Attention, StarCraft II ladder competitors! Season 8 (2012 Season 3) is now locked. Season numbers are starting to climb, so we will be changing the way seasons are named. Starting now, each season will get a year tag as well as a season number. For example, last season would have been 2012 Season 3, while the upcoming season will be 2012 Season 4.
At the end of each ladder season, leagues are “locked,” which means players can no longer be promoted or demoted out of their current league or division, and bonus pools will stop growing. That’s no reason to quit playing: even after leagues are locked, players will still be able to play out their remaining bonus pool and compete for standing within their divisions until the season ends one week later. The matchmaking skill ratings which determine league promotion and demotion will also continue to update during the lock, so games played during the lock still count toward 2012 Season 4 league placement.
Now that the lock is in effect, Season 8 (2012 Season 3) will soon come to an end. We’ll be turning over to 2012 Season 4 on September 11th and the Grandmaster League will start one week following the season roll. Season milestone rewards will be awarded and bonus pools will reset with the beginning of the new season. Hidden skill ratings used for matchmaking and league placement will carry over from the previous season, though, so players who have completed placement matches in a previous season will only need to play one new placement match after 2012 Season 4 starts.
2012 Season 4: Map Pool Update and Tier Removal
When 2012 Season 4 begins on September 11, we’re making changes to both the ladder map pool and the ladder itself. The new map (Silent Dunes) is playable now! You can experience it now via the custom game interface in the StarCraft section, and it will join the ladder when the new season starts next week.
Ladder Map Changes
(1v1) Tal’darim Altar LE
- Rocks removed from the third base for all starting locations. With current popular gameplay, having rocks in the third is no longer viable.
(3v3) Arakan Citadel
(4v4) Toxic Slums
(3v3) Silent Dunes (new map)
(4v4) High Ground
Ladder Tier Removal
Currently not all divisions within a League are created equal. Individual divisions are actually assigned to different “tiers”, and players are assigned to tiers based on skill. This system hasn't been very transparent, making it difficult to determine your next promotion. For example, if you’re in a lower tiered Diamond division, just getting to Rank 1 doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll see a promotion soon.
With the goal of increasing transparency for ladder players, we’re removing tiers from the ladder with the commencement of 2012 Season 4. The removal of tiers from all leagues will allow players to better gauge exactly where they’re at on the ladder and how far away they are from the next league.
After this change, climbing to (for example) Rank 2 Diamond will mean that you are in the top 2% of all Diamond players, and you are very close to moving into the Master League. Similarly, Rank 50 Platinum is in the top 50% in the Platinum league, and so forth.
We'll be examining how well this works over the course of the coming season, and make a determination if we'll keep the system for the long term or make further adjustments, if needed.
Good luck, have fun!