Ladder Season Three Around the Corner
Warcraft III has been updated in recent days with the 1.19 patch and many of the maps available for ladder play have received a fresh coat of polish. We're pleased to present the first in-depth look at Ladder Season III and our new ladder implementation.
The Ladder Seasons
Season One was the first time we created a direct correlation between players' day-to-day competitions on Battle.net and a tournament with cash prizes. Hundreds of players competed to become Battle.net's first champion in October, 2004 in both solo and 2v2 formats. Remind, RendeyQ, and Showtime emerged from the competition as victors. We were very proud of the level of interest and participation from the Warcraft III community, not just from the players but also from the dozens of fansites and the shoutcasters as well.
With Season Two, the basic format of the first season remained intact, but on a grander scale. The prize winnings for the Battle.net and Gateway champions increased from a $7,000 pot in Season One to $30,000 as Microsoft, Razer, Alienware, Creative Labs, and Ideazon all took the unique step of sponsoring a tournament that took place entirely online. Remind defended his solo title, and the 2v2 competition saw newly crowned champions Check and Farseer win. In a moment of lesser clarity, the tournament team upped the stakes mid-season by adding boxes of delicious cookies to the prize packages for the season champions.
The next ladder season is just around the corner. On September 26, we will be resetting all Warcraft III ladders to mark the season's official launch. We've made a number of changes to how this season operates relative to the first two:
- An offline (LAN) finals! The first few rounds of the season-ending tournament will take place in mid-December just before the holiday season. In early February, 2006, the top finishers from the online competition will all win a paid trip to Seoul, Korea where the finals will take place live.
- Qualifying Prestige. We're raising the bar to enter the final tournament and have reduced the number of qualifying solo players taken from each Gateway from 32 to 16. Positions in the final tournament will be harder fought than ever. Unfortunately, due to the logistics of flying players to a live final, and to better focus our attention on one final tournament, Season Three will not feature a 2v2 competition.
- Exciting Mid-Season. As the previous seasons wound down, everyone's attention was focused on the players on the borderline of qualifying for the top 32 positions. By the end of the season, some players were already comfortably assured of their position. Instead of a single qualifying period, Season Three will have several. Three players from each Gateway will qualify during the first period, another three players in the second, and ten players at the Season's end. Those who qualify early can take a breather, while those who just miss out will have more chances. The first qualification period will take place on October 21 at noon (12pm) PST.
- Non-Player Competitions. Throughout the season, we'll be offering contests with prizes for all Warcraft III players focused on the ongoing season.
- More Details. On October 7, we'll be launching the new Season Three website and revealing the dates of the other qualification periods, sponsors, prizes, formats of the tournament, details about the LAN finals, and more!
1.19 Ladder Implementation
An updated version of the Warcraft III ladder Automated Match-Making System (AMM) will be deployed alongside the ladder reset on September 26. This is the technology that allows players to find opponent's of similar skill to compete against on Battle.net ladders. Although Season Three is focused on the solo competition, we've made updates to the ladder that we feel will positively impact the experiences of all players on Battle.net.
- Search Times vs. Game Quality. There is a reverse correlation between the two. The longer the system waits to find an opponent of similar skill, the more likely it is to find a closely matched opponent. Conversely, we can reduce the search time for an opponent at the expense of making skill levels more disparate. We've re-evaluated this trade-off for all ladder formats.
- Random Team. We've increased game quality of Random Team games significantly.
- Solo. We've increased game quality of solo competition moderately.
- Arranged Team. We've decreased search times for Arranged Teams significantly.
- Minimum Game Requirements. Game requirements now scale better across the entire level range.These requirements have been slightly increased for players of levels 1-50 and significantly decreased from the existing numbers for players over level 50.
- Less Sensitive Experience. The way experience is calculated has been modified to make it less sensitive moving away from the mean. The target level for the average player has not changed, but players will be distributed in a tighter group at the peak of the level bell curve. For the majority of Battle.net players, the achieved level will be similar between the old and new systems. However, for very strong players, it will be more difficult to progress into the higher levels.
©2013 Blizzard Entertainment. All rights reserved.