Responding to new "synergy" concerns, Blizzard confirms Frozen Throne bug.

The Arena portion of the Hearthstone community has been up in arms since the Knights of the Frozen Throne launch. Alongside the latest patch, Blizzard changed a few rules that have impacted how drafts play out. The first two cards you pick are now "synergy" based cards such as Netherspite Historian and Primalfin Lookout. While good in theory, players have been complaining about the low-quality of these cards and their potential to sway players towards drafting worse cards just for the sake of synergy. In addition, it seems as if a good number of Frozen Throne cards are outright missing from the draft pool. Today, Blizzard confirmed the issue and said a fix was on its way sometime this week.

Popular Arena player, Twitch streamer, and Arena tier list runner ADWCTA's post on the matter has reached the top of the Hearthstone subreddit this morning detailing his gripes with the changes.

 

"Beyond the missing KFT cards and a lower than intended KFT offering bonus, the biggest issue in the Arena today is the Synergy Picks. These are the first 2 picks of your Arena draft, and they are offered from a new pool of less than 10 cards per rarity (95% non-KFT), rather than the 800+ cardpool of the Arena. They are mostly bad synergy-using cards in the Arena (median value around a 80 on our tier list, same as Stonetusk Boar), and do not provide any drafting bonus to their synergy type. E.g., drafting a Blazecaller first will not make the rest of the draft provide more elementals than usual. It is a poorly thought out and even more poorly implemented system that does not work as intended. Rather than bringing more fun and diverse decks into the Arena, Blizzard has instead forced all players and classes to draft the same rigid rotation of 4-5 poorly crafted "synergy" decks. This is NOT what HS Arena (or any limited format in any TCG) is about."

 

The complete list of missing cards is SpellweaverHyldnir FrostriderHowlfiendGrave ShamblerShadowbladeBlackguardArfusBolvar, FirebloodPrince KelesethPrince TaldaramPrince Valanar, and Sindragosa.

Both Game Director Ben Brode and Game Designer Dean Ayala have responded on the Reddit thread.

 

Dean Ayala: "Offering bonus should be the same as stated in previous patch notes. I'll look into it this morning, though we did test before we launched to make sure it was the same bonus Un'Goro had when it launched.

There are 12 cards missing from arena. This was a bug that has been fixed internally and will go out with a server patch sometime this week (unless something goes wrong). Whether or not something is 'draftable' is a checkbox in our editor. Very late in KFT development, when we published any change to a card that checkbox would become unchecked due to an editor bug. This has also been fixed so it should no longer occur.

As far as synergy picks go, it's only been a few days and we're still gathering feedback from here, our official forums, internally, and from our best arena players. We'll continue to monitor that and make whatever changes are necessary. We've been making small changes to the drafting process for quite some time now and will continue to do so. Appreciate all the feedback!"

 

Ben Brode: "With every new thing we add to the game, we learn from community feedback, and iterate. Community feedback is a critical part of the process, and the idea that we should only release perfect things that require no feedback is unrealistic.

We believe mixing the Arena experience up more frequently is better than leaving a single rule-set in place forever.

Regarding "synergy picks", one of the areas we think Arena is weak right now is the ability for players to feel really clever during the Arena drafting process. Often you pick cards that are individually powerful, but taking a card that is powerful given other cards you might see is very risky.

We've been experimenting with different prototypes to try and bring this level of gameplay to Arena, including paper printouts of Hearthstone cards so we can test without needing engineers to go in and change the whole system before we find out if a change is even fun.

It's been difficult to provide the ability for players to chase synergies (and to feel clever by doing so), while maintaining the "anything can happen" feel that makes Arena awesome. This was a first foray, and the community feedback will feed into our next iteration. We consider Arena, and hell, the entire game, to be a collaboration with the community.

I come to reddit every day. I love reading about and discussing Hearthstone, the development process, and how we can make things better together. I don't want our communities to have a "players vs developers" vibe. I want to work with players to make the game we all love to play even better.

Feedback is critical, but when it's delivered in a way that pits us against each other as factions, it is damaging. Let's work together!"