Since launching in 2014, Hearthstone players queue up against random opponents and earn stars for wins and lose them for losses. You need a certain number of stars — three at lower ranks, five at higher ones — to progress to a new tier. Rank 25 is the lowest, and the goal is to get to Rank 1 and then the Legend rating beyond. At the end of every month, the ladder resets, and you’re given a new placement based on how well you did the previous month.
Players have criticized the system for resetting the best players to too low a new rank, resulting in them playing boring matches against opponents they easily out-skill. This is also frustrating for lower-ranked players at the start of the month, since they can often go up against people who are significantly better than them.
Beginning with the start of the March 2018 Ranked Play season, we’re making improvements to Hearthstone’s Ranked Play ladder experience. Check out the video below to see what to expect, as well as the philosophy and intentions behind the update. pic.twitter.com/mIsbxHtyQ7
— Hearthstone (@PlayHearthstone) January 25, 2018
Starting in March, all players will now lose 4 ranks at the start of each month. So a Legend player will go to Rank 4. In the current system, they would go to Rank 16. This helps players keep their progression from past seasons and puts them into more competitive matches earlier in the month.
Blizzard is also going to make it so that every rank requires five stars to progress through, so lower tiers will no longer only need three or four. This is to help give players at those starting tiers a better sense of progression. With this change, you no longer need to hit Rank 20 to receive the month’s special reward, a cosmetic card back. Now you just need to win five ranked games during the month.