Today, Blizzard announced some highly-anticipated changes to progression in Hearthstone's Ranked Mode. The changes outlined today should make it so that more advanced players have to grind as hard to progress, while lower ranked players won't hit a wall at Rank 20. Overall, it should also make matchmaking more balanced and fair for all players.
Hearthstone director Ben Brode appeared in a video update today to outline some of the changes coming to Hearthstone progression, which will be implemented after the February season.
Beginning with the start of the March 2018 Ranked Play season, we’re making improvements to Hearthstone’s Ranked Play ladder experience. Check out the video below to see what to expect, as well as the philosophy and intentions behind the update. pic.twitter.com/mIsbxHtyQ7— Hearthstone (@PlayHearthstone) January 25, 2018
Starting in March, all players will be rest four ranks backwards. The example Blizzard provides is that if a player ends on Rank 15 in February, they will begin the March season at Rank 19. Legend players will start a new season at Rank 4 and so forth. The goal is to make sure that players on the higher end of the ladder won't have to climb through as many ranks, while lower end players won't be cut short at Rank 20. Even better, if you finish a season having climbed more than four ranks, you'll begin next season higher than you started, since you'll only be sent back four ranks.
Each Rank will now also be five star each, ensuring that the experience for progression is uniform throughout.
This means changes will be coming to the monthly card back reward. Before the update, a Rank 20 goal was just 10 wins away before players won a cardback. After the update it will be 25 wins. To ensure players have a fair shot at the cardback, players will just have to win five games to earn the monthly cardback.
Climbing up the Hearthstone ladder is one of the constant truths of the game. However, with the planned update, the climb should feel less cumbersome for players across the board. These changes will be tested and iterated on once implemented in March, but the planned changes sound like a good step towards making Hearthstone more balanced in its online competitive mode.