Hearthstone’s development team
has learned a great deal since Blizzard Entertainment launched the digital card game in 2014 – and we’re seeing it today with just how quickly it’s responding to the rash of Demon Hunters
running roughshod over the community.
Late Wednesday, Blizzard released a hotfix that addressed the power of Demon Hunter just 1 day after releasing the new class along with the Ashes of Outland expansion. Out of the gates, Demon Hunter had a lot of strengths to overcome its weaknesses, to the point in which it felt good at everything and bad at nothing.
Blizzard has a history of releasing cards that may be too strong in Hearthstone … but for much of its history, the development team let those overpowered cards stew too long, angering the community and driving some players away.
After the Galakrond’s Awakening expansion, Shaman was the clear winner – it dominated out of the gates, just as Demon Hunter has now. Blizzard acted quicker than it had ever done so before, and now, it’s even pulling out the nerf bat faster than it did with Galakrond’s Awakening.
This is heartening to see. For a long time, Blizzard seemed to treat its digital cards as if they were cardboard, taking a long time to make necessary changes for the health of the game. Two years ago, the company would’ve taken a lot longer to recognize the need to power-down a class a day after a release.
But this is how you must manage an online game. You can’t let problems fester. You have to address them before you turn off a significant portion of your players – and they either log off and never come back … and never spend money again
. It’s a lesson that many development teams leared faster than Hearthstone’s, but I’m happy they finally have.
Oh, let’s do something about Twin Tyrant in Arena, too, Blizz!
–Jason Wilson, GamesBeat managing editor