Maybe I was a little hasty in giving Hearthstone‘s new progression system a Da-bomb in our last Free-to-Play Cast. To be fair, I’d only had about an hour of looking through it and playing the night before the cast; it looked great, but I hadn’t done the math to figure out of it really was great.
Others have done that number-crunching work, and the results don’t look good for Blizzard. Here’s a sampling of Reddit topics I came across late Saturday night:
That’s pretty far from what we call a “successful launch” and “happy player base.” 36 hours later, and people aren’t any happier, if you’d like to take a look for yourself.
A primary complaint seems to be with how Blizzard painted the system before its launch, saying that overall rewards would be the same or greater than before, and the reality of the system, which doesn’t match up with those promises. Noted YouTuber/streamer Kripparrian summed it all up nicely, saying:
Looked into new reward system. My take:
– ladder players get less gold/time (this is real bad)
– ladder are upset because Blizz said ppl will get same/more gold
– if you play not-ladder this system *seems* to be better than before
– Blizz needs to increase xp gain to fix
— Kripparrian (@Kripparrian) November 16, 2020
It looks like the system has the usual issues that any leveling system does, only more so: that early levels proceed rapidly and with plenty of rewards, only to drop off as you reach higher ranks. It makes sense, then, that the system would seem decent to me, a casual, non-ladder, player, while angering Hearthstone’s more dedicated fans — especially those who doled out the cash for the paid version of the Tavern Pass, which, at $20, is slightly higher-priced than similar buys in other games.
(It probably doesn’t help that the upcoming expansion has a new keyword called “Corrupted,” which players are using to describe Blizzard right now.)
There will undoubtedly be major changes to the new progression system, but given its complexity and the level of rancor within the community, I don’t think it will be happening too soon. A lot needs to be done, and whiplash-inducing changes could do more harm than good. I’d expect some kind of “make good” move in the near future, at least, like free packs or some other kind of giveaway, but until that happens, you might want to heed the warning in Hearthstone’s pinned Tweet.