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We are all expecting the announcement of the next Hearthstone expansion at BlizzCon 2016. And we might have just gotten the very first hint about it!
Υesterday night, the @PlayHearthstone account on Twitter posted the following image. This may be nothing at all or it may be an actual clue about the upcoming Hearthstone expansion.
Τhe disclaimer of the image reads:
In World of Warcraft, Gadgetzan is a Goblin city situated in the desert of Tanaris, in the southeast corner of Kalimdor. Gadgeztan used to be a mainland city, but after the Cataclysm hit Azeroth it now enjoys a beach and the sea.
Redditor BillHicksBoiii noticed three days ago that the domain gadgetzan.com has been taken by Blizzard. It's difficult to theorise what the expansion could be, though. The obvious link is Goblins, but we've already had the Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion. Unless we are getting a revamp...
You can also notice a pirate ship in the background of the image, so perhaps a pirate themed expansion?! Moreover, as we've already said, Gadgetzan was one of the cities affected by the Cataclysm. Basically, once Deathwing was awakened, he caused the whole world of Azeroth to change dramatically with earthquakes, tsunamis, the invasion of his forces and just his very own presence. Since Deathwing was originally corrupted by the Old Gods, the first expansion we got this year, it is possible that this expansion may be about Deathwing, his following the Twilight's Hammer or the Cataclysm.
Of course, all of this is still in the realm of speculation. The image might mean nothing at all! What do you think?
Ben Brode confirmed the 2 game win streak to be unintentional and explained why he's not satisfied with the Ranked Ladder System.
The developer team listened to the community and they will be making adjustments based on simulation systems that help predict changes that would do to the population curve. Here's what Brode had to say.
Seeing some comments here about how people are enjoying easier laddering due to this bug, and hoping we leave it unfixed. I thought I might chime in and talk about the ladder a bit, and hopefully get some feedback! We have been discussing the ladder system a lot recently - we're not 100% happy with it.
Here are some things we are currently discussing:
Rank 18 players are higher ranked than 50% of HS players. That number doesn't make you feel like you are in the top 50%, and that's a missed opportunity. We try and counter this by telling you all over the place what the mapping is to the rest of the population, but it'd be better if expectations and reality matched here.
We've received feedback that the last-minute jostling for high Legend ranks at the end of a season doesn't feel all that great.
We've received feedback that the ladder can feel like a grind.
We are reanalyzing the number of ranks, the number of stars per rank, the number of bonus stars given out at the start of the season, and other parts of the system.
We are developing simulation systems that let us predict what changes to the ladder would do to the population curve. If we inflate too many stars, the whole population ends up in the Legend bucket and while that might feel great for a single month, the entire system falls apart eventually. People who played waaaay back may remember when "3-star master" was the pinnacle of achievement, and it meant nothing because so many people ended up in that bucket. With better simulation tools, we are planning on trying a lot of crazy things. Iteration is important in design, and getting the tools to iterate quickly is very important.
Something I want to emphasize is that while I think we can improve the ladder, the metric for that improvement isn't necessarily any one player's individual rank increasing. Players want the better rewards (and prestige) associated with high ranks, or the Legend card back, so any change we make that increases the chances of those are likely to be perceived as "good", at least for the short term. But part of what makes the ranked ladder compelling is that exists to rank players. If you want to see how you stack up, ranked is the place to do it. So while some inflation might improve the experience, we need to be careful and make sure we end up with a system that makes people feel rewarded for increases in personal skill or for finding a new deck that breaks the meta.
Have you considered not making the fall in rank so severe in the start of the new season? When I was a new player at rank 21 it didn't feel good to lose against a wicked good deck all the time with my inferior cards.
Yes, that's what I meant by this: We are reanalyzing [...] the number of bonus stars given out at the start of the season.
We think it's a reasonable direction to explore in, but in general it's hard to predict the results on the population distribution among the ranks. Hoping to do some simulation there and make sure there aren't other, better options, too.
Is this really that bad considering legend has its own internal ranking system?
Yes, I think so. Imagine just one bucket and we sort by MMR. There aren't breakpoints with rewards as you increase in skill. There isn't an obvious way to communicate with others about how good you are. It's also difficult to know if you are bad or good. (Is Legend 135003 good? What about Legend 27809?)
The way we communicate our skill or progress is important. Ever heard a friend say "dude! I got to rank 5 this month!"? What is that achievement in a world where everyone is in the same bucket? Watching discreet rank buckets go by (and feeling that progression) and feeling the thrill of reaching a new rank that you've never hit before... those are pretty important, I think.
The four groups for the group stage of the Hearthstone Championship Tour Finals have been announced. You can also win free The Grand Tournament packs by cheering on your favourite contestant.
The HCT regional and last call champions were split evenly into four groups of four, with each region being represented in each group. Out of all the groups, Group A looks like it's going to be the most interestings. The BlizzCon opening week will begin on October 26 with the Group Stage.
Meanwhile, you can vote for who you think is going to be the 2016 Hearthstone champion and win free TGT packs. The first voting period has already begun and it will last until October 25 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. You will win a single TGT pack just for participating in each voting period. Afterwards, you will receive one additional card pack from The Grand Tournament for every best-of-seven match your champion wins once chosen. You can earn up to 6 free packs if you participate from the first voting period and up to 4 packs, if you participate in the second voting period (beginning after the group stage and ending on November 3).
It’s time to crown a World Champion, as well as time for you to choose your champion and reap some rewards! The culmination of the 2016 Hearthstone Championship Tour is nearly upon us! One player will emerge as the 2016 Hearthstone World Champion at BlizzCon and walk away with the quarter-million USD first place prize from the million-dollar prize pool. Now you can join in on the fun by choosing one of the sixteen competitors to root for, watching as they compete in the Hearthstone World Championship, and receiving in-game rewards for every best-of-seven match they win! Everyone will get a pack just for picking their champion, so don’t miss out!
Click the button below to choose a champion, or read on for additional details. Just remember that you can’t change your champion after you’ve chosen!
The sixteen players that are competing in the World Championship have qualified from one of the Season Championships or Last Call Invitationals and will be representing the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and China. They travelled a long road and faced some of the best players in the world along the way, but now they’ve arrived at the pinnacle of Hearthstone competition. The players have been divided into four groups and will play out the group stage during BlizzCon Opening Week. From there, two players from each group will advance to participate in the single-elimination bracket at BlizzCon.
Cydonia, ThijsNL, Handsomeguy, Jasonzhou
Bbgungun, Naiman, Che0nsu, Hamster
Amnesiac, DrHippi, Yulsic, Breath
HotMEOWTH, Pavel, DDaHyoNi, OmegaZero
Full Groups and Bracket
How to Participate
To participate in Choose Your Champion, simply click on the “Choose Now!” button above and select the champion of your choice. Then, during Opening Week and BlizzCon, you can cheer your champion on and be rewarded with card packs based on how well they perform! Just for participating, you will receive one card pack from The Grand Tournament. Additionally, you will receive one additional card pack from The Grand Tournament for every best-of-seven match your champion wins once chosen. All card packs will be delivered to you in-game the week after BlizzCon.*
Be very careful when making your choice, as once you choose your champion, you will not be able to change your selection.
*Gnomish Homing Chickens used to deliver card packs may take a few days to arrive.
Where to Watch
You can catch all of the exciting action on the official Hearthstone Twitch channel! The Opening Week and BlizzCon schedules can be found below.
Opening Week (Group Stage):
Day 1 (October 26) – Match 1 Day 2 (October 27) – Match 2 Day 3 (October 28) – Winner’s Match Day 4 (October 29) – Elimination Match Day 5 (October 30) – Decider Match BlizzCon (Bracket Stage):
Day 1 (November 4) – Quarterfinals Day 2 (November 5) – Semifinals and Grand Finals
You may cast your vote starting now until October 25 at 11:59 p.m. PDT, when Opening Week begins. Voting will then be closed during Opening Week. If you happen to miss the first voting period, don’t fret! We’ll re-open voting after Opening Week has concluded and let anyone that missed out vote for a champion before BlizzCon begins. The second voting period will close at 11:59 p.m. on November 3, prior to the start of the BlizzCon bracket stage.
If you have already voted during the first voting period, you will not be able to vote again during the second voting period as your vote will have already been locked in. You are only eligible to receive additional packs for any matches your champion wins after you have chosen them. If you vote during the first voting period, you can earn up to 6 total packs (including your participation pack) depending on how well your champion performs. If you vote during the second voting period, you can earn up to 4 total packs (including your participation pack).
Choose your champion carefully!
Once you’ve selected your champion, be sure to tune in to all of the action on our official Hearthstone Twitch channel, and discuss the tournament using the #HCT hashtag on Twitter and Facebook.
(source) Cast your vote here and let us know in the comment section who you think is going to win this year! If you need any "scholarly" advice, this year's casters (including Sottle) have shared their predictions here.