Content of the article: "Book of Heroes is massively underwhelming"
While I am pleased that new content is being added to Hearthstone (and even more pleased that it is Free) I have to say I am more than a bit underwhelmed by the new solo experience. I took a moment to think about what specifically felt unsatisfying and I hope this feedback helps.
The new mode is not terribly interactive. You select the hero and then all other factors are preset. You don’t pick the deck, hero power, or anything else. Without any real interesting choices to make, this is easily one of the least fun solo modes in the game. Dungeon runs let you build decks and pick treasures. Boom’s lab restricts choice but at least it makes it into a more interesting puzzle you have to solve. Blizzard have shown that they know how to make solo adventures engaging but this mode seems a lot more like something that would have been released around Vanilla HS before they had really learned how to get more out of solo content.
The mode has no real longevity. There’s no challenge or heroic mode. There are no anomalies or twists to increase replay value. This mode seems designed to be a one-time playthrough and then that’s it. Normally that would not be enough to make something inherently bad, but combined with the other factors, it really plunges the knife deeper for fans of solo content because it demonstrates a disregard (whether intentional or not) for our engagement. It seems like a token effort.
Even when you take into effect the fact that more heroes will be released, unless the format changes drastically it will have a total content playtime of a few hours stretched out over a year. No one is going to be playing this mode after they get their pack. They will simply wait the 5 or six weeks until a new hero is released, play that for an hour, get their new pack and repeat. That’s not healthy for engagement of players or a good use of the time of developers.
The mode has no new or interesting mechanics. Nothing is really “shaken up”. Which is kind of weird. A new solo mode is perfect for that because you don’t have to worry about balancing around other players and cards. You can just kinda go nuts with it. But this mode is so conservative. It doesn’t really give you anything that feels exciting to play around with. You got a pretty standard mage deck and a few different heroic abilities.
Sadly, those abilities don’t really feel interesting. You have the base mage hero power that does a bit more damage (useful, but not exciting), you can summon an elemental, and you can basically get a watered down version of the Twin Tyrant card. That’s… uninspired to say the least. There are a couple of new weapons that seem neat but nothing that breaks any kind of mold.
The mode reuses old story (and not even particularly well) instead of forging a new one. I’m sure there are some people who are unfamiliar with Jaina’s story but they are probably not the people who play a Warcraft spinoff game. She’s one of Warcraft’s most well-known characters. So there’s a pretty good chance HS players know about her exploits. Blizzard dedicated real resources to tell us stories we already know and I have trouble wrapping my head around that decision.
There are already story modes that tell new stories with those same characters. Knights of the frozen throne and Ashes of Outland at least gave us fun little “what-if?” stories. But somebody with a lot of power and sway said, "what we really need to do is retell the same story people already know with no new perspective, details, or insights. Why?
I’m confused about WHO this content is for. This is a mode that might be good for people who are new to Hearthstone and/or the Warcraft universe but it certainly isn’t marketed that way. But it’s clearly not marketed for people who are already fans because it’s all stuff we already know.
This mode is not really designed for those playing multiplayer modes (even though it gives them a pack) because it takes them away from all the multiplayer content they like. If they liked solo content they would already be playing solo stuff. But it’s not designed for Solo content fans because of its very limited one-and-done format which doesn’t reward or foster replaying the adventure.
So it’s not really for new players, not terribly rewarding for current players, not really for new fans, but also not for the old ones. It’s a mode designed without longevity or engagement in mind. The only thing I can think of to explain the release of this mode is to label it as “filler” content. I really apologize for how snotty and self-righteous that sounds but I’m genuinely not trying to be hyperbolic or anything.
This feels like content that was developed just to allow for SOMETHING to be shown in a content release slot. Perhaps it was done to try and stave off accusations of a content drought in the future. Maybe it’s done to help people have something to look forward to between other larger releases. That’s not a terrible thing to have, even if it only provides a very small amount of content. But it does raise the question, “Was this mode done instead of other solo content or in addition to it?”. Are we missing out on new (more in-depth) adventures to receive this, or is something else significant in development?
Also, if this is a case of "we had a ton of other stuff planned and then COVID hit hard, we had to re-prioritize and trim stuff waaay back. I can kinda understand that. But I think a lot of people would prefer to receive better content on a delayed schedule than maintain a schedule at the expense of quality.
I sincerely appreciate anybody who took the time to read this monstrosity of a post and feel a lot better getting this off my chest.
- The Free Adventure Is Great For Kids
- If it makes me a scrub, so be it; I think every competitive shooter should have a comprehensive bot mode
- Will blizzard ever consider pushing for unranked draft as the standard mode for smaller regions?
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