Heroes of the Storm employs Starcraft ranks

3 min read
8

Dustin Browder

Heroes of the Storm are doing away with the Rank 1-50 system which has been in place since the game release its competitive matchmaking. The rank grind was tedious, and Blizzard overhauled the ranking system twice making it not nearly as enjoyable as it used to be. The did away with quad queue, and instead allowed duo queue for players. This was supposed to even out matchmaking, but it did the complete opposite. There’s also the problem that Rank 1 was not very hard to achieve, and by playing far too much and being just above average, you could do it. It got to a stage where saying “I’m Rank 1 in Heroes of the Storm” was meaningless.

But that’s about to change as lead developer Dustin Browder announced that Heroes of the Storm will now employ the same ranking system as Starcraft – ranging from Bronze to Grandmaster, something worth bragging about.

hotsranks
Image courtesy of Gosugamers.

In Starcraft 2 there were only a handful of South African players who reached the Grandmaster rank, and that is an achievement. It takes time and dedication, but Starcraft is a 1v1 game, so that makes sense. Heroes of the Storm is a team game, which will make the solo ranking that much harder, but at least you will hopefully play with people on your skill level. The great thing about Grandmaster is that only a few players will reach the level of Grandmaster and Master, thus those people who achieve such ranks will be placed in the highest pool in the game.

To be completely honest, and I’m not a fan of Heroes of The Storm, this is a somewhat exciting development in the game. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s enough to make the game a better eSport. The game has become less exciting to watch, and falls short of the gameplay needed to compete with other titles in its genre. There are still evident balance issues and the interest seems to be wavering as of late. Perhaps the new ranking system will be enough to bring some of the players back, but that won’t fix the fact that game is essentially broken and caters to the more casual players instead of the more competitive.

I spoke to a source who currently plays for a top competitive team in South Africa, and asked why he feels the game is failing as an eSport, he asked to remain anonymous.

“Competitive games themselves  come down to draft rather than skill. You can out play people for 20 minutes, lose one fight and just lose the game. There’s no real advantage you gain for being better than your opponent. You can be three levels ahead, lose one fight, lose the game, or they’re instantly the same level as you. Heroes require next to no skill, there’s some skill heroes, but the ceiling in general is extremely low. You just aren’t rewarded enough for being better. Let’s not forget every new hero that is released only breaks the game more. Blizzard’s balancing is, not exaggerating, the worst I’ve ever seen in a ‘competitive’ game”

Personally I thoroughly enjoyed playing Heroes of The Storm last year, I didn’t however try and play competitively, but I can empathize with the comment made above. In closing, the ranking system could bring about some change, but as an eSport there’s still a long road ahead for Blizzard.

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Last Updated: May 19, 2016

Kyle Wolmarans

Critical Hit's esports guy. I talk about esports and drink whiskey. I also write and cast for elsewhere - but my work here is independent of that.

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