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Blizzard Sheds A Small Light On Issues With Legend Ladder

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Blizzard offered a short explanation for some of the issues players have been experience with the legend ladder this month, but was it enough?

 

Due to some bizarre behaviors with the ranked matchmaking system in the legend ranks this month, a number of professional players, including RDU and Orange, have taken to Twitter to air their frustrations with the legend ladder:

 

Issues with the ranked ladder have persisted in one fashion or another since the beginning of March. Blizzard recently gave out several Hearthstone packs to all players due to issues related to the ranked system, but the most recent problems pros have been having with ladder appear to be caused by a lack of clarity. Firebat summed things up eloquently on Omni/Stone today, stating that the issues legend players are experience were being magnified by the fact that Blizzard had remained quiet on the issues. A few hours after the Omni/Stone stream finished, community manager Jesse Hill posted the following statement in a closed thread on the Battle.net forums:

 

Blizzard LogoMarch Ranked Play Update

We’d like to take a moment to apologize for a lack of communication and to shed some light on a recent change to the ranking experience in Legend. 

When we implemented the 30-game requirement to earn Competitive Points for March 2018, we also increased how much your rank rating shifted after each match in order to make matches played feel more meaningful. Together, these changes accomplished what they set out to do—Legend players who were previously being completely inactive to preserve their rank were actively competing on the ladder again and their ranks were adjusting accordingly.

We reverted the increase to how much your rank rating shifted (back to the normal rate) a few days ago to ensure that competition for end-of-season rankings wasn’t as volatile, which would have created a frustrating experience for players who were aiming for certain ranks. 

Please accept our sincerest apologies for not filling you in on these changes as we were making them. We’re committed to doing a better job of communicating these kinds of changes in the future. The integrity of Ranked Play, and your faith in the system, is of the utmost importance to us. 

Thank you for your understanding, and we hope to see you in the Tavern.

- Hearthstone Team

 

Though this statement does offer a bit of explanation as to why legend players have felt as though their ranks were being adjusted inconsistently this season, it doesn't explain everything. I doubt that the intended behavior of any ladder system is to have players lose ranks for winning games, yet multiple pros have reported that exact behavior this month. Though this statement is a step in the right direction, I believe that Blizzard will need to offer even more information about the way the legend ladder is structured to satisfy the pros who have been affected by these issues.

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Even though I nearly stopped playing ladder, waiting for the year of the raven to play it again, the lower rank stars increase was doing nothing good except for making it a longer road.

I understand why the pro/legend players are complaining but the current ladder system still favors them and screws low and mid ranked players, which are still the majority of the players in HS. I still have no idea what they were thinking. But that is just Blizz being vague, unclear and not revealing how things work.

Edited by Caldyrvan

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Not a pro but I agree they should explain how the system works. I just don’t really see the downside unless it is gameable (it shouldn’t be) or there’s some features they would prefer the players not to know about (there shouldn’t be).

Personally quite interested to know more about the system that calculates MMR. I’m chuffed to have smashed my records this month, having reached 4th in Wild for a while and ultimately finishing 5th I believe. When I reached 4th after a big win streak about a week ago, I continued to win 2 more games whilst staying 4th then lost one and also didn’t change position. At that point, having no idea whether I needed to win two more games, five, ten, or more to reach 1st I figured since I was quite possibly higher than my natural rating following a good run (was bouncing around 10th-100th mostly for about a week) I’d stop there and see if I could hold on to a top 10 finish since I’ve never finished particularly high before. Would be nice to see a live ratings leaderboard or something though, so you know what you’re chasing.

Also would be interested to know if the system is universally stable. I assume they use some sort of ELO type system like they do for chess. In theory if a high ranked player was to play a lot of games against lower ranked players they’d have to win a very high percentage of games to maintain rank, and by and large if players are initially correctly ranked this is the percentage the higher ranked player wins. I’m not convinced this is the case in HS. I beat a player ranked around 1000th (late at night when wait times were large) when I was around 40th and then lost to the same guy. I dropped for the loss significantly over twice the rank I gained for the win. Seemed roughly like I’d need about a 75% win rate to maintain rank against in that rank matchup. I’m not convinced that’s realistically feasible in HS in the long run. Doesn’t seem right if you’re advantaged when facing players of higher rank and vice versa.

Ultimately everyone is in the same boat, so not saying it’s an unfair system, just means there’s an extra layer of rng from matchups. Would be good to know how it works.

16 hours ago, Caldyrvan said:

I understand why the pro/legend players are complaining but the current ladder system still favors them and screws low and mid ranked players, which are still the majority of the players in HS. I still have no idea what they were thinking. But that is just Blizz being vague, unclear and not revealing how things work.

In what manner does it favour high ranked players over lower ones?

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The increased number of Stars for example. Low/mid ranked players have to play/win more games now.

And even though you can expect to face players with lower skill and not entirely perfect decks the variety is hardly different. Ofc you are likely get wins easier/faster in lower ranks, assuming you have a decent deck and skill, being "better" than the average player but you still have to win/play a lot more now compared to the old system. And their argument that the increased number of start will spread it a bit more was nice in theory maybe but in reality there is little to no difference.

Also to lose exactly 4 ranks, no matter which rank you had with the start of the new season may seem to be fair but the higher ranks are by far more valuable. The average player with just average skill and deck and even maybe less time than dedicated legend players will have to put in a similar amount of work to get from rank 14 to 10 as a player going from 4 to legend.

Edited by Caldyrvan

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58 minutes ago, Caldyrvan said:

The increased number of Stars for example. Low/mid ranked players have to play/win more games now.

Well, you have to be pretty low for that to be true. For someone aiming to be rank 10 by the end of each season for instance, they had to gain more than the 20 stars they now have to. For someone aiming for rank 15, yes that’s true, but at the same time they don’t have a bunch of last season’s Legend players at blocking them at rank 16. Surprises me if it is harder than before.

58 minutes ago, Caldyrvan said:

And their argument that the increased number of start will spread it a bit more was nice in theory maybe but in reality there is little to no difference.

It could take a while. Some people alternate what they play in a given season. I normally just focused on one of the three modes (standard/wild/arena) each season. So someone doing similar would take a while to be moved up at the start of the season in each mode. But it takes 4 months for someone who sometimes reaches Legend in a format but sometimes doesn’t try to drop back to rank 16 so it should get more spread out over time.

58 minutes ago, Caldyrvan said:

The average player with just average skill and deck and even maybe less time than dedicated legend players will have to put in a similar amount of work to get from rank 14 to 10 as a player going from 4 to legend.

Hmm, not convinced at all. The below-5 win streaks make a huge difference to speed of climb unless you have an unusually high win rate, which most people won’t have as they’re playing people of similar strength. I’ve had seasons in the past where I was rank 5 by the second or third day of the season and took me until near the end of the season to push to Legend.

But even if it was true, I’m not sure how it favours the legend player. It is easier/faster to get Legend than it used to be for sure (which has significantly increased the number of people doing so). But it’s not like you get anything for it. No one is doing it for the extra 20 dust.

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You may be right but the win steaks (edit: better streaks but I like steaks too) have been there before but with less stars required at lower ranks.

Anyway, it is different in many ways, depending on how your collection is, your skill, your ambitions as well as time and maybe even state of mind, like someone being always happy to play no matter if they win or lose might feel the climb is an easy things while someone more easily frustrated (even if they have a good win rate) might feel it's hard and takes long.

Edited by Caldyrvan

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I suck at HS but play a lot.  I agree that the experience of ranked play for people whose goal finish is rank 10 changed a lot.  When that was my goal I'd experience an initial tough week but it felt reasonable to expect to rise 10-12 ranks in a season.  I can't imagine it feels reasonable now.  Over a couple of months I expect the ladder will settle out so that people's end season rank will feel like a more or less accurate reflection of their time in game, card collection, and skill.  At that point I'd expect the experience to be like mine from my dad legend finish last month, where I was playing in a narrow range but felt like a) my goal of 5 was achievable and b) I could even see myself hitting REAL LEGEND with some extra time playing.  But I get that if you started at 23 this month and expected to get to 10, it would seem like a ridiculous grind.

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2 hours ago, Caldyrvan said:

You may be right but the win steaks (edit: better streaks but I like steaks too)

I’m in favour of win steaks, hopefully someone at Blizzard is listening!

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