Jump to content

February Ranked Play Update: Adjustments to Star Values Per Rank

Recommended Posts


Starting from February, climbing the lower ranks of the ladder will be easier as less stars will be required to gains ranks.

Specifically, between ranks 50 to 16 you will only need to gain 3 stars (down from 5) to earn a rank. Between ranks 15 and 11, 4 stars will be required to level up. There will be no changes from rank 10 to 1: you will still need to gain 5 stars.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard Entertainment

We’ve heard a lot of feedback about the long climb in Ranked play, so starting with the February Ranked Play season, we’re introducing a quality of life change by reducing the number of Stars required to advance in many of the Ranks!


Currently, every Rank has five Stars. When the February Ranked Play Season starts, each Rank will have the following number of Stars instead:

Rank Stars
Rank 50 to Rank 16 3 Stars per Rank
Rank 15 to Rank 11 4 Stars per Rank
Rank 10 to Rank 1 5 Stars per Rank


This will make your Ranked Play climb faster in the lower ranks, while preserving the more competitive Star values for the higher Ranks.



When the February Ranked Play Season begins, you will still be reset four Ranks lower than the highest Rank you achieved in the previous season, but “excess” Stars will be shed to align with the new value for the Rank you are moving to. For example, if your highest Rank in January was Rank 10 with five Stars, then when the February Season begins, you will be set to Rank 14 with four Stars. The “fifth” Star is no longer there, but you would still be at the highest value for the Rank you were moved to.

We look forward to hearing what you think! Let us know in the comments, as well as on Twitter, and Facebook.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Tupi said:

sooo, back to what it was basically?

Not exactly. 25-21 used to have 2 stars.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I apologize in advance for the long post.

I'm afraid this is only more attempt to tune a system which is flawed by design. We'll see how it goes, but I doubt this change will really help. I believe that Hearthstone's ranked play system has 3 design flaws:

  1. A player's rank is used for 2 different purposes: telling how good that player is (so that the game can match players by rank in the queue), and deciding what reward he/she will get at the end of the season.
  2. The rank is associated with the player, while the value of your game opponent is the combination of the player and the deck he/she is playing now. This means that the current rank of a player may not reflect his/her actual value, depending on which decks he/she has been playing before, and which deck he/she is playing now. I think that most players have one or two top decks with which they perform, and their other decks are for the purpose of completing specific quests, experimenting, or having fun.
  3. The standard game outcome is the exchange of a star between the loser and the winner, so in essence the ladder is a zero-sum game. However, all players start at rank 25 with 0 star, so there are no stars to trade at first.

Now, if you think of all the mechanisms Blizzard has been adding on top of the core ladder logic, you will see that they are all workarounds (sometimes cascaded) to the flaws mentioned above:

  1. Moving down every player by 4 ranks every month. This avoids that people get a top reward at the end of the month without playing, only because they reached a top rank previously. This is how they tried to address problem #1. However it has the drawback that rankings have no real meaning except at the end of each month. A player who is very active during the first half of the month could have the same rank on 15th of that month as a player who is only active during the second half of that month, while they had a 4-rank difference at the beginning of the month, and may have a 4-rank difference again at the end of the month. Of course this is an extreme example, but this illustrates how the monthly -4 rank demotion adds significant variance to the ranking system. This is bad because a ranking system used for the purpose of matching opponents needs to be stable.
  2. Preventing all players from ever getting lower than rank 25, and players who ever reached rank 15 from ever getting lower than rank 20. This is how they mitigate the monthly -4 rank demotion, to avoid that top players who take a break end up in the same ladder zone as less skilled players. However it has the drawback of creating a funnel effect around ranks 25 and 20, making it hard to get out of them.
  3. Adding milestones at ranks 15, 10 and 5, below which you can't fall once you have reached them, for the current month only. This is how they mitigate the funnel effect mentioned before: if you manage to extract yourself from the rank 20 funnel and reach rank 15, then you are safe for the season. Unfortunately, the side effect of this is to create a new funnel at rank 15, and then again at ranks 10 and 5. This breaks the smoothness and stability of the ranking system once more. This mitigation, and the previous one, are also a way to workaround problem #2, as players can then use their top decks to climb up to the next milestone, and then they can use their weaker decks without risking to fall down. However, there is no guarantee that their weaker decks will be good enough to win a game at higher ranks, so depending on the quests they need to complete, they may have to play in casual mode anyway.
  4. Generating stars, so that players can exchange them later. This is the only way to address problem #3 and get the ball rolling. There are only 3 cases when stars are being generated: when losing a game below rank 20 (your opponent gets 1 star, but you don't lose any); when losing a game but you are not allowed to drop to a lower rank because of the rank 20/15/10/5 milestones mentioned above (your opponent gets 1 star but you don't lose any); and on winning streaks below rank 5 (you get 2 or 3 stars but your opponent only loses 1). This means that star generation is essentially random (you can't predict how many stars will be generated during a month) but also not evenly distributed: the milestone ranks mentioned earlier (20/15/10/5), in addition to ranks 25-21, are where most stars are being generated every month. If you are playing in ranks 19-16, for example, you are only exchanging stars with your opponents, except on winning streaks (which are the exception, not the rule). This is what makes it very difficult to get out of this zone and reach rank 15. I've never been there, but I believe that getting from rank 15 to rank 14 should be a lot easier than getting from rank 16 to rank 15. Players at rank 15 are generating stars for each other, so if they play enough, some of them will inevitably have enough stars to reach rank 14. Note that workaround #1 is destroying a massive amount of stars at the beginning of each month. How many stars are destroyed is not deterministic, because each player's new rank is based on his/her best rank and stars during the previous month, rather than his/her current rank and stars. At the maximum, 20 stars were destroyed for each player (that will change with the upcoming update). If players generate more stars than are destroyed on average, then the average player rank is improving. If players generate fewer stars than are destroyed on average, then the average player rank is degrading. And nobody has any control over that. Apparently Blizzard is trying hard to fine-tune the system so as to stabilize this, but it looks like a fool's game to me.

I know that I am not the first one to object to the ladder system as it is implemented, and I doubt I will be the last, but for a change, instead of only complaining, let me emit a few suggestions of how I would try to fix the problems if I was in charge:

  • Problem #1 can be solved by dissociating the rank and the season's end reward. Blizzard took a first step in that direction, by giving the season's card back to all players winning 5 games during the month, independently of their rank. I believe that the same should be applied to the other rewards. Ranks should not be touched at the beginning of the month. Instead, a player's rank should define the best reward they can obtain. In order to actually obtain all of it, they have to be active. This would be similar to how corporate bonus works in most companies. With the current system, you basically must win 20 more games than you lose in order to get back to your original rank. I'm not sure how many games people need to play in order to achieve this on average, but maybe requiring a total of 30 or 40 victories to get the full season reward would make sense. If you only do half of that, you get half of the reward (implementation details obviously need to be given some more thoughts, as giving players half-cards wouldn't be exactly convenient 😉). And if you do nothing, you get nothing, even if you have a top rank. This approach would give more stability to the ranking system, and a player's rank would actually mean something, no matter if it is the beginning or the end of the season.
  • Problem #2 is harder to solve completely. Decks can change at any time, so you can't associate a rank with a deck directly. However you could attribute to each player one rank per class, instead of a single rank for all classes. This first approximation may be good enough. A player's overall rank (as used to determine the season's end reward) would be his/her best rank among all classes.
  • Problem #3 is the hardest of all, because it requires an in-depth change of the ladder system. I'm afraid that the only way to solve it is to go away from the star-based system altogether, and turn to an Elo rating system. This implies a lot of changes though, and I'm not sure if Blizzard will ever take the plunge.
  • Thanks 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Stan
      A balance patch is coming next week with card adjustments and Shaman changes for Descent of Dragons. Affected cards will be given full arcane dust refunds.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Hey everyone,
      Just to give a heads up - we’re working on a balance update that will arrive within the next week with card adjustments for Descent of Dragons, including some changes aimed at Shaman. Any cards that are affected will be given full arcane dust refunds. Stay tuned for more details next week.
    • By Stan
      Blizzard encountered a bug where the client would disconnect after using Heart of Vir'naal and minions with the Invoke keyword, so they disabled Galakrond animations in Hearthstone until further notice.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Hey Folks,
      We are currently in the process of rolling out a hotfix that will disable the animations for Galakrond. The reason for this:
      We’ve found multiple occurrences in which Galakrond’s animations can cause the Hearthstone client to disconnect. The primary occurrence: when playing Quest Galakrond Shaman, we encountered (as well as received word) a bug where the client would disconnect after using Heart of Vir’naal + minions with the Invoke keyword.
      This is just a temporary solution that will fix the client disconnects. We are aiming to ship a client patch within the next week that will be the long-term fix for this issue.
      The team is continuing to keep an eye out for issues, so please do let us know if you encounter more pesky bugs 
      Related News
      Hearthstone Update 16.0 Patch Notes List of Known Issues (Update 16.0) Descent of Dragons Update Notes Galakrond Priest Hotfix All Descent of Dragons Cards Revealed
    • By Stan
      A hotfix went live for a bug that caused the game to become unresponsive when using Fate Reaver and Galakrond in Priest decks.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Quick hotfix note for this evening. A bug that was causing the game to become unresponsive when using Galakrond and Fate Weaver in Priest decks has been resolved. Related News
      Hearthstone Update 16.0 Patch Notes List of Known Issues (Update 16.0) Descent of Dragons Update Notes All Descent of Dragons Cards Revealed
    • By Stan
      Descent of Dragons is here and we've updated our decks for Hearthstone's latest expansion.
      Related News
      Hearthstone Update 16.0 Patch Notes List of Known Issues (Update 16.0) All Descent of Dragons Cards Revealed Blizzard (Source)
      It has come to this. Rafaam and his League of E.V.I.L. have set the final stage of their plan into motion: to resurrect Galakrond, the progenitor of all dragonkind. But the League of Explorers is hot on their heels...and they're bringing a few dragons of their own.
      Take to the skies — Descent of Dragons is now live!
      Those aligned with E.V.I.L. have the opportunity to resurrect Galakrond, who will manifest into one of five variations based on your class. Best of all, when you go to open your first Descent of Dragons card pack, you’ll recieve all five Galakrond cards for free! Learn more about Galakrond in our Draconic Details blog.

      New Keyword: Invoke
      A newly awakened proto-dragon is frightening enough on its own, but Galakrond's strength grows as his followers Invoke him.
      Playing any card with the Invoke keyword will enhance Galakrond's power and enable even greater devastation.
      You may be familiar with quests, which provide rewards for completing specific objectives during your matches. Sidequests follow that tradition, but have shorter, easier-to-complete objectives to allow you to earn victory more quickly — or even complete multiple sidequests in one game.
      New Spells: Dragon Breath
      The mightiest dragons come with the mightiest dragon breaths. Gain the upper hand over your enemies with these powerful spells that become more powerful if you're holding a dragon.
      Login Rewards and Legendary Quests
      All players who log in to Hearthstone during Descent of Dragons will receive the five Galakrond cards above as well as two Shield of Galakrond cards.
      In addition, a new legendary quest line will be available starting today, granting Descent of Dragon packs, packs from Rise of Shadows and Saviors of Uldum, and a 200 Gold reward.
      Arena Rotation
      A new arena rotation awaits! As of today, the arena now includes cards from the following sets:
      Basic Classic Blackrock Mountain The Grand Tournament One Night in Karazhan Knights of the Frozen Throne Rastakhan's Rumble Descent of Dragons COMING SOON
      Galakrond's Awakening
      The final battle in the Year of the Dragon's solo adventure story arc is Galakrond's Awakening, coming this January! We won't spoil too much, but we hope you're ready to battle E.V.I.L. (or good) and collect 35 new cards! More details on Galakrond's Awakening will be coming soon.

    • By Stan
      The Descent of Dragons content update launched with a few bugs that will be fixed in the near future. Namely, Sathrovarr was not intended to become unplayable, some cards are not working at all or showing a system error screen after trying to disenchant them.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Quick updates on where a few of the outstanding issues are:
      Sathrovarr : As a confirmation, Sathrovarr was absolutely not intended to become unplayable with the patch on Thursday. We know what caused this, and it’s going to require us to put a fix in to the launch of Descent of Dragons next Tuesday. As of right now, we expect Sathrovarr to be back to normal on Tuesday.
      Disenchanting Cards: Right now, some cards are showing a system error screen after trying to disenchant them. This is something we can fix on our side, and we’re working to get that out today before the weekend.
      [Hearthstone Battlegrounds] Rafaam’s Hero Power: Last night, we resolved an issue where Rafaam’s Hero Power wasn’t properly allowing a golden upgrade until after buying something. This should be working normally as of right now.
      Missing Cards / Deck Codes: We’ve seen a lot of varying reports of things with cards not working, and there are a few different things at play. We noted previously that as the “Treasures from the Tomb” wild event ended, decks containing the temporary wild cards are going to be unusable, but they may not clearly denote why. If a deck code isn’t working, that’s the first thing to check. Sathrovarr is also likely to cause some issues until we correct that next week. Finally, the team is currently investigating some reports that Treasures from the Tomb cards that were owned in a player’s collection may have disappeared after the event ended. As a reminder, all cards from that event were granted as temporary event cards - they were never actually added to your collection, but simply lived there as separate, special versions of those cards, even if you already had them in your collection. Those event cards are now gone, but anything that was in your collection before the event should still be there. If it isn’t, we’d appreciate more info on what cards you’re missing to help us track this one down.
  • Create New...