Blizzard is kicking off the year for Hearthstone with a new patch that brings a number of welcome changes.
Unlike the last patch, players don’t need to worry about logging on and an entire class being unplayable. This patch doesn’t bring card changes, but it does bring with it a few Arena and Rumble Run tweaks that players will be pleased with.
If you were playing Hunter, Rogue, or Warrior in Arena last month, then you were playing with an unfair advantage according to Blizzard. The Hearthstone team has decided to adjust the appearance rate of each individual card available in Arena. The reason for this is to ensure the overall win-rate of each class remains as close as possible to 50 percent.
Hunter, Rogue, and Warrior have had the average quality of their Arena picks lowered. Druid, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, and Warlock have all had the average quality of their Arena picks raised. So if you were playing Arena recently and you feel like you were getting unfairly smashed by Hunter, Rogue, and Warrior decks, you probably were. Luckily, these changes sound like they should provide a quick dose of balance to the Arena.
This patch also sees Blizzard balance single player Hearthstone content after release for the first time since Knights of the Frozen Throne. Developers claim that based on the way players have approached Rumble Run (the Rastakhan’s Rumble solo mode) they see significant room for improvement in reference to the mode’s mechanics.
Blizzard has increased the possibility of synergistic cards for your shrine appearing more often. Developers say the primary goal with Rumble Run was to allow players to have fun with all nine troll champions. They wanted it to feel like a fighting game in a sense, meaning you could pick any character you wanted and jump in with a decent shot. Naturally though, some Shrines ended up being stronger than others. Blizzard hopes that by adjusting the card bucket offerings for decks and re-adding bonus buckets the less powerful Shrines will stand a better chance at victory.
The development team have also adjusted some of the mechanics regarding boss decks in Rumble Run. They explained that one of the design goals with Rumble Run was to provide huge, overpowered combat. Balancing such a design goal is difficult, and Blizzard says it resulted in moments where the AI could pull off overwhelming combos that leave the player feeling helpless.
As a fix, the team have pruned some of the power from the boss decks so that your Rumble Runs will play out more moderately. They made the changes based on data they have about which bosses have the highest body count, so don’t expect the easy bosses to feel much different.
Another Rumble Run change comes in the form of Shrine selection. Blizzard said when making the mode, it wanted to encourage players to try different shrines and to experiment with stuff it usually wouldn’t. This resulted in the team adding the random Shrine drafting that is currently in place for Rumble Run.
Sometimes, with the random Shrine drafting, players can miss the opportunity to master a Shrine they really wanted to win with. As a remedy, Blizzard has made it so that when you lose with a Shrine, you are automatically offered the opportunity to select that Shrine again when starting your next Rumble Run.
All things considered, it seems like the year is off to a good start for Hearthstone. While many players probably would have liked some Hunter card changes with this patch, it looks like Hunter will remain at the top of the mountain until April.