Bashiok, Blizzard’s Community Manager, has posted a lengthy League/Ladder/Division FAQ, clarifying many of the issues – some of them bordering on the mystical – concerning the players’ placement, ranking, bonus pool/rested points as well division assignment.
Q. How do your placement matches calculate which league you will be joining?
A. During your placement matches we match you against players from a wide variety of players and skill levels and we watch the results; whether you win or lose. From this, we are able to determine your ability and place you in a league that we believe to be appropriate for your level of play.
Since the variety in player skill one meets during the placement matches is so great, the initial division assignment is often not accurate. Don’t get overconfident if you get placed into Platinum – it might be as simple as crushing a few guys who are playing their first RTS game ever in 8 out of the 10 placement matches.
Q. How do we move up in rank in your division? For example, from rank 51 to rank 44.
A. Simply by competing with other players and winning. However, it is important to remember that the individual matches themselves can vary in points awarded based on the rated difficulty of your opponent.
Example: Player A may have a win-loss ratio of 19-17 and be ranked in the Silver League at 35; while player B may have a win-loss ratio of 18-19, but because of the difficulty of some of those matches (say playing against Gold League players) he either received more points for a win or lost less for a loss.
As an aside, players breaking even while hovering at 1500+ rating is a common sight across all leagues and divisions, so don’t be surprised if you manage to be promoted to a higher league while barely have a 50:50 win:loss balance.
Q. How do players move down in rank on the ladder? For example, from rank 44 to rank 51.
A. This is done simply by losing matches. You are ranked relative to everyone in your division within your league. The amount of points you lose per match is comparable to how points are calculated when you win. If you lose to someone who is rated higher than you, you should lose less points then if you were to lose to someone who was rated lower than you.
Q. What is the relevance of the Favored indicator and how does that effect the points distributed from winning or losing a match?
A. The Favored indicator helps give you an idea of whether the contender you’re pitted against is considered to be even with you, challenging to you, extremely challenging to you or not a challenge.
Currently there is a known bug where the score screen will display a level of you or your opponent being favored that’s incorrect. The loading screen however shows the correct level of ‘favoritism’.
You can use the level of ‘favoritism’ to gauge the number of points you are likely to gain or lose after the match depending on the result.
Q. What are the league ranks?
A. Copper, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum. In that order. There is also the practice league for player’s starting out and there may be other special leagues created in the future, such as an invite-only pro league.
An invite-only pro league! Blizzard has previously stated that it desires to have a strong saying over StarCraft 2′s eSports presence, and it appears that the system is being built to handle such features from the get-go.
Q. How does a player move laterally from one division to an adjacent division in the same metallic league? (For Example, From Division 5 Silver League to Division 4 Silver League.)
A. In theory, they shouldn’t. There have been some select cases where this has happened, but this is a known issue in the current beta build and is being looked into.
Q. Do the different numbered divisions indicate various levels of skill; is 4 a slightly tougher division than 5?
A. No. The divisions are sectioned off so that we have the appropriate amount of people in each.
Ending all speculation – the number of your division has no meaning in terms of skill. Of course, they are created in order as new players arrive, so earlier divisions (lower in number) will generally have more experienced players.
Q. How does a player move from one league to another? (For Example: from Silver league to Gold.)
A. After you’ve finished your initial placement, the system continues to review your performance and determines what league you should be placed in based on those reviews. The time and frequency of these reviews is kept hidden.
Q. Are matches ever made between different leagues? (For Example: A Gold league player playing against a Silver league player in a rated match.)
A. Yes, you may be matched up against players from different leagues to test your skill. So be on your guard and play your best in every match.
Q. What is the bonus pool and how are bonus points acquired?
A. The Bonus Pool (incorrectly called “Rested Points” in some parts of the UI) is an accumulation of points that every player receives whether they’re online and playing or not. They’re essentially used as a means to help give a player a catch-up boost if they haven’t played in a while. The pool does have a cap but it increases slowly until the end of a season.
Q. How is the bonus pool used in competitive play?
A. When you achieve victory against another player, you are awarded a certain number of points. The Bonus Pool points will match the number of points you received for winning.
For example: If you were to have a Bonus Pool of 30 and you win a match that would normally give you 10 points, points will then be pulled from your Bonus Pool to match those 10 points and you’ll be awarded 20 points for winning that game. Your bonus pool will then sit at 20. (We’re aware of an issue your bonus pool not displaying properly in some parts of the UI).
Finally, a clear explanation about the bonus pool. Your bonus pool points can up to double the points you are awarded for winning a match. It seems that they are awarded when facing favored players as well as when being placed in a different league, a change that reduces your ladder rating to around 1000 and gives you the difference between that and the rating you had before in bonus points.
Q. Are the gains and losses in the 2v2 game type higher than that in 1v1?
A. No, the gains and losses are the same as 1v1.
Q. Are 2v2 ranks counted individually or in pairs? For example: If Player A plays with Player B and their team is ranked 2, is there another ranking for when Player A plays with Player C?
A. Yes. Every pair is ranked individually. Of course, only after finishing the 10 placement matches.
Q. How are ratings calculated for 2v2? Is it an average of the two players or cumulative?
A. Each pairing of players for arranged 2v2 matches carries its own rating. If you participate in 2v2 random, you would have your own individual ranking. Matches that include 2v2 random players average the rating of the two players and compare it to their opponents rating.
The 2v2 ranking and rating methods are quite clear, with each unique team having its own rating, and each random team player carrying his own unique rating. At this time, the most frustrating placement on Battle.net 2.0 is perhaps the Random Team in Gold or Platinum levels. You get a random partner to fight against arranged teams that often consist of very good and coordinated players who are used to fighting together.
If you happen to carry a terrible Win/Loss ratio from the earlier days of the beta and you’re looking for a fresh start, Blizzard’s got some great news for you: the world is coming to an end. The entire StarCraft 2 Beta ladder is about to be reset and everyone will get to recreate their account.
In the near future, we will be doing a full reset of the beta database. This reset will wipe the following information for all players:
- Character and identifier
- Friends list
- League placement
- Ladder rank
Due to the amount of people currently participating in the beta, this database reset will allow us to monitor and test conditions similar to a game release (albeit smaller). We want to thank everyone for their patience and continued help and support in testing StarCraft II.
Not only is Blizzard planning to reset the ladder to simulate StarCraft 2′s real launch, it has initiated a massive invite-a-friend program for beta key holders, beneficially targeting potential Real-ID friends to test the social features of its new platform. Here’s a paragraph from the email we’ve received:
This key can only be used once to upgrade a Battle.net account to participate in the beta test, and while we encourage you to share this key with someone you know, it must not be traded or sold.
Once your friend has joined the beta test, be sure to add him or her as a Real ID friend by opening your friends list in the bottom-right corner of the Battle.net interface and selecting Add Friend.
Avarius also invites parties interested in running StarCraft 2 beta tournaments to contact the E-Sports team at email@example.com – a great opportunity that might bring us the first major organized clash of StarCraft 2 pro-gamers!
Interested in running Starcraft II beta tournaments? Please send an email with the following information about your tournament to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Name of the tournament
• Name of the person operating the tournament
• Name of the organization running the tournament
• Contact information
• Mailing address
• Times and dates of your tournament
• Participating country(ies)
• List of tournament sponsors and partners
We will review and evaluate your request.
Blizzard eSports Team
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