Hello HeroPower Listeners and Viewers!
I wanted to chime in on the shake up to Hearthstone that is coming up, but it is going to be from a fairly strange perspective. So before I start with my thoughts, some background into my recent state of living. As some of you may know, I recently suffered an “event” that we believe to be a seizure. I don’t know the details because as a result of the event, I have lost most of the use of my left hand (making typing this up a bear) and my short-term memory has been greatly effected. How effected? I remember what has occurred in my life anywhere from 12-36 hours prior to now. I remember a little before my event but between, say Jan 19th- yesterday afternoon, nada, zip, zilch. I have begun taking notes to help me, but it is hard to string together things. For instance, I bought Li-Ming with gold, evidently got her to lvl 7, but then forgot that I even had her. I played her for the first time that I can remember yesterday. This is all coming to a point I promise. We have a podcast tonight, Feb. 10th, and I learned that Hearthstone is moving to 2 formats last night, again. I know it is again because I re-watched our podcast from last week, but I don’t know how many “agains” it has been. It’s funny, because my reaction last night is about the same as my reaction in the podcast last week.
Don’t. Freak. Out.
It will be interesting as we hopefully figure out my memory issues how many more times I will find out that Hearthstone will be moving into 2 formats for the “First Time”. Regardless of the number, I will bet my reaction will be the same, that this is a good move.
Obviously people are upset, but people don’t like change in general, so this doesn’t surprise me in the least. I encourage people to watch our episode from last week, as I feel that we brought up some very good points. A few though that I wanted to bring up.
First – More variety.
I feel like the #4, 5, and seven slots were take up with just a few cards. #4 slot – Piloted Shredder every time. Lemme say that again, every time. #5 slot at least had a little variety, but only a little, here it was Sludge Belcher (my pick), Loatheb (also my pick a lot), and Antique Healbot. Last, but not least, Dr. Boom in #7. If you didn’t, you were just missing out. Think of all the new cards that came out that just didn’t have a chance to affect the meta at all because, well, they weren’t these cards. As much as I will miss my Belcher, overall I am glad to see these cards go.
Second – Removing some of the difficulty in altering a stale meta.
Don’t even argue with me, this meta is STALE. I said on the last podcast that all I played against that day was aggro. I tried playing the deck we are using on the show tonight this morning, in casual (my ranked has taken a hit it seems since my event) and even there it was aggro deck after aggro deck. I cheered out loud, scaring the cat in the process, when I came up against a freeze mage. Removing GvG alone removes a lot of the cards that is making this meta stale. You could argue that it is because TGT isn’t as good, but has it had a chance to be? GvG has been a driving force in an aggro meta for some time. It becomes hard for the designers to then create new sets because of having to compete with older cards and consider synergies with those cards. This is how power creep becomes a problem. This will allow for better sets to be created and be more creative.
Third – Long Term Growth.
This is essential in any venture in which you want to have sustained interest from the public. It is already hard to start as a new player in Hearthstone. If you don’t spend a ton of money on the front end, it will take literally months before you have grown your collection to be competitive on the ladder outside of building a face hunter deck. During that time, after being taunted and BM’d by people while trying to learn, there is a better chance of a new player becoming frustrated and just quit rather than continue to push on and improve at a slow rate. So go to Casual you say. I say, wrong. There is very little difference in Casual and Ladder, and I would say that it is partially due to the stale meta game.
Last – Magic:The Gathering made this move early in it’s life and it is the only surviving CCG of it’s time.
I think that should speak loads about why this move needed to happen. Other CCGs didn’t and they aren’t here to have the discussion. As a player, it is easy to just get caught up in what we want in the game, and not what the game needs to survive. We have to adapt to what the game needs or, as so many other CCG players have found out over the years, the game you wanted just won’t be there to play because it didn’t get what it needed to survive.
ManaLIght has already dropped it’s HearthStone team to focus on it’s LoL team, and that is not something you want to see as you are trying to create a thriving eSport. The environment needs something to revitalize the player base, as well as, encourage and retain new players to participate, to aspire to be pros so that you have a field to choose from as players retire or move to other games. This move also forces Blizzard to make certain this next expansion is a success and delivered in a timely manner. This is a position they are not used to being in and I think if they want to make HearthStone a legitimate eSports contender, it needs to have a healthy player base, a strong and ever-evolving meta that rewards creative deck building, and a Blizzard team that must deliver great content AND deliver it on a timetable.