A new hotfix patch (server-side, no need to download anything) has dropped and it’s the update Arena players were waiting for. Not only does it come with micro-adjustments, reducing the appearance rate of overperforming cards in the strongest classes (and increasing it in the weakest), but also with multiple bans.
Interestingly enough, Blizzard didn’t ban powerful cards – on the contrary, they banned the mostly weak, build-around cards that didn’t make much sense in Arena format. For example, cards with “Can’t attack” (Eerie Statue, Helmet Hermit) or cards that require specific minion types or spell schools to work (Horn of Wrathion, Frozen Mammoth). Interestingly enough, they also said that they’re exploring options to make an Arena environment in which those build-around/heavy synergy cards are viable. I wonder what they have in mind.
The team has also promised to give Arena more attention once again – they plan to release balance updates after each Hearthstone content patch and more in between if necessary.
Hotfix also came with some additional bug fixes, mostly for the Patch 23.2 known issues they were posting over the last few days.
Read full patch notes below:
Patch 23.2.1, a server-side hotfix patch available later today, includes several adjustments to Arena and bug fixes across game modes.
Several micro-adjustments were made to the appearance frequency of certain class cards. Some overperforming Neutral cards have had their appearance frequency reduced.
Additionally, the following cards will no longer be able to be drafted:
- Am’gam Rager
- Bolf Ramshield
- Eerie Statue
- Evolved Kobold
- Frozen Mammoth
- Helmet Hermit
- Horn of Wrathion
- Lock and Load
- Nat, the Darkfisher
- Naval Mine
- Package Runner
- Power Word: Glory
- Silithid Swarmer
Developer Comment: This Arena season, the gulf between the best and worst performing classes has been particularly wide. To bring class win rates into an acceptable range, we are using a new form of card appearance frequency balancing. This method is still under development, but the team is rolling out a version now to address immediate issues. This method is a work in progress, and more adjustments will follow if this round falls short of our goals.
Additionally, we are removing some weak cards and low-performing synergy cards from Arena. We hope these changes reduce the number of draft picks with no good options. Long term, we want build-around cards and synergy decks to be viable strategies, but we need an Arena environment designed to support that goal. The team is exploring options now.
This is the start of a new era for Arena. Going forward, the team is committed to a planned balance update shortly after each Hearthstone content patch, plus additional balance updates as needed.
- Fixed a bug causing Call of the Grave and Nine Lives to stop fully functioning.
- Fixed a bug on the website Card Library that prevented Spellcraft from appearing as a keyword.
- Fixed the text error showing the Mercenaries N’Zoth event was ending within an hour.
- Fixed a bug that caused errors when attempting certain Bounties.
- Fixed a bug that caused inaccurate tracking of the sixth N’Zoth event Task. Now the Task will correctly be completed once you’ve triggered 10 Deathrattles during the Dragonbone Golem fight (note: the Task is to trigger all 10 Deathrattles during the boss fight, not throughout the entire Bounty).
- Fixed a bug that caused the Duels Treasure, Academic Research, to not give any mana crystals.
- Fixed a bug causing a small number of players to see the “playful sprites” error message when attempting to login.