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Hearthstone's ladder is changing to enable 'a faster climb'

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Blizzard is making a "quality of life" change to Hearthstone ranked play that will make it easier for players to advance through the ranks. Currently, players must earn five stars to advance through most ranks, but beginning with the February Ranked Play season, the number will be reduced for all but the top-most ranks. 

Players will require three stars per rank to advance from ranks 50 to 16 following the update, while four stars each will be needed to get through ranks 15 to 11. The top ten ranks will still require five stars per rank for advancement. Blizzard said the change will enable faster climbs through the lower and mid-level tiers, "while preserving the more competitive Star values for the higher Ranks." 

"When the February Ranked Play Season begins, you will still be reset four Ranks lower than the highest Rank you achieved in the previous season, but 'excess' Stars will be shed to align with the new value for the Rank you are moving to," Blizzard said. 

"For example, if your highest Rank in January was Rank 10 with five Stars, then when the February Season begins, you will be set to Rank 14 with four Stars. The 'fifth' Star is no longer there, but you would still be at the highest value for the Rank you were moved to." 

The change will actually take Hearthstone's ranking system more or less back to where it used to be: Prior to the March 2018 season, ranks 25 through 21 required two stars to move through, 20 through 16 required three stars, 15 through 11 took four, and the top ten needed five stars each. Blizzard added 25 more ranks to the game in October 2018 to help ease new players into the experience. Will this be enough for you to finally make the push for Legend? I believe in you, champ. (As long as you're playing Hunter, let's not make this unnecessarily hard.)  

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.