Leagues and ladders play an important part in competitive play on Battle.net: all players who compete in quick matches will eventually be placed in a league where their wins and losses affect their ranking. But how does the system work?
The basics are simple: there are six leagues (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond and Master League) and all players of a region are split into the first five by roughly 20% increments. In addition, the top 2% of each region in the 1v1 ladders are placed in the recently introduced Master League. Check out the links at the bottom to learn more about ranked multiplayer matches and the new Master League.
Now, how does Battle.net decide which league you should be in? If you recall what we've previously said on the subject, difficulty of your matches matters. When you compete in your initial placement matches when first starting StarCraft II, Battle.net pits you against opponents of different skill levels and tracks your wins and losses. As you win or lose it begins to refine where it believes you should be, skill-wise. After you play enough, and enough data is collected, the system believes it can make a smart choice in placing you in a specific league. When you are finally placed in one of the four leagues (Battle.net will not initially place you in a league above Platinum) your placement should mirror your skill level relative to all other players in your region. Keep in mind though that as the leagues are each roughly 20% of the player total, the skill difference within a league can be very large, especially at the top in Diamond and bottom in Bronze. After being placed you can gain rating points and advance through the ranks by winning matches against opponents.
It's important to keep in mind that the placement system is a bit conservative with your initial placement, and won’t promote you before being certain that you’re ready. That may mean you'll have to play quite a few games before having a chance at being promoted. The key is to keep playing, if you're meant to climb to a new league, you'll get there. Also, the leagues are not strictly separated from each other and a promotion does not mean that your next matches will suddenly be much more of a challenge than your previous ones. Skill levels at the top of silver and bottom of gold are not that different. If you're promoted from silver to gold you won't suddenly find a vastly more difficult game experience. And on top of that, no matter what league you're in, you may very well find yourself playing against opponents from other leagues than your own. In short: what league you’re in does not affect matchmaking.
Of course with such a complex system at the center of the Battle.net matchmaker, we’re constantly monitoring how the Battle.net leagues and ladders work and continue to tweak and optimize the system in order to provide the best gaming experience possible.
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