Changes Are A-Coming For StarCraft 2 Ladders

Laddering like a pro

Blizzard has laid out plans to fiddle with the StarCraft 2 ladders, including changing the new player start point to make the experience less punishing.

The alterations come in three flavours – “mild”, “MORE DRASTIC PERHAPS” and “Legacy of the Void”.

Mild adjustments will be incorporated into the current season as they’re seen as low-risk and are expected to have smaller, but positive, impacts on the competitive scene.

That covers adjusting the leagues so each contains the percentage of players set out in Blizzard’s own blog. The distribution has drifted a bit over the course of Heart of The Swarm – according to one global rank site Silver League is supposed to represent 20% of players but currently contains 31.94%. There are also inconsistencies from region to region.

The other mild adjustment will be the new player start points. They’re drifted a bit too so Blizzard is altering them so newcomers will initially be matched against lower league opponents, making for a more pleasant introduction. There’s no exact date for implementation given for these.

The MORE DRASTIC PERHAPS umbrella hovers over MMR decay, misc other matchmaking factors and any necessary tweaks to the mild adjustments. When I say MMR decay I mean the adjustment you get to your invisible matchmaking rating (MMR) which happens when your account is inactive for a while. The idea was that it would mean you’d get matched fairly when you returned to the game after a period of not playing but next season Blizzard will be experimenting with turning that off. They’ll also be looking at the aforementioned misc other factors involved behind-the-scenes when it comes to MMR in the interests of accuracy and consistency.

Everything else seems to be being filed under “Legacy of the Void” for now with Blizzard stating: “Our goal here is to ensure that the new system is more accurate and offers more transparency into player progress. We’ve seen feedback on desired changes for the ladder recently, and we’d encourage everyone to keep sharing their thoughts.”

Here’s Miley Cyrus’s The Climb because ladders.


  1. tormos says:

    I feel like as long as the Starcraft experience for 99% of players is still ranked 1v1 games against anonymous opponents on “the ladder” the game is still going to experience a very stunted scene compared to MOBAs, MMOs, or even competitive FPSs. It is not coincidental that all three of those genres at least allow for multiplayer, and require it at their more competitive levels. 1v1 pro starcraft is entertaining to watch, but it’s very draining to play if your only motivation is raising your MMR and your only way of really engaging with the game is solo gaming with MMR points on the line.

    • tormos says:

      see this reddit thread for a lot of similar claims being made by people who are much more prominent in the scene than I am. link to

      • airmikee says:

        Big companies asserting their rights over the players within their league (NFL fining Kaepernick for wearing the wrong headphones, Azubu-Faker-Riot), players whining that making many times more the average person for doing nothing more than playing games isn’t compensation enough..

        *sniffle and a tear*

        E-Sports, you’ve finally made it to being just like the real sports.

      • Moraven says:

        1.5 Revamp of UI and Arcade UI.
        2.1 Starter Edition/Arcade Free. Can play everything but ladder and campaign free. More editor tools.
        Feb 2015 – Free Warcraft 3 asset update
        Constant Arcade Highlights

        So a bit of that mentioned in the post have been changed or updated.

        You can get a lot out of Starcraft II without ever touching 1v1 Ladder.

    • Reefpirate says:

      SC2 offers quite a bit more than 1v1 ladder. You can play up to 4v4, there’s a bunch of stuff on the Arcade, there’s the single player campaigns (which is still where the majority of players start and finish their SC2 careers).

      I have my hopes for Legacy of the Void reinvigorating the SC2 e-sports scene, but I also think that it might be destined to be more of a niche e-sport. IMHO, 1v1 Starcraft is the most difficult major e-sport to compete in and that is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is the appeal of watching the incredible skill on display, and the curse is that it’s incredibly punishing and that tends to drive a lot of players away.

  2. tinners says:

    I love Starcraft 2..a LOT, but I will sometimes go a few months without playing. MMR decay means I get eased back into it slightly. So for me this might be a bit annoying, but I can see how it would be good for others.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      I believe that the MMR decay was a bit much, but I can imagine doing away with the decay altogether is not exactly ideal, either.

  3. liquidsoap89 says:

    I only play the campaigns…

    I used to play tons of UMS maps on the Original Starcraft, but even then it was rarely anything competitive.

  4. tiltaghe says: