#1 - April 23, 2024, 4:55 p.m.
Blizzard Post

The following is being posted on behalf of Aleco Pors, Final Design Lead.

Hey everyone!

We’ve got a really big balance patch planned for later this week, with changes to around 30 cards, including buffs and nerfs—and a few Wild changes. Since this patch has different goals from most other patches, I’d like to provide you all with some more context as to what we’re thinking and how we got here.

In this patch, we are attempting to address issues which have cropped up with the overall health of Standard, as opposed to correcting issues with the health of the specific meta like we normally do. Alarm bells started to go off within the design team when we noticed that the power level of Hearthstone didn’t seem to drop much (if at all) after the recent annual rotation. This sparked a lot of internal discussion about certain gameplay patterns in the current meta – particularly hyper-efficient AoE board clears, “OTK” style decks that lack sufficient counterplay, and powerful Legendary cards like Zarimi, Reno Lone Ranger, and Wheel of Death, which tend to either end the game on the spot or create such a dramatic swing in the game state that the game can feel like it is effectively over. While these cards are a lot of fun for the players playing with them, it was clear that those playing against these cards often felt they had little agency in their ability to affect the outcome of the game.

Increasing the overall feeling of player agency is our key focus with this patch, and it will continue to be our key focus in future patches until it feels like the trend of powerful low-agency cards and archetypes has been reversed. We think it’s fine for there to be exciting, dreamy, and lower-agency cards in the game, but not if they’re also the most powerful cards in the game.

In the latest expansion, too many of these lower-agency designs were allowed to become powerful meta contenders. As the lead of Final Design, it’s ultimately my responsibility to make sure that doesn’t happen. We hope that this upcoming patch will be a big step towards course-correcting a few of these mistakes, and that by closely monitoring feedback from our players after big changes like this, the game will be a great spot for future expansions in the Year of the Pegasus.

-Aleco, Final Design Lead