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.
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).
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.