As you might recall, alongside the huge overhaul of Hearthstone Battlegrounds and the controversial addition of the Runestone economy, with the major Patch 23.2 Blizzard has also decided to greatly change how their Leaderboard rankings operate. No longer just limited to showcasing the Top 200 players of each featured game mode, since then every single person could secure their own spot on the official website and become a part of the Tavern's history.
Now that we've had an entire month (or more, in the case of the Battlegrounds' ongoing Season 2) to be able to observe just how much these total player numbers might have expanded, we can draw some interesting conclusions about all of the standings registered across September and see how each region ranked in terms of its activity.
Updated Live Hearthstone Leaderboards
First, in order to refresh everyone's memory, the official word on the subject:
Hearthstone leaderboards are getting an update! The leaderboards for Standard, Wild, Classic, Battlegrounds, and Mercenaries will now have live updates (currently, they refresh in intervals of 5-10 minutes). All leaderboards will also now select from Season number (like Battlegrounds currently does), instead of a month and year. Finally, there’s no longer a limit to how many people can be shown on those leaderboards. For Standard, Wild, and Classic, this means that all Legend-rank players will be listed. You’re all leaderboard finishers in our book!
Appropriately legendary. You can take a look at all current and past standings at any point, just by heading to Blizzard's Hearthstone website and choosing "Leaderboards" from within the "Community" dropdown menu. Or by using this direct link:
Then you'll have to manually choose the game mode(-s) and region(-s) that you'd like to view (the website defaults to the Standard format on Americas), as well as the relevant season. The data loading and switching between various options goes by fairly quick!
Not that hard to find.
The existing layout does leave a lot to be desired, with only 25 names being shown per page, and no valid search function available whatsoever. Technically, you aren't even allowed to choose the exact page number that you would like to land on (while hunting for your approximate rank/MMR and presumed position on the whole list), but this can at least be remedied by changing the digits at the end of the Web URL in your browser's address bar.
Hopefully this very base skeleton receives some advanced updates in the near future, to live up to this grand ambition of featuring pretty much the entire active playerbase participating in these aspects of the game.
'Broken' Constructed Standings - Top 200 Only
So there's bound to be so many Legend players recorded across Standard, Wild, and (even) Classic by now, we could perhaps finally find out who has earned the honor of holding onto the "top bottom" ranks! Or wait... apparently not so. We've waited an entire month, yet to no avail:
There was an issue the team found with the expanded version where some players weren’t showing up for some reason, so they have temporarily reverted the Legend leaderboards to ones they know work while they work on it. Expanded list will be back!
The extended Ranked leaderboards only seemed to work briefly at the very start of September, and at that point there weren't even 200 visible players who had already climbed to Legend, seeing as these things take time. We'll just have to keep waiting; the word on the street is that the dev team has actually managed to get things back on track for the current October season!
That said, it looks like with the season rollover they were JUST switched back to the new version.
Of course, it's going to take a lot of days and even weeks for the majority of people to even arrive at Legend. It can be a time-consuming climb, to put it mildly. We'll most likely revisit this topic at a later date!
As such, the features discussed in this article were only properly being applied to Battlegrounds and Mercenaries over the entirety of last season. Arena and Duels shall get a honorable mention for other reasons.
Reviewing the Rankings
The 23.2 Patch was released at the end of August, and then with the month of September came the usual Ranked resets; it's also when the actual full changes and live tracking have been applied to the Leaderboards part of the website. Now that the cap on potential entries has been lifted, the Leaderboards can also function as a way to measure the total active population of a given game mode across separate months and seasons.
A single Battlegrounds season stands apart from all the rest, as the ratings don't get reset on a monthly basis. In fact, they most likely won't until December or perhaps even January next year, when the next big content update rolls out. That's why these numbers will always be among the largest, and because it's also easier to gain at least *some* rating very quickly, compared to other game modes.
This is where it's currently at for each of the three regions:
Currently, the absolute top players sit above 14k rating.
As you can see, Europe is also slowly approaching that sweet spot of 1 million unique Hearthstone accounts that have at least touched upon the Battlegrounds. Although, if you look more closely at some of the final pages... the number 0 is hard to miss. Even though this has been technically addressed both by the Features Team Lead Celestalon, and the hotfix patch from a while ago:
Is this the number of people who have ever touched BGs? Lots of people at 0 MMR, too lazy to check at what number people start playing lol
No, that's not everybody. There's a minimum number of games played.
• Adjusted the Battlegrounds Leaderboard logic to remove all players with 0 Rating from the Leaderboards and increase the number of games required before appearing on the Leaderboards. […]
So uh, it's hard to tell for certain either way. While the exact details remain unknown, it does make sense to have some form of limiting factor. After all, what is the point of an enormous leaderboard, when one can't even find what they're looking for within the hundreds of thousands of entries? To put things into perspective, the European Battlegrounds rankings currently feature over 900,000 players! That's close to a million of other names to scroll (or rather click, page by page) through if you'd like to find your own spot somewhere in the pile.
As we've already noted in our intro, this could certainly use some work going forward.
Mercenaries PvP ratings reset on a monthly basis with each passing 'season' - just like their Constructed counterparts. You will still find some names showing up at 0 rating even there.
As for the top of the Leaderboards... well, it's probably to be taken with a grain of salt. There are a few accounts which have been pulling absolutely ludicrous ratings (in the 80-100k range), curiously across all three servers. For that reason, community members have been speaking up about a suspected bot problem.
Still pulling some decent numbers, especially across Europe and Americas. It would be great if we could compare these totals with the playerbase of Constructed Hearthstone - unfortunately, no such official data being available.
As you may already know, Arena does not fit the mold documented above. The total number of wins (or more appropriately, win average across a number of runs) has been the main indicator of success over there. Hearthstone blog has been publishing (occasional) seasonal updates for many years now, and we've actually just received the most recent one:
Below are the Arena leaderboards for July 1, 2022 - September 1, 2022. Arena rankings reflect players’ best 30 consecutive runs throughout a season.
Despite the quirky naming process, the update only really covers the past two months, not three. There's always such a strange delay.
Still, it is too bad we don't have a better tool for tracking our own historical progress in the Arena.
Lastly, it should be pointed out that Duels has yet to be added to the selection of Leaderboards. The mode came with an MMR system tracking your progress, but it just hasn't been used for any official rankings. Part of the reason might be the fact that Duels technically isn't out of the Beta yet, and the rating system might not be fully refined. Dedicated players have already found a cap to exist at 14k, which would lead to multiple ties at Rank 1.
Even so, it's at least on the radar of Modes Design Lead Matt London (yet won't be happening anytime soon from the sound of it):
It’s something we’d like to do. No ETA now.
It's worth noting that the official Season numbers used for Standard aren't equal to the actual months of total Ranked play. You might remember how a few months ago, July 2022 marked Hearthstone's 100th Ranked season, which also rewarded the 100th Card Back. And yet, July is numbered as "Season 105". The difference of 5 Months is probably due to the ranked records reaching all the way to the gameplay during Hearthstone's Beta. Now why Wild and Classic also go by the same number is another mystery altogether...
And this probably goes without saying, but even with the live Leaderboards functioning as intended for October and beyond, these visible numbers for Constructed Hearthstone are still going to be limited by the overall tally of all players who manage to reach Legend within any seasonal month - which is a very tough criteria compared to how little it takes to land one's name on the list for Mercenaries and Battlegrounds. It would be nice to see this extended to other ranks at some point in the future.
Now, some of you might be wondering about the fourth (presumably most populated and active) Hearthstone region that tends to follow its own rules and has even established a separate ecosystem: China. It's not hard to locate those particular leaderboards through the official Blizzard site, but in a surprising twist of fate they still seem to be limited only to Top 200 entries - even for Battlegrounds and Mercenaries. So unfortunately, we cannot take a proper peek behind the curtain. It's very rare to see that server missing out on any kind of extra functionality, as usually it's the other way around (Tournament Mode being a thing over there for years now, for example).
As is most fitting, we shall end on an inspirational Leaderboards quote. The rankings might have greatly expanded to accomodate everyone, but amusingly the traditional tagline hovering above it all remains untouched for now:
The players featured below have employed exemplary deck-building skills, great decision making, and unyielding dedication.
You have all been deemed worthy!
Were you excited for the potential of seeing your own name appear on the Leaderboards, and have you tried looking ever since? Would you appreciate the addition of a name search function, or any other quality of life feature? Surprised by any of the displayed numbers? Let us know where you stand!