Earlier this month, Blizzard announced that they will be adding in a reward system for ranked play. This has lead to players flocking to the ladder in droves to push their rank as high as possible in anticipation of the new system that will launch alongside the upcoming expansion, The Grand Tournament. According to a gamescom recap blog post by Blizzard, this is how the system will work:
“Beginning this month, each player’s Quest Log will display the highest rank they have reached during the month and recognize their accomplishment. Additionally, we’ll be awarding players who progress past rank 20 with some minor rewards as a way of congratulating them for their achievements. Eligible players will receive a treasure chest at the end of each season containing the season’s Ranked Play card back, one or more golden cards, and some Arcane Dust. What’s in the chest is determined by your highest rank over the course of the season. For example, a player whose highest rank was 17 will receive a golden common card, 20 dust, and the season card back.”
In addition, the rewards only scale from rank 20 to rank 5. Anyone that sits above rank 5 will receive the same chests a rank 5 does. Blizzard has also confirmed that players will receive golden cards from card packs only, no adventure cards will be rewarded. Alongside extra deck slots, and a reworking of the ladder in general, this is one of the most requested features from the community. Many posts have been made detailing how useless it feels to rank up, unless you strive for legend. An added benefit is that this should help to alleviate ladder anxiety, since the system will track your rewards for the highest rank reached, as opposed to what rank you are at the end of the season.
As I mentioned earlier, players have been flooding the ladder in anticipation of the new rewards. If the trend continues, it is possible that we will see many players reaching even further, and participating in amateur tournaments. From there, a small percentage will inevitably move on to the pro scene, which can be a bit stagnant when it comes to new talent. Ranked rewards could well be one of the best things that Blizzard has done for the growth of Hearthstone, but only if players consider the rewards adequate enough to continue to challenge themselves on the ladder every season.
It remains to be seen what Blizzard will do to address the hoards of aggro decks we are likely to face, until around rank 5. Perhaps the new Joust mechanic will be enough to encourage players to bring a midrange deck, instead of going for quantity over quality with a more aggressive deck. No matter how the meta ends up, you can be sure that we’ll see a lot more players involved in the ladder system from here on out. You can read the blog post here, and don’t forget to stock up on your gold for The Grand Tournament, which is slated to release later this month.