Recently, there's been a lot of talk and noise regarding the entire future of Hearthstone Battlegrounds - which is not surprising, considering everything we've learned from the initial announcements. Many players have since reacted with anger, confusion, or disappointment, while only relatively rare voices attempted to show any understanding. The current concerns are not likely to die down anytime soon - be it over a new take on special currency via Runestones, or the far more controversial shift towards locking the '2 extra heroes selection' behind the paid Rewards Track (with gold suddenly losing a lot of value for the game mode).
The so called "p2w" (pay to win) element is an unfortunate addition to what was otherwise the pride of the "free to play" Hearthstone system - as long as you were only focused on this one game mode and didn't care to save your gold for packs or Arena/Duels runs, at least. It's even more unfortunate as it's pretty much took over the ongoing discussion, while overshadowing any other changes and updates coming to Battlegrounds as soon as August 30. Various additions and improvements, which, for the most part, are looking pretty exciting and interesting.
If you've missed any of the previous coverage on the subject:
- All New Content, Special Rewards Track & Season Pass Coming to Battlegrounds
- Detailed Look at Quests, New Gameplay Mechanic for Hearthstone Battlegrounds
- All Quest Types and Two New Heroes
- Collected Quest Rewards Reveals
- Final Reveals and an Interview with Hearthstone Battlegrounds Developers
With the patch notes being released this early by Blizzard, we can focus on the core part of the game that still remains very familiar - even if it's going to mean choosing only from 2 Heroes at the start of the game for many of us. Having full access to our stats and warbands free of charge now might seem like a small consolation.
Hearthstone Battlegrounds - Major Patch 24.2
As noted before, expect everything below to go live on Tuesday, August 30. Likely at or around 10:00 Pacific (13:00 EST, 19:00 CET). And we'll most likely sound the horn once that day arrives. For the time being, we get to learn the full extent of all upcoming adjustments to minions and their tribes, the impact of the new Quests mechanic, the separate XP system for the game mode, and everything else there is:
Quote From Blizzard
Battlegrounds Season 2 is Here!
New Battlegrounds Track, Season Pass, and Battlegrounds Missions
On August 30, Battlegrounds Ratings will reset, and the new season of Battlegrounds will begin. With the new season, Battlegrounds will now have its own Battlegrounds Track, featuring Battlegrounds-specific Rewards you can earn as you play! This Season, the Rewards feature the anime-inspired “Magic of Azeroth” theme.
The Battlegrounds Track features tons of free Battlegrounds rewards, but you can purchase the Season Pass to immediately unlock +2 Hero Choices and the ability to earn even more rewards throughout the season. The Season Pass can be purchased in-game with Runestones, Hearthstone’s new virtual currency. Runestones can be purchased through both the in-game shop and the Battlenet web shop, once Patch 24.2 goes live. During the transition period for this first season, the Season Pass can also be purchased with money directly, either in-game or through the Battlenet web shop.
Earn your Rewards even faster by completing new Battlegrounds Missions. Battlegrounds Missions are like Battlegrounds-specific Weekly Quests that grant a lot more Battlegrounds XP. These will be offered in addition to the normal Hearthstone Daily and Weekly Quests that all players will continue to get. You get three Battlegrounds Missions per week. They can be re-rolled and they are automatically banked until the end of the Season if you don’t complete them right away.
You can learn more about the Battlegrounds Track, the Season Pass, Runestones, and Battlegrounds Missions, including everything that’s including in the Battlegrounds Track and Season Pass, in the Season 2 Announcement Blog.
New Gameplay Mechanic: Quests
Season 2 will also introduce a new game mechanic to Battlegrounds: Quests! Like the traditional Hearthstone Quests and Questlines, Battlegrounds Quests require you to meet a particular condition in order to earn a reward that will empower you for the rest of the game.
In Battlegrounds, Quests have their own unique twist. Instead of starting the game with your Quest, your Quest options will appear on turn 4 (the 6 Gold turn). And instead of getting the same Quest and Quest Reward every game, you pick them from three options at that time. You are choosing both your Quest and the Reward for completing it as a pair, so choose carefully! Once you complete your quest, you automatically receive your Reward.
There are about 13 different Quest options and 24 different Reward options that are available in any given game (certain Quests and Rewards are blocked from particular lobbies or Heroes to prevent unwanted synergies).
The Quest options represent the baseline requirements you will need to complete in order to receive your Reward (subject to some adjustments, discussed below):
- Invite the Guests: Buy 7 minions.
- Dust for Prints: Add 15 cards to your hand.
- Cry for Help: Play 6 Battlecry minions.
- Witness Protection: Have a friendly Taunt minion be attacked 8 times.
- Exhume the Bones: Trigger 6 friendly Deathrattles.
- Track the Footprints: Have Bob’s Tavern Refresh 10 times.
- Assemble a Lineup: Summon 14 minions.
- Unmask the Culprit: Lose or tie 3 combats.
- Find the Murder Weapon: Increase a minion’s stats 15 times.
- Reenact the Murder: Have 18 friendly minions die.
- Sort It All Out: Order your minions from lowest to highest Attack for 4 combats.
- Follow the Money: Spend 25 Gold.
- Unlikely Duo: Play 5 minions from a minion type or another minion type.*
* In-game, this will choose two minion types that are legal for that game and list them. For example, “Play 5 Beasts or Demons.”
These are the types of Rewards you can earn for completing your Quests:
- Snicker Snacks: At the end of your turn, 2 friendly minions trigger their Battlecries.
- Stolen Gold: Start of Combat: Make your left and right-most minions Golden.
- Evil Twin: Start of Combat: Summon a copy of your highest-Health minion.
- Ritual Dagger: After a friendly Deathrattle minion dies, give it +4/+4 permanently.
- Anima Bribe: After you sell a minion, give its stats to a minion in Bob’s Tavern.
- Devils in the Details: End of Turn: Your left and right-most minions consume a minion in Bob’s Tavern.
- The Smoking Gun: Your minions have +5 Attack.
- Cooked Book: After you buy a minion, give it +1/+1 and upgrade this.
- Mirror Shield: After each Refresh, give a minion in Bob’s Tavern +4/+4 and Divine Shield.
- Secret Sinstone: After you Discover a card, get an extra copy of it.
- Ghastly Mask: Add ‘[a random “end of turn minion”]’ to your hand. Your end of turn effects trigger twice.
- Theotar’s Parasol: At the end of your turn, give your right-most minion Stealth until next turn and +8 Health.
- Teal Tiger Sapphire: Minions in Bob’s Tavern have +1/+1 for each time it was Refreshed this turn.
- Red Hand: At the start of your turn, give a minion in your hand +12/+12.
- Victim’s Specter: After each combat, get a plain copy of the last friendly minion that died.
- Hidden Body: Discover a minion of your Tavern Tier. (Can be earned endlessly!)
- Tiny Henchman: At the end of your turn, give +2/+2 to 3 friendly minions of Tier 3 or below.
- Yogg-tastic Tasties: At the start of your turn, spin the Wheel of Yogg-Saron.
- Wondrous Wisdomball: Occasionally gives helpful Refreshes.
- Staff of Origination: Start of Combat: Give your minions +15/+15.
- Alter Ego: Even Tier minions in Bob’s Tavern have +6/+6 (Swaps to Odd next turn!)
- The Friends Along the Way: At the start of your turn, get 2 random [random minion type].
- Pilfered Lamps: You only need 2 copies of a minion to make it Golden.
- Menagerie Mayham: At the end of your turn, give your minions +1 Attack for each friendly minion type.
The Quests and Rewards are randomly paired together. The numbers in these Quests vary based on which Reward they are paired with, based on how juicy the Reward is. The less powerful Rewards will make your Quest easier to complete and the more powerful Rewards will make the Quest harder to complete. There are also small adjustments based on your hero’s Armor Tier (slightly harder for heroes with less Armor, slightly easier for heroes with more Armor).
Battlegrounds Quests will last until the end of Season 2. You can learn more about Battlegrounds Quests and Quest Rewards in the Battlegrounds Quests Mechanic blog.
- Turn 4 (the 6 Gold turn) will have its turn time slightly extended to account for the new Quest mechanic.
- Players can now exceed 10 Gold when selling minions or otherwise gaining Gold during the shop phase. The start-of-turn maximum is still 10 Gold.
- Battlegrounds-exclusive Weekly Quests (like “Finish Top 4 in Battlegrounds”) have been removed from the general Weekly Quests rotation and converted into Battlegrounds Missions. Other Daily and Weekly Quests that can be completed across Modes can still be completed in Battlegrounds or other Modes.
- Celebrate Season 2 with a chain of three Legendary Quests that award new Battlegrounds cosmetics.
Murloc Holmes (Armor Tier 2)
- Detective For Hire
- [0 Gold] Look at 2 minions. Guess which one your next opponent had last combat for a Coin.
Sire Denathrius (Armor Tier 1)
- Passive. At the start of the game, choose one of two Quests.
- Dev Comment: This is in addition to the Quest that all players automatically get. Sire Denathrius can have two Quests at once.
These two new heroes will be offered in every lobby for the first two weeks following the patch.
Rakinishu (Tavern Lightning)
- Old: [2 Gold] Give a friendly minion stats equal to your Tavern Tier. → New: [1 Gold] Give a minion stats equal to its Tavern Tier.
- Moved to Armor Tier 3.
Patchwerk (All Patched Up)
- Old: Passive. Start with 55 Health instead of 40. → New: Passive. Start with 60 Health instead of 40.
- Moved to Armor Tier 2.
Vanndarr Stormpike (Lead the Stormpikes)
- Redesigned: Passive. Avenge (2): Give your minions +1 Health permanently.
- Moved to Armor Tier 1.
Drek’Thar (Lead the Frostwolves)
- Redesigned: Passive. Avenge (3): Give your minions +1 Attack permanently.
- Moved to Armor Tier 2.
Aranna Starseeker (Spectral Sight)
- Bob’s Tavern will now always replenish to 7 minions, such as after buying a minion.
Fungalmancer Flurgl (Gone Fishing)
- Redesigned: Passive. After you sell 4 minions, get a random Murloc.
- Moved to Armor Tier 2.
Skycap’n Kragg (Piggy Bank)
- No text change, but the piggy bank can now store over 10 Gold.
- (Westfall) Old: Passive. In 1 turn, give your left-most minion +2 Attack. → New: Passive. In 1 turn, give your left-most minion +2/+1.
- (Eastern Plaguelands) Old: Passive. In 5 turns, your next Tavern Tier upgrade costs (5) less. → New: Passive. In 5 turns, your next Tavern Tier upgrade costs (6) less.
Picky Eater [Tavern Tier 1, Demon]
- 1 Attack, 1 Health. Battlecry: Consume a random minion in Bob’s Tavern to gain its stats.
Mind Muck [Tavern Tier 2, Demon]
- 3 Attack, 2 Health. Battlecry: Choose a friendly Demon. It consumes a minion in Bob’s Tavern to gain its stats.
- Dev Comment: The consumed minion is randomly chosen.
Piggyback Imp [Tavern Tier 2, Demon]
- 4 Attack, 1 Health. Deathrattle: Summon a 4/1 Imp.
Nether Drake [Tavern Tier 2, Dragon]
- 0 Attack, 5 Health. At the end of your turn, give your Dragons +1 Attack.
Amber Guardian [Tavern Tier 3, Dragon]
- 3 Attack, 2 Health. Start of Combat: Give another friendly Dragon +3/+3 and Divine Shield.
Legion Overseer [Tavern Tier 3, Demon]
- 4 Attack, 4 Health. Minions in Bob’s Tavern have +2/+2.
First Mate Pip [Tavern Tier 3, Pirate]
- 5 Attack, 4 Health. You only need 2 of these to make a Golden copy.
Treasure-Seeker Elise [Tier 4]
- 5 Attack, 5 Health. After you Refresh 5 times, find the Golden Monkey.
- Golden Monkey [Tavern Tier 1] 6 Attack, 6 Health. Taunt.
- Dev Comment: When the Golden Monkey is “found,” it appears in Bob’s Tavern. The Golden Monkey is always Golden and gives you a Triple reward when played.
Rendle the Mistermind [Tavern Tier 4]
- 4 Attack, 5 Health. At the end of your turn, steal the highest Tier minion from Bob’s Tavern.
Tortollan Blue Shell [Tavern Tier 5]
- 4 Attack, 7 Health. If you lost your last combat, this minion sells for 5 Gold.
Tea Master Theotar [Tavern Tier 6]
- 6 Attack, 6 Health. After you play a minion with no minion type, give 3 friendly minions of different types +2/+2.
- Toxfin is returned to the minion pool.
- Kooky Chemist, Steward of Time, Bublette, Silverback Patriarch, Icky Imp, Nathrezim Overseer, Soul Devourer, Briny Bootlegger, Shifter Zerus, Cobalt Scalebane, Witchwing Nestmatron, Mythrax the Unraveler, and SI:Sefin have all been removed from the minion pool.
- Impulsive Trickster
- Old: [Tavern Tier 1] 2 Attack, 2 Health → New: [Tavern Tier 2] 2 Attack, 3 Health
- Old: [Tavern Tier 2] 3 Attack, 3 Health → New: [Tavern Tier 1] 2 Attack, 2 Health
- Drakonid Enforcer
- Old: [Tavern Tier 3] 2 Attack, 4 Health → New: [Tavern Tier 4] 3 Attack, 7 Health
There is also a bit more that's still going to be relevant to the game mode:
Quote From Blizzard
Runestones are Hearthstone’s new virtual currency. You can purchase Runestones with money and then use them just like you would use money for almost all Hearthstone products, across all modes. The costs of products aren’t changing, their prices are just being converted to Runestones. One benefit of this changes is that it allows us to offer smaller-scale items in the shop, like individual Skins or Battlegrounds Emotes, that would previously have had to have been bundled together with other items.
Hearthstone leaderboards are getting an update! The leaderboards for Standard, Wild, Classic, Battlegrounds, and Mercenaries will now have live updates (currently, they refresh in intervals of 5-10 minutes). All leaderboards will also now select from Season number (like Battlegrounds currently does), instead of a month and year. Finally, there’s no longer a limit to how many people can be shown on those leaderboards. For Standard, Wild, and Classic, this means that all Legend-rank players will be listed. You’re all leaderboard finishers in our book!
Bug Fixes and Game Improvements
- The Relics of the Deep Battlegrounds Hero Power can no longer be used when you already have a full hand.
With the valid concerns regarding this iteration of Hearthstone Battlegrounds in mind, how do you like the upcoming core adjustments to the existing gameplay?
Ill just change my Tavern pass out with BG pass. not gonna pay for both every 4 month thats for sure.
"Many players have since reacted with anger, confusion, or disappointment..."
You just described every update to Hearthstone.
Hah, I wouldn't call most of them nearly as divisive. This rivals the controversy and outrage of the original Rewards Track implementation.
greed like this is precisely why ive spent no more than 20 dollars on this game ever since blizzard first started going to shit (prob around 3-4 years of daily play). activision-"blizzard" is going to keep pushing more aggressive monetization until either people stop buying into it or the game chokes and dies. but given how much money they've made off diablo immortal so far, it seems most consumers dont care enough about the quality of the product to not feed into these god awful practices.
please for the love of god vote with your wallets
I am voting with my wallet - I see no problem with their new monetization scheme. I was already paying real money for 4 heroes, and I'm happy to keep doing so. No has yet articulated their issue with the changes other than "I wanted to free-ride forever!"
people arent saying they want a free ride, they want to be able to earn their battlegrounds advantage by playing the game instead of being forced to pay money. blizzard makes more than enough off of battlegrounds cosmetics, there is literally zero reason for them to charge money for an inherent advantage over your opponents, especially when you could get it free up until this point. stop simping for multi-billion dollar corporations, its people like you that will happily hand their money over completely satisfied having features put behind a paywall for no reason other than greed that are leading to more developers putting more micro transactions in their games.
again, this is a multi-BILLION dollar corporation that is already making millions off the game, they dont need the extra money, they're choosing to charge because they know people like you will still gobble it up.
Where are you getting your data that they make "more than enough" off of cosmetics? I have no reason to believe that's true, and lots of reasons to believe it's false (Kibler's commentary on monetization, for example).
i dont need a writeup of their quarterly earnings (which were 280 million net income and 1.64 billion in revenue just in the second quarter of 2022 BTW) to see that cosmetics are making money. you see them all the time while playing the game, blizzard is constantly releasing more of them and they're not cheap. obviously they wouldnt be making more of them if they werent making money.
with all of that being said, there are plenty of AAA games that bring in millions of dollars annually that charge exclusively for cosmetic items and allow players to earn anything that would give them a major advantage in the game. its literally been the standard free to play model for online games as a whole for years, and consumers get (rightfully) upset when companies try to kneecap that model in order to push players to spend money on the game (e.g. diablo immortal).
even with all of this being said, my baseline argument is still that this company makes an impossible to comprehend amount of money and there is no universe where a company that wealthy NEEDS to lock non-cosmetics behind a paywall in their free-to-play game. they're not struggling, they just want more and we dont have to give it to them.
I know we've all heard Dean say that Hearthstone is a "platform" and not just one game, but this patch really makes Battlegrounds feel like a separate game.
I think it's time to split them.
You know what at the very least if they want to lock the ability to pick between 4 heroes behind a paywall, the least they can do is properly balance all of them. I'm liking the changes that they did so far, but they need to do it more constantly.
I also like the new hero designs and reworks. They're a lot more interesting than how they did heroes before.
Still really bummed down for runestones though. Won't be surprised if there's going to be an exodus of players because of this.
So if I've gathered everything correctly...
This game now has lootboxes (like they always have), 2 entire season rewards subscriptions, and a premium currency to obfuscate that you're paying for gambling and will probably be priced just right so that you always have to pay for more than what you need because it's purchased in bundles, on top of the incredibly obvious power creep that they stopped pretending like they care about, because games being decided on turn 3 is "fun".
I... I think I'm done... I think I'm done with this game... We can't keep pretending like this game doesn't treat us like garbage...
The BG season 2 announcement post got updated with more details about Runestones btw.
Can’t wait for things to cost 750 runestones
Judging by how they did it with diablo immortal, most of the best products would probably be about 100-200 runestones off the 500 round number. There's probably ways to earn these in-game, in such a way to encourage spending. I dont think we'll see those 50 runestone fuckyou deals but who can say, its certainly not beyond them at this point.
I think I've seen somewhere a graphic with runestones bundles and they were indeed the exact amounts you need to buy certain things, like preorder bundles etc
but how that will actually turn out only time will tell, it's blizzard in the end
They already mentioned that there will be no way to earn runestones in game, which sucks of course.
lol, well there goes all those hopes and dreams.
After last week discussions I changed my mind. 4 hero choice is a small edge, one you can make if f2p-players have to earn it with gold. It also feels like fun is being taken from f2p-players, so I understand the frustration.
I wonder how this turns out in the long run, because we dont have actual stats about playerbase and players with tavern passes.
I wonder if we need better terminology than what "F2P" and "P2W" entail. Usually when I hear that something is "pay to win", I imagine that if I want to pay a few dollars per month then I'll lose to the person who drops $1000 on it. In this case, that's not true. There is a cost, and it does give you an advantage, but you can't just keep paying to progress. One minor (but real) boost for a minor cost, and that's all.
I think this could be a very healthy model. Games need people to pay for them, and the free tier is there to help bring in customers. In most F2P games, that's become a predatory system where they hope to find whales who will sink hundreds or thousands of dollars per year. In this case, I believe they max you out at $4/month. They're not trying to manipulate anyone into maxing out their credit card. That actually sounds great to me.
We need to call things what they are. Free Battlegrounds is a demo mode, perfect for new or casual players. If you play a lot, then the full game costs $4/month, and you have no worries that someone else can beat you by spending more. That sounds great! But Blizzard is unwilling to call it that, because they (correctly) fear the revolt that will happen if they say the free mode is only supposed to be casual. A side effect of all the manipulation from F2P games over the years is that many people have learned that these games should be free. And since Battlegrounds started out free, Blizzard has done nothing to prepare anyone for this approach.
I also think this is what 'corporate' wants and not the devs.
How many times content was cut for DLC?