Update: Heroes did indeed drop placement matches and now when you gain enough points to enter the next rank you are automatically promoted. The same is true for falling to the next lower rank. This has been a vast improvement and has increased enjoyment of the game.
This week I decided to jump on my original Heroes of the Storm account and attempt to climb out of the mire of Bronze 5. This is the account I used to learn the game and MOBA’s in general. While I am certainly no expert at this point, I am around the Silver/Gold level consistently rather than Bronze. I have to say after three nights of playing, I feel for those who are stuck in Bronze. It is a VERY frustrating experience to say the least. Three nights in a row, I have won two or three games, reached a promotion match and got absolutely destroyed. The matches were not even remotely close or fun. The teams I have been on always had one or two toxic players in hero selection and within the first thirty seconds of the game, we would rack up five or six deaths. Rinse and repeat five or six times over three nights...
This might sound like simple complaining after losing and I would not blame one for thinking that way. MOBA’s are highly competitive and players love to win and hate to lose. It’s the nature of anything competitive, and it’s very often natural to try to make an excuse rather than improve one’s gameplay. I was a nationally ranked tennis player as a teenager and in college, so I am no stranger to competition and fully understand the urge to make excuses for a painful loss.
No matter one’s view of this situation, I feel a need to propose a question: What purpose does the Promotion Match serve?
Over three nights, it would not appear I deserve to be in Bronze 5 as my only losses have been the promotion matches with one or two exceptions. Again, the question arises in my mind: Why is there so much emphasis placed on the Promotion Match? If you lose the Promotion Match, you typically drop so many points that you have to win two more games just to reach another Promotion Match! I have been winning those games, so my win rate has been fairly decent and certainly above 50%.
The averages have me clearly winning more than losing so this would constitute a winning average. In any sport, a win rate of 60-70% would likely put you in the playoffs. In fact, as a player on the challenger circuit in tennis, that percentage would have won me some pretty decent prize money. But not in Heroes. That percentage still has me placed squarely in Bronze 5 and no better than I was three nights ago.
All of this begs the question: Why not just promote the player immediately to the next higher rank according to points earned?
You have to earn points to climb the rank, yet seemingly points are not counted when it comes to actually being promoted. It all rests on one match.
The idea is totally ludicrous! I realize other MOBA’s do it, but that does not change the fact that it makes no real sense other than to frustrate players. Even Hearthstone has a consistent method of advancement that is based on a player’s average. They don’t change the rules when one is about to climb into the next rank.
I realize I am not the first one to make this argument, and will not be the last. However, it deserves some thought and consideration, and hopefully Blizzard will give some attention to it. The environment gets so toxic because players are frustrated over so much effort put in to a ranking system that seemingly works against them. This is not a successful way of drawing people to their game and consequently their e-sports. Players would be better served by a consistent progress system that works FOR them, and in turn Blizzard would likely see more community participation and less toxicity. This would have tremendous positive effects not only in their game, but in their e-sport arenas as well.