Patch 3.4: The StarCraft II Ladder Revamp

Patch 3.4: The StarCraft II Ladder Revamp

The StarCraft II ranked ladder is one of the most challenging and competitive arenas in the video game world. Many enter, and only a few rise to the top. In order to be the best, you have to be able to track your progress and know how you stack up against the competition. There are two primary goals behind the revamping of the StarCraft II ladder system: increased accuracy and increased transparency. We believe the following changes, coming in Patch 3.4, are steps towards these goals.

The first major change is displaying your matchmaking rating or MMR. We’re happy to finally bring this value out into the open.

Second, we’re dividing each league into 3 tiers to help you know where you sit within your league. And finally, we’re making the requirements for the Grandmaster league more stringent to ensure only the top players hold these coveted positions.

Let’s jump right into the most information-dense tab we’re adding: the new Ladder tab on the score screen. After you complete a ranked match, the Ladder tab will display MMR adjustments for you and your enemy along with a new progress bar that will display how close or far you are towards a promotion. Note that this bar represents your progress within your current tier, and not the entire league. Now you’ll never have to wonder about how each match has affected your position in your league. You’ll also see your current division rank and league tier. 

To make it easier to understand where you sit within a league, we’ve divided each league from Bronze through Masters into three tiers, with Tier 1 being the highest. For example, a player in Silver Tier 1 would be closer to a promotion into Gold than a player in Silver Tier 2 or Tier 3. You’ll see your tier displayed on your league badge, as shown below.

You can view your MMR in the Ladder tab on the score screen, or by navigating to Profile > Ladders > Current Season.

We’ve also refreshed the division banners that you acquire as you rank up through your division. These banners become more ornate the higher you rank in your division, and will now be displayed in your Ladder showcase in Profile > Ladder > Summary.

Pretty snazzy, right?

Finally, we’ve made some slight adjustments to our league distribution as illustrated below:

While these changes aren’t drastic, the main focus is having Silver through Diamond being equal in size so that progressing through the ranks will be smoother and more intuitive. This new distribution is for all game modes and game versions, not just 1v1 or Legacy of the Void.

For any ladder system to be effective, those who earn their way to the top must truly be the best of the best. With this in mind, we’ve made changes to the demotion criteria for Grandmaster League. Top players will have to compete more frequently if they want to hold on to their spots high up on the StarCraft ladder.

Besides maintaining a high enough MMR, Grandmaster players will also need to play at least 10 games every 3 weeks to retain their spot. Additionally, every day at 5:00 p.m. local time, the bottom 5% of Grandmaster League will be automatically demoted to Masters League. So be careful: you don’t want to snooze your way out of the big leagues!

This change ensures that on any given day, only the best and most active players will be in the Grandmaster League. Grandmaster League differs from the other leagues in that the rankings are based purely on MMR, rather than on Division Points.

Every day, players will have the opportunity to fight their way into Grandmaster by competing in a new Contender ladder – a provisional battlefield where prospective GM candidates can claim limited spots for promotion. The Contender ladder holds 200 players overall, and 200 teams in Archon Mode.

At 8:00 p.m. local time, those in the Contender ladder who prove their mettle will ascend and be promoted into Grandmaster League.

These three hours will contain some of the fiercest competition in the StarCraft II ranked ladder and you’ll be able to view the contenders on any given day by navigating to Profile > Ladders > Grandmaster > 1v1 Contender or Archon Team Contender.

The Grandmaster demotions will occur at 5:00 p.m. based on the time zone of the following cities:

With the goal of our ladder system truly representing a player’s skill, bonus pool points can no longer be spent in the Grandmaster League. While you’ll still accrue points as a GM behind the scenes, they can’t be spent unless you fall into Master league or lower.

We’re also tweaking the accrual rate for Bonus Pool points for Team and Archon mode. We found that players were never able to spend all of their points in these modes, so we’ve reduced the rate for Arranged teams and Archon mode by 75% and Random teams by 50%.

What would a Blizzard revamp be without shiny, new visuals? We’ve added a new promotion fanfare to celebrate all of your hard work and effort. Behold!

We’ve also refreshed the league borders to be more distinguishing as well as added subtle animations for that extra polish. 

The StarCraft II Ladder Revamp is coming in Patch 3.4. We’re excited to bring these changes and we look forward to hearing your feedback. We’d also like to thank the community for the feedback they’ve given about the Ladder system over the years and we hope you feel like these changes will make playing on the ladder even more satisfying.

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