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#1 - 2013/11/08 11:30:00 PM
Hearthstone at BlizzCon – Fireside Chat Panel Highlights
Hearthstone is out in full force at BlizzCon! Lead Designer Eric Dodds and Technical Designer Ben Brode brought you the latest in news for Hearthstone including card changes, balance analysis, and upcoming features. Interested in learning about what’s in store for the future of Hearthstone? Read on to get an overview of what we covered at the panel!

Hearthstone: A Look at Today

  • Going first is still only slightly better than going second.
  • Top-level class balance looks pretty good, looking at 3 different days in October shows a different #1 class each day.
  • 44% of our current 3-Star Master players have spent no money on Hearthstone.
  • Over one million players have been invited to the closed beta for Hearthstone.

Next Patch or Two

Card Changes

  • Mind Control’s cost is changing to 10, up from 8. Mind Control can be frustrating to play against, and is dominating play at the lower ranks. This should allow opponents playing versus a Priest to have a couple more rounds to make use of their high cost minions before they have a sudden change of mind.
  • Starving Buzzard’s Health is changing to 1, down from 2.  Hunters were very strong against Druid, Mage, and Rogue in Copper through Platinum leagues, and this change should help those match-ups.
  • Unleash the Hounds can blow you out in a single turn, without any minions on the table.  We’re going to take a look at this card to see if there are some changes we’d like to make for the next patch.  We haven’t decided on a direction yet.

Ranked Play Changes

Exciting changes are coming to Ranked Play in Hearthstone!  Our new system makes your path to move up in the rankings more transparent, and gives top-level players more ways to differentiate themselves from each other.

  • Each month, all players restart at Rank 25: “Angry Chicken”
  • Players will be matched against players of similar rank.
  • Win a game, acquire a star!  
  • Acquire enough stars and you’ll rank up!
  • Each rank has its own icon and medal.
  • Win streaks may give additional stars.
  • At higher ranks, you'll lose a star if you lose a game.

Beyond Rank 1 is a special rank: Legend.

  • Once you hit the Legend rank, it cannot be lost until the season ends.
  • Legend rank will have a big number in the middle of the icon – this tells you your exact rank in your region!

This won’t be ready at the launch of our new ranked system, but eventually, if you participate in ranked play during a season, there’s a reward awaiting you: Special card backs!

  • Card backs are acquired through participating in a ranked play season.
  • Each month holds a new card back for your collection!

One of the most exciting reasons to try Ranked Play is the epic Golden Heroes. After you’ve won 500 Ranked games with a specific class, you unlock the animated golden hero for that class. Whenever you play that class, it’ll automatically be the golden version of the class rather than the regular one. Each Golden hero has its own special animations, just like the other Golden cards!

Additional Features on the Horizon

  • Reconnecting to a game in progress
  • Even more spell effects and animations!

A Bit Further Out

Hearthstone on the Go!

  • Hearthstone for Android, iPhone and Windows 8 Touch

Expansions!

  • Hearthstone will have expansion sets, each featuring packs full of exciting new cards!

Single-player Adventures!

  • To supplement expansions, we plan to release Adventures! These will come with a smaller set of cards that can be unlocked and will provide new strategies to explore.

Watch the full event, which includes exciting Blizzard developer panels and other featurettes, by purchasing a Virtual Ticket today. We hope to see you at BlizzCon!

We’re always interested in what you have to say and what you’re looking for in Hearthstone! Whether it’s more features or particular themes you’d like to see, we’re closely monitoring your feedback in the beta and into release. Give us your feedback on the Hearthstone forums here!