One of the many major changes to Hearthstone in the new competitive Year of the Phoenix is a complete overhaul of the ranking ladder that promises to make the game “more fun and rewarding”.
Reportedly, Blizzard has been doing behind-the-scenes work tweaking the ranking since the past year. Starting this month, the new system will be the only way to progress and get rewards on the ladder.
Ranks and Stars
There will be five leagues with 10 ranks each. Players will start at Bronze 10 (League of Legends says hi!), and when they climb all the way up to Bronze 1, they will make the jump to Silver, followed by Gold, Platinum, and Diamond before landing in the fabled Legend. Each of those Leagues will also sport two rank floors - 10 and 5, and when you reach one of these, you can’t drop below them even if you love every single game from now on.
Lastly, The Legend rank will continue to work just as it does now - an ELO system directly affected by every single game you play versus other Legend-tier players.
Hearthstone will continue to use a star system - you gain a star when you win a match and lose a star after a defeat (Yu-Gi-Oh! says hi!) However, at the start of each new season, you will be awarded bonus stars based on your performance, so if you’re consistently good, you won’t find yourself in Bronze at the start of every month.
The reward system is also reworked. You’ll still get a big old chest at the start of the month, but its contents will now be different - card packs from the latest expansion, Rare cards, or an Epic card, based on the rank you achieve. Just like before, scoring 5 wins in any ranked play mode will award you the seasonal card back to spice up your collection.
There are now brand-new first-time rewards. These are mostly aimed at new players - one-time rewards of Classic packs, Rare and Epic cards, granted right after you hit a ranked floor for the first time on your account. Making it all the way up to Legend for the first time in the new ranked system will grant a random Classic Legendary card. Nice.
This isn’t even the last big change to the rules of Hearthstone play in the making. By the end of the year, we’re promised an improvement in the player progression mechanism and the inclusion of achievements.