As part of the changes sweeping across Hearthstone in the Year of the Phoenix, Blizzard has announced that the Ranked System will be totally revamped. At the 2020 Hearthstone Summit, Alec Dawson (Game Designer) told us that “With the launch of the Year of the Phoenix, we’ll be making some pretty significant changes to the Ranked System.”
Dawson explained that Hearthstone’s current Ranked System has been in place for quite some time and Blizzard believes that “these changed will make ranking up more engaging for all players.”
Currently, there are 25 standard ranks available for players to work their way through. In the new Ranked System, ranks will be broken up into five Leagues with 10 Ranks each.
While we don’t have an image of the new Ranked System at present, anyone who’s played Overwatch will be familiar with it. The five Leagues are Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. Legend sits above Diamond and is reserved for only the very best players in the game.
Blizzard is making this change as it believes the current system doesn’t accurately represent a player’s skill level. Being rank 13 doesn’t sound all that impressive, however, Dawson said that “that’s actually pretty good, so we want the system to reflect that.”
When the new Ranked System launches, each rank will only take three stars to progress through and ranked floors will also be kept in place after every five ranks. Players in Bronze won’t lose stars at all, which will help to get them up and into the higher ranks.
One reason to play Ranked in Hearthstone is for the end of season rewards. Along with the new Ranked System, Blizzard is shaking up end of season rewards. Rewards will now focus on card packs and Rare or better cards instead of Dust and Common Cards.
Players will also be given the season card back right after they win five games in a season. There are also bonus rewards for players when reaching a Ranked Floor for the first time. The first time a player reaches Legend, they’ll be given a Legendary card.
At the beginning of every season, with the new system, everyone will be reset to Bronze. Dawson explained that this is to allow players to collect the new Ranked rewards and progress through the new Ranked System. For players who finished higher than Bronze, a Star Bonus will be applied at the beginning of each season. The Star Bonus is based on your MMR and grant a multiplier to the number of stars you earn for each win.
The maximum multiplier you can earn is x11 which will help you boost your way back to the League and Rank you belong.
As an example, if a player has a 10-star bonus and wins a game, they’ll earn 10 stars. If they lose a game, they only lose one star. However, if they’re on a win streak while on a 10-star bonus, they’ll earn 20 stars for a win. As you climb the ranks, your star bonus will be reduced until you end up at the right rank.
Finally, Dawson told us that Ranked matchmaking will now be done by MMR. “We think this creates a much better experience for players,” he said.
The new Ranked System will launch alongside Year of the Phoenix.
Leo Stevenson travelled to Irvine, California as a guest of Blizzard. Travel, accommodation and meals were provided by Blizzard.