Why the new Quest Cards suck for the current meta
Before you settle down for another dose of trademark Sottle negativity, allow me to get one thing clear: I love Journey to Un’Goro. I feel like it’s one of the most successful expansions in terms of breathing much-needed life into Hearthstone. And while I’ve enjoyed casting even the most obnoxious metagames, Un’Goro has dramatically rejuvenated my desire to grind for hours on ladder. The arrival of Midrange Paladins, Freeze Mages, Elemental decks, Aggro Druids, and countless other archetypes has shaken up a meta that was maligned as the most stale we’d ever seen.
Despite all that good news, there remains a sizeable dinosaur in the room, which is that of the nine available Quest cards—which are a cornerstone of the expansion in terms of new mechanics—six see almost no high level play at all. Of the other three, the Mage Quest has been quickly supplanted by the seemingly superior Freeze Mage, despite Blizzard’s best efforts to sweep that deck under the rug, and the remaining two “successful” Quests, Warrior and Rogue, are just not particularly interesting to play now that they’ve been figured out.
When Awaken the Makers was revealed as the first Quest card, I raised concerns that the design was worryingly non-interactive, and unfortunately the other Quests just followed suit. It seems odd that a design team that has consistently used the lack of interactivity as a reason to nerf or rotate cards should then push a mechanic that bears closer comparison to solitaire than Hearthstone. Having recently cast multiple Quest Warrior mirror matches during the Hearthstone Global Games (and been audibly displeased about it), I can confirm that the games play out almost identically, with both Warriors rushing to complete the Quest and paying very little attention to anything their opponent is doing in the meantime.
Playing against a Quest deck lacks a sense of agency. Hearthstone is at its best when both players feel like they’re in control of their destiny, and the feeling of the player staring up at a ticking Quest counter that they can do little to alter creates the exact opposite effect. Imagine, for example, if the Warrior Quest involved reaching a certain amount of armor. This would create an engaging tug-of-war scenario in which each player would have to weigh up their actions, balancing the highest value or tempo play in conventional Hearthstone against the impact that the play has on the alternate win condition created by the Quest. To me, that sort of thing feels like a more interesting experience for everyone involved than just waiting to see who can curve out Taunt minions best.
The Blizzard eSports manager discusses the future of competitive team, Wild and sealed formats in top-level Hearthstone.
It’s an exciting time to be a fan of competitive Hearthstone. There are more — and different — prominent tournaments than ever. Both Blizzard and the wider community have stepped up to produce a variety of competitive formats that offer players and fans alike an opportunity to experience the game in new ways. And they’ve been well received — the recently completed Trinity Series was one of the year’s most popular tournaments and there’s plenty of hype for the ongoing Hearthstone Global Games.
Today brought the third edition of Red Bull Team Brawl, a team format that makes use of a sealed draft tool to create a slew of decks you won’t see anywhere else. With team and sealed formats top of mind, we figured it was the perfect time to dive deeper on these non-traditional formats and sat down with Blizzard eSports manager Matt Wyble at HCT Bahamas to discuss.
Matt Wyble: We’ve loved team Hearthstone for a long time, like probably two years. I’m a huge Hearthstone geek, I watched almost every minute of Trinity Series, obviously we worked really closely with ESL and it was really exciting to see. They did a lot of awesome stuff in that. Even going back to Archon Team League as an example of an event that was really well received and had a lot of cool things happening in it. It’s taken us some time to figure out how to put the Blizzard spin on it and this year Global Games is definitely our biggest foray into that. We’re open to it and continuing to explore it.
Hearthstone Championship Tour itself is a single person event — it’s tied closely to the ladder and your individual points. But I think this year we find ourselves in a place with more room to experiment with other things.