[Updated on September 1]
The time has come for the new Hearthstone reality to set in - one where some of the shop offers look seemingly different, with a new Runestone icon attached to various purchases, and one where you can no longer enjoy a choice of 4 Battlegrounds Heroes just by using accumulated in-game gold; now it's just cash-only.
It's not what everyone wants to hear with a new major patch in town, naturally; and so besides the inevitable bitterness at these stated facts, we could also talk about all the other upsides coming to our game clients as of right now. For there are many, even if they've been overshadowed by the former regrettable news.
The current major 24.2 Patch update is largely all about putting a fresh coat of paint on the Battlegrounds experience, as you might already know from all the coverage we had going on over the past week. But that's not everything there is, as we've also got a small amount of Mercenaries balance and a few other features, changes, or improvements to talk about.
To begin with, prepare for a rather hefty download. As is always the case, the patch hit the Battle.net desktop clients first; yet it looks like the mobile storefronts might have already caught up. If you had auto-updates disabled, you may need to choose to run the process manually (if you are logged out of the game you might be required to do so before being able to enter the tavern again, anyway).
Remember, if you update your desktop client but not the mobile application and then log in, you might not be able to launch the latter afterwards. And vice versa, until all devices are synced to share the same game version.
Quote From DeckTechFor major patches the mobile patch always comes a few hours after the desktop patch. And yes, that's by design.
Update: Apparently, there was barely any delay when it comes to mobile versions becoming available (with Android and iOS confirmed in less than an hour), but do mind that they are only voluntary updates for the time being - you'll have to manually navigate to your storefront and prompt the patch download. Otherwise, it'll probably take a few hours before you are not able to log in on the older client version and will be 'forced' to update when attempting to enter the game.
It would seem that this new timeline of "faster mobile updates" might just be intended:
Quote From DeckTechTeam is experimenting with launching mobile closer to PC. I haven’t gotten the “all clear” yet, but this does roughly align with today’s intended timing.
As for our detailed patch overview, it only makes sense to start with the biggest change of them all:
Hearthstone Battlegrounds Season 2 - Rewards Track, Season Pass, Quests Mechanic, Various Changes
We've already covered pretty much anything and everything on this particular subject, so if you'd like to refresh your memory or catch up on the crucial details:
- All Hearthstone Battlegrounds Changes and Updates for Patch 24.2 - Minions, Heroes, Systems, Monetization
- 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
As has become a small tradition this year, Hearthstone has also released a semi-trailer to hype up and go over this brave new Battlegrounds world:
Following the arrival of the special Rewards Track and Season Pass, it'll be time to make some calls. Play casually and don't worry about it in the slightest, or decide whether it's worth a greater financial investment if Battlegrounds is your prime game mode of choice for Hearthstone. There are arguments both for and against, especially if you don't approve of the current decision to paywall the extra hero selection slots. The proverbial "voting with your vallets" might just decide the future here.
Gameplay-wise, it's going to take a good amount of time to test all possible Quests & Rewards combinations, see how well the new minions stack up against the rest, or practice your APM (Actions Per Minute) count if you attempt to climb above 10 Gold with Pirates.
It's worth noting that Hearthstone Battlegrounds designer, Mitchell Loewen, has set up an extensive Twitter thread (well before the patch) in which he has been answering various questions regarding all these new mechanics. Once the patch launched and players had a chance to see the new content in action, he has also added another one to talk about the early Quests impressions. Everyone's feedback is most welcome!
Quote From Mitchell LoewenBGs gameplay clarifications for 24.2!
(I will keep updating this thread as much as I can)
Runestones - The New Game Currency
Another substantial change in how various purchases will be handled from now on, both in-game and on the Battle.net shop. This one remains controversial, as people are wary of 'having to pay more', not being able to use the exact sum they might want, or just simply not happy about the added confusion such converted currency brings about as a whole.
Quote From BlizzardRunestones will be replacing real money purchases for nearly every product in the Hearthstone shop. Some products, like Pre-Purchase Bundles, the Hearthstone Tavern Pass, and Packs (purchasing more than one at a time) will be able to be purchased with money or Runestones. A few other select products, like packs and cosmetics crafted in the Collection, will remain purchasable with only Gold.
With Runestones we’ll be able to offer additional smaller-scale items, such as the individual Battlegrounds Hero Skins offered in the shop with this patch. Runestones will be available in bundles of various sizes, including quantities that correspond to our major products (like the Battlegrounds Season Pass), so you can buy exactly the quantity needed for that product or you can stock up on more for later. No product costs are changing with this conversion—all prices are staying the same, just converted to Runestones.
In this particular case, pictures might say a whole lot more than words, and seeing as Blizzard conveniently went back and updated one of their blog posts, we have just that at hand:
* prices reflect USD (Source)
And no, there are currently no plans for the Runestones to be earnable through any in-game activities or quests. Apparently, they also cannot be gifted to anyone (but you can still purchase various products and send them to other people).
Constructed Hearthstone - More Card Nerfs in the Near Future
There isn't anything happening for Standard or Wild with this major update alone - perhaps not surprisingly, as we saw a significant Constructed balance patch take place just 2 weeks ago (for what it's worth, the dust refunds for these card nerfs appear to still be in effect). But we've also already been given a heads up on what to expect relatively soon:
Quote From Aleco
We're going to be making some Standard balance adjustments soon. Next patch will likely be more nerf focused than the previous one and might include some neutral cards. We'll be locking in our changes this Friday, and the patch will go live ~1 week after that.
Hearthstone Mercenaries - Balance Changes
There isn't much to talk about here, and we've already announced what was coming a little while ago. If you'd like to find it all in one place, with convenient icons on display:
If there is any main theme in there, it'd be a couple of abilities turning towards the Holy spell school tag, and several Beast-adjacent options receiving improvements.
On a side note, don't forget that the special limited-time C'thun event for the game mode is still ongoing! You have exactly a week left to get it all done:
- Special Limited-Time C'thun Event for Hearthstone Mercenaries Is Now Under Way - The Final Old God Emerges
A change we didn't know we needed? In any case, now we will be able to see it all, even the very bottom pit of the Legend ranks. Not everything has been updated yet and it's hard to tell how long it might take, but on the Leaderboards site you can already see that the Ranked Seasons now go by their assigned numbers - no more year and month.
Quote From BlizzardHearthstone 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!
Don't forget to brag about your achieved rank once you get the opportunity, now with solid proof and everything!
Feature Update: In-Game Reporting
Another feature that's been a long time coming, and one that also has already been delayed (as originally it was meant to arrive with the Murder at Castle Nathria). We'll probably have a chance to look into it in more detail soon.
Quote From BlizzardIn-game player reporting is now live for all players. You can now report friends, current opponents, and past opponents from the friends list menu. Grounds for reporting include inappropriate names, inappropriate chats, and inappropriate gameplay. Now we can all work together to make sure the tavern is a safe and inviting place for everybody to play!
There will undoubtedly be some confusion and a lot of questions about this one, and Celestalon was already on point answering some of them.
Quote From CelestalonAt long last, In-Game Reporting is finally here! You can report people that you've recently interacted with, or are friends with, for Inappropriate Name, Inappropriate Chat, or Cheating. (And no, intentionally losing still isn't an actionable offense.)
The early concerns are more than understandable, but hopefully it shouldn't lead to any unrightful bans or other abusive actions.
Improved In-Game Messaging & External Blizzard Links
We've finally learned what a certain mysterious line showing up in the 22.4 Patch Notes was supposed to be all about, with one of the new in-game notifications (found upon entering Battlegrounds for the first time after the client update) indirectly answering our question:
Quote From BlizzardImproved in-game messaging capabilities.
By clicking on the 'Learn More' button, we get sent directly to the Blizzard blog post on the subject of Battlegrounds Quests. Our game client becomes minimized as the relevant page opens up in the browser - be mindful that there is no warning nor any confirmation being provided as to what's going to happen, which can certainly take players by surprise the first time around. Celestalon, Hearthstone Features Lead, chose to elaborate on the topic:
Quote From CelestalonThis was actually the main thing that the Features team added in 24.2. We can now put these “In-Game Messages” in several more places throughout the client, and include links out to the website! Especially useful to mobile-only players who don’t use the launcher.
And Community Manager Alkali Layke talked a little bit more about the future expected applications:
Quote From AlkaliWill this be able to be used for hotfixes and normal patches too?
We have a button and buttons can do cool things! I don't want to jump ahead of myself though and say what we will use it for in the future, but there's a lot of potential for sure.
While it's not really something those of us who are in the know would ever have much use for, it might just be helpful for the very casual players who never follow any Hearthstone news outside of what's available to them in the game (thus not even being aware of everything that they are missing out on).
Wild Heroic Brawliseum Returns
Another round of Heroic Brawliseum is on the horizon - and this time it's going to be a very Wild edition. Not this week or the next, but you can expect it to arrive by the middle of the month on September 14.
Quote From BlizzardHeroic Brawliseum is returning on September 14, and this time it is taking a walk on the Wild side! Get your best Wild deck together, because for one week you can face stiff competition to earn top prizes! It won’t be easy, but the victors will be greatly rewarded.
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like the ages old reward structure is changing ever again, and we can only dream of receiving a free entry. Which is to say: the Hearthstone 'casino' always wins on average in these cases, siphoning off players' gold or money for debatable 'payoffs'. Attempt this at your own risk. You'll need an extensive collection of Wild cards and a good knowledge of the meta and potential counters in order to come out on top.
Known Issues and Fixes
You know how this story goes by now: new major patch, new issues start popping up. Some fixes follow sooner or later. We have our usual post all set up by now, detailing everything you might wish to be aware of.
For the time being we are dealing with annoying Battlegrounds disconnects, visual glitches of greater variety, and other minor problems. At least the disappearing Weekly Battlegrounds quests should have been returned to their owners.
Hearthstone Shop Updates
As always, new major patch means new deals in the Hearthstone shop (both in-game and on the Battle.net site). Go have a quick look in case there is anything that catches your fancy. Remember, you are now going to see the Runestones icon as the default pricing option, which might be an odd sensation.
Here is a quick sneak peek for the time being:
Battlegrounds follows the route already established by Mercenaries, with its own semi-hub within the client allowing access to various aspects of the game mode - which also means having a separate shop available as an option. You will have to pay for most everything available, but there is currently one Hero skin for Scabbs Cutterbutter that's claimable free of charge.
We'll try to manage to put together another detailed article listing all the new offers and available skins (plus their specific pricing) at a later date.
We'll keep updating this post with more information as we continue exploring this new Battlegrounds/Runestones reality of Hearthstone, so make sure to check back later! What's going to be your first order of business with this major patch? Is the new Rewards Track/Season Pass for Hearthstone Battlegrounds a good deal in your eyes, or it's a full dismissal for now, if not forever?
Are some of the battlegrounds hero skins available outside battlegrounds? I mean, by unlocking them in the battlegrounds season reward track.
So if I had the tavern pass for battlegrounds (due to buying season pass for normal hearthstone) I have to lose it now?
I was able to play with 4 heroes the past month this expansion and now I lost the ability to do it because of the update. Seems very unfair that they are taking back something I bought as a part of another package.
Is this how it was supposed to work? :/
I believe the former Battlegrounds Perks weren't available as part of the Castle Nathria pre-purchase bundle anymore, so what you had active was actually dating back all the way to Voyage to the Sunken City (you can compare the pre-orders here and here). So basically got an extra month of it available compared to before (I was in the exact same situation).
It ended up working out this way due to them now separating Battlegrounds Seasons from expansion releases.
Maybe you should emphasize that there is one free skin in Battlegrounds shop (not regular shop)
Mhm, I've added a relevant paragraph now. Battlegrounds seems to be heading the route of Mercenaries here.
Update(-s): As has become our little patch day tradition, I've been adding more sections (on Constructed Hearthstone, In-Game Messaging Options, Heroic Brawliseum, etc.), updating the existing ones with more context, developer quotes, and images, plus the overall extra polish. And will likely continue to do so as this month comes to an end.
It's always quite hectic on the patch days when we don't really have full information on everything until we've been able to scour the game client, social media, and actually play some games. You never know what might come up when Blizzard's communications sometimes resemble trying to collect and fit various puzzle pieces.
P.S. And the dust refunds were apparently active for the extra ~24 hours. Gotta love the random extensions.
So new patch new bugs, one especially big one because it appears that the xp bonus from the tavern pass is noticeably gone. Apparently just a visual bug, but it does make playing hearthstone today look less enticing.
If this isnt another big indication on why they should just split BG away from hearthstone I dont know what is. A big patch that has absolutely nothing to do with regular hearthstone inevitably added more bugs into it.
Whoever they got to do the maths for Runestones costs really hates people buying in bulk (or loves ripping them off). In USD you lose a few cents for the higher quantities, but in Sterling (UK) you lose whole pounds, even just for buying 1000 instead of 2x500. That's a hefty price just for convenience...
Thankfully I'm pretty much done with purchasing things in this game and have been playing sub-F2P this expansion (not even using half the gold earned on the Sunken City rewards track on packs). For as long as we can still use gold on packs and minisets, I should be good to just ignore Runestones.
I can confirm a similar setup for the Canadian store: the 500-stone package is the most affordable value. Either you're saving 1 whole cent (sarcastic wow!) on the 2000- and the 8000-stone packages, or you're losing up to 50 cents on the other packages.
I can see two possible reasons for this situation:
Either way, it does not reflect well on Blizzard, and by extension, this whole initiative.
Alternatively, someone on reddit evoked the idea that this is a deliberate psychological trick: "Haha, Blizzard is so dumb," you think to yourself. "I'm going to stock up on 500-stone packages and save so much!" thereby incentivizing you to buy more stuff with that "free" money. I don't think that's the case, otherwise you would see the same situation with the "major" currencies (USD and euro), and not just with the regional ones.
Or you just take the official explaination: They wanted to keep the prices for the current products.
a 4.99$ bundle now costs 500 Runestones which can be bought for 4.99$
a 9.99$ bundle now costs 1000 Runestones which can be bought for 9.99$
The problem here obviously is that it's cheaper to buy the 500 Runestone bundle multiple times, however this is unavoidable with the previously mentioned goal in mind. Now add currency exchange into this mix and the gap becomes bigger in some countries than in others. The only way around this would be to sell these Runestone Bundles for a flat 5$ and 10$ or for 4.99$ and 9.98$, but both of these would change the actual prices of the products
The size of the gap doesn't grow simply with currency conversion. The 1 cent difference between 2x500 and 1000 in USD grows to £1.01 in the UK (500 -> £3.99 while 1000 -> £8.99), and I'm pretty sure $1 =/= £101.
Whatever they did to set the numbers in the UK, they really need to re-evaluate it. What on Earth can have happened that meant 1000 runestones didn't cost £7.99?
That certainly does defy the usual logic where you can often/always expect a discount for purchasing things in larger quantities all at once. I probably shouldn't be surprised they are bad at conversion rates for anything that isn't USD, as Blizzard has never cared to adjust their prices to various regional specifications. Still, this could be also worth reporting somewhere official.
I'm in the same boat when it comes to Runestones (didn't even look how that applies to my local currency, it's not great with dollars and euro as is), they'd need to start offering far more generous deals to tempt me further.
Looks like Sottle is already on it for the Brits, and after seeing reports from Brazil and other places in the world, the issue seems fairly widespread. Of course that's not even mentioning that skins apparently cost 150 runestones, so having to buy the 500 bundle for them wouldn't quite add up.
That's a fairly common tactic used throughout history, and in our maligned industry its standard practice. Give a man enough rope and he'll hang himself.
I remember someone from the team twitting about how they "designed" the bundles specifically to avoid this "you have some currency left so you spend more" thing they always do.
Seems it wasn't that trustworthy
Are you talking about this?
"We've chosen Runestone bundle sizes to exactly match the top selling products, and minimize wasted Runestones."
I'd say this was pretty accurate. As of right now there are only 3 extremely specific purchases you can't make without having excess Runestones(assuming that you buy the 500 Runestone Bundle).
I believe it was about this one:
Could be considered a little awkward in retrospect. And you'd be surprised how many people I've already seen talking about how they used to grab Arena tickets for cash!
Patch also bugged out the existing rewards track, any % Exp bonuses you had earned on the track are gone now.
As far as we've heard, this is just a visual bug (the bonus XP still applies even if it's not being displayed).
that's confirmed to be a purely visual bug