Every MOBA is developed with the aim of being E-sports compatible, and Heroes of the Storm is no different. Unfortunately, Blizzard’s entry into the MOBA market has been met with a heavy dose of criticism in regards to its ranked mode, something which doesn’t bode well for a game to sustain a long term competitive scene. In response, the company announced today that significant changes to the game’s Hero and Team League modes would be implemented in the next patch.
Most will probably be expecting this as soon as they saw “ranked play changes” but all player ranks will be reset and re-evaluated with the introduction of placement matches. After completing a certain number of games, a player will be assigned a starting point on the ladder based on the results, allowing them to reach the rank that most accurately reflects their skill level that much quicker.
This in turn should make the transition to ranked play much smoother for lower level players through more balanced matchmaking, ensuring someone at Rank 30 doesn’t end up in a match against an opponent that, while technically the same rank, plays at a Rank 10 level. Few things can turn you off competitive play more completely then feeling like you don’t have a chance and never will.
Once you do reach Rank 1, however, you’ll probably find it more difficult to stay there than before. The changes include adjustments to how players gain and lose points at Rank 1, so it works the same as lower ranks. Presumably this means recieving fewer points per win and losing more points per loss, as Community Manager Trikslyr, noted that “since the point system is now consistent, some players may find they may not be able to remain in Rank 1 as easily as they previously could.”
Making Rank 1 more competitive is part of the preparation for the next rank above it – Grandmaster. Little was said about it in the annoucement aside from that it will not be in this coming patch, but more will be revealed as it gets closer to release.
The requirements for Team League have also been changed – it’s now only available to full five player teams. Those with one to four players will be placed in Hero League. For now, Blizzard has also removed the team name feature for now to “make it more compelling,” but the gold spent on creating a team will be refunded.
Despite the rankings reset, Heroes of the Storm is still in pre-season and will remain so until after the release of the new Grandmaster rank. So those of you looking to break into the E-sports scene still have some time to climb the ladder before the competition begins in earnest. See you in the Nexus!