Congratulations to Heyheuhei for winning Season VIII!
Last season was unique since the winner only completed 17 games (20 is the norm). Players who complete fewer than 20 games get a penalty of 40 rating points per game. This penalty isn’t too visible in the ratings since it’s not assessed at the end of the season (otherwise there would be a big jump at the end.) Instead, it’s implemented by simply giving 40 points to each player every time they receive a game, up to a max of 20 games. This is also why ratings tend to always go up as the season goes on.**
The purpose of this penalty is to prevent abuse. For example, if someone started off a season 15-0, they might get the bright idea of leaving the season to avoid having to face any more tough opponents. This shouldn’t be advantageous, since it prevents other players from getting their chance at taking on the champion.
For future seasons, this penalty is being increased from 40 to 65. However, I want to be clear that I don’t think Heyheuhei did this on purpose (since when has HHH ever refused a game?) This change is just being made in case someone else saw what happened and thought they might use it to their advantage.
Season IX will use an elevated defensive kill rate – 85% instead of the normal 70%. This means when attacking, attackers suffer worse losses than normal. This marks the first time that a ladder has used alternate kill rates. It’s up to each player to figure out how to adjust their strategy.
Season IX will also continue to use the randomized bonus values that Season VIII did, with one exception: The zero-bonuses in Korea, Hawaii, Alaska and Japan are no longer randomized and will always be 0. All other bonuses, just like before, will have a 1/3rd chance of being increased by one, a 1/3rd chance of being decreased by one, and a 1/3rd chance of remaining unchanged.
Also changed from last season are the luck values. The luck percentage is now 0% instead of 16%, but rounding mode is still weighted random. Move order has also been changed to cyclic.
The season begins on Tuesday at midnight GMT. (Which is really Monday night for those in negative timezones.) Good luck!
Have an idea for a future season? Let me know!
** It’s worth noting that this extra rating bonus does not impact matchmaking. Determining who you get matched against gets done before this rating bonus gets applied, so this mechanism does not penalize players who join late, as long as you get 20 games before the season ends.