Blizzard has announced a series of changes designed to reduce the grind associated with Hearthstone‘s ranked mode.
If you’re not able to view the video above, here’s a basic breakdown of how the new ranked system will work.
Starting in March, each monthly seasonal reset will only set you back four ranks from where you ended your last season. For instance, if you end the March season at Rank 2 with four stars, you’ll begin the next competitive season at Rank 6 with four stars. Previously, all players were reset to Rank 25 and moved up in ranks based on how they finished the last competitive season.
This is especially big news for Legend players who previously had to grind out hours and hours of games in order to achieve the rank of Legend and then grind more and more hours to reach the higher ranks of Legend that award competitive points. Now, those players who achieve the rank of Legend will be reset at Rank 4. This will considerably reduce the amount of time it takes to reach the game’s highest ranks if you’ve already achieved them in a previous season.
However, this also means that reaching legend will theoretically be easier than it ever has been before. Hearthstone director Ben Brode addressed this on Twitter by stating that “Our simulations show some amount of rank inflation, but not so much that everyone will suddenly become Legend. There will probably need to be a few more minor changes at some point, depending on how many players end up at Legend each month.”
Furthermore, all ranks will now require you to earn five stars before you can move up. However, players between the ranks of 25 and 5 will still earn bonus stars for achieving a three-game win streak. However, rank floors will still be in place. That means you can’t drop below Rank 25, 20, 15, 10, 5, or Legend. Players will also now need to win five games in a season to unlock that season’s new card back. Previously, they were required to reach Rank 20 in order to win that reward.
Overall, these are welcome changes for anyone that wishes to obtain the rank of Legend and compete in Legend ranks for a higher regional ranking and possible competitive points. However, some players are saying that these much-anticipated changes to the game’s rank mode don’t really address the issue of creating an incentive to reach those high ranks in the first place. Some would like to see more rewards spread throughout the ranks as well as a ranking structure that isn’t so dependent on consecutive wins.
Still, these changes represent an incredible first step towards a Hearthstone ladder experience that doesn’t demand quite as much of your time.