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Warcraft 3 Reforged Developer Update on Ranked Play

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The Warcraft III developer team posted an update on Ranked Play, the highest-priority feature that is currently in development for the game.

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Greetings Warcraft III: Reforged players!

Since our last update, we’ve released a variety of changes to Warcraft III: Reforged with our 1.32.6 PTR and patch. From a major balance update, to more bug and desync fixes as well as additional matchmaking improvements, our quest to make Reforged ever better continues.

As we mentioned in our last Developer Update, we’d like to continue sharing details and insights on our ongoing development plans for Warcraft III: Reforged alongside each patch. For this installment, we wanted to give you a look at the changes we have in store for our highest-priority feature addition currently under development: Ranked Play.

Setting Goals

When revisiting our designs for Ranked Play, we established a set of primary goals to guide our decision-making. Fundamentally, Ranked Play should provide a clear and trustworthy way for players to gauge their level of skill, as well as the skill of other players. In support of this, we’ve opted to make players’ ranks linked directly to their MMRs, rather than using a more detached, progression-based system. Additionally, while Ranked Play is the most competitive way to play Warcraft III: Reforged, it’s also important for us to ensure that this experience will be friendly for new players and veteran alike. 

As we continue building this next generation of Ranked Play, we want to deliver an experience where the features and functionality build upon the original Warcraft III Ranked mode, while also considering the community-driven variants that have emerged in both legacy Warcraft III and Reforged.

A Look At Ranked Play

As with the legacy version of Warcraft III, all five of the game modes in Reforged (1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, FFA) will have their own ranked ladders. In keeping with legacy Warcraft III’s spirit, we also wanted to ensure that there are no requirements for moving up or down in rank beyond your raw point value. This means we will not institute systems like promotion or demotion matches.

Solo Leaderboard

Work in Progress: 1v1 Leaderboard 

However, we have made some changes from the legacy version that we believe will lead to a better Ranked Play experience for players. We will be moving from the previous levels system to a more distinct medal system. Those familiar with StarCraft II ranked ladders will recognize the Bronze through Grandmaster ranking system, which we are bringing to Reforged.

The Grandmaster division will now be the highest rank and will only comprise the top 300 players with the highest MMR globally. When players jump into Ranked matches, they will be able to see their rank badge next to each player’s name on the loading screen. Those in Master and Grandmaster will additionally have their MMR displayed to all players as well. In another change from the legacy Ranked system, we will now be displaying a player’s own MMR directly to them in the main menu and in their in-game profiles as well. 

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Work in Progress: Promotion Notification 

Additionally, we wanted to address the aggressive experience decay that was in place in the legacy Ranked Ladder for Warcraft III. The original intent behind such an aggressive decay was to retain active players so that they could maintain their ranks. We believe that this was too punishing and have now decided to remove experience decay from Reforged for all ranks. We may decide to implement experience decay for Grandmaster in the future, but we’ll continue to monitor the data and see what would make the most sense for our top competitive players.

Human Placement Matches Screen

Work in Progress: Placement Matches Interface

To determine their Rank in the new system, players will now need to complete a series of five placement matches. These placement matches will only be required for any game mode or race combination where a player has not yet received a rank. For those who do have a rank, only one placement match will be needed after each season roll for any mode or race combination where a player has been placed.

Seasons Overview

Alongside the improvements coming to the Ranked Ladder, we are also going to be bringing Ranked Seasons to Warcraft III for the first time. Seasons will offer an opportunity to roll in balance updates, fresh map rotations, and other adjustments, as well as give players rewards for participating (and seeing how high up the ladder they can climb) in each new Season.

Season 1 Ranked Play Versus Unranked

Work in Progress: Season 1 Unranked Status

Season 1 Ranked Play Placement in Progress

Work in Progress: Season 1 Ranked Play Placement in Progress 

We will adjust player MMR and divisions between Seasons to maintain rank division sizes and prevent MMR drift to keep matchmaking times down. We think Seasons will provide structure for Ranked updates and give players the time to mentally reset and get excited for the new Season and new seasonal rewards.

Season 1 Ranked Play Versus Placed

Work in Progress: Season 1 Ranked Play in Versus - Placed Status 

Speaking of seasonal rewards—we plan to award a portrait for each division and players will earn new portraits as they rank up. Portraits will unlock for all divisions earned at and below a player’s rank. With each new Season, players can expect fresh new portraits to showcase their achievements for that season.

Work in Progress Ranked Silver and Gold badges.

While Seasons are brand new to the Warcraft III community, we’re excited about the benefits this framework will bring to the game.

Sharpening Skills in Unranked Mode

In addition to improving the Ranked experience for Reforged, we also want to expand upon it by adding an Unranked mode to the game. Unranked will be coming soon after Ranked mode is added to the game, for those players that would like to practice new races, tactics, and more in a competitive setting without the same stakes as formal Ranked matches.

Here’s a look at how this new game mode will work:

Unranked will have its own MMR attributed per race and per game mode, and is separate from the Ranked MMR system. Unranked MMR will never be displayed or reset, and the only way it will change is through the player’s progression as they play. We expect that there will likely be some MMR drift between Ranked and Unranked, but we feel this is acceptable as the Ranked and Unranked players are approaching each game mode with different mindsets.

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Work in Progress: Profile Match History 

As is the case in StarCraft II, Unranked players will be matched against Ranked players in 1v1 games. Wins and Losses will count as normal for Ranked players to ensure that players still try their best and continue to play to win. Ranked players will also be able to rank up by defeating an Unranked player as well.

When playing in Team games, we will only matchmake teams of all Ranked or all Unranked players onto the same team to ensure the fairest matches. That means Unranked players will only be paired with other Unranked players, and vice versa. For those players playing Unranked in Arranged Teams, the matchmaker will average player MMR and treat you like any other Arranged Team. However, at the conclusion of each match, team history is not tracked like ordinary Arranged teams.

Seasons will also have no bearing on Unranked mode. This means that there will be no Ladder resets for Unranked mode; however, wins in Unranked will count toward unlocking existing win-based portraits.

In Closing

We know that this is just part of the complete Ranked play experience you’re expecting—we will be detailing our approach to Profiles and more in our next developer update. While we’re aiming to release Ranked Play in the coming months, it’s important that we take the time needed to deliver a combination of features that best serves our players and the Warcraft III community. We’re looking forward to seeing the community discussion around our current plans for Ranked, Seasons, and Unranked modes, and we’ll provide updates on our progress as development continues.   

-The Warcraft III Team

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This looks pretty good, shame it's taking so long to implement. Custom campaigns should be their next priority.

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      Gold cost decreased from 255 to 215 Kobold Tunneler
      Initial stock delay decreased from 440 seconds to 120 seconds Gold cost decreased from 215 to 150 Lumber cost decreased from 20 to 0 Mur’gul Blood-Gill
      Initial stock delay decreased from 440 seconds to 120 seconds Gold cost increased from 105 to 195 Lumber cost increased from 0 to 10 Mur’gul Snarecaster
      Gold cost increased from 215 to 265 Lumber cost increased from 20 to 30 Murloc Flesheater
      Initial stock delay increased from 60 seconds to 120 seconds Nerubian Warrior
      Initial stock delay increased from 60 seconds to 120 seconds Gold cost decreased from 215 to 205 Quillboar Hunter
      Initial stock delay decreased from 440 seconds to 220 seconds Rogue
      Initial stock delay increased from 60 seconds to 120 seconds Satyr Shadowdancer
      Initial stock delay increased from 330 seconds to 440 seconds Gold cost decreased from 255 to 200 Lumber cost decreased from 30 to 20 Spitting Spider
      Initial stock delay decreased from 440 seconds to 220 seconds Gold cost increased from 215 to 235 Lumber cost increased from 20 to 30 Stormreaver Hermit
      Initial stock delay decreased from 440 seconds to 220 seconds Gold cost increased from 180 to 190 Tuskarr Healer
      Initial stock delay decreased from 440 seconds to 120 seconds Lumber cost decreased from 20 to 10 Unbroken Darkweaver
      Gold cost increased from 255 to 320 Lumber cost increased from 30 to 50 Voidwalker
      Gold cost increased from 155 to 245 Lumber cost increased from 15 to 30 Balance Related Bugfixes
      Makrura Deepseer creeps will no longer sometimes cease to react to enemy units when being attacked by a single unit or hero. Developers’ note: As an interesting aside, this bug originates from the Summon Prawns ability. Like many abilities, Summon Prawns adjusts the behavior of the unit it is assigned to. Typically, this is for deciding when to cast an ability or who to target with it. While this bug only affects the Murkura Deepseer in multiplayer, this fix should also clear up some AI strangeness for units using it in custom games. Items can no longer be destroyed by projectiles while in a hero’s inventory. Developers’ note: While we do want to keep the counterplay option of killing items as a means of denial, we want to address this specific strange behavior. Currently if a projectile is in mid-flight it will always do damage to an item, regardless of whether or not it was picked up. This felt especially strange when a high-speed hero would pick up an item, move away, and then suddenly lose the item because of slow moving projectiles landing at the item’s previous location. Additionally, this behavior now matches how units picked up by a Zeppelin functions. Breath of Fire (Brewmaster) starting projectile size increased from 120 to 125 at level 2, matches level 1 and 3 starting size. Developers’ note: This legacy bug has not caused any observable issues, however we wanted to clean up the discrepancy between levels. Maps
      Map Pool Rotation
      1v1
      Removed: Dalaran Added: Brightwater Oasis Developers’ note: Brightwater Oasis contains a new interesting map feature. Each side of this map will have 1 Goblin Merchant and 1 Goblin Laboratory, but each will spawn in one of two locations. This adds an interesting wrinkle to adjusting one’s creeping and attack routes based on map conditions. These locations are linked and symmetric so there shouldn’t be balance concerns around one player having a shorter distance to a shop than the opposing player. 2v2
      Removed: Phantom Grove LV Added: Circle of Fallen Heroes 3v3
      Removed: Rolling Hills Added: Guardians 4v4
      Removed: Banewood Bog LV Added: Northern Felwood Free For All
      Removed: Mur’gul Oasis LV Added: Greenville Woods Map Updates
      Terenas Stand LV
      Critters added to the map Twisted Meadows
      Green Gnoll camps near player start locations now has an additional level 1 Gnoll and the Gnoll Brute drops a level 1 power-up item. Developers’ note: We want to make taking the Gnoll camp feel a little more rewarding. It also hits a breakpoint where a single hero can reach level 3 by creeping the Gnoll camp and two yellow camps outside the ‘front’ of each starting location. Previously, two start locations could do this, but the other two would result in a hero just slightly short of level 3. Echo Isles
      Added extra trees and doodads behind the south west expansion to address instances of player units getting stuck in unpathable locations after using a Scroll of Town Portal. Filled in various pathing holes around the outer edges of the map. Developers’ note: While it was uncommon for players to get their units stuck behind the southwest expansion location, and stuck units could be freed through destroying trees, we want to solve the issue more directly. Sanctuary LV
      Critters added to the map Removed 2 Apprentice Wizards from the north and south red camps. Reduced the item drop from the Ogre Magi from level 6 Charged to level 5 Charged. Developers’ note: There was feedback that the Ogre Magi at the map’s north and south middle red camps were a bit too easy to pull away and kill in the early game. This would result in a powerful level 6 Charged item being dropped early on which could make rush strategies overly strong. To address this, we reduced the level of the item while making the camp slightly easier overall to reflect the lower level of item dropped. Twilight Ruins LV
      Removed a Skeletal Grunt and replaced it with two Burning Archers at each of the middle red creep camps. Developers’ note: Previously these creep camps lacked any anti-air elements other than Death Coil. This gave players who rushed to air units, Undead especially, a bit too much of an advantage when creeping. This change should make these camps require more time and investment to take down. System
      Installations of different builds of Warcraft III: Reforged now use shared container technology 18. User Interface
      Team-colored healthbars are no longer “On” by default for new users.
    • By Stan
      Patch 1.32.6 testing has concluded on Public Test Realms, and Blizzard thanked everyone for testing, and posted additional changes that affect the Crypt Lord unit, Pendant of Energy, and Breath of Frost.
      (Source)
      We are poised to strike!
      Thank you to everyone who participated in the PTR! In the coming week, we will close the PTR and patch the live game. Based on feedback given during the PTR (as well as some of our own observations), we’re making the following additional changes:
      Crypt Lord
      Unit cast point increased from 0.4 to 0.5. Carrion Beetles ability cooldown increased from 6 seconds to 9 seconds. Additional developers’ notes: There is some concern that Crypt Lords may be able to reach maximum beetle count a little too quickly, especially during combat. We’re increasing the cooldown of the ability to slow this down a bit. The new Impale is also now so responsive that it can be difficult to discern when the ability actually casts. Increasing the casting point makes the ability fire roughly when the Crypt Lord’s talons hit the ground. Additionally, for high-micro players who enjoy mindtricks, this allows more time to try and ‘false’ cast the ability though a Stop command mid animation. Pendant of Energy
      Mana provided decreased from 150 to 100. Additional developers’ notes: Alongside the Greater Mana Potion, the Pendant of Energy often gets feedback that it provides too much mana for where the item shows up on the item drop table. With feedback regarding the Greater Mana Potion change being favorable, we feel that we can also address this item by reducing the mana provided. Breath of Frost
      Size and shape of the ability altered to match Breath of Fire. Additional developers’ notes: This ability is solely used by the Blue Dragonspawn Overseer. In the past, this ability’s visual looked like a cone, just like Breath of Fire, but was actually using the size and shape of Shockwave. This has now been adjusted to use the same size and shape as Breath of Fire. Breath of Fire (Brewmaster)
      Starting projectile size increased from 120 to 125 at level 2, matches level 1 and 3 starting size. Additional developers’ notes: This legacy bug has not caused any observable issues, however we wanted to clean up the discrepancy between levels. We’re editing the PTR Patch Notes to reflect the above adjustments, and again, THANK YOU!
    • By Stan
      Warcraft 3 Reforged will use the shared container technology that WoW and Overwatch already use starting with Patch 1.32.6 that is currently available for testing on PTR.
      Having shared containers means that the root Warcraft 3 folder will soon be able to support multiple versions of the game, and these versions of the game will fetch game data from a shared Data folder.
      Blizzard has been using this technology for WoW for a while now, where you have the main directory and various versions of the game, like _alpha_, _beta_, _classic_, _classic_ptr_, _ptr_, and _retail_.
      (Source)
      Starting with version 1.32.6, we’re transitioning Warcraft III to use the shared container technology that World of Warcraft and Overwatch already use. Having a shared container for Warcraft III means that we can have the different types of builds (currently retail and public test) use the same data directory.
      In order to support this new technology, we’ll change the directory layout of the game. The root Warcraft III install directory will contain a Data folder, and one or more folders that represent the build types: _retail_ for the retail version and _ptr_ for the public test version. The Data folder will store data for all build types (reusing data when possible). The build type folders ( _retail_ , _ptr_ ) will act as the game root. For example, any file or folder that you previously placed in Warcraft III should now be placed in Warcraft III/_retail_ instead. If you have any files that you previously added to your install directory (not recommended), you will need to move those files to _retail_ or _ptr_ . With this new layout, you can have multiple build types installed side by side without disruption.
      When installing a build, the user will still have the option to have separate installs of Retail and PTR if so desired. However, we recommend using the shared installed because it will overall use less disk space and will be quicker to install the Retail or PTR versions of the game.
      There will be a phased transition to change to the new directory layout. You won’t be able to fully take advantage of this technology until both the 1.32.6 version of retail and the PTR have been released. The 1.32.6 PTR is aware of the new directory layout, but the current Retail version of the game is 1.32.5 and that version is not yet aware of the new directory layout.
      Once the 1.32.6 Retail version is released, we highly recommend that you uninstall the 1.32.6 PTR version. Any future PTR or Retail releases after 1.32.6 will now be able to share the data directory if desired.
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