well since winning a match against a tougher team is worth more points than winning a match that you were expected to win. So, just going off pure win rate isn’t completely accurate.

We didn’t make changes that would directly make it easier to gain ranks, but at the start of each season, we are increasing the MMR uncertainty for all ranked mode players. That will make it easier for you to change ranks during placement, but that’s both gaining or losing ranks depending on your performance, than you would have before the boost. The uncertainty boost will settle out over time as you play more games.

Do you plan on punishing intentional feeders, like by making them lose all the points their teammates lost because of them?

Blizzard LogoBlizzLoesby

We'd like to punish intentional feeders similar to how we punish players who leave. However, we have to be very careful with any detection system. How do we differentiate someone who is intentionally losing a game, and someone who is just not good? It's a difficult problem to solve, but we're working on a solution.

It’s known that when progressing to a new league (i.e. Silver 1 —> Gold 5) you’re rewarded with a certain amount of Gold. My question is, will you be given that same amount of gold every time you make that transition? If possible, this would generate a means to farm Gold, affecting players who really want to advance in leagues.

Blizzard LogoBlizzTravis

You don’t gain rewards when you increase your rank. The rewards are only given out at the end of the season and are based on the highest rank you achieved during the season.

Would you consider improving the reward for the new players in the future.

Blizzard LogoBlizzTravis

Yep! We’re always looking at ways to improve the new player experience, including the rewards given out to a player who is just joining the game. We’ve got a couple things in development right now specifically directed toward this.

When players are doing placement matches, their MMR can have a huge difference, is this ok? Players can’t queue with other players with a higher / much lower rank.

Blizzard LogoBlizzTravis

Even during placement matches, the games are still made based on the player’s MMR so there shouldn’t be a huge difference in MMR between teams. 

The actual player skill, though, can be significantly different than their MMR if the player doesn’t have a lot of historic data. As they play games, their MMR catches up to their skill which is part of the reason we have those placement matches. By the time you’re out of placement, the system should have a relatively good understanding of your skill and your MMR/rank should be appropriate to that.

Once players are out of their placement games, they can only queue up as a team for Hero League with players who are one overall tier different from each other. So, Gold players can play with Silver or Platinum players, but not both since Silver and Platinum can’t be in the same team together. 

If you’ve got friends you play with who have very different skill levels, that does mean you might not be able to play Hero League games with them after they’ve placed. You can still play with them in other modes, though, like Team League or Unranked Draft.

Can you tell us what league approximately will be a rank 1 player with lowest amount of points in the rank?

Blizzard LogoBlizzTravis

Most players who are currently Rank 1 will place into Diamond, assuming they maintain their skill level throughout their placement matches.

How do you think that the ranked revamp will combat the myth of "MMR hell"? Do you think that people will accept that they belong in Silver 5, or do feel like it'll be the same song and dance as before? 

On a related note, is the ladder going to be" zero sum"? Or is there always going to be progression even if you don't necessarily get better?

Blizzard LogoBlizzLoesby

There was a post a few months back on this subreddit about the concept of MMR hell, that I really liked. Unfortunately, I don't have a link to it. The basic idea was that MMR Hell isn't a static place. Instead, the feeling of MMR hell sets in when you are a little bit better than the players you get matched with, so you can see the mistakes they are making, but you aren't good enough to carry them through their mistakes.

That's not something a Ranking system can combat, because it's really a question of how quickly a player's skill improves as compared to how their rating improves.

I've mentioned this elsewhere, but we do want to build a skill rating system that responds to your personal performance, as well as win and loss. I can't share any timelines for this, but we are actively researching it.

The addition of a new game mode, the unranked draft, will probably increase queue times. Would you consider giving bonuses to playing auto select on QM to help alleviate that? Or maybe allowing more fine controls over which heroes can be auto selected for?

Blizzard LogoBlizzZhang

Great idea! Unranked draft will pull some population away from quick match, in fact every new hero release day we see a very long wait time for quick match because so many players want to play the new hero. We will be adding a xp bonus for auto select in quick match in a future patch if the long wait time triggers.

Would it be possible to have a full MMR reset in future seasons?

Blizzard LogoBlizzLoesby

If you play Hero League on the PTR, you can experience the results of a full MMR reset. When we don't have the MMR that's been built from the information of all your games on the live servers, we cannot give players matches with others of similar skill, because we don't yet know players' skills.

Can you explain the reasoning for having such short seasons?

Blizzard LogoBlizzTravis

While developing the new ranked system, one of the core decisions was that we want your rank to be as accurate as possible to your skill. That means that after their placement matches, most players will settle into a rank that is indicative of their skill and only move around a little bit. Unless the player is actively getting better, their rank is going to remain similar throughout the season.

So, when looking at season length, we wanted to find a duration that gave enough time to feel meaningful and gave players some time to gain skill and see that reflected in their rank. But it also should be short enough that players don’t feel totally stagnant before we give out season rewards.

We’re going to be watching the feedback from Season 1, which will be in the 8-12 week range, and adjust future seasons based on that.

Would it be possible in the future to change the decoration for league metals/minerals for ones from the Blizzards universe? (i.e. Vespene, Mithril, or Titansteel League) You’re using very generic ones.

Blizzard LogoBlizzJohnny

During the concept phase, we experimented with different materials for ranked badges. Ultimately, using metals that are universally understood like bronze, silver, gold, etc just made the most sense. We wanted to make sure that the visuals were always clear from a progression stand point. (Gold is higher rank than Silver)

How many games do you intend people play each season? I don't have a lot of free time and I really appreciated that I could rise rather quickly in your old system. With each tiers and so many divisions it seems rather tedious to climb to the appropiate skill level.

Blizzard LogoBlizzLoesby

The more the better! However, I don't think you need to worry about rising quickly or slowly.

In the new system, once you complete your placement games, you will instantly be placed where we believe you belong. Players who belong at the top will have a little barrier, since we cap placement at Diamond 3. However, it's possible for one very skilled player to win 14 games in a row after placement, and make it to Master League. Good luck!

There is a soft MMR reset happening before season 1. Will that be the case too before season 2, 3, etc., or will only our rank be reset then?

Blizzard LogoBlizzLoesby

We're planning to watch our MMR distributions and evaluate whether another normalization is necessary for future seasons. We do plan to increase uncertainty with each season roll so that each season, placement games are an important moment to prove to the system where you belong.

How will ranking up and down work? o If you’re about to rank up from Silver to Gold, will a Silver 1 player play against Gold 4-5? o If you’re about to rank down as a Silver player, will you play Silver 5 vs Bronze 1?

Blizzard LogoBlizzLoesby

Players who are about to rank up/down will be equally likely to play with players in their current division as players in their new division. That being said, the matchmaker can put you with players within 1 division of yourself. In the case of the Silver 1 player, he can be put in games with Gold 5s, Silver 1s, and Silver 2s, but will prefer Gold 5s and Silver 1s. Similarly, a Silver 5 about to be demoted can be put in games with Bronze 1s, Silver 5s, and Silver 4s, but will prefer Bronze 1s and Silver 5s.

Is it possible to sit at 999 points? Meaning I have to play the next game to get the 1 point i need for 1000 and THEN then next game for the promotion?

Blizzard LogoBlizzLoesby

Yes, unfortunately a player with 999 points in the current division will have to win two games to get a promotion. We knew this would be a concern going in, but other solutions made it difficult to communicate promotion point changes to the player. The good news is it should be very unlikely to sit at 999 points, so most of the time you shouldn't feel like you lost points during a promotion.

Do you plan to implement new rules for a new ranked play system in order to make this system as fair as possible?

Blizzard LogoBlizzLoesby

We have two new rules for matchmaking with this new system.

  • Players may not queue together for Hero League if they are more than 1 League apart. For example, a Gold player may not queue with a Diamond, but may queue with a Platinum or a Silver. We believe this should help improve the quality of matches since parties with wide skill spread tend to have a negative effect on game quality, as well as rating accuracy.
  • The matchmaker will strongly prefer to make games in which all players are within 1 Division of each other. This difference will be able to cross League boundaries. This means players should see lots of games of Silver 1 with Gold 5, but very few games of Platinum 1 with Diamond 3. As with most of our matchmaking rules, we will make exceptions if wait times become extreme.

That's all the questions Blizzard has answered. You can check back the original thread here.

The Ranked Play Revamp Q/A on reddit has ended and here's a recap of all answered questions.

 

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