So Heart of the Swarm’s out, and it’s changed everything. Go to bed this evening and you’ll probably find Dustin Browder and his team at Blizzard have tweaked the way you clean your teeth. But one of its most significant changes is to something you likely haven’t spared a thought for yet: league percentages. If you play in ranked matches, Heart of the Swarm is going to change who it is you wind up fighting.
In Wings of Liberty, player distribution across the game’s three leagues was an even split – 20% of the population played Bronze, 20% played Silver, and another 20% played Gold. But while that looks and sounds fair, Blizzard have since found that the skill range of Gold league players has become too narrow, and the abilities of Bronze league players too broad. The result has been a struggle for low-ranking Bronze players to match even the median players of their league, let alone advance into Silver.
That’s far from Blizzard’s vision of Bronze leagues as a “space for newer players who are still exploring the game’s ins and outs”. As such, the developers have whittled its range down to 8% of players, and shifted more accomplished players over to Silver.
Say Blizzard: “Following this change, Bronze players who begin to steadily improve should find it much easier to be promoted into Silver, which we feel should be an area for those who are starting to develop a foundation of understanding for the game.”
While Silver will continue to encompass 20% of the game’s competitive population, Gold will be stretched to 32% in order to better meet player expectations – not to mention Blizzard’s own goals for “making the league more inclusive”.
The developers hope the changes will make for a “more satisfying ladder experience”, but reassure the 40% of players on the upper rungs that the top rankings – Platinum through to Grand Master – will continue with their percentages unruffled.
How about you? Will Heart of the Swarm’s tectonic league shifts change things for the better?