Over the past week, we’ve had an incredible amount of Hearthstone news, including nerfs, arena changes, ladder changes, and more information about Blizzard’s plans the new year. Unfortunately, the new expansion announcement isn’t out yet, but the Hearthstone devs have been making a huge effort to communicate lately, so it’s hard to be mad. If you’re wondering what’s happening with Wild, Legend matchmaking, and community statistics, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s break it down.
Two weeks ago, Hearthstone’s Arena Leaderboards were launched, covering the top 100 players in both NA and EU, similar to the Ranked Standard Ladder Leaderboards. This addition prompted some players to push for a third leaderboard, for Wild Ranked play. Instead of these requests being brushed off, it was a pleasant surprise when it was announced that a Wild Ranked leaderboard was in the works. In fact, it’s already officially launched, showcasing the rankings for January of 2017. The NA leaderboard can be found here, while the EU leaderboard can be found here. A big congratulations to everyone on the list, particularly Firenova and Zejdla for first in NA and EU, respectively.
What does this mean for Wild? With the inclusion of official leaderboards, it might promote a more competitive environment, particularly among the top ranked players. However, the real highlight of all this is that Blizzard is following up on their promises. Lately they’ve been mentioning that they want to make Wild a proper game mode. Blizzard even outlined their strategy, stating that throughout 2017 they plan to host tournaments and allocate resources towards Wild’s competitive value. These leaderboards are a great first step in that direction. I can’t wait to see what else they have planned.
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Legend Matchmaking Adjustments
Many players in legend, myself included, have noticed large problems with the matchmaking. In fact, the issues are almost impossible to miss. Players at rank 100 often play against those at rank 2000. This disparity is a huge issue, and not simply when it comes to the skill differential. If the player at rank 2000 wins, then the player at rank 100 will lose far more ranks than they would in an even match. Players in this situation have little to gain, and much to lose–and due to the randomness in Hearthstone, these players do lose quite often, and it’s very frustrating.
Dean Ayala, one of the main Hearthstone devs, has officially stated that they are working on legend matchmaking. While there aren’t any specifics yet, it’s fairly obvious that the focus is on providing more balanced games to players. This commitment is evident in Dean’s statement that “we’ll evaluate them to see if the queue times trade off.” In other words, the system will seek to pair you against someone of similar MMR or rank. This change to the matchmaking system is quite important for players who have their hearts set on the top ranks of legend.
Lastly, I’d like to give a shout out to the Hearthstone community members. Particularly Reddit user barbodelli, who calculated how the ladder will change. He’s not the only one that has done this, but his post is the one that caught my eye. In his post here he analyzes how the average number of games to hit legend will change because of the new floors at ranks 5, 10, and 15. People with higher win rates will barely be affected, but the lower your win rate, the more this matters. For example, someone with a 55% win rate used to take 464 games from rank 25 to legend. Now they will take 424 games, on average. But someone with an 80% win rate goes from 104 to 103. Check out the full stats, it’s quite interesting.
You may also want to check out user Professor-Badass’s post, where he calculates how the numbers of players in legend will change. Interesting stuff, and some great involvement from the community all around!