Hearthstone‘s Battlegrounds mode will receive a new ratings and rankings system that will be added to the game as part of the upcoming 18.4 patch.
The foundation of the new rating system is fairly simple. Basically, everybody’s Battlegrounds rating will be reset to 0 regardless of where they currently are. Following the reset, players will work their way through new progression tiers. However, your progression won’t really kick in until a player has reached over 2000 rating points. Until you’ve crossed 2000 rating points, it’s not possible for a Battlegrounds player to lose rating points.
Between 2000 and 6000 points, every 500 points you earn sets a new rating floor that you can not fall below. If you are below 6500 points, you may also receive a small rating boost at the end of every match. The most points you can earn in a single match is 300.
That’s the basics of what Blizzard describes as Battlegrounds “External Ratings,” but the big news here is actually based around the mode’s “Internal Ratings” and how that rating will determine who you are matched with in a Battlegrounds game.
“We will match players based on their internal rating only, as it is designed to always truly represent your actual skill,” explains the Hearthstone development team in a blog post. “During the match building phase, we will try to select eight players with the closest internal rating to ensure the match is as fair as possible for everyone.”
Blizzard goes on to note that your internal rating will be invisible to you and will not be reset at the start of a new season. However, the Hearthstone team notes that they may perform a process of “re-normalization” to your internal rating which is designed to ensure that your rating is performing as intended.
As the Hearthstone team bluntly notes, your external rating “plays no role in the matchmaking process.” It’s just a front-facing representation of your progress. While it is possible that your external score bonus can be modified to “chase” the internal rating so that they’re relatively closer, you may see players with wildly different external scores matched together so long as their internal scores are within matchmaking parameters.
While it feels like this is just the start of Battlegrounds’ new rating system, these changes do represent a pretty sweeping overhaul of the current mechanics. It remains to be seen how players react to the external vs. internal rating system (and how that system works in practice), but it again feels clear that Blizzard remains committed to growing Battlegrounds and realizing its full potential.