Hearthstone is an unpredictable, chaotic game at the best of times, but the great equaliser has always been it’s Arena mode.
Upon entering, players build an improvised deck, picking one card from three random picks until a full set of 30 is assembled. Blizzard courted controversy in their latest expansion by limiting your first two picks to a much narrower band of potentially deck-defining ‘synergy’ cards, a move which has been broadly criticised by players. It seems the response has been negative enough for Blizzard to fold, and announce that the Arena is returning to its randomised roots in the next major patch.
The Arena is the equaliser. Beyond, you’ll need a good deck – our guide may help.
The fundamental critique of the synergy system was that it forced players into far more narrow deck-building choices. Having taken a card early on that only becomes more powerful with other similar minions in play, you have the unenviable choice of doubling down constantly on that choice and seeking out similar matches in your other picks, or considering your synergy draw a loss. It was as much a psychological limitation as numerical, but that’s half of the spirit of card games to begin with.
In a game as strongly community-driven as Hearthstone, it’s good to see developers with their ear to the ground. Blizzard had previously mentioned that they were collecting feedback regarding the synergy situation, although they were previously unwilling to say whether a complete removal of the system was on the cards.
With the chips down, it seems they went with the safe bet and the game is returning to its naturally chaotic state. Hearthstone is a living game, continually evolving, and looking to the future, Blizzard have stated that there are more planned shakeups likely coming to the Arena side of the game including general format shifts, although they don’t think that it’ll be returning to the more chaotic Wild mode – even the arena needs a few restrictions.