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Team Dignitas Leaves Hearthstone

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Team Dignitas have become the latest major organisation to leave the Hearthstone scene.

We reported a couple of weeks ago that Na'Vi were no longer interested in Hearthstone, and now Team Dignitas have followed suit. The Dignitas lineup consisted of Greensheep, Kranich, Blackout, and Anakin. The official announcement was brief and it follows the departure of Chakki in June.

Greensheep and Kranich are both former World Championship competitors, while Blackout was the winnner of several mid level events, and also was runner-up, behind Greensheep, at DreamHack Valencia 2015. Anakin won the Dignitas UK Gamer Search competition a year ago.

As discussed in the Na'Vi article, Hearthstone organisations are still coming to terms with the nature of the game being different from more traditional team esports. Several teams are thriving, while others are finding it doesn't suit their business model. I am still of the opinion that the competitive Hearthstone scene is very solid, and that we will see future teams learn from the mistakes of the pioneers.

What do you think? Is the game to blame, or are the organisations expecting too much?

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Could it be that the game looses its competitive integrity when games are won by cards like Yogg-Saron, Hope's End, on a pro level?

I mean, so much money being on the line and it just comes down to luck, a lot of the times. I think blizzard should stop printing impactful RNG "fun" cards, just to either attract new players, or satisfy the casual players' taste. But on the other hand, those players are the majority of the player base.

So the next question is : Is Firebat's idea (which i think has been in a lot of players' minds) the solution? Having ban lists only for pro tournaments?

Doesn't seem so bad to me as a viewer.

Edited by CodeRazor

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Thoughts coming from no inside expert but a long time e-sports content consumer :

I think Hearthstone itself as a game it's current format, is why major e-sports organizations are failing or at least think they are failing.

It's an individual sport. There is no team league formats. Being in a team basically means you have people to practice and brainstorm with and then you get to wear their t-shirt. That's it. 

Look back to another world renown (and Blizzard made, by the way) e-sport : Starcraft. It's also an individual sport, but it has(had) a team format. And even then, team aspect was really important even in individual leagues. SKT.Boxer and SKT.iloveoov weren't just the most dominant Terran players of their age, they left a legacy, they created a school of thought and play, they made "SK Terran" a thing. A lot of players whom they coached carried on the team flag with their style of play and their accomplishments, even though it was about them and their personal level only. There weren't team-attributed breakthroughs in Hearthstone, none that I can recall firmly.

Magic :The Gathering by it self is not an e-sports product, but operates on the same level, and what most importantly - it's a TCG with 20 years of competition history. Team notion has started to grow in the last years, in the highest levels of competition like World Championship, ProTours and the SCG Tour circuit. I believe they are launching a team league, even. What benefit comes from the teams is that you make yourself recognizable, and - the biggest impact - it's really hard to achieve anything on your own. There is no just "finishing top 10 legend, qualifying, bringing the existing decks, winning on the back of your own experience". You need to pull resources together to solve formats, find powerful decks, practice and don't go broke buying cardboard and traveling all over the world. Hearthstone is less complex, less dynamic. It's easier to "solve" it in that regard. Much like with my Starcraft example, having people to brainstorm with is more important in Magic than Hearthstone.

There is no team acknowledgement. It comes from as simple thing as there is no team tag on players names on Hearthstone tournament HUD. Just look at any team sport : LoL, CS, Dota - team ads are all over, from weapon stickers to in-game flags to what not. Yes, I agree team puts up a better display for the organization than a single player. But what's the trouble with writing Na'Vi. XiXo instead of just XiXo? Instead of being "just" a pro player he will be a pro player wearing his team colors. And money will follow glory. Flash was never just "Flash, The God, The Ultimate Weapon". He was KT.Flash, The God, The Ultimate Weapon. His dominance gave the whole KT Rolster organization a chance to keep its face when other players were in a phase of slump.

And finally, the game of Hearthstone itself is flawed regarding competition. Just look at the most recent events - HCT America Summer. People who advanced through Prelims are not team players, are not known streamers, personalities and memers. Yes, it's cool anyone can "get in", and these guys are good players - but this in no way benefits e-sports organizations. Your best runner can just get rekt by RNG or something, and it won't matter if he is the best player in the world. 

I think we should attribute the problems of Hearthstone to the fact game and scene are still pretty young. But if Blizzard don't realize these issues and try to address them, it's going to be a death sentence for "big e-sports" aspect of the game. They try to advance the game in both directions - competition and "fun", and these two seldom get along.

Edited by Paracel
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I would argue that your last sentence is much more due to the average HS player's mentality than to blizzard's lack of judgement. There have always been RNG cards suitable for people who want to go to casual and have some fun and laughs, and had no impact whatsoever in the game at the competitive level(mindgames, mad bomber, mind vision, etc) and people seldom bothered to do so. Why? Because people can't stand losing, and want to feel like they are being successful in the game, but at the same time don't want to use the smallest amount of effort towards figuring out how to play decks, or the meta. Hence why things like secret paladin and dragon warrior have always been the most popular decks on ladder, even when they stopped being the objectively better decks.

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19 minutes ago, JooBatanete said:

I would argue that your last sentence is much more due to the average HS player's mentality than to blizzard's lack of judgement. There have always been RNG cards suitable for people who want to go to casual and have some fun and laughs, and had no impact whatsoever in the game at the competitive level(mindgames, mad bomber, mind vision, etc) and people seldom bothered to do so.

Why? Because people can't stand losing, and want to feel like they are being successful in the game, but at the same time don't want to use the smallest amount of effort towards figuring out how to play decks, or the meta. Hence why things like secret paladin and dragon warrior have always been the most popular decks on ladder, even when they stopped being the objectively better decks.

Now we have Yogg-Saron, Hope's End on top of the world. And Barnes. These cards and random to the point of unfair and it's in their duty to decide the outcomes of high-stakes games. This is a major problem.

Also, I'm sorry, but I'm not exactly sure to which exactly sentence of mine do you refer;

and how does point of

"there are casual RNG cards that competitive players don't touch"

connects to 

"people don't like losing and they want to win" plus "people don't want to put effort into figuring out"

and 

"a lot of people pick Secret Paladin and Dragon Warrior for ladder because they are powerful linear decks"

because RNG point has nothing to do with linear decks, and, you know, you can't force people to be all super-smart combo-control nerds, and playing linear decks still takes a great deal of skill.

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42 minutes ago, Paracel said:

Now we have Yogg-Saron, Hope's End on top of the world. And Barnes. These cards and random to the point of unfair and it's in their duty to decide the outcomes of high-stakes games. This is a major problem.

Also, I'm sorry, but I'm not exactly sure to which exactly sentence of mine do you refer;

and how does point of

"there are casual RNG cards that competitive players don't touch"

connects to 

"people don't like losing and they want to win" plus "people don't want to put effort into figuring out"

and 

"a lot of people pick Secret Paladin and Dragon Warrior for ladder because they are powerful linear decks"

because RNG point has nothing to do with linear decks, and, you know, you can't force people to be all super-smart combo-control nerds, and playing linear decks still takes a great deal of skill.

Playing linear decks does not take a great deal of skill at all. I know people that have never gotten past rank 10 with anything until they picked up secret paladin and got to legend within a week of gameplay(and yes, I'm dead serious). I myself piloted secret paladin once to legend in my easiest legend run so far, and haven't touched the deck since then due to how boring I felt HS was. Dragon warrior is just as bad in the complexity department, except it's slightly worse in terms of sheer power level.

You can claim RNG based decks(tempo mage being probably the biggest offender) end up being more linear to play as well, as even if they have a higher skill cap, your success with them still relies more on getting high rolls than actually playing well. And when RNG gets to that point, the odds of winning go dangerously close to the 50% mark, which means games are being decided by a coin flip instead of player input. You know, similarly to how dragon warrior wins games if they draw turn 2 fiery war axe/alex champion, turn 3 frothing/ghoul, etc and loses miserably when they don't.

Even if there is no relation to be made between both types of deck, I would argue neither is exactly healthy for the game in a competitive setting, as if a deck has a very low difference between the skill cap and ceiling it still doesn't allow good players to stand out from the pack. I suggest you try watching a rank 10 play freeze mage(or rather, try to) or any similar deck and then compare him to a pro, and then do the same with dragon warrior. 

Edited by JooBatanete

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Point taken. I can't agree with it, though, because I don't believe in the equity between "linear" and "no skill". My experience taught me the hard way that there is nothing simple even when it looks like simple.

As for competitive environment, it's better when they just point arrows at faces rather than roll dice. Makes it more fair. But hey, better lucky then good! 

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7 hours ago, JooBatanete said:

I think the main problem is that HS is becoming less and less a reliable source of income for competitive players/teams. And I do believe Blizzard is to blame for facilitating this.

It also seems the format of money in Hearthstone is just so different to, for example, CS:GO or LoL.

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8 hours ago, Blainie said:

It also seems the format of money in Hearthstone is just so different to, for example, CS:GO or LoL.

For starters, to some extent the format needs to be.

The game has RNG and is a card game, thus all wins don't equal winning due to better skill and timing, but rather, the season/duration of a meta win rate separates the tiers of players.

At any point in CS:GO or LoL or DOTA you can pinpoint "okay this is the best team now" based on what has happened very recently.

However, some of the format is different for the wrong reasons. some of the format is just weird. The HCS streams also don't list the sponsors of players (ie: TSM, CLG, etc) is really perplexing. Honestly, I think it has a huge effect on these loss of sponsored players.

Secondly in regards to weirdness with the format, these are individuals, not teams. The players should be viewed as individuals in fighting games, such as Street Fighter and Smash Bros, rather than like actual teams in the 3 most prominent esports (CS:GO, LoL, DOTA 2). Too often organizations present players as a group rather than individuals who just happen to fall under the same team banner. Compare how Evil Geniuses presents its DOTA 2 team and Street Fighter players, and it is very different. That is how the difference should be more like from esports organizations.

Edited by Johnknight1

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1 hour ago, Johnknight1 said:

That is how the difference should be more like from esports organizations.

I agree on everything you've said, it definitely feels like the organisations have almost underestimated just how different it is and just how much they do need to change for it to work. They went in expecting to do X, invested money and then found out it works like Y. 

It's a shame, honestly. I guess they're just trying to cut their losses now.

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Why do I have the feeling Blainie is directly ignoring me? I nail the same thing and that sun of a gun doesn't even bat an eye. Did I went too off the topic?

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40 minutes ago, Paracel said:

Why do I have the feeling Blainie is directly ignoring me? I nail the same thing and that sun of a gun doesn't even bat an eye. Did I went too off the topic?

Didn't see your post, I was barely on the forums yesterday because I was working/preparing for the stream. Sorry!

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