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Chaos is a Ladder: A Critical Look at Competitive Hearthstone

Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:00 pm

Blizzard's ambitions for Hearthstone now seem to include redefining the English language itself. We understand the word "ladder" to mean different things: a climbing aid and a game ranking.

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Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:33 pm

I've made legend 3-4 times. And of those times I only tried once to get high legend. I was able to get into the top 100 at the end of the month. It's not that hard to get legend. It just takes time. And that is the biggest hurdle. For those who wonder how "Pro" players are able to get legend every month with relative ease, it's not that hard when you play the game for a living and are able to sink 4-5 hours/day on the game.

The grind to legend from rank 5 to legend is pretty brutal. Everyone is playing good decks, you have to win more stars per rank to progress to the next level, and you don't get bonus winstreak stars anymore. The easiest fix for this in my mind is to just keep the bonus for winstreaks. The competition is still pretty fierce. There will be more legend players but I think it will still feel like a worthy accomplishment to get legend.

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Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:29 pm

Great assessment, Matt. I think your conclusions about why the ladder has become so absurdly hard is dead-on.

As more middle-of-the pack players realize this, I think HS will start losing its popularity. It may be pretty, but it just isn't fun.

I dropped it months ago and was not trying for Legend by any means. The ladder had become not only harder, but also increasingly boring. The meta becomes set almost immediately after a new expansion is released, and then it stays that way for months. There are easy ways for the devs to change that, but constant meta shifts would also disrupt their desired predictability for top names.

The devs are trying to hedge their randomness at the card level with a narrow, unshifting meta, neither of which is very satisfying (to me).

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