Happy Holidays, to one and all! 2015 was a great year for Hearthstone and hopefully for you as well. Despite Hearthstone’s causal theme, it has grown into a legit esport and seven figures in prize money has been won by both Hearthstone programmers and champion players via game tournaments throughout the year! This card game phenomenon has travelled to major events all over the world, including China, Sweden, Poland, Germany, Korea, the UK and Romania. Fireside gatherings, have remained popular and held consistently in coffee shops, and private residences the world over as well.
The game has seen two major expansions this year with The Grand Tournament, and most recently The League of Explorers. Between the two expansions we’ve seen 175 new cards arrive and two key words (Inspire and Discover) that has been the latest catalyst to propel the meta into its next phase of evolution. During the summer we saw the introduction of Tavern Brawl, an exciting new alternative to play the game and garner further enjoyment. All said, the minute tweaks and changes game developers have made thus far, have really added more luster to an already very polished product.
Yet, there is still a lot of growth in front of Hearthstone as the community expects new features, new developments, and even more improvements. Just a couple of weeks out from ushering in a new year, I invite you all to gather around the hearth with as we discuss my Christmas wish list, for even more merriment with our common love in 2016. Furthermore, I invite you to be apart of the discussion, share with me your own wish list; your hopes and dreams for the direction you hope Hearthstone goes in the coming year in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Feel free to show off your Christmas spirit also through monetary donations that demonstrate your love and appreciation for yours truly.
[toc]Goody Wish #10: Ranked Arena[/toc]
As we all know, every season constructed play on the ladder allows players the privilege of vying for ranks, and bragging rights for reaching that Legend upper echelon. Those same constructed players have the opportunity to win seasonal card backs, and on top of that work toward providing their favorite hero a portrait worthy of royalty—solid gold!
My question is, why not show some love to arena players as well? As a separate game play format and a very large portion of the Hearthstone community, I’d love to see who the best of the best arena players are. Additionally, some extra bling wouldn’t hurt and would go a long way to enhancing the overall experience of both arena play and Hearthstone as a whole.
Before the mob brings out their pitch forks and fires, understand I’m not petitioning completely doing away with arena as we know it. If you are an adoring arena player I purpose leaving it the way it is, just adding in a separate option of ranked play into that particular forum would add an interesting and fun dynamic.
[toc]Goody Wish #9: Better Observation Mode[/toc]
The addition of Observer mode has made the Hearthstone community even more interesting and an even tighter knit group. Watching players from your fiends list engage in battle while offering words of encouragement and 2 cents worth of advice has been a very fun aspect of the game. Wouldn’t be better to know who else has set eyeballs to your game as well? It would be like being apart of a crowd, watching, cheering, maybe even jeering in some instances for your favorite heroes while exchanging thoughts and comments with other people beside you. The overall “community feel” would be further enhanced if this were a possibility.
Naturally, the element of trash talking would no doubt become prevalent, but I think that provides a much-needed element in competition. It would be impossible to completely filter out the obscene or comfort and wipe away the tears of more sensitive players, but the pros outweigh the cons.
[toc]Goody Wish #8: Match History[/toc]
This is an in-game aspect atop most Hearthstone player’s wish list throughout the community and isn’t exactly ground breaking news, at least from the wish list front. For the most part, all Blizzard games provide their players with an abundance of stats and facts, whether they pertain to that specific player or other members of the community. Sure, we already have golden portraits, which offer a glimmer into your opponents feats and accomplishments, but this concept would add even more personality to each player. It would be nice to know if the opponent who sits across from you, struggles consistently against aggressive match-ups. Or maybe he’s on a 5-game win streak you’re hoping to snap, and in doing so hope crush his little hopes and dreams. On the other hand, maybe a click of a mouse button a unfromilar name on the ladder sudden becomes a good friend.
Stats are always fun and essential, so keep our fingers crossed for this change to arrive sooner rather than later.
[toc]Goody Wish #7: Quest System Enhancements[/toc]
The idea of implementing daily quests as a tool for panning for gold is cool, but if one is a card caring member of the rather large free to play faction, it’s just not enough—not by a long shot. Not to mention, and even more importantly, is the fact that many F2P players only have certain deck builds in their rather very limited arsenal at their disposal and dominance or total dominance of quests are not always within their reach.
A slight revamp to the questing system might bring in new life to the daily grind. A killing spree gold reward comes to mind, where a player has to win 6 games in a row or on a time runner reward for winning 3 games in secession within several minutes. The possibilities are as vast as they are endless, but more gold would mean in the end more good cards.
Before you write me your college dissertation about Blizzard’s business model, I totally understand that the reason this game exists in the first place is to turn a healthy profit so game developers can pay their rent—meaning certain game elements are designed with the purpose of causing people to spend copious amounts of money. Look I get it, I really do. However, I can’t help it that my heart bleeds for players who are financially disadvantaged maybe due to a physical or mental disability or even still have very real life problems that most of us in the Hearthstone community do not have to contend with.
I just want to advocate some slight changes to better include people who share our common love of all walks of life. The F2P peeps out there experience the game through a very different set of goggles than those who either have the means or don’t mind spending those extra hard-earned dollars for victory. Offering up a few minor changes to help out those folks on the low-end, I’m sure would go a long in the eyes of those who are F2P, as well as drawing in new players a healthy percentage of which I’m sure will open their pocket books to accomplish their goals sooner rather than later.
[toc]Goody Wish #6: More Deck Slots[/toc]
The current limitation of nine deck slots, may not have impacted all Hearthstone players at this point in game’s short history, so its understandable if the “no harm done” rule applies to this little goody on my wish list. However, what many do not realize is that with more deck slots comes more deck variety and with more deck variety comes decreased time spent in construction mode, cobbling together the next masterpiece. I’d like to see an alternative of having to succumb to removing and adjusting existing decks, which I’ll admit isn’t entirely horrible and probably works well with most players.
The addition of a fresh deck slot with which to bring life to creative juices offers more fun as a player, at least in my humble opinion. Granted, this is a pretty obvious idea and one which as been floating around out there in many internet forums for a while. One can only hope Blizzard will eventually succumb to the masses, and give the people what they want.
[toc]Goody Wish #5: Revamped Ladder[/toc]
Recently I wrote an in-depth article regarding some problems, as I see them with constructed play as it currently exists which you can read more about HERE. I’ve made no secret that the current system at play, is sub-optimal. Maybe a better, more accurate description would be to label it “unrewarding”.
For those of you who have disagreed with my assessment in weeks past, I apologize in advance for including this little aspect on my wish list. Those of you who disagreed, but offered some better alternatives or pointed out areas of my assessment that didn’t make sense or couldn’t really work in reality, I encourage you to read on. However, If hurt feelings still persist feel free to contact customer service who will gladly assist you in filling out a butt hurt complaint form.
My opinion, as humble as it maybe hasn’t changed (to the dismay of some). Even if the main points of my argument are left aside, like frequency of season resets, there is still that moment where “good” and bad” players have to start from more or less the same place, making it a tedious and boring climb for the former. I fail to understand the reason why Legend players are forced to start below the median, causing greater difficulty to lesser experienced players.
Additionally, aside from bragging rights the Legend tier in and of itself really provides no incentive for making the accomplishment after reaching it once. There are some tweaks and changes that could be made to the existing constructed play element of Hearthstone, to make the game even more enjoyable than it already is.
[toc]Goody Wish #4: New Hero Classes[/toc]
Despite its young age, Hearthstone is already quite diverse and a very immersed experience. With nine classes, players have a very extensive arsenal at their disposal and can construct at free range. It maybe too early to speak about this, especially so shortly after a new expansion release, but please Blizzard: Give us more classes!!!
I think I speak for most when I say the most obvious inclusions are the Monk and the Death Knight are among two very real possibilities. Although all of the existing classes to make an appearance in the World of Warcraft, there is no real need to stick solely to these. Of course, Hearthstone is in great condition as of now, but it would truly be the bee’s knees to have a hint later this year regarding the inclusion of additional classes.
[toc]Goody Wish #3: In-Game Tournaments[/toc]
At this juncture, in Hearthstone’s development I find it strange that organizing a tournament these days isn’t exactly straightforward. It would be great to take advantage of an in-game tournament system that pairs you with either players from your friend’s list (that you organize) or random people with which to climb up a bracket-style tournament. Rewards may include, 40 pieces of gold or perhaps a booster pack of your choosing.
It could be similar to the arena runs, which require either a 150 pieces of in-game gold, or an actual real monetary entrance fee. This is also another aspect where in-game spectator mode would come in handy, allowing further exploration of the “watch and learn” aspect of Hearthstone.
[toc]Goody Wish #2: Two Headed Giant Mode[/toc]
This is a popular gaming mode amongst the Magic The Gathering community, that is extremely fun to play. For those of you who aren’t framiliar with this play style, basically it breaks down into a team method of game play. Players are partnered off into 2 groups of 2, each player with their individual deck and must rely upon their own ingenuity as well as their partner’s to defeat the other two players. The health pool is a shared commodity within each team and has a significant booster, I believe it is actually doubled within the MTG version, from 30 for individual play to 60 for this team orientated format.
Everything else as far as gameplay is the same, the goal like any other game, is to bring the opponent health down to zero. I’ve played this format numerous times within the MTG circle of collectible card games, and I have to admit this could be pretty close to my favorite style of play. It just adds another facet to the game, which keeps things from getting stale and boring.
Rewards, here again might be similar to the arena, winning teams given various goodies from in-game gold, to card packs, to arcane dust. Entrance fees, might also be similar providing players another element to save up for. If this were a viable element of game play within Hearthstone, I for one would probably spend more time playing in this format than most others.
[toc]Goody Wish #1: The Replay[/toc]
In this regard I have to say Hearthstone is a bit archaic. I mean come on man, Starcraft II has it. Many other games have it. Hearthstone should have it too. Am I the only one who wishes I could save and/or watch the dominance displayed in my game again without having to bother with those third-party apps and programs to record the entire games? Additionally, replays would be beneficial when used as a tool to analyze individual gameplay and in doing so, become a stronger, more well-rounded player over the long haul.
[toc]More Awesome Wishes[/toc]
- Bet Mode: Yeah, I know this is one element we’ll never see ushered into game play—at least not in our lifetimes. Blizzard has absolutely steered clear of anything that’s related to betting, but what if? What if, you were able to challenge a battle.net friend to a game for a friendly wager? What if the stakes were In-game gold, gold cards, or a specific minion, or epic spell up for grabs? Maybe a ticket into the arena or perhaps a bottle of arcane dust? The possibilities are endless, and would really make game play much more interesting.
- All Cards Mode: If arena and constructed play were to have an illegitimate love child this game-play alternative would be it. Here, you’d be given the opportunity to select a hero class, have all possible cards unlocked, and build away, while striving to achieve the most wins possible in order to get the best reward. Veteran ladder players I would think would have no interest in this, but for the new players this would be an awesome opportunity to taste the full scope of a class without having to grind away dust for cards.
This concludes my Christmas wish list for new elements I hope are on the horizon for Hearthstone this coming year. As I mentioned earlier, I hope you’ll find the time to share with me as well as fellow readers, your own Christmas wish lists as well as any nagging questions or comments you may have.
I hope you enjoyed the read, and I thank you for taking the time out of your busy holiday schedule to spend a few minutes engaging with me. I wish all of you a very happy and very merry Christmas this holiday season.
I hope Santa brings you every item on your wishlist, and may your family and friends enjoy a prosperous new year. To quote Charles’ Dickens Tiny Tim, “God Bless us, one and all!”