Aleco · @AlecoGereco

16th Aug 2022 from TwitLonger

Thoughts on the latest patch:

The balance patch is here!!

In this thread I’ll dive a bit deeper into the philosophy and logic behind these changes. @HSdecktech and I wrote the official patch notes together, so please check those out before reading this thread if you haven’t already:

This patch is a unique one in Hearthstone’s history. Firstly, we accidentally “previewed” the patch last week when we pushed the wrong build, which has given players some time to react to the leaked changes and speculate about what they mean. Secondly, this patch features A LOT of changes. For standard, there are 4 nerfs and a whopping 22 buffs!

I’ve seen some discussion online around how some players are worried to see this high of a volume of change, and there's some concern that big changes might make things worse since they are enjoying the current meta. I’ve also seen some discussion about how this patch feels like it’s coming out at an awkward time while the meta is still developing. I’d like to address both of these concerns.

In regards to the health of the current meta, we’re very happy with how the top classes landed after launch. We’re only doing 4 nerfs this patch, and all things considered these nerfs are fairly light from a power level perspective. We hope these nerfs will do more to impact how it *feels* to play against the best decks than it does to drag down their power.

Unfortunately, the state of the worst performing classes (DH, Warrior, Paladin, and Rogue) was alarming to us, and in some cases (Warrior, DH) was far below our bar for what we'd consider necessary for change. It is never our intention to have a class under a 40% win rate, and when these situations crop up on live we have to attempt to address them swiftly. We understand there are risks involved when doing a high volume of changes, but we can always correct our mistakes in a future patch. We are committed to not leaving classes in bad states, and felt it was riskier to leave these classes untouched until the next patch cycle than it was to take a few stabs at improving them early in the life of the new set.

The total volume of changes per patch recently has been very high, and I want to clarify that it isn’t our explicit goal to make big patches all the time now. That said, if we are faced with a similar situation in the future (multiple classes well below the win rate bar) we’d probably do another high volume patch like this one to try to set things right. We made a few misjudgments during Final Design in regards to classes like Warrior and DH, and big patches like these are reflective of us attempting to correct those mistakes. While we're always trying to avoid mistakes in the first place, we won't shy away from fixing them after the fact if we need to.

We’re taking a few swings with this patch, notably the buff to Edwin. One of the interesting parts of the patch leak was that the Edwin buff was spotted early, and we had the chance to hear plenty of feedback from players about their concerns with the Edwin change before it made its way to live. I want to talk about the Edwin change in the context of a point of feedback on the patch that I don't fully disagree with – that this patch appears to be arriving at an “awkward” time.

We had to lock in all of the changes for this patch a week ago, which was before any of the Masters Tour decks were posted and before the emergence of the Lambyseries Rogue deck. At the time we locked in the changes, Rogue looked like it was in deep trouble and in need of some foundational help. A few days later, players were doing well with Rogue decks at the MT and that story had changed. This is the risk we run when attempting to react quickly to problems, there will be sometimes be situations where developing situations change.

If we could have watched the MT before locking in the Rogue balance changes, would we still have done the buff to Edwin? I don’t think we would have, but I don't think that automatically makes this change bad for game health. My expectation is that the class will be powerful now. However, will it be TOO powerful? Was there a better change to make? We were shooting for Rogue to hit ~50% winrate and thought we needed Edwin to get there. Obviously, we can always revert Edwin in the future if need be. We'd like to be able to take the occasional stab at spicy changes like this which reinforce the identity of a class, and if the feedback is ultimately that players don't like it we're happy to pivot.

Let’s address the most notable exclusion from this patch - the Brann/Kael’thas/Denathrius combo. These three Neutral legendaries have been very effective across multiple classes and are already causing some frustration among players.

These cards are very much on our radar, and I think the odds that one or more of these cards eventually gets changed is high. That said, we felt it was premature to nerf marquee cards from the new expansion which are largely accomplishing their goals (they're exciting, and they're ending games). That said, we’re worried about the speed at which these cards are closing out games, and the play-against frustration that is clearly present here. We're going to wait and see how they do in the new meta before making changes.

I hope you all enjoy the patch! I really do read all the feedback that comes my way (so please keep it coming!) and deeply appreciate all the passion I see from this community on a daily basis. It’s truly a privilege to be able to connect with you all through this amazing game.


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