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Many players - initially from Korea, but then from all regions - have received a survey about Hearthstone and the latest expansions. One of the questions of the survey asks players how likely they would be to to play the card game within the next 30 days, if there were no Blizzard sponsored tournaments.
The question has made a lot of people nervous, given that Heroes of the Storm esports were recently axed and the game will go in maintenance mode in the near future. The climate is already heavy with the latest WoW expansion not being received that greatly and all the rumours about Activision meddling into Blizzard. The recent news about two Activision Blizzards CFOs leaving the company and Bungie (the developer of Destiny 2) jumping ship from Activision only managed to spark the rumours that things aren't going that well for Blizzard. Hearthstone also saw its game director and public face, Ben Brode, leave this year - along with other notable Hearthstone devs.
Significant changed to the structure of the Hearthstone Championship Tour were announced less than two months ago, so Hearthstone esports have a future for 2019 at least. Of course, the conspiracy lovers immediately pointed out that HotS devs promised that HGC would continue in 2019, only to announce its cancellation less than a month afterwards.
The full survey was shared on Reddit by u/HelixFossil89.
It is important to put this matter into perspective without panicking. First of all, this was a single question in a 35-question survey about the game in general and Rastakhan's Rumble in particular. The conductors of the survey obviously want to get the general opinion of their playerbase on major issues. Just because they asked this particular question, it doesn't necessarily mean they are considering axing Hearthstone esports.
Second, there is no indication that Hearthstone isn't doing well. Sure, it may have lost some players but it probably still is Blizzard's second best earner. Its competition has definitely not managed to thwart it and the latest balance changes - while they weren't exactly successful in creating a healthy meta - were received with excitement and positivity by most of the community.
On the other hand, Blizzard has spent quite a lot of money on the Hearthstone professional scene and perhaps there is a limit of how much they can keep throwing at it. There is also the matter that even though Hearthstone has been successful as an esport, it has managed that without being taken totally seriously - even by its own players. The 2019 plans also seem a bit vague-ish, although it should be noted that the January qualifiers are well underway.
This brand new Tavern Brawl challenges you to build a deck with cards from 2 Wild expansions and 2 Standard ones.
Specifically, you will need to construct a deck using only cards from Goblins vs Gnomes, The Grand Tournament, The Witchwood and The Boomsday Project. We remind you that this month is dedicated to Wild mode with a new Wild Bundle and thematic Tavern Brawls being available.
Newer players or players that don't have a lot of Wild cards in their collection can pick a Class and a single card and the game will autofill a deck for them with cards they don't have!
If you don't have cards from GvG and TGT, but still want to make your own deck, Baku the Mooneater and/or Genn Greymane are your best bets. Odd Rogue and Odd Paladin are performing well and Even Shaman is also a decent choice.
If you have all the cards needed, then it's a great opportunity to show off your Mech power. Mech Hunter and Mech Paladin are absolute beasts, with the Mechs from GvG and The Boomsday Project synergising perfectly.
This is a very interesting Tavern Brawl, since it creates a whole new meta on its own and it satisfies the players who are asking for yearly/monthly rotations with a specific amount of random sets from all of Hearthstone's history. Sometimes, Tavern Brawls foreshadow future games modes so perhaps this is a small hint on something different being worked on!
Here comes another update, once again focusing on Arena balance as classes get the appearance rates of cards tweaked so everyone has a comparable win rate. We're seeing Hunters, Rogues and Warriors getting their rates nerfed, while Druids, Mages, Paladins, Shamans and Warlocks get theirs buffed. This is coming after the more comprehensive update last month that saw some bigger Arena changes, including the removal of Mind Control Tech.
We're also getting changes to Rumble Run in this update, featuring better synergy for your shrine with new cards picked, boss deck adjustments and the ability to re-pick the shrine you lost with. Check out the full details below:
January 10 (source)
This Hearthstone update mixes Rumble Run up for a refreshing new change, while also bringing in some updates to Arena buckets together with the cessation of December 2018’s dust refund. Read on for details!
Following our Arena update last December, we have adjusted the appearance rate of each individual card available in Arena to ensure the overall win-rate of each class remains as close as possible to our ideal of 50%.
Hunter, Rogue, and Warrior have had the average quality of their Arena picks lowered. Druid, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, and Warlock have had the average quality of their Arena picks raised. December Update
The dust refunds that were available following our last update in December 2018 are no longer available as of this post.
Rumble Run Changes
Champions, rumblers, and trolls of all sizes! We’ve watched you spend a month punching faces in the Rumble Run, and we think there’s room for some changes based on how things have gone. Here’s what’s new with the Rumble Run.
Weighted Card Rewards We’ve increased the possibility of synergistic cards for your shrine appearing more often. One of our primary goals with this mode was to showcase the nine troll champions and have you really get to know them. We wanted you to “live the dream” of fighting in the Gurubashi Arena, and to do so, we had to make sure that each Run had its own strong theme. Adjusting the card bucket offerings for decks and re-adding bonus buckets will help strengthen that experience.
Boss Deck Adjustments One of our design goals with the Rumble Run was to provide huge, overpowered combat. Balancing at such a high power level is a challenge. When it works, it works great. You get epic, monumental combat against overwhelming odds. But when it doesn’t work, it feels random and swingy – like when the AI pulls an overwhelming combo. And since no one likes being repeatedly hit in the face with a club, we’ve pruned some of the power from the boss decks so that your Runs will play out more moderately. We have a lot of data about which bosses have the biggest body counts, and we’ve used that to target the worst offenders. Rumble Runs are now a little easier, but more importantly, they’ll feel a little more fair.
Shrine Selection Changes In early builds of the Rumble Run, we allowed players to pick a class and shrine before playing. What we found was that playtesters immediately picked their favorite class, gravitated to a certain shrine, and played that shrine repeatedly.
We had wanted to encourage players to try different shrines, especially to experiment with stuff they normally wouldn’t, so we put the current random shrine drafting in place. While that helped achieve our initial goal, it removed that feeling of mastery – the ability to choose a shrine and play with it until you feel you’ve mastered it or exhausted its possibilities.
So we want to bring that back. With this update, whenever you lose, you can expect to always be offered the shrine you just lost with. The shrine that the boss used to beat you in your last run will also be offered, per the status quo.
Some Final Rumble Ruminations
We always prefer to experiment, try extreme ideas, and get feedback rather than play it safe. In true troll fashion, we went big with the Rumble Run and tried some different ideas to give this expansion a unique feel and to capture the thrill of stepping into an arena against known opponents for some superpowered brutality. It’s wallop or be walloped in there, for better or for worse.
One of the things we experimented with—and heard great feedback on—was about the earlier pack rewards for the Rumble Run. Previous Hearthstone missions awarded packs via quests for completing content. For The Boomsday Project, we gave packs out without a quest to celebrate the launch of the expansion’s missions. This time around, we front-loaded the rewards and gave players three extra packs on launch day instead of during the Rumble Run. We felt that packs might be more interesting to people during the initial weeks of the expansion.
As many of you have pointed out, this decision just made the missions feel especially un-rewarding. It’s always more gratifying to earn packs by competing a quest, rather than just being given them. To this end, we’re adding the new quest described above, and going forward, we’ll keep this feedback in mind for the launch of new single-player content.
We had a ton of fun making mode and really appreciate the time that many of you took to write out thoughtful feedback. Everything we learn helps make future content better.
And now, it’s back to the Rumble Run!
This January is dedicated to the Wild format: apart from the Wild Open qualifiers taking place this month, you can now get a card Bundle with packs from previous expansions that are not usually available.
The Wild Bundle contains 10 packs from each of the following expansions, that have rotated out of Standard: Goblins vs Gnomes, The Grand Tournament, Whispers of the Old Gods and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. The Bundle costs 25 Euros or 25 USD.
If you are interested in the Wild format - or perhaps you even want to complete in it, the Wild Open qualifiers will be taking place this January.
Lastly, most Tavern Brawls are in Wild and this will continue being the case throughout this month.
It's been a while since we last heard of Ben Brode who left Blizzard in April 2018 to form the Second Dinner game development studio. In the latest update, we learn that Brode along with former Hearthstone developers are currently working on a Marvel game and the studio received $30 million in funding from Netease in China.
Netease is currently co-developing Diablo: Immortal with Activision Blizzard. Here's the latest press release posted on the Second Dinner website. The company now has enough funds to expand and grow beyond its five co-founders.
They also released a video talking about exciting news in the new office.