Ranked play in Heroes of the Storm is now bigger and better than ever. We've raised the stakes, upped the rewards, and turned the competitiveness all the way up to eleven. Epic end of season rewards await those who climb the tiers, divisions now give you a much better sense of where you stand, and the elusive Grand Master tier promises intense, glorious battles between the game's greatest players. There is no player level requirement for ranked games, so as soon as you've unlocked and leveled enough characters, it's time to fight for your place among the legends.
The tiers of Heroes of the Storm, from Bronze all the way up to Grand Master
In Heroes of the Storm, your skill level, or Rank, is expressed in the form of League Tiers and Divisions. At the start of each Season, a series of Placement Matches determines your initial rank. As you play ranked games, you gain (or lose) Rank Points. Earn enough rank points, and you'll get the chance to move up to the next division or tier by winning a Promotion Match. If you consistently lose points, you'll have a chance to defend your rank in a Demotion Match. Players at the top of the leaderboard enter first into the Master tier and ultimately Grand Master, where the best players in the world battle for glory.
Okay, great. Now let's get out our Murloc to English dictionary and unpack all that.
So you've read all about the basics, and you're eager to give this whole ranked play thing a try. Fantastic! To actually start climbing the ranks, you'll need to have access to at least 14 heroes (owned and free to play, excluding Cho'gall) that you've played to level 5 or higher. Once that's taken care of, all you need to do is queue for one of the game's two ranked play modes: Hero League or Team League.
In Hero League, you queue up alone to play with (and against) other players who are going it solo looking for a challenge. But remember, even though you may be lone wolves, that pack that fights as one will always triumph.
In Team League games, pre-made teams of two, three, or five go up against each other. It's you and your friends against the Nexus. Once you've got a solid crew, this one is the mode for you. If you still need a few more friends to complete your ideal team, you can always Recruit a Friend.
It may be tempting to jump straight into Hero or Team League, but before you do that, you should learn about one more thing. How you pick your hero in a ranked game follows different rules from Quick Matches. Instead of just selecting your favorite hero and clicking "Ready", both teams go through a selection process called a Draft.
Let's look at a typical draft in Heroes of the Storm. First, a virtual coin toss determines which team goes first. We'll call the team that goes first Team 1, and the other team we'll call Team 2. Then the drafting phase begins:
Once the draft is complete, the match begins. Teams that communicate well during the drafting phase and successfully balance team composition against what heroes each player is comfortable with generally do better than teams that have no coordination whatsoever. Talk to your teammates, tell them which heroes you're familiar with, and watch what the other team is doing.
At first, the drafting process may seem a little overwhelming, especially if you just want to play and don't really care about the finer nuances of strategic team composition. Keep in mind though that a successful team draft can give you a significant leg up. To make your first few drafts a bit easier, try these tips:
To some players, having fun with their friends, crushing their enemies, and mastering the greatest challenge this game has to offer, and claiming their rightful place among the legends is all the reward they need. You know, in sort of a "the journey is the destination," Zen kind of way.
But hey, it's a material world, and maybe all this experientialist stuff doesn't ring your bell. If you need more tangible rewards to feel satisfied, worry not; we've got you covered.