Currently active in a “Closed Beta” phase, those lucky enough to get an invite or contribute toward Blizzard’s $40 USD package have a chance at Ranked play for the first time ever. Announcing the direction and development of Ranked operation today, here’s all you need to know about ranked play in Blizzard’s upcoming MOBA title.

Heroes of the Storm features many of the well balanced options of their MOBA competition in the familiar Blizzard universe, but the Heroes development team feels that ranked play has much work to be done before it’s ready for full release and the title to finally leave Beta phase for all to play. Having first been introduced with the launch of Beta phase on January 13th, the “Hero League” features ranks and ranked points for the first time. These features were explained in a ranking system breakdown, along with many changes coming detailed on today.

First, when speaking on the ranking system breakdown, Heroes of the Storm is slated a “highly competitive game” and Blizzard is looking to reflect that competition with a clear and solid system. This system is split into an astounding FIFTY different ranks, where each rank is assigned to about two percent of the population playing Heroes. Starting from 50, players who rank up toward rank one will then assume that they are ranked in that percentile of skill – Blizzard used Rank 10 in relation to the top 20% of players. As in any other MOBA, high rank is earned through proficient play in-game, and Blizzard seems to have a solid hold on rank with this method, while allowing you to see more progress than in some of other MOBAs on the market.

With changes slated for the future, Blizzard wants to vary the number of points you’ll win when ranking up. As it stands Blizzard claims that there isn’t enough “fanfare” when ranking up, and they want to work on both the glitz and the award for beating a higher ranked opponent. Here’s an official quote to summarize their plans:

We’ll be making rank-ups and point gains feel more engaging with future updates, especially on end-game score screens, and also plan to make it easier to understand why you’re gaining or losing points at the end of your matches.

With the coming patch your rank will also feature prominently on your player profile. This feature wasn’t enabled, along with many other visual flairs for winning in ranked because Blizzard was more interested in getting the feature fully functional before adding in the shiny bits. As the final patch for 1.0 is slowly working its way up to the front, each of these changes should make players more excited for ranked play than ever.

Blizzard also noted that ranked play may not be as balanced as they like today, but this should fix itself in time rather than by patching. Being more a result of requirements than a poor system, those who play loads of Heroes can pick up the required rank and unlocked access to 10 characters. Thanks to a level reset with the Beta patch more players enter ranked play in the coming weeks than ever before, and according to Blizzard this should allow the previously mentioned system to even out the playing field quite a bit more and prepare for Blizzard’s next venture in ranked – Team League.

Team League takes a step sideways from that of traditional ranked, as teams will compete for the first time. Currently in ranked play those competing do so for their own valor, but with Team League Blizzard looks to break back into the professional gaming space on the MOBA scene. Here’s a quote that sums up Team League’s top end perfectly:

Additionally, we have an entirely different experience in store for the top of the Team League ranking system beyond Rank 1, which will function much like Grandmaster League in StarCraft II, or Legend rank in Hearthstone.

Making use of the “First Come First Served (FCFS) Draft Mode” Blizzard says that this draft mode is already playable in the Custom Game lobby by switching the mobby mode to Draft and the “ready mode” to FCFS.

How do you feel about the changes to ranked coming up, and are you going to get into the Storm? Let us know in the comments below. If you’re looking for a guide on how to play your favorite character, we’re working on guides for every character in the coming weeks, and you can check out how we feel about Heroes in our features comparison.