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Ben Brode on the Fiery War Axe Nerf

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Members of the community were upset at how the Fiery War Axe nerf was phrased and explained in the official blog post. Ben Brode wanted to clarify that "they don't think players are stupid" and tried to justify why a 2-mana 2/2 Fiery War Axe isn't a good change.

After the announcement of the upcoming balance changes, the community has been vividly discussing about them. Ben Brode already gave some explanations on Reddit this week and earlier today he returned to provide some answers on the hot topic of the Fiery War Axe nerf.

People felt their intelligence was insulted from the phrasing of the developers' notes on the Fiery War Axe change. The phrase that seems to have caused the outrage is the following:

Blizzard LogoBlizzard Entertainment

The other option we considered for Fiery War Axe was to lower its attack to 2, but that change didn’t feel intuitive enough. Generally, changing the mana cost of a card is less disruptive, because you can always see the mana cost of cards in your hand. (source)

Ben Brode gave a comment to VentureBeat clarifying that all of the affected cards were nerfed for power level reasons. The team doesn't think Hearthstone players are stupid; in fact, they are perfectly capable of memorising the entire set of cards. A change to mana cost is less disruptive simply because of the fact that it's not castable or highlighted green anymore. Here is his full statement:

Blizzard LogoBen Brode

+ Show

I always love to read discussion about Hearthstone, and there’s been a lot of healthy back and forth about the pros and cons of this particular change and the timing of it.
 
However, some of what I read in the community response seems to be a core misunderstanding that we are nerfing cards because we think players are confused by them (and therefore we think players are stupid). I want to be super-clear — these cards are being nerfed for power level reasons, or because we are curating the set of evergreen cards to help Standard feel fresh and more fun with our yearly standard rotation. The language about certain changes being more disruptive than others was related to why we decided to make one change over another, once we’d already decided to make a change.

We absolutely don’t think players are stupid.

I, like a lot of players, have memorized every Hearthstone card. If I show you a picture of Arcanite Reaper, I bet you don’t have to read the card to know that it’s a 5/2 weapon. Art becomes a shortcut to game mechanics.  When we change the underlying game mechanics without changing the art, players who don’t read their cards every time they play a game won’t notice that one of the words on the cards has changed.

I want to make this clear — we don’t think players are too stupid to read their cards. We think players have the capacity to memorize thousands of cards’ text and recognize them by art alone. Nobody double-checks Arcanite Reaper to make sure it’s still a 5/2 weapon each time they cast it. That’s nuts. That’s why it’s less disruptive to change mana cost than Attack, Health, or card text. The card is literally not castable or highlighted green any more, and that makes it obvious that a change has been made to players who have every card memorized.

The discussion continued onto Reddit, where the Game Director repeated more or less the same arguments. A mana cost nerf to a card is just easier, simpler and less disruptive. Even if you have memorised the previous version of the card, the green highlight (or its absence) is the indicating factor of when you can play that card.

Blizzard Logobbrode

I think he's effectively saying "all other things equal, it's preferential to change mana costs rather than anything else". If there are two changes proposed to a card that have near-identical consequences on gameplay, change the mana cost.

That is the case. Sometimes we don't have choices that are very equal, but if you have a couple options that would all be reasonable changes, we tend to prefer to change the mana cost, for players that have memorized the card already. (Source)

 


 

I'm going to be pulling my hair out when I (having memorized all of the cards) try to play my 2 mana 3/2 Fiery War Axe on turn 2. Certainly my 2 mana 3/2 Fiery War Axe will be playable on turn 2 after the next patch, that's how the card is. If they change anything about it, how will I know? I will only ever remember a 2 mana 3/2 Fiery War Axe when I look at the art.

The green highlight makes this less of an issue.

Keep in mind, this is just a minor upside when comparing two potential changes to Fiery War Axe. (Source)

Someone mentioned the Warsong Commander card text change/nerf as an example of inconsistency from Blizzard. Ben admitted that the team learns over time and they adapt accordingly.

Blizzard Logobbrode

Why was Warsong Commander's nerf defended by saying her mana cost was intimately tied to the 'soul of the card'? Blizzard; consistently inconsistent.

Or we learn over time. Is it better to be consistent if you're wrong? (Source)

This led to the topic of whether cards (and card changes) should be intuitive or not and how useful is for a player to learn from his or her mistakes. Blizzard wants to keep things intuitive, but their main concern is balance and they will make unintuitive changes if they have to.

Blizzard Logobbrode

I don't mind if players make mistakes and learn from them.

Making things intuitive is part of good design, though. We could make things very unintuitive so that every thing you do fails on it's first try - there's actual games built around that, but it's generally better to make things intuitive when possible. The game is fun when you're learning about the strategy options and learning from them, not necessarily being surprised by things working differently than you previously memorized. (Source)

 


 

[...]even though I think it's nice if things are intuitive when we change a card, the major concern is ongoing balance. We obviously have made unintuitive changes to cards and will continue to do so if it's the right change for the game. The 'intuitve' remark was a minor point when deciding between a couple reasonable options, not the reason for the change. I posted a bit more about it here. (Source)

Lastly, as to why the team didn't choose to change the weapon to a 2-mana 2/2, they thought that this kind of nerf would have the same impact as the increased mana cost. Therefore - going back to Ben's previous statements on keeping things intuitive - the mana cost change was preferred. The aim was to reduce the power level of the card without making a complicated change, even if a lot of people found the change unimaginative. Ben thinks the card wasn't killed completely since 3-mana 3/2 weapons have been seeing play.

Blizzard Logobbrode

If we thought 2/2 weapon was a better change we would have done it. We thought (3) 3/2 and (2) 2/2 were about the same at reaching our goal of nerfing the weapon, and in that world, it's slightly better to not annoy players who memorized the card. (Source)

 


 

That message [the one showing card changes at the start screen] goes away after one patch, but also, sometimes players don't play the cards after we nerf them. They never get a chance to re-memorize something that became automatic from them after hundreds or thousands of times seeing the art and automatically knowing the functionality. I personally got Arcane Golem in a Tavern Brawl and just played the card and tried to attack with it right away. I hadn't played the card in a year, since we nerfed it. I hadn't even thought about the card anymore. Playing the card and attack was muscle-memory to me.

This isn't a phenomenon everyone experiences, but it definitely happens to players who play enough to develop muscle memory.

It also doesn't matter very much either way.

Just going to reiterate - this is still a minor thing. If we felt like (2) 2/2 was going to be more successful at reaching our goals, we would have done it. But in a world where we have several reasonable options, you have to make a decision, and this is a minor point in favor of a change that doesn't mess as much with players who have memorized their cards to that degree.

In some ways, I regret mentioning it the way we did, because it was such a minor decision point when considering those two options. It had nothing to do with why we changed the card in the first place. (Source)

 


 

I don't think everyone believes all of those things, and that was what I was trying to clear up here.

I do think that specific feedback is reasonable. I don't think we completely killed the card, though. People have played (3) 3/2 weapons in decks where the upside goes totally unused, and I suspect that might be true of Fiery War Axe as well.

If you had changed the text on FWA (can only attack minions, for example) and made the card MORE complicated and MORE disruptive, THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER.

There is a difference between complexity and strategic depth. Complexity is the homework you must do before you understand something. Depth is fun. Depth is choices and strategy and out-thinking your opponent. You can get more depth by adding complexity, sometimes. But what matters is the ratio of complexity to depth.

It is more important that you keep cards playable than to keep cards simple.

Those are not mutually exclusive, but in this case the goal was to reduce the power level of the card. Too many basic and classic cards are showing up in decks right now to allow Standard to change enough each year. (Source)

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A lot of blah blah damn how can someone talk so much and say nothing or just the same again and again ? :D

I still think a good solution would have been to give the Axe a small bonus in return for the increased mana cost like a Battlecry with a small but for warrior useful effect. I have no idea why they did not consider that.

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One of the developers stomping a meme that mocks them out of spite is absolutely glorious. More devs need to stomp out the bull like that.

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In arguing that the change was only because Blizz assumes players to be stupid, a remarkable number of players proved themselves to be just so. 

It's a shame that War Axe is the worst of the 3-mana 3/2 weapons, but too many people are being hung up on the mana-cost versus weapon-attack decision, simply because of one sentence that Brode obviously only communicated in an effort to make reasons for the nerf more clear. I'm sure there are a number of other reasons for making War Axe a 3 mana 3/2 instead of a 2 mana 2/2, but the more drama-guzzling among the community (i.e., basically fucking everyone) tend to jump on things and assume the worst. 

Whatever. 

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I did not assume the worst. I just wished they had a better way to change it (as I said add something for the increased mana cost) ... Yea yea he said they don't want to change the functionality of a card because players get used to the pictures but if he truly believes player will not see the big in-game popup that shows card changes or not being able to notice during a game "oh this card changed" then he thinks the worst of the players (us). What about the players looking at the picture playing an Innervate and then say "oh damn I didn't know it gives only 1 mana". this and murloc warleader have their functionality changed and it seems ok.

I still agree that they had to nerf the Axe, there is no deck without it and it's always (or most of the time) helping the warrior extremely well. But a dull increase in mana, making it worse than similar weapons is just a way to remove another basic card from standard decks and hide it behind a ton of words.

Edited by Caldyrvan

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I still think that "can't attack enemy hero" would have been a better nerf. I'm a wild player, so for me FWA have ceased to exists because there is a warrior weapon better then vanilla (3) 3/2; and I don't like this type of nerf. Warrior is a warrior, should have a cheap weapon, cheaper then similar weapon in other classes.

The only think I hope is that they don't make an epic 2 mana weapon in next set... If they do it in other rarities it would be nice.

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20 minutes ago, Synesthesy said:

The only think I hope is that they don't make an epic 2 mana weapon in next set... If they do it in other rarities it would be nice.

 

I am curious if they'll do such a thing.

Remove a standard card and replace it with an expensive one. I wouldn't put it beyond Blizzard to do exactly that (I get a feeling in the last month that Blizzard actually tries to make decks more expensive. That "making it more expensive" is part of the design and the thoughtprocess. Just a feeling, I don't claim it to be true, it is just a little nagging in the back of my head.) But I still don't think they will do that. That would be too much, too greedy.

Time will tell - sooner or later, time will tell. (Quiz: Which game is this quote from?)

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I don't really get why it'd be so bad for a few players not to notice the change and attack once thinking it's a 3/2 rather than 2/2. It might even not lose them that game, and it'd only be one game because after all, players are not stupid.

I think the 2/2 change would've been better. From a wild perspective, at least then there'd be a reason to play it over Defender. From a pirate warrior perspective, the deck doesn't want another three drop and wants an early weapon so 2/2 for 2 is vastly superior to 3/2 for 3. Not sure which control warrior would prefer, probably meta dependent.

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The weapon was fine for 4 years. It wasn't OP, just a very good card.

Now, instead of nerfing pirates, they decided to nerf another classic card into the ground.

Has anyone ever used King's Defender? Well, Fiery War Axe is now much worse.

I also find it pretty funny that rogue now has a more versatile 3 mana 3/2 weapon (hero ability + Deadly Poison). On the same note, rogue now also has a more versatile innervate (Counterfeit Coin) since the class, unlike druid, has combo synergy.

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Has anyone ever used King's Defender? Well, Fiery War Axe is now much worse.

They're not the same because FWA is a basic card.  King's Defender is a non-standard rare.  So, they're available in different realms to different players.  Brode made the point that (cards like) Eaglehorn Bow see play even in decks without Secrets.  So, a vanilla 3/2 weapon for 3 mana is not necessarily useless.

 

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rogue ..., unlike druid, has combo synergy.

Uhm ... Druid has combo synergy, though.  Malygos Druid has been around for a while.

 

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all what I got, it's that we players are stupid

Forgive me but logically you really are stupid if that's all you got from what he said.  He said that he recognized that players can memorize 1189 different cards.  How does that equate to saying that you're stupid?

 

Quote

a good solution would have been to give the Axe a small bonus in return for the increased mana cost like a Battlecry with a small but for warrior useful effect. I have no idea why they did not consider that.

Why they didn't consider something you haven't properly defined?  Sorry, but a "small but for warrior useful effect" isn't something worth considering, because it's not an idea.  It's just asking for magical thinking.  I think they should replace the game with a game that's the same but better because it's got better things in it.  Why don't they consider that?  Why, Ben, why?

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13 minutes ago, mimech said:

They're not the same because FWA is a basic card.  King's Defender is a non-standard rare.  So, they're available in different realms to different players.  Brode made the point that (cards like) Eaglehorn Bow see play even in decks without Secrets.  So, a vanilla 3/2 weapon for 3 mana is not necessarily useless.

 

Uhm ... Druid has combo synergy, though.  Malygos Druid has been around for a while.

 

Forgive me but logically you really are stupid if that's all you got from what he said.  He said that he recognized that players can memorize 1189 different cards.  How does that equate to saying that you're stupid?

 

Why they didn't consider something you haven't properly defined?  Sorry, but a "small but for warrior useful effect" isn't something worth considering, because it's not an idea.  It's just asking for magical thinking.  I think they should replace the game with a game that's the same but better because it's got better things in it.  Why don't they consider that?  Why, Ben, why?

This entire post is quite a toxic response... Eaglehorn sees play because rushing 6 damage is all you care about in several hunter decks. That doesn't mean it is working as intended just because it gets used without secrets, it also is used in completely different archetypes because it is a different class.

Druid's combo synergy was reliant on creating new mana crystals or reducing cost, something that innervate nerf will impact greatly. It means you can't do this method outside of wild without new cards.

Also, it's not our job to consider the additional power factors, but it is ours as players to evaluate the changes they make, and this change ruins a card. 

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28 minutes ago, mimech said:

Why they didn't consider something you haven't properly defined?  Sorry, but a "small but for warrior useful effect" isn't something worth considering, because it's not an idea.  It's just asking for magical thinking.  I think they should replace the game with a game that's the same but better because it's got better things in it.  Why don't they consider that?  Why, Ben, why?

That's a lot of sarcasm, why?

I don't need to define something properly, I am not a dev and not even someone talking to them. I just wanted to say there are better options (in my opinion). There is no need to kill my brain to come up with an idea blizz will near hear or care about.

Edited by Caldyrvan

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19 minutes ago, mimech said:

They're not the same because FWA is a basic card.  King's Defender is a non-standard rare.  So, they're available in different realms to different players.  Brode made the point that (cards like) Eaglehorn Bow see play even in decks without Secrets.  So, a vanilla 3/2 weapon for 3 mana is not necessarily useless.

Look at the state of hunter in the last few expansions though. Hunter would definitely play better cards, if he had any.

20 minutes ago, mimech said:

Uhm ... Druid has combo synergy, though.  Malygos Druid has been around for a while.

I believe they were referring to the Combo effect, as can be seen on cards like SI:7 Agent or Perdition's Blade.

23 minutes ago, mimech said:

Forgive me but logically you really are stupid if that's all you got from what he said.  He said that he recognized that players can memorize 1189 different cards.  How does that equate to saying that you're stupid?

But at the same time, he is implying that players are too stupid to relearn a single card change.

26 minutes ago, mimech said:

Why they didn't consider something you haven't properly defined?  Sorry, but a "small but for warrior useful effect" isn't something worth considering, because it's not an idea.  It's just asking for magical thinking.  I think they should replace the game with a game that's the same but better because it's got better things in it.  Why don't they consider that?  Why, Ben, why?

I don't see anything wrong with that. Just because they did not provide an example doesn't make it a bad idea by default. No need to be so hostile. What about "Battlecry: Gain 1 Armor." Happy now? 

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2 minutes ago, positiv2 said:

What about "Battlecry: Gain 1 Armor." Happy now? 

In another post I made exactly this example just with 2 Armor, or deal 1 damage. :D 

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What about "Battlecry: Gain 1 Armor." Happy now? 

Yes - much happier!  I didn't think his idea was bad - because he didn't actually present an idea.  You did: so at least we can discuss it's merits.  I can't discuss the merits of "something better" or "something", because it's meaningless.  I don't consider my pointing out a meaningless suggestion to be hostile.  It's just logical.

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But at the same time, he is implying that players are too stupid to relearn a single card change.

No, he said that re-learning cards is more difficult than noticing a mana change.  He presented the mana change as the lesser of two evils.  That's very different than implying stupidity.

Edited by mimech

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1 minute ago, mimech said:

No, he said that re-learning cards is more difficult than noticing a mana change.  He presented the mana change as the lesser of two evils.  That's very different than implying stupidity.

He keeps talking about complexity being a bad thing, even though we are talking about Pot-of-Greed level of complexity. Also, just because it is more difficult, it doesn't necessarily mean it's hard. Both relearning the card from the text/stats point of view, and relearning it from curve point of view (curvestone, after all) should be fairly easy for everyone. But hey, if the card is dead, no one has to relearn anything. 

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37 minutes ago, mimech said:

No, he said that re-learning cards is more difficult than noticing a mana change.  He presented the mana change as the lesser of two evils.  That's very different than implying stupidity.

I am sorry, but if the thinks that it is very difficult for me to remember that my weapon has now 2/2 instead of 3/2 then he can't think I am very bright, can he?

And strangly the same line of thought doesn't seem to be true for Murloc Warleader or the nerf on several cards later on. Knife Juggler e.g. has been nerfed from 3/2 to 2/2.

The claim: "That would be too difficult for players" is a complete joke and in fact it is quite insulting.

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The claim: "That would be too difficult for players" is a complete joke and in fact it is quite insulting.

I searched for the phrase "That would be too difficult for players" on this page and it isn't here.  If you got it from somewhere else, please provide a link.  If it's just your words, then it's only you that's saying it.

Nobody else said it would be "very difficult ... to remember [the] weapon has now 2/2 instead of 3/2".  That was just you again.  The game designer said that given a choice between a mana cost change and a card text change, the mana cost change was easier because it's apparent without doing any reading at all.  That's not the same as saying you can't remember new information.

The same logic wasn't used on Murloc Warleader because they judge each case on its merits, rather than having a one rule fits all situations approach.  

Really, if you'd read what the game designer said, you'd know all that.

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Hi @mimech . It's good to see you again.

It doesn't take someone to have studied language (like I have done, for example) to understand that they could have communicated the change better. I will repeat the quote from their explanation in their official announcement:

Quote

The other option we considered for Fiery War Axe was to lower its attack to 2, but that change didn’t feel intuitive enough. Generally, changing the mana cost of a card is less disruptive, because you can always see the mana cost of cards in your hand.

Now, they aren't saying that they think players are stupid. However, it's preposterous that they have included these two lines as their main reasoning in their official announcement. That's why Ben had to go through all this trouble on Reddit to fix the PR disaster that these phrases caused.

Sure, the community blew these words away out of proportion, but the fact remains that they still chose these slightly unfortunate lines in their official statement. It's like me owning a lingerie store and putting the grandma undergarments in the front row of my shop window.

They could have said numerous things that would have made a better impression. They could have written what Brode said about keeping things simple and intuitive. They could have even said "look, we were bored and couldn't be bothered thinking of something better" and people would have appreciated the honesty. 

The issue in this discussion isn't so much whether the Fiery War Axe makes sense.* It's how Blizzard tried to make sense of it and explain it to the plaeyrs.

PS/Asterisk: I do, however, find Ben Brode's lack of real answer to the Redditor, who challenged him by saying "a more complicated more disruptive change to FWA would have been better", troubling.

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Small picture: These kinds of changes to classic cards are painful to me.

Big Picture: I suppose there is good and bad from moving away from Classic.

Classic cards provide identity for classes, continuity for players who return after a break.  They should be "safe cards" for a new player to collect (they won't get phased out.. at least that is what we all thought),  but if "too many" classic cards are in the meta, that probably means the new expansion wasn't very exciting or fun.

So the big question I guess is: IDEALLY what percentage of our decks should be classic?

And the follow up questions might be: Where are we right now? And is Bliz going the right direction?

Just "going with my gut" I don't think we need fewer classic cards in play.  And I think Bliz is maybe pushing a bit too hard on the variety thing.  A lack of variety is bad, but variety can only go so far.  Increasing the number of choices you have, and the number of things you might be facing is interesting at first, but at some point you mentally just go "well I can be facing anything, so nothing really matters".   Just because a card is played in every deck for a class, isn't automatically bad either, but that is another (long) topic.

Edited by HugeHoss
typo

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7 hours ago, HugeHoss said:

So the big question I guess is: IDEALLY what percentage of our decks should be classic?

Another question with this is, can decks maintain variety and not feel the same with more than a certain percentage of classic cards in them? Does have 40% classics in every deck just make them feel the same?

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      The Forged in the Barrens Tavern Pass will expire with the launch of United in Stormwind and a new Tavern Pass will be made available for purchase—offering a host of brand-new cosmetic rewards and XP boosts.

      Learn more about the United in Stormwind Rewards Track and Tavern Pass here.
      As a reminder, Battlegrounds Perks are now available as a standalone purchase, separate from the Tavern Pass.
      New Cosmetic Coins
      Two new Cosmetic Coins are being added with United in Stormwind, the Stormwind coin and the Lordaeron coin. The Stormwind coin is obtainable by completing the first 90 levels of the Rewards Track with the Tavern Pass. The Lordaeron coin is obtainable by collecting 135 unique United in Stormwind cards.

      Keep in mind that United in Stormwind will have a 35-card Mini-Set that will make it easier to reach both the 25 total United in Stormwind Legendary cards for the Archbishop Benedictus Diamond card reward and the 135 total United in Stormwind cards for the Lordaeron Cosmetic Coin. We’ll have more information to share about the United in Stormwind Mini-Set in the coming months.
      Bug Fixes & Game Improvements
      Fixed a bug where Shenanigans would not transform Soul Fragments into Bananas. Fixed a bug where Wicked Stab could be upgraded by cards that temporarily increase mana. Fixed a bug where Shan’do Wildclaw would not lay flat on the board. Fixed a bug where Defender would not play its VO when summoned by Noble Sacrifice. Fixed a bug where golden Soul of the Forest would not summon golden Treants. Fixed a bug where golden Ancestral Spirit would not summon a golden minion. Fixed a bug where golden Grave Rune would not summon golden minions. Fixed a bug where golden Primal Talisman would not summon golden minions. Fixed a Battlegrounds bug where Y’shaarj’s Battlegrounds Hero Power would not take its newly summoned minion into account when deciding which warband attacked first. Fixed a Battlegrounds bug where Baron Rivendare was causing visual issues when in a warband with golden Kaboom Bot. Fixed a Battlegrounds bug where Galakrond’s Greed was missing a tooltip for Discover. Fixed a Battlegrounds bug where Come One, Come All! Was missing a tooltip for Discover. Fixed a Battlegrounds bug where Avatar of N’Zoth was missing a tooltip for Deathrattle. Fixed a Battlegrounds bug where Sprout It Out! Was missing a tooltip for Taunt. Fixed a Battlegrounds bug where Hero Powers for Aranna Starseeker, Infinite Toki, Millhouse Manastorm, Nozdormu, and Tess Greymane were missing a tooltip for Refresh. Fixed a Duels bug where Diamond cards would only be Diamond in appearance for the first game of a run. Fixed a Duels bug where Lone Champion and minions summoned by Gift of Luminance were not buffed by Hold the Line. Updated the description of the Roguish Maneuvers Hero Power in Duels to be more accurate. Fixed a bug with Book of Mercenaries Guff where A Party of Adventurers will cast Against All Odds, even if they have board control. Fixed a bug where one of Lady Katrana Prestor’s emotes was showing incorrect text. Searching “Refund” in the Collection will now populate with cards eligible for a dust refund. Pressing and holding on the Rewards Track page arrows will now flip through the pages quickly. Fixed a bug where if a player disconnected from a ranked match, they’d get a message stating they won their last ranked game upon relogging.  


    • By Starym
      Here's a classic WoW history moment that's arriving in Hearthstone, as the United in Stormwind expansion is bringing with it a very familiar weapon, as well as the probably most famous mob type of all time connected directly with it!
      Many players got their start in WoW after watching the South Park "Make Love, Not Warcraft" episode, in which the kids are unable to play the game due to an extremely powerful player and have to grind low-level boars to get to max level - at the end of which Blizzard bring in the Sword of a Thousand Truths to slay that player. And now both the boars and the sword are arriving in Hearthstone, and are connected!

      Source: Chrononi.
      While the above is probably not viable as a competitive deck, it'll definitely get at least a couple of fun ones, and will almost certainly feature in a looot of highlight clips! It's a very well done reference to the episode as well, as the cards interact exactly the way the story progresses (well, it was a bit more than 7 boars but still). You can check out the episode here if you haven't seen it in a while (or ever) as it's definitely worth a rewatch!
    • By Staff
      United in Stormwind is Hearthstone's latest expansion. It contains 135 cards and is now available for pre-purchase.
      (Source)
       
       
         
      ANNOUNCING
      United In Stormwind
      HEARTHSTONE’S NEWEST EXPANSION
      Welcome, adventurer, to Stormwind! This majestic capital city is a testament to all the Alliance stands for. Filled with bustling trade, shiny equipment, epic mounts, and new Questlines, Stormwind is a great place to rest and prepare for the next step in your journey. And prepare you must, as there is hidden danger lurking deep within the castle’s pristine walls. The city cannot and will not fall! Band together with old allies and new friends. Resolute and unyielding we are… United in Stormwind!

      United in Stormwind will launch worldwide on August 3 with 135 new collectible cards! You can find the full schedule for card reveals, and see which cards were announced today, by visiting the card library, here. Check back frequently—the list will be updated with new cards as they’re revealed!
      New Keyword: Tradeable
      Shopkeepers, bakers, and merchants come to Stormwind to peddle their wares while adventurers come to trade away their extra loot. Cards with the new Tradeable keyword can be played like normal, or for the low cost of 1 Mana, swapped with a different card in your deck!
       
      Questlines
      An adventure is only as good as the quests you take along the way. All 10 classes will have access to a Questline that highlights the journey of their class’s Mercenary through Stormwind. Questlines are Legendary spells that start in your hand and have three tiers of progression. Get a reward after you complete each step of the Questline, culminating in a powerful Legendary mercenary minion!
       
       
      Mounts and Profession Tools
      You’ve grown a lot in the Barrens, and it’s time to level up! Pick up a mount to aid you in battle—and even keep fighting after you’re gone! Or maybe you can learn a new skill while you’re in town. Profession tools are weapons that have special effects instead of attack values. Gather the crafting reagents to get an awesome effect!
      Phase 2 Roadmap Update
      United in Stormwind will kick off Phase 2 of the year of the Gryphon. Phase 2 will include major changes to Battlegrounds, including the launch of Battlegrounds cosmetics, a minion type refresh, and regular content updates. We will also continue to bring regular updates to Duels, Tavern Brawls, and Solo Experiences. Finally, Mercenaries will launch during Phase 2 of the Year of the Gyphon! Take a look at the new Roadmap:

      Click to enlarge

      Pre-Purchase United in Stormwind
      The United in Stormwind Mega Bundle includes 80 United in Stormwind card packs, five Golden United in Stormwind card packs, two random United in Stormwind Golden Legendary cards, the Lady Katrana Prestor Mage Alternate Hero, the Lady Katrana Prestor card back, the Ve’nari Alternate Battlegrounds Bartender (Pre-Purchase),* and Battlegrounds Perks**!

      The United in Stormwind Pre-Purchase Bundle includes 60 United in Stormwind packs, two random United in Stormwind Legendary cards, and the Lady Katrana Prestor card back!

      Pre-purchase
       
      *Bartender Ve’nari will also be available for pre-purchase before United in Stormwind goes live as a standalone item and can only be redeemed once per account. Bartender Ve’nari will be usable in-game, in the Battlegrounds game mode, no later than August 31, 2021.
      ** Battlegrounds Perks are available upon purchase and expire at the end of the United in Stormwind expansion cycle.
      Log in and Get Flightmaster Dungar for Free
      Near or far, Flightmaster Dungar can take you wherever you need to go! Log into Hearthstone after the 20.8 patch goes live to receive the Flightmaster Dungar Neutral Legendary minion, for free, available to play immediately! Limited one per account.
      The 20.8 patch launches today and includes a host of Battlegrounds updates and more. Check out the patch notes here for details! Also, check out the upcoming Fire Festival festivities for one last hot hurrah before we leave the Barrens.
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    • By Staff
      Hearthstone's latest expansion is now live and so are our guides! Check out our tier list to see which decks are best!
      Don't forget to also read our Arena Guides and best decks for Classic. Here's Blizzard's official preview of the new Hearthstone expansion.
      (Source)
      It’s time to brave the Barrens! Forged in the Barrens is now live worldwide with 135 new collectible cards, the new Frenzy keyword, Ranked Spells, Legendary Mercenary Minions, and so much more!
      What’s Included: Frenzy 
      Minions with the new Frenzy keyword will trigger a powerful effect the first time they survive damage!
      What’s Included: Ranked Spells
      All 10 classes will have access to an all-new Ranked Spell that will grow in power as your reach 5 and 10 Mana Crystals, regardless of whether it’s in your hand or deck!
      What’s Included: Legendary Mercenaries
      Forged in the Barrens introduces 10 Legendary Mercenary minions, each representing a different class, whose stories will play out throughout the Year of the Gryphon!
      Forged in the Barrens Twitch Drops
      Watch any Hearthstone channel on Twitch between April 2 at 9:00 a.m. PT and April 4 at 8:00 p.m. PT for 2 hours to earn 1 Forged in the Barrens card pack! Watch for 2 more hours and you’ll receive another one! Twitch has updated how drops work on their end, and this is Hearthstone’s first time utilizing Twitch Drops since these changes were put into place. Here is what you need to know:
      You’ll now be able to see your watch time progress towards any given drop. You will no longer receive drop rewards automatically. You must instead claim the drop on the channel you’re watching or in the Drops Inventory menu on Twitch within the first 24 hours of earning it.  You will need to claim your first Twitch Drop reward BEFORE you can earn progress towards a second. Twitch users can now earn rewards before linking their Battle.net account to Twitch. Rewards will expire 7 days after they’ve been claimed if a Battle.net account has not been linked. After you’ve claimed a reward on Twitch, please make sure you’re logging into the region you’d like to receive the drop(s) on, as the first region you log into will be where we deliver your packs. It can take up to ~30 minutes to receive your reward(s) in game after claiming. You must link your Twitch and Battle.net accounts before you can receive a drop.
      Link Your Battle.net & Twitch Accounts
      You'll need to link your Twitch.tv and Battle.net accounts to receive Twitch Drops. Here's how:
      Log in or create an account on Twitch.tv. Navigate to the Settings menu by clicking your account name in the top-right corner of the home screen. Navigate to the Connections tab of the Settings menu. Find the Battle.net section, then follow the instructions after selecting a region and clicking Connect. When connecting accounts, be sure that you're currently logged into the Battle.net account on which you'd like to receive your rewards. More Just Around the Corner
      We’ve got expansions, seasonal events, Battlegrounds updates, a new game mode, and so much more planned. On the roadmap below, you can see the massive amount of content we have coming this year! Click to open in a new window. 
      The Core Set and Classic format are also live! Read the 20.0 patch notes to learn more.
    • By Damien
      This thread is for comments about our Deathrattle Demon Hunter Deck.
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