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Blizzard’s has announced some changes to its matchmaking algorithm, making some match finder adjustments while improving skill-level compatibility between the matched players. The issues addressed in the update are important mainly for arranged teams, whose individual player rankings are now taken into account.

Improved Matchmaking for Teams


While the matchmaking system as a whole is looking very strong, one area we identified for improvement was matchmaking for arranged teams that were still in placement matches. We found these first few matches for arranged teams were giving them an unfair advantage against their opponents. Since so many new arranged teams were being created every day, this was resulting in a noticeable amount of imbalanced matches for team games. The corrections we’ve made should show an improvement for many team players, especially in the sub-Gold leagues.

When two Diamond league players casually pair up for a few games, the placement matches can easily become a 5:0 freeroll for the arranged team and a hopeless encounter for the random Silver league players facing the duo. The new and improved mechanism will provide challenging matches for high-level teams from the get go.

Improved Placement for Teams


Another related issue we’ve received feedback on and experienced firsthand is the difficulty of placing in a high league while in an arranged team. We made two changes that should improve the experience. 1) The improved matchmaking mentioned above will help teams find opponents of similar skill sooner and, as a result, help to more quickly place teams in the league in which they belong. 2) We also found we were being too conservative in how teams were being placed in leagues and have made some adjustmentsto allow teams to be more easily placed in higher leagues. 3v3 random and arranged teams will likely notice this change the most.

A complimentary aspect to facing higher-level opponents is progressing faster through the ranks, placing the team in a fitting league after fewer matches.

Team Matchmaking Improvements
We found conditions where the matchmaking system was forcing certain teams and players to wait longer than needed for team matches. Those conditions have been addressed and the wait times should be reduced without affecting the quality of the matchmaking.

A very interesting and insightful FAQ has been posted by a user named ExcaliburZ on the Battle.net forums. The post is one of the highest rated forum posts in the US and includes answers to the following, very commonly asked questions:

Q: If I’ve never played 1v1, but I’m 2v2 Diamond, who will I face in 1v1 Placements?


A: Your performance in other brackets is considered when initiallyseeding your placement matches. In this case, you’d likely be paired with a Diamond player to start.

Q: Do I need to reach a particular point value to get promoted?


A: No. Promotions happen independently of your displayed rating.


Q: I won 10 games in a row! Why am I not promoted yet?


A: Your MMR and sigma may not have reached stability, or the system is simply unconfident about you. Expected outcomes cause you to stabilize the fastest. Your MMR will continue to rise until you hit your skill ceiling, at which point your win ratio will decrease and your rating will start to stabilize.


Q: I’m in Bronze. Is it possible to get promoted directly to Gold?


A: Yes. It’s possible to go from any league to any other league, wherever your MMR and sigma stabilize.


Q: Is it possible I haven’t been promoted because my APM or end-game score isn’t high enough?


A: Both factors are irrelevant because they can be gamed. The only contributing factor to promotion is the end outcome (win or loss) and the skill level of your opponent (his MMR). This is confirmed by Blizzard’s Leagues and Ladders FAQ, found in a sticky at the top of the Multiplayer and eSports forum.

While Blizzard has not officially confirmed most of this information, many have researched these details thoroughly and have produced rather-conclusive results.

Here is the full chart of the currently available StarCraft 2 Battle.net Profile pictures. Enjoy!

Starcraft 2 Portraits Chart  - Battle.net

Click through to see the full high-res version. Big thanks go to our reader Jason for creating this great looking, helpful chart!

The new Battle.net that had launched with StarCraft 2 might have taken many users by surprise – if they did not keep up with SC news during development – with its permanent character names and the lack of chatrooms.

Blizzard has promised to bring chat rooms back within a few patches, and now, gamers not happy with their handles will be offered a name change for free soon as well. Why bother writing “free“? Well, because Blizzard will be charging for Battle.net name changes in the future.

The recent 1.0.3 patch continued the tradition of providing a minor bug fix while leaving gameplay balance intact.

Bug Fixes:

Fixed an issue preventing some players from accessing offline play from the login screen

Our Nvidia-sponsored GeForce GTX 460 StarCraft 2 flipbook contest came to an end this weekend, bringing multiple interesting submissions. As promised, the winner of the contest will be awarded with a EVGA GeForce GTX 460 768MB and the runner up will receive a SteelSeries limited edition professional grade StarCraft 2 mousepad.

The second place, along with the mousepad, goes to Stephen Barnes for submitting this animated battle, called “Death From Above”.

The winner of the contest is Nadya Emmyl from Stary Oskol, Russia, who submitted this excellent animated reenactment of Kerrigan’s last stand on New Gettysburg.

With StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty experiencing phenomenal growth numbers after going live just ten days ago, Blizzard’s ability to keep the servers live and available worldwide for each of the localized versions and various licensing plans is nothing short of a phenomenal achievement.

Blizzards Epic Achievement

That being said, Blizzard has already released two StarCraft 2 patches and is keeping an updated list of known issues here. Up until now, none of the documented issues, fixes and patches have affected unit abilities or multiplayer gameplay. However, playing a 2v2 with a flickering screen and scrambled voice communication is clearly not the optimal gaming experience.

StarCraft 2 patches so far:

PATCH 1.0.1

Bug Fixes


*     Campaign saves have been optimized.

*     Fixed an issue with sound not playing on some 7.1 systems.


PATCH 1.0.2


Bug Fixes

*     Fixed an issue where campaign mission victories would not always trigger properly.

*     Fixed an issue where some players were unable to access single player features.

The list of technical issues acknowledged by Blizzard at this point, however, is significantly longer:

1. Graphical issues

Issue:

You may experience random corrupted graphical issues affecting units, structures, terrain and transmission.

Solution:

None at the moment.

Issue:

You may experience corrupted graphical issues when the Paged Pool Memory is running low.

Solution:

Quit unnecessary background applications and processes then restart the game client. For additional information please read the following article:

Issue:

You may see missing buttons to create previously unlocked units, characters become white spheres or only able to start older missions on the Starmap.

This is due to save game corruptions and connectivity issues when saving.

Solution:

This is being patched shortly to prevent further occurrences but for now you should attempt to load an older save game that is not corrupt.

If this is unsuccessful you will need to restart the campaign.

2. Sound and Voice Chat issues

Issue:

In-game sound might not play properly on some hardware devices set to 7.1 Surround on Windows Vista / Windows 7.

Solution:

Set sound output speaker options to 5.1 Surround or lower.

Issue:

Players are able to send but not receive in-game voice on Windows 7 computers equipped with the Realtek HD Audio sound card when the Output Device in the Sounds Menu option is set to Speakers.

Solution:

None at the moment.

Issue:

Changing the OS speaker mode on Windows Vista and Windows 7 whilst the game is running causes all in-game sounds to stop.

Solution:

None at the moment. Temporary solution: Change the OS speaker mode prior to launching the game.

3. Galaxy Editor issues

Issue:

The Terrain editor may lag or stutter when dragging the mouse around the map.

Solution:

None at the moment.

Issue:

Changing certain values in the Galaxy Editor is causing a crash while in detail view.

Solution:

None at the moment.

4. Mac issues

Issue:

The game may occasionally crash on OS X 10.6 with Nvidia drivers.

Solution:

None at the moment.

Issue:

Playing with an USB headset will drastically lower in-game performance (FPS).

Solution:

None at the moment.

5. Miscellaneous

Issue:

A language pack error may occur under certain conditions.

Solution:

Ensuring your system clock is correct can help resolve the error.

Issue:

Players will be unable to download or use the digital installer when attempting to download or install the game to a hard drive formatted in FAT32.

Solution:

Download or install the digital client to a NTFS formatted hard drive.

Issue:

Error Message: „The Battle.net Account does not include an associated copy of Starcraft 2.” after registration of the CD-Key.

Solution:

Please change the password at the battle.net website. Make sure you use the correct game client EU game client for the EU StarCraft II Account or US/US

Blizzard is not the only company facing pressure over StarCraft 2’s performance, as hardware manufacturers scramble to update their drivers to be compatible with the game. ATI stands out after releasing the Catalyst 10.7a Beta Driver virtually solely for the purpose of supporting anti-aliasing in StarCraft 2 – a feature we had no problem with when reviewing Nvidia’s Geforce GTX 460 and GTX 470 graphics cards using a standard set of drivers.

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