It’s been a banner year for Hearthstone. With nearly $2 million in prize money awarded in tournaments, three new expansions and a new game mode, Hearthstone and its community have seen huge growth.
But there is still potential for a lot more.
Hearthstone is now a pretty polished game, but there are some new things that could take it to the next level. Developers have hinted of new additions in the coming year, and players at all levels are constantly giving their own suggestions. But here are the five things we would love to see added, changed or taken away in 2016.
Let’s get this one out of the way shall we? Hearthstone now has five expansions as well as the basic set of cards, and with all those different possibilities, players have been clamouring for more than nine slots for decks in their collection. Blizzard have been telling the community that a solution was coming for a whole year now, even at one point floating the idea of making them a paid for feature, but as we head into 2016 no progress has been made. This one really feels like an absolute necessity heading into the new year.
More content like League of Explorers
Credit has to be given where it’s due—League of Explorers was the most successful Hearthstone expansion to date. All of the legendaries are seeing play, with three of them having already been played in major tournaments. Decks like Aggro Shaman, Murloc Paladin and of course Reno Jackson decks are now commonplace, and the meta looks unrecognizable from how it did before the expansion. With one fewer wing and more cards per boss, playing through the expansion itself also felt like less of a slog. If Blizzard can keep delivering expansions that shake up the meta and add cool new mechanics like Discover to the game, that will be a huge part of helping the game to stay vibrant in 2016.
Better spectator mode
While Blizzard has continued to iterate how it delivers new content—and definitely made strides—it ignored the game’s spectator mode this year. Added at the end of 2014 with the Goblins vs Gnomes content release, the mode has made life a lot easier for tournament organizers and allowed friends to watch each other play. Unfortunately, the spectator mode has also proved to be very fragile, often suffering from crippling bugs for months at a time. It is also missing a number of key features—one players’ cards are always turned the wrong way when spectating two players, for instance. Blizzard’s own tournaments have to augment the client with third party software. That should surely be a sign that change is needed next year.
Players have long requested a tournament mode for Hearthstone. Imagine if, within the game itself, there were hundreds and maybe even thousands of tournaments going on at any one time, and all with different rules, like banning legendaries, best of eleven, highlander decks or anything else the imagination can come come up with. Open tournaments are now of even bigger importance than ever before for the 2016 Hearthstone World Championship, why not have those tournaments be a part of the game itself? It would be a fun new way to play Hearthstone, and a new competitive challenge for those who don’t want to grind the ladder.
Entry point changes
This is arguably the biggest and most complicated thing that could be changed in Hearthstone. By the same token, it’s possibly the one that most needs to be addressed.With every new content release, the financial barrier to a new player getting stuck into the game gets higher and higher. To buy 60 packs of each set plus the three adventure modes would set a player back $279.94 right now, and 60 packs might not even be enough to get all the necessary legendaries to make the top decks they see pros playing in tournaments. What’s the answer? That’s a tricky one. Blizzard has thus far failed to offer any kind of deep discount on old content, maybe that’s one way to do it. The suggestion of limited formats akin to Magic: the Gathering is another option. Whatever way they go, it seems unavoidable that Blizzard will have to address this issue at some point in 2016.
Image via Blizzard