The community outrage about the latest revamp of progression system has been going for almost a month now now. Ben Lee, Hearthstone’s Game Director, already responded once on the Darkmoon Faire launch day, promising to replace 6 packs for 1350 Gold at the later levels, but players still weren’t happy about it and continued the protest. But finally, after 3 weeks of silence, Blizzard has spoken! They’ve just announced a bunch of changes that should make the new rewards system much better. Here’s a quick summary of the changes (but be sure to read the announcement before for more info):
- Amount of XP required to get to Level 50 has been reduced by 37,000 in total (nearly 20%). Your existing XP number will remain the same, which means that after the changes you might jump by a couple of levels ahead immediately. Players who wouldn’t finish the rewards track will get further or often just complete it. And players who would finish the rewards track with the current XP amounts, that’s an equivalent of around 1250 extra Gold.
- Multiple changes to Quest system are coming. 800 XP Daily Quests will be bumped to 900 XP. Tavern Brawl & Battlegrounds will contribute to Quest progress. Weekly “win 7 ranked games” quest will be changed to win 5 games instead. Weekly Quests that required certain Legendary cards (Old Gods) or to play Arena (paid-only format) have been removed. Some more difficult Quests are getting tweaked to make them easier.
- Rewards Track Expanded – Or, to be more precise, rewards track past level 50 has been split. Instead of 150, we can now go to 350, but each level will be 1/3 of what it was before – it will require 1/3 of the XP and give 50 Gold. The reason for that is for players to get rewarded more often and feel more meaningful progress after finishing the regular level 50 rewards track.
- One-Time Bonus Reward – Blizzard will send out one-time bonus reward as a compensation for the players – log in between December 15 and January 18 to get 500 Gold and 5x Darkmoon Faire pack for free.
- Tweaking Level 27 & 30 Rewards – From the internal data, they’ve gathered that Level 27 & 30 were particularly not rewarding enough for the players (both levels had a card pack) – 50 gold will be added to both of those levels, for 100 extra gold in total. Not much, but every bit matters I guess.
Ben Lee also said that they aren’t treating the rewards track as a static and will continually try to improve it. All of the changes mentioned above are coming next week (I assume December 15, since that’s when log in rewards start). There are some more changes planned for it early next year, but those aren’t finalized yet.
In order to properly judge all the changes, we’ll need to take a closer look at the exact numbers (we’ll do it in a separate article). However, on the first glance, I really like them. Hitting level 50 will be much easier now. 37k XP less is a massive amount for more casual players – to put it into perspective, it’s an equivalent of ~35 daily Quests. It also means that anyone who would get past level 50 will be pushed by a bunch of extra levels and get a bunch of extra gold. Making the rewards more common after level 50 is also good idea – playing the game will feel more rewarding if you get to see some smaller chunks of golds more often. I also like the changes to Quests, because many of them were just too difficult to finish for more casual players. One-time compensation is also a nice bonus for our troubles – 500g + 5 packs is a solid amount.
But most importantly – it shows that community has enough strength to put a pressure on the Blizzard and make the game better for themselves. Yes, it took a while, I would even say it took way too long. My guess is that they didn’t want to say anything before finalizing the numbers, because it wouldn’t stop the outrage, but extra speculations might possibly add even more fuel to it.
Those changes are a big step in the right direction and the system will now feel much more rewarding. However, to not be overly optimistic, there are still two true tests ahead. First one is the mini-set release – how much it impacts the overall cost of the game depends heavily on the rarity distribution of the cards. I won’t delve deeper into it, we’ll definitely release a piece dedicated to it after we see the announcement. And the second test is how true the promises of adjusting the system further and improving on it are. I just hope that we won’t need to have another battle for the fair “Battle Pass” another once again after the next expansion is out.
You can find a full announcement below:
Since the launch of the new progression system, we’ve been reviewing player feedback and game data from the first few weeks and designing a variety of updates to address the elements that feel too slow, not rewarding, or too difficult to complete. Our intent has been, and will continue to be, to provide more rewards and a better progression experience than the previous system, and we’re sorry that our initial implementation missed that mark in a few important areas.
We’re ready to detail a series of changes that we will release starting later this month, and we want to continue working to make the system better and better over time. In this update, we will be adjusting or removing quests that are too difficult to complete, reducing the amount of XP required to complete the 50-level rewards track by nearly 20%, adding gold rewards to two levels, and redesigning the bonus levels after level 50. We’re also planning a one-time log-in reward of 5 Madness at the Darkmoon Faire packs and 500 Gold beginning on December 15, which will be available until January 18.
We want to make it clear that we aren’t treating the new rewards and progression systems as static, unchanging game elements, but rather a system that we can continually iterate on. More enhancements will be coming to the rewards track in the future.
Here are the changes we are making later this month, as well as a quick look into the discussions we’re having for changes early next year.
Adjust a variety of daily and weekly quests to make them easier to complete
We now have a large amount of data based on the first few weeks of daily and weekly quest completion, and there are multiple areas that we want to improve. This solution has a few components detailed below.
- We’re removing weekly quests that require Legendary cards and Arena runs. These quests are more difficult than intended for players due to the investment necessary. Frankly, these were a mistake, and we should not have included these to begin with. After the update, they will no longer exist among the pool of weekly quests. Please note that if they are among your active quests after the update, they can be rerolled but will not be automatically removed.
- We’re changing the weekly quest “Win 7 Games of Ranked Play Mode” to “Win 5 Games of Ranked Play Mode.” This quest, as a guaranteed weekly quest, feels like it requires too much effort to complete. Adjusting the win requirement will ensure that a larger number of players will complete this weekly quest and keep up with the intended rewards.
- We’re making Tavern Brawls and Battlegrounds contribute to quest progress. Tavern Brawls and Battlegrounds should reward progress for any daily or weekly quests that they naturally apply to. This should allow more flexibility in how to complete quests and make the rewards experience more consistent with previous gold earnings. For example, you’ll now be able to complete a quest like “Play Three Games as Priest, Rogue, or Warlock” by playing Tavern Brawls, and quests that require you to play beasts, for example, will also count when you play beasts in Battlegrounds.
- We’re making small tweaks to certain quests. Some quests simply aren’t working as well as we think they should or are harder to complete than intended. For example, the quest “Play 50 Corrupt Cards” had a couple of issues making it too hard to complete. Now, corrupted cards will properly count toward progress of this quest. We’re also reducing the requirement to 30 Corrupt Cards. These changes should significantly aid completion of this quest.
- We’re adjusting all 800 XP daily quests to now reward 900 XP. We want to make quests feel more rewarding, so we’re increasing XP earnings for daily quests. With this, XP will be more easily earnable, and you’ll get to your next rewards more quickly. Our hope is to make every quest feel like it awards an appropriate amount of progression based on the time you spend completing it, and we’ll continue to review data and make changes as needed.
Reduce the amount of experience needed to reach certain levels in the rewards track.
We’ve heard your feedback that higher levels of the reward track just take too much XP to reach, especially given the difficulty of completing some daily and weekly quests. We also had previously planned that our events would grant extra XP and how that would help players reach the intended cadence of rewards. We’ve rethought this and recognize that the rewards track should stand on its own and not require event XP bonuses, making rewards predictable and consistent across an expansion. We will still have in-game events, of course, but they will no longer reward bonus XP and instead remain consistent with our existing approach to event rewards.
We’re reducing the requirements of the current rewards track by a total of 37,000 XP (nearly 20%), which will make mid-to-late levels easier to reach and adjust for the absence of XP events. After this change, you’ll see that the XP requirement for a variety of levels will be lower and progression through levels will be faster. This is one step to ensure that progress through the rewards track feels consistent and doesn’t hit unusually slow periods of progress. Changes to the daily and weekly quests themselves should also support more rapid progress through these levels.
After this change is implemented, your existing earned XP value will be retained, so upon your next login you may see additional progress through levels based on your existing XP total. Please ensure that you review your rewards to see what you can now claim.
Add more rewards to certain levels of the rewards track.
We’re adding an additional 50 gold to the current rewards for levels 27 and 30. This is a simple change based on those two levels feeling especially underwhelming in rewards, and this helps us inject more gold back into the rewards track to address feedback about slower gold earnings. This is, of course, just a small piece of the gold puzzle.
Expand rewards track levels above level 50
We’re redesigning the bonus rewards after completing levels 1-50. The maximum bonus level is now 350, up from 150. As a part of this, we’re also splitting the XP and rewards across these levels. Each level beginning at level 51 will now take less XP to complete and reward 50 gold. After this change, you’ll see more rapid progress through these levels, and your earnings for each level will be smaller (as the XP has now been split across more levels). This will help to ensure that you can earn gold during a play session without an unusually high level of effort. We’ll be watching closely to ensure this gets players more predictable gold earnings.
Please keep in mind that these will not be the final changes that we make to the rewards and progression within Hearthstone. Like with all content and systems within the game, our intent is always to release content, monitor feedback and data, and make the right choices for our players. We knew this would be a new and complex system that required iteration, and we are committed to short-term changes and a long-term vision to make this a fun and rewarding part of Hearthstone. We also want to strike a balance between making changes quickly and ensuring that we get things right, and we’re taking additional time past this point to plan the next round of changes that we would like to implement in the future. We have some ideas about tweaking the 1-50 experience to make the leveling experience feel better for players. We want to keep working on this system and get it right, and we will share more information as we finalize our future plans. We’re thankful and fortunate to have such a passionate community, and your constructive feedback is always heard.
Ben Lee, Game Director