Heroes of the Storm has had a busy day. Blizzard revealed a new character, but is not stopping there for its MOBA. While many players have remained skeptical of the game's future in the wake of December's publisher-mandated cutbacks, the Heroes of the Storm development team continues to push forward with new updates and major changes. Arguably the biggest change since that December bombshell has arrived with today's PTR update, with Heroes of the Storm introducing some of the game's biggest Ranked Season changes to date.
Monday's PTR update will introduce the first season of the all-new Storm League. This is an all-new approach to the game's more competitive element, offering more incentives for players to continue trying to improve themselves, while also offering fresh avenues for personal achievement.
Here are the big changes, taken from the Heroes of the Storm website:
- Ranked Points are now directly mapped to a player's Storm League MMR.
- Rank is no longer considered by the matchmaker.
- Leaving a Ranked Match Lobby or Game results in a 500 Rank Point penalty which can be slowly regained in future matches.
- Placement Matches have been reduced from 10 to 3.
- Promotion and Demotion games have been removed and players will seamlessly transition through Leagues and Divisions.
- The MMR range has been rebuilt and remapped to handle this.
- A Team Leader (banning player in Ranked Draft) is selected on the highest Rank for placed players, or MMR for unplaced ones. In mixed teams, placed players have priority.
- Rank Decay has been adjusted
- Only players that are Diamond 5 or higher and that have finished their Placement Matches are eligible for decay
- If a player's decay timer is less than 3 days, it resets to 3 days upon playing a Storm League game. If the timer is at or above 3 days, players will gain an additional grace day for each game played (up to a maximum of 30).
- A Ranked Seasonal Questline is now available to players
- This Questline will be available each Season and must be completed in order to be eligible for both the Ranked Seasonal Rewards and the Grand Master Leaderboards.
There are a few major items of note here. The biggest one being that Placement Matches have now been cut by over half. There's also the total elimination of Promotion and Demotion matches, a decision that Blizzard noted to Shacknews came as a result of wanting to reduce an associated fear that came with losing those matches. Most intriguing is the idea of a Ranked Seasonal Questline, which looks to be a more personalized touch for the individual player.
Players can get a taste of the new-look Storm League in today's PTR update, along with Heroes of the Storm's newest character, Qhira. Like everything else in the PTR, this is all subject to change. Look for a more finalized version of the Storm League to come soon following a round of player feedback.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Heroes of the Storm announces new Ranked Storm League
I like the removal of the promotion/demotion matches. I can't tell you how many times I'd struggle to even get there only to lose and spend a half dozen matches trying to get back.