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Hearthstone Devs Respond to Purify and Priest Outrage

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The reveal of the 3 Priest class cards, and especially of Purify, in One Night in Karazhan caused negative reactions from the community, who has been complaining about the state of Priest these past few months. Two Hearthstone devs tried to salvage the situation a bit.

Discussions about the current state of Priest have been a regular occurrence on the official forums and on Reddit, but the reveal of Purify was literally the breaking point for the Hearthstone community. These threads multiplied in number and a response from a Hearthstone developer seemed imminent. And indeed, here is a Reddit post by Game Designer August Dean Ayala, aka Iksar:

Blizzard LogoIksarHS

We've had similar articles in the past about design stories for particular cards, I think the most recent one I remember discussed all the design iterations that Yogg went through. Card designs have a number of different goals, sometimes those goals are immediate competitive play and sometimes they shoot for something else. Things like flavor, arena viability, or sprinkling in tools for a new or existing archetype. In smaller sets, it can be a little risky to take a gamble on a new toolkit because there are fewer cards to work with. In the case of Priest, we were pretty happy with the amount of options the class was getting from neutral (Barnes, Curator*, Medivh, Dragon Cards) to do some testing with a new archetype that Purify could be a part of. In my mind there is some positive to the outcry over Purify because I think people will definitely try it out and report any successes/failures/stories they had building and playing a 'silence your own stuff' priest. None of this is to say anyone is wrong in their feedback, but just to communicate some of the ideas surrounding a card design. Hearthstone is important to all of us, and we're trying to do better in terms of communication and understanding what different communities (like this one) are most interested in. I've been happy to be here and have a conversation about what you all want from the game, thanks for being so passionate about it. :D  (source)

Ben Brode also intervened with a developer update. We have summarised his main points below the video.

 

Quote
  • The card wasn’t intended to be powerful. They want to allow players to make crazy decks and perhaps win with bad cards.
  • They tried many versions of Purify internally, like Silence any minion. However, they are trying to pull back on the power level of Silence to see what the game feels like without it.
  • There was also a 1-mana version but many play testers were just using it as a draw card.
  • It is intended as a fun card.
  • Ben acknowledges they messed up with the timing on Purify with the community's current views on the Priest class.
  • Purify is good for the game, but maybe in a set with splashy, exciting, powerful Priest cards.
  • Ben still has hopes for Priest, especially Dragon Priest. If not, they will continue to push for Priest in future sets and make changes going forward.
  • Purify will not show up in Arena. He doesn’t think this will solve Arena balance, but it’s a step in the right direction as they are working on Arena long term.

Most players were satisfied with Ben's video update, while some called it a "PR shift". It is great that the Hearthstone team is willing to admit and apologise for its mistakes, but that still doesn't change the facts. Admittedly, with all of the attention it got, the card will now see some play. However, why would someone use Purify, when you can do what it does better with Silence and/or Power Word: Shield?

200px-Purify%2842061%29.png?version=88b5

Purify is not just the problem; Priest in general has been suffering for a while. Iksar pointed out that the team was happy about the options Priest will get in neutral cards in Karazhan. However, most neutral cards that were good for Priest have been rotated out of Standard format (like Deathlord, Zombie Chow, Loatheb) and even if the Karazhan neutrals prove to be equally good, they will have the same fate in the future. Priest needs better class cards and a re-polished Basic and Classic kit.

Moreover, Priest needs more and better class minions - especially early game minions. At this moment, with all sets included in Standard format Priest has the second lowest amount of minions (19 in total) and the highest amount of spells (29 in total) out of all classes. The power level of most of these class cards, especially the minions', is considerably lower than other classes: Paladin may only have 15 minions in Standard format at the moment, but includes cards like Aldor Peacekeeper, Murloc Knight, Keeper of Uldaman and Tirion Fordring. And let's not talk about Paladin spells, especially the healing ones, that beat out the de facto healing class of the Warcraft universe.

Amaz's video (available at the end of this article) explains the entire issue very accurately. To sum up, there will always be a ninth class in Hearthstone. But, does Priest have to be the permanent holder of the worst spot?

Interesting videos from known community figures:

Reddit discussions:

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I must admit I enjoy the hatred purify is getting. Personally I will make a terrible silence deck and play it until I beat some poor guy with it and it shall be hilarious!

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I say I revalued a lot the 4 mana 3/6 that Priest got, I think it's important for a reactive class to do more things together. so to say in the contest of VS Aggro, instead of having to choose at 6 mana if you want to heal, play a minion or "Shadow Word : Pain" for example, you could do only 2 of the 3, but with that card you can do all three things at the same time, and 6 health is good for contesting Aggro.

Not saying it's a revolutionary card, but it's pretty damn good, it's the kind of card you should have in a core set instead of an adventure though.

I say Purify will work for what was intended for, Silence may be better but you can't rely on 2 cards if you need to silence a third of your deck, and the draw will be handy when you are using 2 cards to summon a minion.

Edited by Kokuendan

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5 hours ago, Kokuendan said:

I say Purify will work for what was intended for

Purify might work in the deck it was designed to be in, but that deck won't work in the meta it was designed in.

And basically the same goes for Priest of the Feast - it's good in control priest, but control priest is bad in current meta, and I don't expect the Karazhan meta to be that much different.

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3 hours ago, positiv2 said:

Purify might work in the deck it was designed to be in, but that deck won't work in the meta it was designed in.

Considering that they designed it to be "kinda bad" it's a bit unfair to talk about Meta at all, it's like saying Majordomo is bad in the current meta, it's obviously going to be bad in every meta you can foresee. 

Edited by Kokuendan

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Interesting.

A lot of the pro-complaints don't reflect what I witness as a player.  There's all this chat about Priest being awful, but at the ranks I play at (which is pretty much the same as about half the players of Hearthstone), Priest is fairly successful.   I mean, people play Priest, and sometimes they win.  I play Priest and sometimes I win.  So, all the pros complaining that Priest is no use: maybe it's not at Legend rank (or even just any rank better than, say rank #18), but that's not where all the players are.

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4 hours ago, mimech said:

Interesting.

A lot of the pro-complaints don't reflect what I witness as a player.  There's all this chat about Priest being awful, but at the ranks I play at (which is pretty much the same as about half the players of Hearthstone), Priest is fairly successful.   I mean, people play Priest, and sometimes they win.  I play Priest and sometimes I win.  So, all the pros complaining that Priest is no use: maybe it's not at Legend rank (or even just any rank better than, say rank #18), but that's not where all the players are.

I think I'ts a matter of card quality, It's not like you can't win at all with priest, but since the card quality is drastically lower compared to other classes it takes double the effort to make the same results as something like Paladin. There are situations where you need to rely on your opponent's mistakes or on a perfect hand because their cards are that much better than yours and the more you go up the less you can rely on mistakes, not to mention that a Priest player making mistakes is punished even harder because it's harder to recovery when most of your cards trade 1-for-1. 

People complains because they want Priest to be Legend-worthy or at least an Ok metagame pick, not to offend anyone but at rank 18 if you are good you can make almost anything work (like Silence Priest).

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11 hours ago, Kokuendan said:

Considering that they designed it to be "kinda bad" it's a bit unfair to talk about Meta at all, it's like saying Majordomo is bad in the current meta, it's obviously going to be bad in every meta you can foresee. 

That is actually the issue here. A class with a lot of "kinda bad" cards should not get more cards like this. It results in the class getting obliterated by meta decks. Tempo Storm called their bottom tier the "priest tier", a lot of players say that there are 8 classes in HS, similarly to arena having 8 classes in TGT. This is something that should not be happening.

Majordomo Executus can actually be included as a win condition, whereas Purify is simply a bad tech card. 
A better example is Silence. It isn't played in any priest deck, but I wouldn't call it bad simply because when meta requires some kind of silence to be run, players would choose Silence over Purify, which is the second part of the Purify issue. 

5 hours ago, mimech said:

Interesting.

A lot of the pro-complaints don't reflect what I witness as a player.  There's all this chat about Priest being awful, but at the ranks I play at (which is pretty much the same as about half the players of Hearthstone), Priest is fairly successful.   I mean, people play Priest, and sometimes they win.  I play Priest and sometimes I win.  So, all the pros complaining that Priest is no use: maybe it's not at Legend rank (or even just any rank better than, say rank #18), but that's not where all the players are.

That's because Priest, Mage and (arguably) Druid are the kings (and queen) of basic decks. However, if you run into dragon warrior or midrange shaman, you will lose almost every time. 

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1 minute ago, positiv2 said:

That is actually the issue here. A class with a lot of "kinda bad" cards should not get more cards like this. It results in the class getting obliterated by meta decks. Tempo Storm called their bottom tier the "priest tier", a lot of players say that there are 8 classes in HS, similarly to arena having 8 classes in TGT. This is something that should not be happening.

Majordomo Executus can actually be included as a win condition, whereas Purify is simply a bad tech card. 
A better example is Silence. It isn't played in any priest deck, but I wouldn't call it bad simply because when meta requires some kind of silence to be run, players would choose Silence over Purify, which is the second part of the Purify issue.

That is the issue but since it was addressed in the video by Ben Brode I thought it wasn't necessary to bring it up again since it seems they realize what went wrong.

I do believe that Purify was never meant to compete for Silence, it was meant as an additional silence with added refuel to make the "Silence Priest" more consistent, so I feel this comparison is a moot point because they were meant to be run together in the first place.

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1 hour ago, Kokuendan said:

That is the issue but since it was addressed in the video by Ben Brode I thought it wasn't necessary to bring it up again since it seems they realize what went wrong.

I do believe that Purify was never meant to compete for Silence, it was meant as an additional silence with added refuel to make the "Silence Priest" more consistent, so I feel this comparison is a moot point because they were meant to be run together in the first place.

Addressing the issue doesn't solve anything. They can still change the card to something else - something useful.

Wailing Soul was a better card for silence priest and the deck still wasn't good enough to be considered usable. I don't think adding Purify will be enough to get the deck going. Why would you play Eerie Statue, when you can play another 4 mana 7/7 that actually doesn't need silence. And of course, if you spend 2 mana on silence, you lose most of the advantage - you won't have a 4 mana 7/7, you'll have 6 mana 7/7. You won't have 2 mana 4/5, you will have 4 mana 4/5. 
And one more thing about silence priest - a lot of drawback cards are gone in standard. No more Fel ReaverDeathlord or Zombie Chow.

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23 minutes ago, positiv2 said:

 And of course, if you spend 2 mana on silence, you lose most of the advantage - you won't have a 4 mana 7/7, you'll have 6 mana 7/7. You won't have 2 mana 4/5, you will have 4 mana 4/5. 
 

The advantage comes from playing it earlier. Turn 4 Eerie into turn 5 purify means that on turn 5 you can attack with a 7/7.

Edited by PaasHaaS

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1 hour ago, PaasHaaS said:

Turn 4 Eerie into turn 5 purify means that on turn 5 you can attack with a 7/7.

Probably still not good enough. As it is, it's a two-cards Flamewreathed Faceless that would cycle one back in your hand. The big problem is that you need to have both cards in your hand at the correct time, where the Shaman card is standalone. And Flamewreathed Faceless played on curve, while immensely powerful, is an all-or-nothing card. If your opponent can deal with it immediately, playing it often ends up doing more harm than good.

The combo Eerie Statue + Purify might surprise someone once or twice, but anyone knowing what's coming will deal with the Statue before you can Purify it. You might try a bluff and play the Statue as removal bait, but...

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3 hours ago, positiv2 said:

Addressing the issue doesn't solve anything. They can still change the card to something else - something useful.

They could change it to something else, but it's clear they won't so we have to either make it work or forget about Purify.

2 hours ago, Keizoku said:

Probably still not good enough. As it is, it's a two-cards Flamewreathed Faceless that would cycle one back in your hand. The big problem is that you need to have both cards in your hand at the correct time, where the Shaman card is standalone. And Flamewreathed Faceless played on curve, while immensely powerful, is an all-or-nothing card. If your opponent can deal with it immediately, playing it often ends up doing more harm than good.

The "you need to have both cards in your hand" part is not totally true, you don't need Eerie Statue + Purify, you need Eerie Statue + a silence, having more silence should be the way to help the deck's consistency, and I say it's not even a card you should play early, to silence an Ancient Statue on turn 3 an Owl would be better so you get an extra body, Purify is more of a late-game card with the intention to help with card advantage since unlike your opponent your minions require 2 cards instead of 1 to work correctly.

4 hours ago, positiv2 said:

Why would you play Eerie Statue, when you can play another 4 mana 7/7 that actually doesn't need silence.

Because they don't have a 4 Mana 7/7 that doesn't need silence? I'm not advocating to play Silence Priest, but it's unfair to take into comparison cards that are a non factor because you cannot play them anyway, if we were talking about "Silence Shaman" it would have been an argument but like this it's like saying "Why play Ironbark Protector when you can play Tirion"?

Let's clarify that I too find absurd that with all the things that they could have done they decided to help "Silence Priest" (didn't even know that was a thing), but what are we trying to do by comparing a bad card made to help a really bad deck with meta-defining cards?  Demonstrate it's bad? Of course it's bad compared to one of the best card of the game. It's not like it takes much to best this card but we're talking about something that was concieved not only as bad, but as a niche card too, it's always going to be terrible outside his context (granted that the fact it's good in his context is not even guaranteed).

I admit it's a card that deserves all the hate it's getting, but let's at least be fair in the way we hate on that.

Damn it though, why do I have to defend Purify? This is ridiculous.

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37 minutes ago, Kokuendan said:

The "you need to have both cards in your hand" part is not totally true, you don't need Eerie Statue + Purify, you need Eerie Statue + a silence, having more silence should be the way to help the deck's consistency, and I say it's not even a card you should play early, to silence an Ancient Statue on turn 3 an Owl would be better so you get an extra body, Purify is more of a late-game card with the intention to help with card advantage since unlike your opponent your minions require 2 cards instead of 1 to work correctly.

It can be the other way around - you can have a silence card, but you might not have Eerie Statue or Ancient Watcher. There aren't enough good drawback cards to make the priest work.
Silence + Draw isn't really card advantage as the silence will not trade for any of opponent's cards.
Your cards shouldn't need 2 cards to work. That's why pushing silence priest is bad, why Purify is bad and why Blizzard messed this up hard and yet they do not want to correct their mistake, which significantly disappointed me.

55 minutes ago, Kokuendan said:

Because they don't have a 4 Mana 7/7 that doesn't need silence? I'm not advocating to play Silence Priest, but it's unfair to take into comparison cards that are a non factor because you cannot play them anyway, if we were talking about "Silence Shaman" it would have been an argument but like this it's like saying "Why play Ironbark Protector when you can play Tirion"?

The power level of priest is bad and they should receive something very powerful as well. *insert the same rant from last paragraph*
Yeah, why would you play basic druid when you can play the best minion in the game. Why would you play the worst class in the game when you can play the best. 

1 hour ago, Kokuendan said:

Of course it's bad compared to one of the best card of the game.

It's bad even when compared to Silence or even the infamous Magma Rager and Am'gam Rager. I even managed to make a deck with them that has 47% WR, but there is no way I will be able to do the same for Purify. So, it is bad even when compared to some of the worst cards out there.

1 hour ago, Kokuendan said:

Damn it though, why do I have to defend Purify? This is ridiculous.

You could have said that Purify is trash and utterly useless and the discussion would end, but as long as you keep bringing up points, I will be trying to shoot them down. 

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7 minutes ago, positiv2 said:

You could have said that Purify is trash and utterly useless and the discussion would end, but as long as you keep bringing up points, I will be trying to shoot them down. 

I have a compulsive need to defend things that are universally hated. You say that Purify is trash and utterly useless, I say Purify is trash but it has some use if you really need to waste time playing the worst deck of the worst class, not much but I'm giving it more of a chance than most people.

I don't really think it's worse than Magma Rager honestly, but I do think Am'gam Rager is already better than that, I'm just asking to compare trash with other trash so that the comparison is actually fair.

I'm trying to rate the card in a vacuum, so I'm giving at least some points but if I had to take the general game state and the context in account when judging a card, well yeah, no defending it in that case.

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Am I the only one who thinks that Dragon Priest is competitive? Mind you, I'm a mid-level player...haven't gotten any higher than rank 10, but I can get there pretty reliably....and one of my most successful decks is Dragon Priest.

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Dragon priest is almost okay. I have winrate slightly higher than 50% with it, but my other decks feel just so much more powerful and that's because they are. Dragon priest just relies too much on draw and doesn't have that big threat in the deck, like shaman's Flamewreathed Faceless or warrior's Grommash Hellscream, to seal the game or to give you the upper hand.
That's why players are angry about current expansion's cards for priest - they don't offer more reliable starts and do not give him a big card.

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I play it for control. I named the deck "Nope!" because it can take so much away from the other guy....and because I'm perverse, I threw a Nozdormu in there. Hilarious how many players are thrown for a loop by that. 

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Silence priest could be a thing, maybe. I put together a silence build recently using the watcher, the statue, and the new moat lurker. The lurker seems good with a silence effect on the same turn, be it Silence or Purify. I find that purify adds consistency to the deck. plus the card draw is handy. I run Ironbeak Owl and Spellbreaker as well, seeing as how there seems to always be some minion that could use a good silencing. I also use Defender of Argos to help prevent the statue and watcher from just being dead cards in the event of an absent silence effect, which seems rare. Overall its been fun. I've not tested it in ranked yet. However in the casual matches I've played so far it seems pretty good. it still needs some work I'd say, but I like to think I'm on the right track.

 

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2 hours ago, GrizzlyJ said:

Silence priest could be a thing, maybe. I put together a silence build recently using the watcher, the statue, and the new moat lurker. The lurker seems good with a silence effect on the same turn, be it Silence or Purify. I find that purify adds consistency to the deck. plus the card draw is handy. I run Ironbeak Owl and Spellbreaker as well, seeing as how there seems to always be some minion that could use a good silencing. I also use Defender of Argos to help prevent the statue and watcher from just being dead cards in the event of an absent silence effect, which seems rare. Overall its been fun. I've not tested it in ranked yet. However in the casual matches I've played so far it seems pretty good. it still needs some work I'd say, but I like to think I'm on the right track.

 

There was an awesome deck Kibler used and actually managed a decent winrate at Legend with it. I'll try find the decklist for you. 

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      Ahem. Read on for details!

      Two new bundles are now available for Hearthstone’s upcoming expansion, The Boomsday Project that arrives August 7! Pre-purchase contains 50 The Boomsday Project card packs at a discounted price, the “Mecha-Jaraxxus” card back, and a random Golden Legendary card from The Boomsday Project!
      Introducing The Mega-Bundle, which includes 80 The Boomsday Project card packs at a discounted price, the “Mecha-Jaraxxus” card back, a random Golden Legendary card from The Boomsday Project, and the Mecha-Jaraxxus Warlock Hero! Players can purchase one bundle, or both! Purchased card packs and accompanying Legendary card can be opened when The Boomsday Project launches. The Mecha-Jaraxxus Warlock Hero and card back can be used right away.  

      The Midsummer Fire Festival returns soon for another scorching hot season of fun! Ragnaros' Fire Festival Tavern Brawl is back! Destroy minions to upgrade your "Wow" emote with fabulous fireworks! Following it up is an all-new challenging PvE Tavern Brawl with a few surprises! Basic daily Quests completed during the Fire Festival event reward double gold! Enjoy the Fire Festival-themed "Greetings" emote and sizzling box dressing! The initial download size of the Hearthstone client for mobile is now smaller. Performance of the Collection manager has been improved. Support for modern phones, such as the iPhone X and the Samsung Galaxy S8 & S9, has been added to utilize more available screen space. The following minions have had their minion types adjusted: Mountain Giant is now an Elemental Molten Giant is now an Elemental Witchwood Piper is now a Demon North Sea Kraken is now a Beast Jungle Moonkin is no longer a Beast Art for Witchwood Grizzly has been adjusted. New card backs have been added: Lemonade – August 2018 Ranked Play Reward
      Mecha-Jaraxxus – Available in The Boomsday Project pre-purchase and The Boomsday Project Mega Bundle for a limited time
      Bug Fixes and Gameplay Improvements
      Resolved an issue where Echoed spells converted by Liliana Voss would remain “ghostly” and were discarded at the end of turn. Resolved an issue where Choose One choices would persist on the board if a player used King Togwaggle to swap decks with the opponent. Resolved an issue where Genn Greymane would not trigger in an even deck if Clockwork Giant was in the opening hand. Resolved an issue where freezing a Rush minion the turn it was played would cause it to skip two attacks. Resolved an issue where the UI would become unresponsive in certain cases when the Windows Game Bar was enabled. Resolved an issue where games that ended in a Draw while Rewind is active would create strange behavior.  Resolved an issue where Skelemancers killed by an end of turn effect would crash iOS devices. Resolved an issue with the display of Primordial Glyph and cards that are Discovered. [Monster Hunt] Resolved an issue where Vampiric Fangs would heal Heroes based on the printed health of minions instead of remaining health. Resolved an issue with Lorewalker Cho’s interaction with Unstable Evolution and cards with Echo. Resolved an issue where Weasel Tunneller would cause a deck display issue while in Fatigue. (source)