The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion was officially launched yesterday. Awesome! Right? Right. Players experienced some classic Blizzard server lag, as Hearthstone fans logged on as early as possible to open their pre-ordered and purchased packs. Hell, I opened 150 myself. Kripp had a massive stream where he opened over a thousand. Typical new expansion stuff.
Except one thing. Kripp noticed it pretty early, and so did many others, myself included. The tri-class cards were showing up with extremely high frequency. I checked my own cards after opening my 150 packs. I had only gotten more than twenty of a single card: Grimestreet Smuggler. But I didn’t get just twenty. Oh no, I actually managed to get thirty-seven Smugglers. Absolutely ridiculous, considering how many packs I opened. If I averaged 3.5 commons per pack, I would have received just over 500 commons. There were 54 new commons. Even with variance, Grimestreet Smuggler showed up three times more often than it should have in the packs that I’d opened.
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Within three hours of launch, one of the Blizzard Community Managers posted regarding the issue. The employee, Daxxarri, confirmed that Blizzard had received the reports and were looking into the issue. Four hours later, Zeriyah, well-known Hearthstone developer, posted a follow-up. The reports were indeed accurate: tri-cards were showing up at a significantly increased rate.
However, he had something else to say as well. Rather than just acknowledge the problem, Blizzard decided to compensate affected players. Anyone who bought packs during the affected time (any time before 2:30 PST) will receive additional card packs. The number of compensation packs that Blizzard distributes is based on how many the person had opened, with players receiving a full third of the packs they had opened as entirely new packs! With my 150, plus the six quest packs, I quickly became the proud owner of 52 new packs, entirely free of charge.
A Huge Step
Blizzard has been criticized a lot over the years, by myself and plenty of others. In the past, they’ve often struggled when it comes to listening to their communities. Of course, most game developers do, especially once they reach a certain size. This kind of responsiveness generates a lot of goodwill between the customers and the company. The compensation in this case was not only fair, but generous. Hell, I opened three new legendaries and 3000 additional dust—way more than I could have possibly lost in my original set. Kripp got 350 new packs.
What I’m trying to say here is: Thank you Blizzard and Team 5 (the studio responsible for Hearthstone). You didn’t have to do anything real here. People were affected, but not in a particularly significant way. This easily could have been swept under the rug. You didn’t do that. You owned up to the mistake and you compensated your loyal fans. This is the way a game company should be run, and players remember this kind of thing. Good on you, and keep it up in the future. Now, if you’re still reading my article, what the hell? Go play the new expansion!