Blizzard is releasing all sorts of fake news for April Fool's Day but they do have one real announcement: the first official ranked season for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is starting today.
There have been four test seasons so you should know the drill by now. Your rank from the previous season will be reset. However, you'll keep all of your hero levels and cards.
Your performance in the previous season could give you a headstart on your climb back to the top, though. For each rank you earned in Test Season 4, you'll get a star. For example, if you reached Rank 1 or 2, you'd get enough stars to start at rank 16.
Blizzard implemented this feature to make the first days of the season tolerable for less competitive players. If everyone was reset to rank 25, a new player might end up being matched up against a top player in the world. While it might be fun for an elite Hearthstone to rip through scores of newbies like a wheat thresher, it doesn't make for a very welcoming game.
Starting with Season 1, players can earn alternate backs for their card collection through Ranked Play mode. The first card back, featuring a Pandaria-inspired pattern, can be won by hitting Rank 20 by the end of Season 1. This reward will be doled out to all eligible players at the start of Season 2.
The other card back will take more effort. You'll have to get to Rank 0, or Legend, in order to earn it. This card back will be added to your inventory as soon as you hit this rank.
The seasons tend to conform to calendar months so Season 1 should wrap up on April 30th. Season 2 will then launch the following day. Blizzard said previously that they're going to offer different card backs every season. Presumably the Rank 20 reward will be swapped out for a different back.
Blizzard's keeping track of the best players from each season. They plan to invite these few elite to a special event.
"We’ll be inviting top Legend players to participate in a grand tournament later in the year to determine who will be the next world renowned Grandmaster of the Hearth," the company said on their official blog for Hearthstone. "Invites will be based on performance across each Ranked Play season, so do your best! More details will be announced at a later date."
Hearthstone officially launched on the PC and Mac in March. Blizzard has indicated that the iPad version could launch this month. Players will be able to use their same card collection and friends list on the desktop and iPad versions. Cross-platform multiplayer will also be supported.