Earlier today Blizzard finally gave us some information about what the team is currently working on in its blog post, Hearthstone: In the Works. Here are my thoughts and feedback towards the developers about the new card changes and cards I see as problematic.
In the blog, the developers say they are happy with the variety in Hearthstone decks at the moment. With every class having one or more archetype that sees some level of play, Team 5 has achieved their “mythical” state of balance. The contrary is true for the competitive and long-term Hearthstone players. Quest Rogue and Malygos Druid are far and beyond better than any other deck by a long shot throughout the legend ranks. This is mainly because of the overwhelming strength of Giggling Inventor.
The game right now for many players is extremely stale. Many of the matches you play through are played out in the exact same way being extremely favored for one player. It is only one month into the expansion and it might be the worst meta to play in yet. We can only hope Team 5 listens to our feedback and changes some cards around and just gets on with it and removes the Rogue Quest from the game.
This is the second most infuriating part of the blog post. Only mentioning Giggling Inventor as a problematic card while denying the card needs to be changed is just disappointing. Blizzard’s use of internal stats to decide which cards are and aren’t a problem while neglecting the community is going to be Hearthstone‘s downfall.
The post mentions they are discussing how Wild should play internally. “Right now, Wild feels somewhat like Standard but with an elevated power level and a vast library of cards.” This statement could not be further from the truth. There are a few shared Aggressive-style decks shared between formats but that is it. Wild has a problem right now. Nobody that actually plays it will deny that. Specifically, the problem is the card Juicy Psychmelon, which should never have been printed. Now that it has been printed and has ruined the Wild meta it needs to be changed.
Realistically, you could make Juicy Psychmelon 8 mana. Twice as much as it costs now, the card could still be too strong even for the Wild format. With so little combo disruption possible in Hearthstone, cards that enable you to combo so consistently shouldn’t make it through internal testing.
In more positive news, Hearthstone will be getting four new cards starting next month! First up is Icicle. A new Epic Mage card will be added to the Classic Set next season: Icicle. 2-Mana “Deal two damage to a Minion. If it’s Frozen, draw a card.”
It’s unlikely for Icicle to shake up the meta anytime soon, but new cards are always exciting!
Next up is another mage card, Tome of Intellect. 1-Mana “Add a random Mage spell to your hand.” This card is a whole different story. The card could see some play in builds of Tempo Mage based around Stargazer Luna. The synergy between this, Sorcerers Apprentice, and Stargazer Luna could be very interesting.
Call of the Void is a new 1-Mana Warlock spell. “Add a random Demon to your hand.” I’m pretty indifferent on this one. I could see someone include this card in maybe a cubelock type of deck though it is very unlikely this card will see any play outside of Arena or Tavern Brawl.
Last up is Pilfer. 1-Mana “Add a random card to your hand (From your opponent’s Class).” Exciting! One mana spells do cool stuff in Rogue all the time. Hey, maybe one day we will be able to build a successful “Thief” Rogue deck!
This is something I’m actually excited for. In order for Hearthstone to succeed long term, there needs to be a constant influx of new players entering the game. The new player experience has long been miserable. Before this, a lot of new players were facing off against fully built decks of returning players. Another unsolved issue is players purposely staying at the low ranks to be able to complete their quests with more ease.
The first thing introduced is the addition of rank 50 to 26 where new players can get used to the game more easily by facing off against only new players. There will not be an option to return to these ranks once you pass them. This should mean less abuse of the system here. On top of this, the blog post mentions that new players will earn a few gifts along the way. This should help players to get started which can only be a positive for the game.
In more exciting news for everyone, the Welcome Bundle is returning! Sort of. In the blog, it is stated that while it has never left, people who have purchased it before will be able to buy it again next patch. The bundle is the one thing I recommend to everyone who plays Hearthstone due to the tremendous value it offers. Buy the Welcome Bundle for only $5 and get 10 packs and a guaranteed legendary classic card to get your Hearthstone career going.
This one I just don’t understand. A tournament mode was teased to us last year with support to pause games, brackets for in-game tournaments, and actual in-client tournaments itself. It’s a feature Hearthstone has needed for five years now and they decided not to finish it. This is just another punch in the face towards the running joke that Hearthstone as esports has become.
One of my favorite things about Hearthstone is the community. Having visited events all over the world I’m always happy to see more improvements to the community-run events. The unique tavern brawls and tavern banners of last year were really exciting for the hosts and visitors and more improvements seem to be coming soon!
The 2018 HCT Fall Championships will begin later this October. Follow your favorite Hearthstone players online or live in Burbank, California at the Blizzard arena! The event will happen on the weekend of October 13.
A fan favorite will be making a return with Hallow’s End! The Halloween-themed event will bring back the Dual Class arenas and bring out a new Paladin Hero Portrait for you to buy. Last year’s Dual Class arenas were great for the Twitch scene of Hearthstone which hopefully will be the case again this year.
Thanks for joining me, and I look forward to hearing what you think about all the exciting things Hearthstone announced today!
I’m Arend Zijdenbos, from the Netherlands. Gamer for as long as I can remember. My current focus is further improving at esports journalism. Currently, I write for Daily Esports and PCInvasion. For more of me, find me on twitter @Azijdenbos.