Community Feedback Update - March 24

General Discussion
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Ladder Revamp
We’ve arrived at a point where we want to work with you guys to lock down changes regarding the ladder revamp and begin work on the implementation side. We have been discussing more based on you previous feedback in a similar post, and have been making improvements as we started implementing the feature little by little. Now we’re at the stage where the overall design looks very solid, and we want to focus on doing the implementation. So we’ll review where we are at now, collect your feedback, and finalize our direction.

GM League

Currently, we’re thinking that the best way to go is to update Grandmaster League with new players, promotions, and demotions each day at a specified time—all based strictly on skill. We see two main advantages to this approach. First, we can have an accurate, skill-based representation of the best 200 players on the server on any given day. Second, it also makes things clearer on the esports side, especially if tournaments pull from this list. As an added bonus, we also like that this could promote more intense competition during this period of the day (though mostly for just this specific group of top players).

Showing MMR
This is something we’ve received the most feedback on and we’ve been exploring the concept heavily internally. Currently, we’re leaning towards clearly displaying your MMR in the UI. The more we dug into the topic of making the ranks, divisions, and leagues as accurate as possible, the more we realized that there were other potential problems that we could have introduced. Since we have the MMR available already, we think it might be best to just show it as the most accurate measurement of a player’s skill.

League & Tier

In developing the new League & Tier system, the main concern was that achieving a high-degree of accuracy required that we enable mid-season demotions. Although we know that there are many players out there who want to see demotions enabled, we believe this feedback mostly stems from the fact that there currently isn’t a reliable way to tell your skill right now. The downside of enabling demotions is that we could potentially take away from a players’ biggest accomplishment that season; this downside is magnified if it’s their first time getting to a specific league, which may make the person not want to play the game anymore due to the risk of losing this reward.

Because we will be showing MMR, we wonder if it’s best to have the ranking system display the highest League & Tier achieved during the current season. There’s really no need to show the same number two different ways, and we can show two cool numbers instead. This way, if I were to tell my friends that I’m in Master Tier 1, but my MMR is a solid Master Tier 2 (naming is not final), it clearly shows 1) the highest I’ve achieved this season and 2) where my skill is at the moment.

For the number of tiers, we’ve spent time analyzing and evaluating how the Heroes of the Storm system works because their 50 ranks would be very similar to our originally announced 10 tiers per league (we would have 60 tiers if we strip out the leagues). For StarCraft II, due to the amount of movement that would occur with having this many tiers, this system doesn’t look to be the way to go. So we debated on going with 5 tiers or 3 tiers, and we’re currently leaning towards 3 for a couple reasons.

First, talking about leagues in StarCraft II has naturally tended towards using 3 tiers. When players talk about where they are at within a league, perhaps the most common way to refer to the tiers currently is to say that he or she is in “High Diamond,” “Mid Diamond,” or “Low Diamond.” So colloquially, this fits well with how players already discuss the ladder. The second reason is that we can always increase the number of tiers available in the future if 3 is not enough. Going from 3 to 5 or 3 to 10 would be easier than doing the reverse, which means we don’t need to remove functionality from the system.

This is where we’re at currently, and as you can see we’ve narrowed in on the most critical components of Ladder Revamp. If you have thoughts on these areas, we’d ask that we get discussions going so that we can lock down the design. We’re currently aiming to finalize the design of this feature within the next couple weeks, and are potentially aiming for a mid- to late-summer release in order to have enough time to fully work through the implementation.

Separate MMR Per Race
We hear your feedback regarding this feature. We had originally set the priority for this to come after ladder revamp, but we’re currently exploring ways to potentially get started on this feature even sooner. Although we haven’t set an exact timeline, we just wanted to let you know that we agree that this feature is important to the game and we’re discussing ways to release it more quickly. We’ll be sure to keep everyone updated!

Moving onto balance in Legacy of the Void, we’ve been discussing and testing various topics and we want to get a Balance Test Map out as soon as possible after hearing your opinions on our proposed changes for testing. We’re currently aiming to release the Balance Test Map next week, so let’s start discussing the following changes more aggressively this weekend.

Ravager Corrosive Bile cooldown increased from 10 to 14
We definitely hear the pros and cons you’ve discussed that nerfing Overlord drops instead could bring. The reason why we’re more interested in the Ravager nerf being tested is because it is the more impactful, bigger nerf. The main concern many of our community members point out (especially on the KR side) is that this change is a nerf against both Terran and Protoss, whereas nerfing Overlord drops is targeted more as a nerf vs. Protoss. This is true. To be clear—we’re not saying that we have to be going the Ravager nerf route—we just want to test this one first.

Therefore, before we make a decision on what unit to nerf, we wanted to test this concept out fully to know the effects of this change in both matchups. The Overlord drop nerf doesn’t require as much testing because it’s a very safe nerf that can’t really break another area of the game.

Banshee speed upgrade requirement changed to Armory and cost reduced to 100/100
Due to the current state of the Banshees, we wanted to try going more aggressive with this change, so that we can potentially bring various Banshee-based strategies back into the mix. We know from testing before the release of the game that the speed upgrade at a much earlier tier is a huge buff to Terran, and we wanted to make sure to combo this with a nerf in a similar area so that we make sure to not just buff Terran.

Liberator ability radius reduction from 5 to 4
After going through the details of reducing the range of the ability and hearing your feedback on the current strength of Liberators, we thought it might be better to go a bit harder on this nerf so that we can also go heavier on the Banshee buff, so that we can potentially get situations where going one or the other unit can be viable instead of it being Liberators all the time. With this change, the total range of Liberators will be nerfed, as well as the damaging area. We hope this change feels more fitting, and once we get the Balance Test Map online we’d love your opinions on how these changes feel.

Thor AA damage changed to flat and single target
We’re still looking at numbers for this, but we’re thinking something similar to the idea of the Thor’s damage against the ground: High damage per shot with a low rate of fire. With this change, we wonder if we can separate out the Thor’s AA role from units such as the Widow Mine or the Liberator. We considered whether this could overlap with the Viking, and although there will be more overlap than before, there are still many differences between the two units. Between the many obvious differences, the Thor’s resistance to splash damage, and their different flat damage values, the two units will still be in unique places.

We’ve also been testing different numbers for the Cyclone, but we feel that a change to this unit isn’t as critical right now compared to the other unit changes mentioned above, so it might be better to hold off on exploring this route for now. The main goal here is still to eventually get the unit to a place where it has a solid role in the early/mid stages of the game, but not be effective en masse in the late game.
Ladder changes are all solid for the most part, I'm glad you're doing these crucial changes to improve the game. The GM change is interesting, I'm not sure what to make of it, I'm curious of what GMs thinks about this idea. I'm also glad you're listening to the community when it comes to showing MMR.

The tier idea is very good, I always wondered where I landed among my respective league so having it revealed more in depth is good. I'm against mid season demotions personally and I think the tier system would be a good way to distinguish players of varying skills within the same league. We've been waiting for separate MMR per race for a long time and better late than never!

Now, on to balance where I have mixed opinions on this matter. I think nerfing the ravager over the overlord drops is a good move considering that it impacts TvZ just as much as PvZ since you want to nerf liberators too. Overlord drops only affects ZvP as you have mentioned. I'm all for buffing the banshee, but I'm not sure if they can fill the role of liberators as quite as well you think. Perhaps in TvZ they will become more useful, but I fear that in TvP they will not unfortunately.

To be honest with the liberator nerf, I think this is a bit too aggressive to nerf the radius. As you remember from HotS, nerfing the widow mine radius slightly resulted in Terran under performing for a significant amount of time (6 months with no tournament wins).

I think it would be better to go with your previous idea to nerf the ATG range from 5 to 4 pre-upgraded and 9 to 8 post-upgraded. This would weaken liberators, but not as much as a radius nerf would, which I assume is nerfing both the pre-upgrade and post-upgrade ranged liberators. I also don't think banshees will be enough to compensate in TvP even though they probably will in TvZ. This is why it's essential to not over nerf the liberator and instead aim for a slight nerf.

Thors have been lackluster in LotV and it will be nice to see some usage of them. Hopefully this improves Mech viability as well. I think you should put more emphasis on improving the cyclone over the banshee. The thor change is good, but I think what needs a buff the most out of all the units is the cyclone. The unit is extremely underwhelming and very limited in its role.
Thanks for the update! Ladder changes sound amazing. Didn't realize separate mmr for each race was that close. Sweeeet
Good read, was hoping on an update for Oracle.

Liberator range from 5 to 4 will definitely make stalkers greater versus liberators, perhaps too great, but liberators with range upgrade will always be an option later.
This all sounds brilliant. The tiering of the leagues is the thing I'm most excited for.
Please just allow demotions. Keeping the leagues as accurate as possible is important. The feeling you get that your losses acctualky matter makes playing ladder more exciting. I'd guess most of the people who complained about ladder anxiety already stopped playing the game anyway.
So excited for the ladder revamp! :D

A request from a lower league scrub - please have a choice in the options (or just a checkbox on the UI) to give the player an option to not show MMR. I find that I get too obsessed with points/numbers and it can cause me to get anxiety when trying to ladder. I know it sound stupid but it's just how it is... would be nice to have that.

ugh, no. Banshee speed early was cancerous in the beta. Terran doesn't need any more buffs.
For the thor, why not just bring back HIP guns? This looks to be the direction anyway. I mean, HIP guns were nice supplements to vikings so thors would help in battle but not overpower things. And it was nice having the option of adjusting thors to help with what the opponent was building, so it was flexible.

For the banshee, I still think it's the late-game strength that's the issue. Moving the speed down to armory tech sounds like more harass-harass-harass style. The liberator is good because it can do that, but it can also stand up in a fight and hold its own while being protected from behind the bio force. The banshee doesn't have the range, and sooner or later the banshee has to stop in order to fight; by the late-game there are units that are too big for the banshee to handle (but it does very well in the early game).
The GM league idea is fine. Any reason to not do this for other leagues, at least Masters?

It seems like there is confusion on what the point of MMR and league is. If you have MMR showing, what is the point of having a league that tells a different story? What is the relevance of "highest point achieved this season?" Seasons are arbitrary and vary in length for one thing.

Consider two players at equal skill and equal MMR, near promotion. One who due to lucky circumstances gets a string of slightly weaker opponents and get promoted before facing a string of stronger opponents and resets to the same MMR they started at. The other player faces a better-mixed set of players and his MMR stays relatively constant. Each having played an equal number of games, against the same opponents let's say with the same results, only in a different order--the only difference is one got promoted because their MMR peaked on a win streak. Why is the first player deceived into thinking they accomplished something more meaningful than the other?

If you want to incentivize people to keep playing instead of quitting at a peak, give rewards for hitting a certain number of games played. In Diablo, the season system actually is a good analogy to the SC2 seasons: you play the same game every season, but in Diablo, you get new rewards every season.

To me, there are competing ideas in the design and that has led to the confusing state of the ladder/league system since the beginning. It is a competitive system--embrace that, don't undermine it. SC2 ladder is competitive, and a true competitor doesn't rest on their laurels and should not be afraid of falling down. Participation badges are okay but they should not be mistakable for measures of skill. Keep it simple!
I like pretty much every change in this update. I'm glad to see that Blizzard is actually looking at ways to speed up implementation (the separate MMR per race) and be bolder in testing, taking into account what things need more testing than others (Ravager nerf testing vs Overlord drop testing). Good to see Banshees getting some love -- I'm not sure if speed is the best thing to test, but it does certainly scale with mechanical capability. Perhaps Skyterran could become a thing again? Also good to see something being done with Thors, perhaps Mech will have a better answer to Skytoss and Liberators, while allowing Banshees to see more use in TvT.

Would like to see word on Tanks, but I do understand that other things need to be focused on as well.
The cyclone NEEDS to be able to be massed late game; it just needs to be fixed so that massing it late game isn't an attractive option. I would like to propose that you decrease the damage a little (but make it so that two cyclone still deal with a warp prism) as well as reducing the supply, mineral, and gas costs. This way, you increase the early game microability and make it slightly easier to deal with early game warp prisms and nydus'. Furthermore, this change would also make it less desirable to mass the cyclone since late game, with lower health, they're more susceptible to splash damage and a costly loss should you take a storm hit, baneling hit, or tank shot. You can't encourage mobile mech play unless the cyclone is more massable in small numbers. The biggest issue is when you lose the cyclone it's a huge loss and thus there's little incentive to send it out for little skirmishes.
Most of this seems really great and well thought out. Buffing the banshee, however, is a really terrible idea. No one wants to play against a combination of a muta-dt. It's way too frustrating. The unit has high health and it's super quick. The type of role you're creating for this unit is a super gimicky massable air terran army. As protoss this is literally the most frustrating composition in the game. Having all of the matchups strategies focussing on just killing the protoss observer is getting really stupid. Why is there the need to buff the banshee anyways? It's made every tvz to hold roach attacks and a lot in tvt. If you want the banshee to be used in tvp then you need to buff ground mech. Banshees don't transition well into bio, they lose their role after the harrass. With mech, they continue to be a unit in the army.

It's like if the ability to turn a dt into an archon didn't exist and you guys were considering giving the dt the ability to jump up cliffs, it's just so stupid. You need to give the banshee some transitional role. You need to give the banshee the ability to turn into an archon(figuratively -.-).
They forgot to remove siege tank drops.
Please make muta ling bane viable in ZvT, at the moment roach ravager is way better because of the spawn larva nerf and liberator muta counter.
It´s boring without mutas since every Master Protoss is opening Phoenix u also cant go muta.
So please give back the original ZvT Meta with LingBlingMuta
Banshee are just too fast with the banshee speed. It's like mutalisk with cloack with 6 range... OP

5.25 with the upgrade is too much for a unit that have 6 range, nerfing it to 4.80 will be better if you planning to give earlier acess to banshee speed.

Thor buff ?
Thor are already really strong vs zerg with their 65.9 DPS (for example sieged liberator have 74.6, but 3/3 thor have 85.67 and 3/3 liberator have 87.6, very close).
The only units that are really good vs thor are cracklings, but it's very easy to protect thor with hellbats, so it's rather broodlords.
Buffing their AA vs massive will promote retard hellbats/mass thor deathball on TvZ that will counter every Z army.
Also why buff a Terran unit, while T are favor on TvZ. (and yeah nerfing ravagers will be terrible for ZvT rather than good for balancing ZvP).

Range for liberator 5 to 4 won't change anything regarding you're planning double buff terran for TvZ (thor/banshee), and maybe nerf ravagers.
Make Starcraft Great Again!!!
the banshee change seems insane
Will this be enough to retip the scales of the zvp matchup though, seems like zerg are getting off a bit to easy for the difference in results. When toss was beating terran by 2% they got 2 heavy nerfs with no compensation, at 10% at one point zerg gets a slight delay in how fast they can bile you again once they have mini nuked your pylons :/.

Step in the right direction though.

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