Tuesday, 26 November 2013

My Hearthstone Recommendations

I'll be making a forum post on the Hearthstone Beta forums today with a round of recommendations. Generally I have a pretty good track record for recommendations on Blizzard games. In fact, they implement my recommendations in virtually every case. I take that to mean that I successfully catch the zeitgeist of Blizzard games, rather than that they actually listen to me, but given my track record, I think it's probably better to implement sooner rather than later. We don't want another Diablo 3 launch, do we?

Here's my recommendations for changes:

Change daily quests to reset at a particular time of day, rather than 23 hours after the last time you got a quest. Having a fixed time of day where your opportunity to get a quest is refreshed is a much more sensible system for the majority of players. I would like to log in once a day and get my quest but I do not want to have to pay attention to what time of day that log in must be, or gradually work my log in time back to 7-ish if I happen to log in at 10 one day. Managing getting my daily quest is not a fun game.

I recognize that for a global game the reset time is going to be in the middle of the day for some people, or may fall at other awkward times, but it essentially cannot be any more awkward than the current system is. Under the current system to actually get one quest a day you have to log in around the same time every day. If you are doing that then you will get your one quest a day under either system, no matter what that time of day is. This is also a loss for nutters who might actually get more than one quest a day by logging in nearly an hour earlier each day. I don't feel bad about that.

Add a "Random" button for selecting your opponent in practice mode. When I wanted to level up my Shaman to get a couple of basic cards to build a deck it would have made for a better experience. I understand that not many people will be spending a lot of time in practice mode, but this functionality isn't exactly a big ask, either.

Take Equality out of the paladin Expert practice deck. Wow does the AI not understand this card.

Split the Arena into a Beginner and an Expert section. The only difference between the two is the prize structure. In the Beginner section you get slghtly better prizes for bad performance (0 or 1), slightly worse prizes for average and good performance (3 to 5) and considerably worse prizes for very good performance (6 or more), with the overall being a slightly lower total payout.  Design the structure to make sure that a person who goes 50-50 does worse in Beginner regardless of the distribution of their wins over different entries.  It may also be a good idea to make it only 6 or 7 wins to a forced retirement instead of 9.

I feel that adding this mode would make for a healthier game as people would be able to self-select their reward structure. People who are timid about risking real money to play for rewards will prefer a structure where there is less riding on each game. This may raise any number of objections - no one wants to play for lower rewards so no one will play Beginner, Beginner will attract weaker players so ringers will go there and clean up, there will be an exodus from Expert because it will always make sense for the bottom players in Expert to make the switch to Beginner, etc. - but Magic two kinds of draft queues with precisely the same payout philosophy and both kinds fire.

I'm just going to assume that constructed tournaments, different characters to represent the same class, and balance changes are on the way and need no mention.

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