Blizzard to implement quality-of-life changes to Hearthstone’s Masters Tour and Grandmasters

These changes should improve player participation in Hearthstone esports.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzard is making changes to the Hearthstone Masters Tour, implemented in 2019. Heading into the second half of the year, the company observed a couple of key areas that it wants to adjust to improve the competitive experience for players and fans.

Competitors will play in fewer qualifiers and the number of players receiving invites will be increased with the new system, added to improve the competitiveness of the game.

Qualifier invites for upcoming Masters Tour Stormwind and Undercity

For the final two qualifier seasons of the year, the number of invites will be adjusted. Winning a Masters Tour qualifier will still earn players an automatic invite. But to reward consistent players, you’ll be able to earn Masters Tour invites based on an overall win rate through a qualifier season rather than the current top-eight placement system.

Starting with the next Masters Tour Stormwind, the top 50 highest win percentage players who competed in at least 20 qualifiers without placing first, which would automatically qualify them for the next Masters Tour, will receive a corresponding invite. This will lead to an increase from an average of 30 invites for four-time top eight finishers.

Blizzard noticed that the number of qualifiers required for players was too high, on average around 47 separate qualifiers to earn a Masters Tour spot. While this passion is something the company celebrates, it wants players to have the opportunity to pursue other goals as well.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Masters Tour format updates

For the final three Masters Tours of the year, two key changes are being implemented to improve the overall broadcast and competitive experience for Hearthstone players and viewers. Moving forward, players will need to compete on camera during broadcast matches and any player not following this rule will receive a game loss for that round. Blizzard believes that players appearing on camera improves the fan experience by helping them connect on a more personal level. While this rule is mandatory, there are some exceptions that can be analyzed with the admins before a Masters Tour to allow time to prepare a ruling of exemption.

Masters Tours will now feature eight swiss rounds instead of nine. Four rounds of swiss will be played on days one and two, while a round of top 16 and all top eight matches will be broadcast live on the third day. The goal, as noted by Blizzard, is to reduce player fatigue during long days of play. The awarding of points toward Grandmasters qualification will be adjusted to account for there being one less swiss round.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Hearthstone esports will return with the launch of Grandmasters 2021 season two on Aug. 13. The Masters Tour will be back with Silvermoon from Aug. 27 to 29.