When Blizzard’s MOBA game was first announced, one of the items I wanted to keep an eye on was how well Blizzard would do at balancing the game, because Blizzard is always slow to make changes, and most recently hasn’t been very good at much of anything when they finally DO release something.
Unfortunately HotS is such an abortion I can’t even be bothered to keep up with it on any level, but ‘luckily’ I do keep up with Hearthstone, and can see how well New Blizzard does in balancing that PvP game. Spoiler alert: Not well, not well at all.
First the ‘how often do they balance anything?” question can be answered by this link, showing not only that balance patches don’t come often, but that when they do, they aren’t much of anything anyway.
But beyond the somewhat expected “Blizzard doesn’t do anything quickly” issue, we have this quote from Blizzard I pulled from Az over at In An Age:
“I think we’re going to keep making some crazy cards in every set that are dangerous and hopefully going to work out.”
Another spoiler: It hasn’t worked out. Patron Warrior is an absurdly strong, very easy-to-play deck. It’s also a cheap deck to make (been playing a version myself since the release of the card, before finding out its also a pro-level deck), so perhaps I’ll find the motivation to faceroll myself up the ranks with the refined internet version just to prove that point. Likely spoiler: Won’t happen because my patience with rolling my face across the keyboard is pretty low, especially for no gain other than “SynCaine’s right again”, and that happens so often anyway even I’m growing tired of it.
The biggest problem however isn’t even the strength of that deck (a huge problem), but the fact that in a serious environment where someone cares if they win or lose (which, given how hard Blizzard is trying to push HS as an eSport title, would suggest HS should be considered such a game), having something so strong means other options aren’t viable, which leads to not just a boring pro scene, but a boring game overall.
Imagine if Riot was Blizzard, and left LoL’s champions as brokenly powerful as Patron Warrior in the game; in every pro game you would see that option banned or picked, and if Riot was Blizzard, the pool of viable champions would be a fraction of what it really is today.
The quote above shows a gross misunderstanding of how game balance works in a PvP environment. Players always flock to whats powerful, and they do it so strongly that anyone NOT doing so is simply fodder. Proper balance means not just fixing a broken aspect of your game (Patron Warrior IMO isn’t strong, it’s broken), but also allowing more options for players, and more options means more diversity and a more interesting pro scene. I recently watch (don’t ask why) a few minutes of a HS ‘pro’ broadcast, and deck diversity was a joke. In fact, it was almost as big a joke as the games themselves (insert dice rant here).
As a random, ‘who cares’ game, you can have broken stuff like Patron Warrior exist, because people won’t care enough to win meaningless games and will more focus on finding the fun. But when you push a game as being serious, that changes, and you have to change how you run the game as well. So far, Blizzard is failing horribly in that aspect with HS.
I knew I was handing that to you on a silver platter as soon as I posted it. :P
I think there is something to be said about being bold and experimenting with card designs and so on. Rote card formulas and the like make for boring expansions. My problem is exactly what you described earlier: you can’t have it both ways. You can’t both be bold and unwilling to fix things when you boldly break the game. One of the huge strengths of digital CCGs is precisely how easy it is to fix things, if one has the stomach for it.
The alternative is, as you said, that Blizzard isn’t taking this nearly as serious as they should be, assuming they want a competitive eSport feel. And maybe they don’t. Maybe they’re trying to thread some insane needle where the game generates endless Trolden videos and pulls in mega eSports views at the same time.
We’ll see how it works out in the long-term.
The best way to make your point is to get Legendary, and then no one can dispute your claim that HS is a face roll game. Saying that Syncaine is always right doesn’t make it so. Demonstrating that Sycaine is right works much much better.
Aren’t you like some kind Myth hero back in your heyday? Top of the world and all that? Time to dust off those gaming shoes, come out of retirement, and show these pros how it’s done.
The difference is that Myth is a game of skill, Legendary in HS is a grind, and not an enjoyable one. 100% honestly the only reason I’m even contemplating playing that many games of Patron Warrior is just for the screenshot.
Why are you even playing Hearthstone in the first place, if you don’t enjoy it? Is it some sort of self-hating obsession with Blizzard?
Also, I dare you: try to get to Legend. Here’s the math, if it’s really all coinflips, and only starting from rank 5:
Getting to rank 15 is easy. I can do that just playing ranked for my “win N” dailies.
As I’ve said plenty of times, it’s the 3-4th best time waster option on the iPad/iPhone after CoC, BB, and MPQ, and yes, part of the fun is seeing Blizzard stumble over itself
“The best way to make your point is to get Legendary, and then no one can dispute your claim that HS is a face roll game.”
That is not true.
Pick a game that is widely believed to not be a face roll game–let’s stick with chess. Just because someone reached the rank of #3000 worldwide in chess, does not mean that they can simply claim that chess is a face roll game and “no one” can dispute that claim. Not only could people dispute that claim, but I guarantee you that people *would* dispute it–I know I would and I’m not anywhere near to that rank in chess. There seem to be about 3000 Legend players each month in HS; it’s not particularly difficult but someone who has reached legend has at least seen the varying levels of skill displayed at each rank; while someone who hasn’t reached Legend hasn’t. The whole Legend grind isn’t really necessary, tbh: I mean, if Syn borrowed someone’s account who was at rank 4, and played thirty games from rank 4, he would have at least seen the different level of skill there as compared to the actually faceroll games at rank 15. If he did that , against the rules as it may be, I wouldn’t agree with his claims, but I would least agree that they were based on real and relevant experience.
They’re making lots of cash, though.
Uh, but Blizzard didn´t release specific revenue for Hearthstone as far as i´m aware, so the question is where superdataresearch (which the Polygin article is refering to) get´s is numbers for it´s “report” (hidden behind a 2k paywall).
As long as Blizzard doesn´t say “this is how much we make with Hearthstone”, everything else is pure speculation.
Though i don´t doubt that HS is cost efficient considering the amount of work that goes in….
Don’t believe the clickbait from Superdata, its been shown time and time again to be horribly inaccurate or oftentimes pure fiction.