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Hearthstone: Latest patch update implements Rumble Run and Arena power level changes

Rumble Run and Arena get an update in the latest Hearthstone patch.

Who said Blizzard doesn’t listen to the community anymore? Hearthstone game designer Dave Kosak shed some light on a patch implemented earlier today which saw changes made to the Rumble Run and Arena game modes, the first time a significant balance patch has been made since the Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion missions (August 2017).

This Hearthstone update mixes Rumble Run up for a refreshing new change, while also bringing in some updates to Arena buckets together with the cessation of December 2018’s dust refund. Read on for details!

Arena Updates

Following our Arena update last December, we have adjusted the appearance rate of each individual card available in Arena to ensure the overall win-rate of each class remains as close as possible to our ideal of 50%.

  • Hunter, Rogue, and Warrior have had the average quality of their Arena picks lowered.
  • Druid, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, and Warlock have had the average quality of their Arena picks raised.

December Update

The dust refunds that were available following our last update in December 2018are no longer available as of this post.

Rumble Run Changes

Champions, rumblers, and trolls of all sizes! We’ve watched you spend a month punching faces in the Rumble Run, and we think there’s room for some changes based on how things have gone. Here’s what’s new with the Rumble Run.

Weighted Card RewardsWe’ve increased the possibility of synergistic cards for your shrine appearing more often. One of our primary goals with this mode was to showcase the nine troll champions and have you really get to know them. We wanted you to “live the dream” of fighting in the Gurubashi Arena, and to do so, we had to make sure that each Run had its own strong theme. Adjusting the card bucket offerings for decks and re-adding bonus buckets will help strengthen that experience.

Boss Deck AdjustmentsOne of our design goals with the Rumble Run was to provide huge, overpowered combat. Balancing at such a high power level is a challenge. When it works, it works great. You get epic, monumental combat against overwhelming odds. But when it doesn’t work, it feels random and swingy – like when the AI pulls an overwhelming combo. And since no one likes being repeatedly hit in the face with a club, we’ve pruned some of the power from the boss decks so that your Runs will play out more moderately. We have a lot of data about which bosses have the biggest body counts, and we’ve used that to target the worst offenders. Rumble Runs are now a little easier, but more importantly, they’ll feel a little more fair.

Shrine Selection ChangesIn early builds of the Rumble Run, we allowed players to pick a class and shrine before playing. What we found was that playtesters immediately picked their favorite class, gravitated to a certain shrine, and played that shrine repeatedly.

We had wanted to encourage players to try different shrines, especially to experiment with stuff they normally wouldn’t, so we put the current random shrine drafting in place. While that helped achieve our initial goal, it removed that feeling of mastery – the ability to choose a shrine and play with it until you feel you’ve mastered it or exhausted its possibilities.

So we want to bring that back. With this update, whenever you lose, you can expect to always be offered the shrine you just lost with. The shrine that the boss used to beat you in your last run will also be offered, per the status quo.

Some Final Rumble Ruminations

We always prefer to experiment, try extreme ideas, and get feedback rather than play it safe. In true troll fashion, we went big with the Rumble Run and tried some different ideas to give this expansion a unique feel and to capture the thrill of stepping into an arena against known opponents for some superpowered brutality. It’s wallop or be walloped in there, for better or for worse.

One of the things we experimented with–and heard great feedback on–was about the earlier pack rewards for the Rumble Run. Previous Hearthstone missions awarded packs via quests for completing content. For The Boomsday Project, we gave packs out without a quest to celebrate the launch of the expansion’s missions. This time around, we front-loaded the rewards and gave players three extra packs on launch day instead of during the Rumble Run. We felt that packs might be more interesting to people during the initial weeks of the expansion.

As many of you have pointed out, this decision just made the missions feel especially un-rewarding. It’s always more gratifying to earn packs by competing a quest, rather than just being given them. Going forward, we’ll keep this feedback in mind for the launch of new single-player content.

We had a ton of fun making mode and really appreciate the time that many of you took to write out thoughtful feedback. Everything we learn helps make future content better.

And now, it’s back to the Rumble Run!

What do you think of the changes made to Arena and Rumble Run? Will you be more willing to give Rumble Run in light of these changes?

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