Have Blizzard Added Enough To Make Ranked Appealing In Hearthstone?
So the official release of Hearthstone is finally upon us but there’s still a lingering concern in the community and one I share, have they done enough to make Ranked Play worthwhile? If you’re not caught up on the latest happenings in Hearthstone, Blizzard announced the official release yesterday and with it a couple of minor changes to rewards and mechanics in Ranked Play.
Firstly they introduced the new Golden Heroes. This new Ranked Play exclusive reward gives players the opportunity to unlock Golden Heroes once they’ve won 500 matches in Ranked. That’s a huge challenge in itself as average players can hope to win 50% of their matches at best, meaning most players will need to play close to 1000 games to get a sniff of these new Hero animations and shiny colors. I’m not saying rewards should be earned easily but when the community screamed out for more incentive to play Ranked, I don’t think they imagined the answer to be a massive grindfest that probably takes longer than reaching max level in World of Warcraft.
But that’s not all they added to Ranked Play. Another “incentive” is the ability to unlock new colors and designs for the back of your cards simply by participating in each Season of Ranked Play. Not all bad I guess but in all honesty, what use is a new design for the back of cards?
Any MMOCCG or TCG game is about one thing and one thing alone, collecting cards! Sure, destroying other players plays a huge role as well but we all enjoy tearing back that virtual wrapping and getting a card we’ve been destroyed with more times than we can count. The game already encourages players to purchase cards with real cash, why not just give us a little something to create the illusion that it’s not a massive cash cow?
Would it be so damaging to the financial model to offer additional in-game rewards that are more than mere cosmetic upgrades? Could you not guarantee each player X amount of cards for winning X amount of games in any given season? Even if you only offer 1 pack for every 200 victories in Ranked, it’s something we can actually feel rewarded for down the line. Golden Heroes and jazzy designs to cards will get boring after a short period, destroying an enemy with that special card you got from your Season 1 Ranked reward will be an experience you can live time and time again.
I’m not saying I dislike Hearthstone. I think the game is amazing, although I suck something awful, I just feel Blizzard could do a lot more to make Ranked worthwhile as currently, I don’t feel it is.