Hello, Tyrians! Big changes are coming to PvP Leagues for Season 5, and we’re excited to reveal what we’ve been working on. Our goals for Season 5 include creating a more competitive environment, accurately indicating your skill level, giving more consistent rewards across the skill spectrum, and ensuring upper divisions are occupied by skilled players who have put in the time and effort to make it there. In short, we’re dialing up everything that makes leagues great.
First, let’s dive into how league matches are changing. Matchmaking rating (MMR) has always been at the core of how we pair players together. In Seasons 1–4, pips were also used in matchmaking, limiting the pool of eligible players to those within 15 pips of you. In Season 5, pips are taking a backseat and will no longer be used for matchmaking purposes. Removing the pip restriction on matchmaking means more players to match with and subsequently shorter queue times. In addition to this, the results of the recent community poll for Solo/Duo queue restrictions means Ranked Arena will only allow a maximum party size of two, ensuring that you never face off against larger, coordinated premade teams. The goal of these changes is to create the best matches possible at all times, which leads into our next area of focus: measuring skill and prestige.
Leagues are where players strive to better their gameplay in a competitive environment with key milestones marking their progress along the way. Part of this system should include a metric for players to accurately gauge and compare their skill level. Starting in Season 5, every player will earn a visible skill rating. Skill rating is a numerical value that places players into more traditional divisions: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Legendary. These new divisions will determine which badge is available on your nameplate, and they will even affect the rate at which you earn league rewards. The top 250 players in each region will also be placed onto a new Skill Rating leaderboard where they’ll fight for exclusive titles.
We want Skill Rating to be as accurate as possible, so we’ve added a few new mechanics to help achieve this goal. First, every season will start with a soft reset of the previous season’s rating. Players will then be required to play 10 placement matches before obtaining their starting skill rating for the season. Additionally, inactive players will experience decay that lowers their skill rating over time up to a maximum amount. Decay can be worked off by playing league matches. Unlike the previous pip-based system, there are no restrictions on backward progress with skill rating; you can move down in divisions by either losing matches or by being inactive. This will help ensure that players are always moving toward their correct rating and are facing players of similar skill levels.
Now that we’ve talked about skill, it’s time to talk about the loot you’ll get from playing in leagues. In the previous league system, players stopped earning rewards if they experienced a 50% win rate unless they achieved win streaks. In our rework of leagues, pips have been refocused into a purely reward-based system. To achieve this, we are removing backward progress on pips, rebalancing the number of pips required to complete each reward tier, and increasing the number of ways we distribute pips. Even losses will contribute a small amount toward the next reward, so league matches are always worth playing. Other ways to gain pips include earning top stats and playing matches in the top skill rating divisions.
In addition to rebalancing all reward tiers and upping the amount of liquid gold, and we’ve also added a new currency that allows players to purchase ascended weapons and the Ardent Glorious ascended armor set. Lastly, the PvP Legendary, the Ascension, will still be obtainable through league play and pip rewards.
We have never been quite happy with how personal score attempted to portray a player’s contribution in a match, so we’ve reworked the personal score system as you currently know it in favor of raw statistics. All stats have been condensed into more meaningful categories: Damage Dealt; Healing Given; Kills; Deaths; Revives; and two game-mode specific stats, Offense and Defense, which track effort toward gaining team score. Top stats are now team based, and you’ll be able to view who got which awards the end of a match.
Ranked play gets variety from its map rotation, and we think Season 5 is a great time to switch it up. Skyhammer will be joining the ranked rotation, and Stronghold will be leaving. This means players won’t be separated by game mode, which will ensure a healthy and competitive experience.
All these changes are based on player feedback, and we feel leagues are headed in a great direction. We’re excited to jump into Ranked Arena with everyone when Season 5 starts on December 13.
We’ll see you in the Mists!
—The Lesh Prince