The Heroes of the Storm draft lobby is the landing page for those looking to take part in ranked matchmaking. In its current form, it gets the job done alright, but there’s much room for improvement. Blizzard know this, and will be applying some pretty cool changes to the draft lobby in the near future.
For starters, the interface will be updated to make it more apparent which battleground the match will take place on. On top of this, hero selection is being refined to make it easier for people to find their heroes. The biggest change on the way however, is hero bans.
As our hero roster continues to grow, and players continue to tune into esports broadcasts, we’re seeing more and more discussion within the community about the need for bans in Heroes of the Storm. We agree, and we’re excited to bring hero bans into ranked play and custom games with our next major patch!
Banning is a pretty big deal in any competitive environment. It allows teams to be more strategic, and more considerate with who they do and don’t pick. I’m happy to see that it’ll be a now standard feature of Heroes of the Storm ranked matchmaking with the next patch. Here’s how it’s going to work:
Ranked play will use the “Mid Ban” method, which works in much the same way that bans do in official Heroes of the Storm tournaments. This method features two bans per team during each ranked draft: One round of bans before hero picks begin, and a second after three hero pick rounds have elapsed.
Whichever team wins the coin toss before drafting begins will receive first ban, and the player with the highest matchmaking rating on each team will automatically be selected to issue bans for that team during ranked games. You can identify the ban issuer on each team by the crown icon that will appear over the hero portrait.
With hero ban being added to the MOBA, Blizzard have had to change some of the ranked requirements. Here’s an overview:
We’ve upped the minimum requirement for ranked play from 10 to 14 heroes. Additionally, any Heroes that you’ve reached level 5 or higher with —including the Heroes you own, as well as those on the Weekly Free-to-Play Rotation— will now count toward the minimum hero requirement, and can be selected for play during ranked games. We believe that these adjustments will also help to ease concerns we’ve seen that some players tend to pick heroes they are inexperienced with during ranked games, which can become a point of contention for their allies.
We’ve also removed player level requirements from ranked play, meaning that you will no longer need to reach player level 30 in order to participate in Hero or Team League games. In addition, since you have full control over who you choose to ally with in Team League matches, players who have received penalties for leaving games will no longer be prevented from participating in this ranked mode.
See that bold? I think that’s pretty cool – you no longer need to own a hero to make use of them in ranked. All you need to do is level them up enough during free-to-play rotation to have access to them.
Unfortunately, those just coming into the Nexus now have a bit of a steeper grind ahead of them if they wish to take part in ranked matchmaking. I think the entire system is fair however. It makes sense to have people play a good few hours of Heroes of the Storm before they even consider taking on the more competitive side of it.
What do you think? Are you happy with these changes?
Last Updated: March 22, 2016