Hearthstone had a lot going for it last year and it’s time to take a look back at all of the changes and new additions to the game over the past year. With some great releases and positive changes to help with the new player experience, the game is definitely taking steps in the right direction. Hopefully, the game keeps on delivering in terms of content and quality in 2018 too.
Quarter 1 – 2017
Right off the bat when 2017 kicked in, we got to experience the first cross-game promotion from Blizzard inside Hearthstone. The Dark Wanderer Brawl was introduced to celebrate Diablo’s 20th anniversary. All of the past cross-game promotions have been in other games and it was the first time we got to see something in Hearthstone, which may mean that new cards from other Blizzard IPs may make it to our favorite card game.
In-game stats for every season was introduced right after and if you subscribe to the Hearthstone Newsletter you can get access to an overview of your stats and performance in each season whenever it ends in your email. It has some cool information thrown in and is definitely something you should be signing up for. We also got the announcements for which cards would be moving out of rotation from the Classic set and full dust value was provided for everyone who owned the cards without requiring players to dust them.
After several months of running riot on ladder, Aggro Shaman and Pirate decks received nerfs with Spirit Claws and small-time-buccaneer receiving nerfs. However, one of the most hated cards in the game patches-the-pirate still is in charge now! To close out the first quarter of the year, Ben Brode released a rap video about Un’goro with only weeks left for the expansion to come out.
Quarter 2- 2017
Journey to Un’goro came out early April and it also meant it was time for sets older than two years to rotate out. We also lost some cards from the Classic set as they were moved to the Hall of Fame and can be used only in Wild at the moment. The introduction of Quests was definitely interesting and the Quest that was deemed to be the most underpowered turned out to be the best of the lot. the-caverns-below became dominant to the point that it required a nerf soon after to balance the meta.
Hearthstone hit 70 million players this year as well, and the number has been increasing by 10 million since 2015. While we do not have any solid data on how many concurrent players there are, it’s safe to say that the game is one of the most popular titles out there right now with community events and mobile access being major drivers for the game.
Deck string imports was one of the highlight additions to the game, allowing players to copy and share deck lists with the press of a button. It helped make deckbuilding a lot faster and allowed players to share deck lists very easily. The best part is it works also on mobile, which is a very neat feature to have. China required all games that have a lootbox / pack system to reveal drop rates and we expected Blizzard to reveal the stats. But, Blizzard reworked the store for China to allow players to buy small amounts of dust and the packs were thrown in as ‘free’ to work their way around the regulations which is why we still do not have any official confirmation on the pack drop rates.
Quarter 3 – 2017
We had both the Ragnaros Fire Festival and Ahune’s Frost Festival. While the Ragnaros Fire Festival offered double gold from all quests, the Frost Festival offered Frozen Throne packs and free Arena tickets that allowed players to start at 1 win already clocked in the Arena scoreboard.
Wild packs made a return to the Store (PC client only) and one of the most game-changing announcements was made, which allowed players to never open a duplicate legendary. In addition to that, for each set you have never opened a pack for, you are guaranteed to open a legendary in the first ten packs.
We also got some more balance changes for the year multiple Basic cards being nerfed. murloc-warleader and spreading-plague. Knights of the Frozen Throne came out, bringing in Death Knights that are extremely fun to build decks around!
Quarter 4 – 2017
We all have those moments when we want to play without being disturbed and we got just that with Blizzard introducing an ‘Appear Offline’ feature to hide your status from your friends in any game. Synergy picks were removed from Arena because of how awkward it was for players to be forced into picking synergies that just didn’t work with their respective classes at times while other players got the right synergies and got access to particularly overpowered decks with respect to what average tempo based Arena decks are like. We got yet another hero portrait for Warlock – Nemsy Necrofizzle, and it’s quite possibly the best by far looking at how good the emotes are. Players who take part in Fireside Taverns (or use GPS spoofing, which still works) get the hero for free with no other means of being able to obtain her.
The last quarter of the year is always the best with Blizzcon bringing in some great announcements and events. We got to know about the final expansion of the year Kobolds and Catacombs, which introduced legendary weapons for every class. Death Knights from the previous expansion Knights of the Frozen Throne, were removed from Arena due to how powerful they happened to become in the Arena metagame. The launch of the final expansion has been a success and the metagame is quite fun at the moment. We have been experimenting with various decks and the meta hasn’t quite settled in yet with drastic changes to popular decklists happening all the time.
We hope you had a fun New Year’s and wish you the very best for 2018! We will be back with more deck guides and articles as usual so stay tuned for more content at Hearthstone Players!