I love Hearthstone. I really enjoy the F2P CCG model, and I’ve been mostly F2P for a year (I splurged for Naxx and BRM), and with diligent play I’ve got a pretty good collection of legendaries and can play most decks I want to. However, a player entering the field now is going to quickly find themselves outclassed. New players are key to the success of any game. How can we help new players have fun, without making changes that alienate older players? Here’s three ideas that might work.
One: Casual Matchmaking
Any update to the Casual matchmaking algorithm that would take things like collection size and length of play (especially at smaller values) to make sure newbies get to play against each other more often would be a good thing. Everyone needs to play against someone more experienced to get better at the game, but most of the time, you want to play a fair game against someone similarly skilled (and with a similar collection.) The best place to do this is the Casual Matchmaking, to put a few tweaks to try to match up new players a little more often.
Two: Purchasable Starter Set
What if you could buy a Starter Set (or two) to get you off on a better footing? I’m thinking something like a copy of every Classic Common card (74), 20 Classic Rares, 4 Classic Epics, and a random neutral Classic Legendary. I don’t know what a good price point for this would be- something affordable enough to encourage it as a launching point in a game, but at a point where experienced players would probably just prefer packs. Something like this would be great for new players to establish the foundations of a collection, and getting a Legendary would whet their appetite for more.
Three: Buff some Basic Cards
Let’s face it, except for some staples, most Basic cards are pretty bad. Buffing Basic Cards would make things just a little more forgiving for new players, and might shake up the meta and make things interesting for seasoned players. It looks like the new Tavern Brawl might be a bit of a testing ground for card buffs, so maybe we’ll see some of these implemented there, and then rolled out into the game at large.
Here’s some specific buffs I had in mind. If I don’t regularly see the card in arena or even occasionally in Ranked mode, it’s on the list.
I think the only time I’ve seen this card on a list is for a janky Heroic Naxx list. Change to add an additional +1 Health.
The Archmage seems like he should give a lot more bang. Make him Spell Power +2 and he’d be a lot more impressive, and Spellpower decks would be more of a thing. Right now the only minion with more than Spell Power +1 is Malygos, so this would make him a budget alternative.
If he were a 5/5, he’d be an interesting alternative to Sludge Belcher. (I think the Belcher would still be better in most situations where you want the taunt. Right now he’s just a little to fragile; most of the time in Arena I’d rather have a Senjin Sheildmasta.
Upgrade to 2/4- I think I’d still rather pack Ogre Magi most of the time, but the power differential wouldn’t be as large, and with BRM, 2/4s are more of a thing. This along with the Archmage boost would probably make us see a lot more spellpower decks, which I think would be interesting.
With Darkbomb being a card, there’s not much reason to play this (and there wasn’t before that.) Reduce the cost to 2, and it becomes a similar effect to Darkbomb, but not strictly worse or better.
Make it a 2/3, so it trades down a little bit better. Anodized Robo Cub is still usually better.
Would this be too good in Control Warrior at +5 attack? I think this would be more viable in a budget warrior deck to replace Shield Slam and deal with pesky Sludge Belchers and other 5 Health Minions.
Increase to a 6/6. Still loses to Boulderfist Ogre, but a little bit more staying power.
Upgrade to 5/2. Seriously, when’s the last time you’ve seen a Magma Rager played. It’s still worse (under most circumstances) than Druid of the Flame, but I can see this being played in aggressive decks, especially in arena.
Upgrade to 5/4, so it can trade with Sludge Belcher or Loatheb. I think the body would still be a little on the weak side, but it would be better to test a small change first.
Raid Leader sometimes provides more attack than Dire Wolf Alpha, but most of the time he’s not worth the extra mana. Boost this guy to a 3/2, and he trades just a little bit better, and would be a more likely pick in Arena.
Make this guy a 2/4. Similar in stats to Ironfur Grizzly, a little bit more suited to trading with weenies. BRM added a lot more 3 cost 2/4s, and this doesn’t seem out of line with them.
Make this summon two wisps that explode when killed… just kidding. But seriously make this like a 7/9 and give it the Mech keyword, and it’s not a terrible card for Arena or a budget finisher.
Hopefully you enjoyed reading this. Would some of these cards be OP? Is there another card in dire need of a buff? What else can we do to help new players experience this awesome game?