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Hearthstone News: Pirate nerfs, deck design and HCT updates - Hearthstone

Our regular news roundup of all the latest developments in Hearthstone.

If you're a long-time visitor to the Hearthstone channel at Metabomb, then you'll know that our focus has always been on doing what we can to provide you with the best possible guides to the creme de la creme of the Hearthstone deck roster.

This will always be an important part of what we do, but we'd also like to do a better job of helping you stay up to speed with all of the latest developments in the broader Hearthstone world. With that in mind we're going to be building up our news content considerably in the weeks and months ahead.

We'll be introducing more new features in the coming weeks too, and we'd love to hear your feedback and suggestions on what we can do to keep improving the site. Thanks as always for making Metabomb a part of your Hearthstone life!

Which Pirate card is causing the problem exactly?

If you've grown thoroughly sick and tired of facing Pirate-powered decks in Hearthstone, you're far from alone. PC Gamer had the opportunity to sit down with game director Ben Brode to discuss this very topic, and what the team may have in store to dampen down this ubiquitous menace:

  • Brode believes that Small-Time Buccaneer is the problematic card in the current metagame, rather than Patches the Pirate.
  • How exactly this card might be changed has not been determined yet, although Brode stated they prefer to make minimal changes to card text when it comes to rebalancing individual cards. People associate card behaviour with the art, rather than what's written down, hence why the devs prefer to tweak hard numbers.

A few other tidbits from the interview:

  • Nerfs are made at relatively short notice to stop people feeling bad about losing to a card that's about to get changed.
  • Shaman was not meant to get more popular after Karazhan. Spirit Claws was actually intended to power a new kind of archetype, not strengthen existing competitive decks even further.
  • Brode believes there is still hope for the Grimy Goons mechanic once things have settled down a little more.
  • We may yet see Classic cards get moved from Standard to Wild. An example given was Ragnaros the Firelord, as cards such as this limit the design space for the Mana cost involved.

SOURCE - PC Gamer

How new card sets and expansion are designed

Elsewhere, game designer Max McCall had some interesting insight to offer over at the official Blizzard forums. If you've ever been curious about how exactly the production pipeline of a Hearthstone card set works, then wonder no more...

  • Sets are locked down approximately two months before they actually go live, although tweaks do occur a week or two ahead of this.
  • There are two stages to design: an initial design team and a final design team. Each group can be working on different sets at the same time.
  • The initial design team focus on themes, mechanics and possible new archetypes. They also come up with names, art and flavour for the new cards. The focus is on working out what new fun decks might be made from the collection.
  • The final design team makes sure it's fun and has an appropriate level of complexity. Unusual, disruptive cards that back up the theme of the set are prioritised as keeps, while overly complex ones are held back. This team also works to ensure that the new decks are competitive, but not overpowered.
  • This same team works for three to four months on any given set. Although they finish around two months ahead of release, tweaks do still continue after they move on - including balance changes if something is proving to be problematic.
  • Other teams responsible for things like Tavern Brawls and Adventure challenges are busy investigating new, cool projects as well.

SOURCE - Official forums

New Hearthtone eSports Twitter account

Finally, Blizzard has announced a new Twitter account for all things related to Hearthstone's eSports scene. If you haven't already done so, you can go and follow them now!

Blizzard used this moment to release further details about the HCT Winter Championship that's being held in the Bahamas at the end of March.

Those who attend will get a new card back, along with a special souvenir to commemorate the event. Head over to the official site for more details of the competition, including discounted room rates for those lucky enough to be able to attend.

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