Warcraft 3: Reforged official artwork of a Night Elf archer from up close

After what feels like an eternity of waiting, Blizzard has finally returned to Warcraft 3: Reforged with a sizable update in their hands. The freshly released Patch 1.33 brings with it ranked play, leaderboards, player profiles, as well as a variety of balance changes for both multiplayer and singleplayer.

The way the new ranked play system works should be instantly familiar if you've played some of Blizzard's other competitive games. Basically, the ranked ladder consists of seven tiers you'll have to slowly progress through (Combatant, Challenger, Rival, Duelist, Elite, Gladiator, Champion), with each rung of the ladder bringing with it tougher and tougher competition for you to contend with. Most importantly, at least in my eyes, your matchmaking rating will be separated by race (including random), so mixing things up every once in a while is highly encouraged as it won't impact your 'main' rank.

In a bit of an unexpected move, Blizzard has also taken this opportunity to rebalance the singleplayer campaign. Easy mode has become slightly simpler, while the hardest difficulty setting will now have you face off against stronger and more numerous enemies while also dealing with worse starting conditions. So if you're itching to replay the campaign, and you're in the mood for a bit of a challenge, choosing the hardest difficulty mode should be a nice bit of fun.

As for the multiplayer focused balance changes, it's mostly minor yet still spicy tweaks that might just end up being significant enough to shake up the metagame. You can find the full list of changes, as well as the reasoning behind them, over at the Warcraft 3 forums.

Have fun with the new stuff, and here's to hoping we won't have to wait an entire year for the next big update!