It's fitting that just yesterday Senior Game Designer Ben Brode released a video talking about some of the issues the Hearthstone team faces when dealing with new content releases. In it he discusses the two major groups of players: those that are new to the game and find expanding their collection a difficult task, and those that are veterans who are more concerned with power creep and sustainability. While both certainly would have an opinion on today's topic, this is something that effects the former group much more than the latter.
Originally posted by Blizzard (View Original)Collapse

New players correctly feel that Hearthstone is becoming more daunting over time. And that's really important for us to solve.
One of the biggest and most controversial areas regarding this has always been the Arena. Everything was fine when Hearthstone was in its early stages and rewards were as simple as a mixture of dust, gold, a chance at cards, and a pack. When Goblins vs. Gnomes released, the Classic packs were replaced with the newer GvG variants such that players could earn these faster.

Due to the inherent chances of sustainability of Arena, it makes sense to play it as much as possible for anyone that can hope at averaging four to five wins. At that point you're earning back the extra 50 gold it took to enter, getting your 100 golds worth in the form of a pack and even some extra bonuses. Here's a look at what four to six wins can earn you:

arenaimagetest.jpg


Silver - 4 WinsGold - 5 WinsPlatinum - 6 Wins
40-60 Gold45-60 Gold75-80 Gold
One pack.
One of these selected at random:
20-30 gold
20-25 dust
One common card
One rare card
One of these selected at random:
45-60 gold
45-60 dust
One common card
One rare card
One of these selected at random:
45-60 gold
45-60 dust
One common card
One rare card


As you can see, you'll almost always earn the full value of your gold with five wins and from there it only increases. For obvious reasons then, it makes sense that many want to keep playing Arena whenever possible.

Following the GvG release, many came to realize that this change may have actually hurt those looking to bolster their collections. The card pool in Goblins vs. Gnomes is much smaller and as such it requires a lot less packs than the Classic card set. For many there came a point where they simply didn't need GvG packs anymore and that it was time to switch back to the original set. That inherently meant that they could no longer play Arena, opting instead to just purchase packs.

For months following the expansion, well past the Blackrock Mountain adventure, many were clamoring for a change. With the release of The Grand Tournament, Blizzard did exactly that, but it's still not enough to solve the issue many have with the system.

You're now granted a random pack out of the possible pool (currently Classic, GvG, or TGT) which at the very least gives you a shot at any pack, but it's still discouraging for those that need packs of a specific variety. Just because I need Grand Tournament packs doesn't mean I should have to opt into buying them for 100 gold outright and forfeit the potential rewards. To many it makes more sense to play Arena, have an experience out of the norm, earn the packs that they would be buying anyways, and even get a shot at earning back their entry price with a good enough record.

It was last December, just after the release of GvG that Blizzard Community Manager Zeriyah first commented on why Blizzard doesn't give anyone a choice.

@bdbrode @CM_Zeriyah @CM_Whirthun I waiting for some response. Why not let we choose which pack we'll receive in arena?
@AndreyLabanca @bdbrode @CM_Whirthun New players will want new packs, also won't know what's in each pack. Also UI can get messy over time.

@CM_Zeriyah @bdbrode @CM_Whirthun I'm a new player and I do not want GvG ONLY. If there players who want both then let them choose, no?
@AndreyLabanca @bdbrode @CM_Whirthun It's not just about new players, but it is a part of it. UI can get messy with more packs in the future

@CM_Zeriyah @bdbrode @CM_Whirthun Give a pack token for shop OR "choose reward" in configs (by default newer pack). Its simple (Im a coder)
@AndreyLabanca @bdbrode @CM_Whirthun It may be easy to code, but the player experience is also important, both for the short and long term.


And to this day that ideal still stands.

Ben Brode's admittance that new players need a way at getting their collections caught up which doesn't require them to suffer for months on end until they do so is great news. Perhaps that means our Arena wishes will soon be granted, or we could just see more rewards like the weekly Tavern Brawl pack. While that will inevitably be great for players on both sides of the coin there's always going to be the group that simply wishes they could play Arena without any drawbacks.