With Hearthstone Mercenaries live, lets dive into its Ratings and Matchmaking system. How does the system balances Mercenary Levels, Abilities, Equipment, and Roles?

Hearthstone Mercenaries, the latest game mode from Blizzard’s popular CCG, has an intricate Rating and Matchmaking system. If you want to learn how the PvP experience behind the scenes works, keep reading, we have a lot to unravel.

What is Hearthstone Mercenaries?

Mercenaries is Hearthstone’s newest game mode. It combines permanent RPG progression, roguelike elements, and many iconic Hearthstone & World of Warcraft characters. This new game mode intends to be another free-to-play Hearthstone experience.

Hearthstone Mercenaries introduction video

In Mercenaries, you will be able to enjoy PvE and PvP action. The starting point of your adventure once you overcome the tutorial is your village. You can find everything you need to know about every aspect of the game mode and more in our specific Hearthstone Mercenaries section in Esports.gg. Also, you can check out our video content about the topic.

Esports GG Hearthstone Mercenaries YouTube Video

How will Hearthstone Mercenaries Ratings and Matchmaking work?

If you are interested in diving into the fighting pit for PvP experience, you might be interested in what Tian Ding, Lead Data Scientist on the Hearthstone team, explained about the rating and matchmaking systems. These two systems are closely related, but other factors like Mercenary Levels, their Ability Tiers, Equipment, and Roles.

Hearthstone Mercenaries Rating

To begin with, the Rating system will be similar to Battlegrounds and Duels, where there are two systems: an external or visible rating and an internal rating.

The external rating is what you see on the Fighting Pit and leaderboards. This number resets at the start of each season, but before that, it should represent closely your skill level.

On the other side, the internal rating is a hidden value that represents what blizzard believes is your current skill level. This number does not reset after every new season. However, if you take a long break from the Fighting Pit, it will slowly start to adjust.

Now, how does this affect your ratings? Well, when you get paired with an opponent, the difference between the internal ratings is used to calculate how many points you earn or lose after a battle. If you face an opponent with a better internal rating, the system assumes your odds for the battle aren’t the best, so it won’t punish you if you lose but will give you a better than average reward if you win.

Hearthstone Mercenaries Matchmaking

We now know how the rating system works, but that is not the only variable Hearthstone Mercenaries Matchmaking system takes into account. Of course, the first variable the system looks to match is the player’s hidden rating. However, Mercenary Levels, Mercenary Ability Tiers, Mercenary Equipment Tiers, and even Mercenary Roles influence who you end up fighting too.

Since players bring their parties to the Fighting Pits as they are, it is hard to have an exact match on every variable. That is why the Hearthstone Mercenaries Matchmaking system tries to balance things out before your battle. Especially in the early days, these differences will be noticeable since players will not have a rating matching both their skill and their mercenaries force.

The same way the Rating system rewards lower rating players winning against better rating opponents after match ratings will also be adjusted depending on the above-mentioned variables. This way, if you lose against a party of stronger Mercenaries due to their level, abilities, or equipment, you won’t lose as many points as if it were against an opponent of your level. If you happen to win against the odds, you will be getting some extra points after the rewards.

Matchmaking conspiracies

Who hasn’t been tempted to think that there is a hidden mechanism in Standard that always pairs you against an unfavorable match-up when you switch decks. Well, in mercenaries there is an explicit consideration to prevent extreme and unfun plat experiences. The system tries to prevent a Party of six Fighters facing a six Casters or six Protectors opponent. This does not prevent you to play whatever composition you like but intends to lower the impact of highly polarized match-ups.

Is it possible to face the AI in a PvP match?

As strange as it looks, you might end up fighting an AI opponent even when playing the PvP mode. This happens as an exception and to prevent long Queue times or heavily unbalanced matches. We have mentioned before the number of variables taken into account by the Hearthstone Mercenaries Matchmaking system. Finding a suitable opponent might take more time than anyone desires to wait for.

Currently, this system activates when queue times go longer than 90 seconds, and your external rating is below 7000. This works well for casual players since they won’t be indefinitely waiting for an opponent at their level, as well as for competitive players who will never face the AI when going for the top leaderboard positions. 

When you face the AI, the system will grant your virtual opponent a party of a similar power to yours. If that can’t be easily achieved, the AI will play against you with a mirror lineup. These matches will still affect your ratings, so don´t underestimate the AI!

Prepare for the Loot: Freebies, Twitch Drops, and Log in Bonuses!

If you haven’t bought any of the Hearthstone Mercenaries Pre-Orders, you can still embrace the free-to-play experience. Upon completing the Tutorial, you will get 8 free Mercenaries to start your journey. Furthermore, players that log in on the launch day will receive Legendary Quests that will award a total of six free Mercenaries Packs.

 Hearthstone Mercenaries Welcome Bundle
Hearthstone Mercenaries Welcome Bundle
 Hearthstone Mercenaries Launch Bundle
Hearthstone Mercenaries Launch Bundle

Anxious players that don’t want to grind their way up can boost their Mercenaries collection right away. Two new bundles are available for purchase: The Mercenaries Welcome Bundle or the Mercenaries Launch Bundle in Blizzard’s shop.

Also, don’t forget that Twitch Drops will be available for connected accounts from October 15 at 10 am PDT until 10 pm PDT on October 17. Watch 2 hours of any Hearthstone stream to earn a Mercenaries Pack.

That is all we have for now, but stay tuned to Esports.gg for more Hearthstone news and updates

Manuel

Manuel "Rane" Delgado

Writer of the Month: August | Twitter: @RaneTDF

Manuel “Rane” Delgado is an experienced Hearthstone caster, content creator, and tournament organizer from Argentina. He started his career on Esports casting his own tournaments, now he currently covers Hearthstone Grandmasters’ Americas region for LATAM, among other content creation. Besides esports, he works in a construction company, which made him kind of a "handyman" when fixing everyday house problems.