Ranked Play Enhancements Coming With 2018 Season 3
Following last month's blog post on upcoming changes to the game, the first round of ranked play improvements are almost upon us. What you can expect from the next ranked season of the game includes:
  • Third round of bans
  • MMR/Rank Decay
  • Better seeding for placement matches...
  • ... and tigher overall matchmaking

The developer team need some extra time to implement these changes however, so the start of next season has been moved to the week of July 9th. Read on for more information and reasonings behind the upcoming changes.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)

With 2018 Ranked Season 3, we’re planning to implement a number of the changes and improvements we proposed in last month’s Development Updates blog. Before we do so, we’ll need some additional development and testing time to ensure these changes will work as intended once we release them.
  • As a result, we’re pushing back Season 3’s start date from the week of June 11 to the week of July 9.

We understand this may be inconvenient for those of you who are eager to snatch up your end-of-season rewards, but we’re hopeful the changes we’re making will be well worth the wait. Additionally, we’re going to push back future seasons by about one month, rather than shorten them, in order to compensate for the length of Season 3. Read on for more details about the ranked improvements, and check out the Development Updates blog if you’d like to get some background on the reasoning behind them.


Third Ban During Drafts
  • We’re going to add a third ban for each team during draft mode’s existing initial-ban phase.

When we announced the addition of a third ban for draft mode last month, we initially proposed adding it to the mid-ban phase. A lot of players responded by saying they’d prefer to see it added to the initial ban phase, however. After considering your feedback, we’ve decided to move forward with this suggestion. We’d like to thank everyone who shared their thoughts with us; your feedback helped to shape this change, and we hope it’ll provide some additional strategic depth during your drafts!


MMR and Rank Decay
  • We’re introducing both matchmaking rating (MMR) and rank decay for inactive Diamond, Master, and Grand Master Hero League players.

Diamond, Master, and Grand Master Hero League players who have placed in the current season but haven’t completed any games in a while will have both their Ranked Points and their MMRs slowly adjusted downward to compensate. This should help Hero League players who may need a few games to shake off the rust and get back into fighting shape after taking a lengthy break from ranked play.

Each league has its own inactivity rules before decay begins. Once a player becomes “inactive,” they will receive a small amount of rank and MMR decay each day until they complete one Hero League match. Players will also be able to earn additional “grace period” days by regularly playing Hero League matches during the current season. To be considered active and avoid decay, all a player needs to do is play a single match of Hero League to completion.

League Inactive Days Before Decay Extra Grace Period Days
Diamond 20 10
Master 15 10
Grand Master 10 10

As an example, a Grand Master who has played very actively may be able to take a 20-day break from Hero League, for a vacation or otherwise, before suffering from decay. That player can still be passed by other active GMs in the interim, however.

We’ve mentioned this previously, but it’s very important to us that this decay rate is not overly punishing. We’d love to hear your feedback on the decay system once it’s in place so that we can make any necessary adjustments. All of the numbers in this system are easily tunable between seasons, so we’ll work to find the right spot for our community.


Placement Seeding and Re-seeding
  • Players who enter ranked play for the first time can no longer be seeded into placement matches higher than Gold 5.

Currently, players who enter ranked play for the first time can place as high as Diamond 3 after completing their placements. We recognize that being placed so highly can lead to some negative experiences for the new ranked player as well as their teammates. To help address this, we’re making Gold 5 the maximum placement seeding for new players. Additionally, since players can no longer rise or fall more than one full league (or five Divisions) during placements, Platinum 5 is now the highest rank a new Hero League player can achieve as a result of their placement matches.
  • Players who return to Hero League after an extended break will no longer be re-seeded into placements based on their performance in other modes.

Previously, a player could skip the current Hero League season entirely and attempt to increase their MMR by playing in other game modes. By doing so, they could gain more favorable placement match re-seeding at the start of the next ranked season. We’d prefer to see players progress through the ranking system naturally by competing in Hero League rather than using Quick Match or Unranked Draft to give a boost to their rankings. As a result, all returning Hero League players will now be re-seeded based on their most recent Hero League performance data, instead of their skill in other game modes. For Diamond, Master, and GM players, this performance data will be adjusted for any MMR and rank decay received during Hero League breaks.


Ranked Matchmaking Improvements
  • We are hardening Hero League matchmaking rules to enforce higher-quality matches over reducing queue times.

Currently, the longer players wait in the Hero League queue, the looser our match quality restrictions become in order to get players into games as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, decreasing wait times can come at the expense of match quality. When this occurs, players can find themselves in games that include allies and enemies outside of their skill range, which is especially noticeable at the highest skill levels. Given the feedback we’ve read from many of you in the Heroes community, we believe we’ve been favoring shorter queue times a little too much. When Season 3 begins, we’re going to firm up these rules in Hero League in order to enforce higher-quality matches. As a result, higher-skilled players may see longer queue times in exchange for more evenly-matched games.

While these rule changes are specific to Hero League right now, the next set of matchmaking improvements we’re planning to implement will be targeted at Quick Match. While we aren’t ready to announce a date just yet, we’ll have more details to share with you later this summer.


We hope you’re as excited for these ranked play enhancements as we are! Since we’ve covered so much in this blog, we’d like to remind you that 2018 Ranked Season 3’s start date is moving to the week of July 9. Until then, we’ll see you in the Nexus!

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Lunara Rework
Thornwood Vines still applies Nature's Toxin, the level 20 upgrade makes it apply an additional stack. (u/BlizzNeyman)

Ranked Season Enhancements
does the lack of mentions about PBMM [performance-based matchmaking] & Visible MMR mean that they have been scrapped from the plans for the next ranked season?
Sadly we won't be shipping PBMM in Season 3. We've made some exciting progress with it internally, but I'd rather give it the soak time it deserves than rush it out alongside the features we mentioned above. This also affords us the opportunity to measure the impact of these Season 3 changes before making another big move. In the interim PBMM is collecting data on player performance that continues to help us validate the model.
What about visible MMR. Is that tied ot PBMM somehow?
It is at the moment. If something unforeseen takes place during PBMM development that would throw us off course than we would decouple that aspect of it from the rest of PBMM and ensure it gets to live as its own standalone feature.

Decoupling it however would not have allowed us the time needed to ship it for the Season 3 start date. I'll be sure to update the community once we have a firm date in mind for PBMM or otherwise. (u/Blizz_Joe)

It is kinda disappointing honestly, most of those changes coming in mostly affect high ranked players ... PBMM could have helped us tremendously with our "low rank peasants" issues
I understand where you're coming from with these concerns. PBMM is a feature we think is going to help capable players move through ranks a little more easily, but it's important to release it when it is ready. (u/Blizz_Joe)

Unranked Draft will also received third ban. (u/Blizz_Joe)

Heroes Learning Video
The third video in a series of learning videos from the Heroes of the Dorm casters is here, and it centers around making the proper call on whether you should go for the core or not.

This article was originally published in forum thread: Ranked Play Enhancements, Blue Posts, Heroes Learning Video started by Nerraw View original post
Comments 10 Comments
  1. Muis's Avatar
    Still no duo queue
  1. Nerraw's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Muis View Post
    Still no duo queue
    Ahhh. The days of us tearing it up with Muradin and ETC.
  1. DesoPL's Avatar
    Highly dissaponting.

    While 3rd bans were requested for long time, and i agree with that. MMR Decay working only from Diamond, Master and Grand Master sickens me.
  1. thevoicefromwithin's Avatar
    MMR decay mathematically doesn't work below the 50% mark, which should be somewhere in low Gold 4. People between Bronze and Gold 5 have a lower MMR than a completely new player, so any decay would actually lift them up again towards Gold 4.

    You can instead add an arbitrary MMR malus after periods of inactivity, but screwing with the matchmaker doesn't necessarily make it perform better. Also lower ranked people have on average fewer games per season and 'punishing' them for not playing enough might actually annoy them sufficiently to make them quit playing HL or the whole game. Blizzard doesn't want that.
  1. Jawz's Avatar
    So only high ranked play gets attention this time. Dissapointed.

    Im too old, an uninterested in rating racing, but id like to play a few fair matches now and then.

    Matchmaking in QM is horrible, simply horrible, and unranked is only slightly better, because at least you have some tools to correct wrong drafts or uncaring players. But its a nightmare too most of the time. :/
  1. DesoPL's Avatar
    I would rather have whole hard reset MMR, than having MMR Decay only to pseudo elitists.
  1. ophion1990's Avatar
    I'm really happy they didn't listen to the people asking for another ban before the draft. It makes less sense to place a ban there because it's always reserved for the FotM hero or the hero that performs (too) well on that map. A ban in the middle allows for a lot more outdrafting and banning good heroes for the enemy team based on what they already picked. I will admit that another ban at the start could have helped with niche picks, though.
  1. thevoicefromwithin's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jawz View Post
    Im too old, an uninterested in rating racing, but id like to play a few fair matches now and then.

    Matchmaking in QM is horrible, simply horrible, and unranked is only slightly better, because at least you have some tools to correct wrong drafts or uncaring players. But its a nightmare too most of the time. :/
    I'm ancient and if you don't take the rating aspect too seriously, HL tends to often offer the highest match quality. Current QM is a joke mode, and vs unranked you have no groups, who often mess with stuff, fewer afk'ers and all the 'silenced' customers are gone too.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ophion1990 View Post
    I'm really happy they didn't listen to the people asking for another ban before the draft. It makes less sense to place a ban there because it's always reserved for the FotM hero or the hero that performs (too) well on that map. A ban in the middle allows for a lot more outdrafting and banning good heroes for the enemy team based on what they already picked. I will admit that another ban at the start could have helped with niche picks, though.


    But they did listen. The extra ban will be in the initial phase.
  1. Twen's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ophion1990 View Post
    I'm really happy they didn't listen to the people asking for another ban before the draft. It makes less sense to place a ban there because it's always reserved for the FotM hero or the hero that performs (too) well on that map. A ban in the middle allows for a lot more outdrafting and banning good heroes for the enemy team based on what they already picked. I will admit that another ban at the start could have helped with niche picks, though.
    Is this some strange form of sarcasm or did one of us completely misunderstand what they said about the 3rd ban there? Seems to me they specifically state they moved the new ban to the first phase due to feedback.
  1. ophion1990's Avatar
    Yeah, I misread it. When I saw "After considering your feedback, we’ve decided to move forward..." my mind filled in the rest and assumed they meant they'd go forward and keep the bans in the middle. That kinda sucks, it's the fort walls all over.

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