Hearthstone's client glitching out.

Opinion: Hearthstone’s Client Is Poorly Programmed

Jun 10, 2017

I’ve written several hundred articles about Hearthstone by this point, and I’ve ranted a lot. There’s a lot to complain about, but there’s also a lot that I could’ve done better as a journalist. One of the things I’ve never seriously talked about is the Hearthstone client itself. Gameplay is the most important part of any game, right? I’d argue that this is becoming less and less true, especially when it comes to Hearthstone, where over the past few weeks, the issues that are facing the game have become overwhelming. These aren’t just inconveniences, they’re game-losing bugs. I didn’t want to write this article, especially because of how happy I was with Hearthstone’s June update, but it’s time to discuss just how poorly Hearthstone’s client is programmed.

Hearthstone Hangs and Freezes

I don’t mean ‘hang’ in a hip savvy way. The Hearthstone client freezes fairly regularly at this point. There are two main bugs that players will encounter. First, when you’re searching for a match, the client locks up for around five seconds as soon as an opponent has been located. For me and many others, this happens every single time we play. I’ve been dealing with it for so long I don’t even remember when it started. Others have reported it going all the way back to Naxxramas. You know, that set that rotated out of standard. Last year. Yeah, that long ago.

Now, this one is mostly just inconvenient, and in fact, I’ve grown to associate the client crashing with having found an opponent. However, if I decide to try clicking the screen during when it’s frozen, our benevolent overlords at Microsoft take the reigns and tries to close the program that “isn’t responding.” I’ve lost a few games over the years by accidentally clicking, tabbing out, or daring to use my computer in general.

The other issue is one that I’ve mentioned in other articles: Hearthstone crashes whenever you try to close it. You can exit from the main menu, or click the X at the top. Either way, the entire program will hang for thirty seconds to a minute before shutting down. For me personally, this is an inconvenience, as I play windowed and just tab away. For those who play fullscreen, they are stuck for a minute, irritated. The best part is, the developers refused to acknowledge it for a couple months. About a month ago they finally gave in and mentioned the bug, announcing that a fix was on the way.

That fix still hasn’t happened.

Hearthstone's client freezes every time you try to close it.
Notice the “Not Responding” on the title bar. This was not a hard screenshot to take, all it took was booting up and closing the program.

In-Game Issues and Bugs

The bugs I described above are mostly just inconveniences that, over time, become harder to ignore. It’s like your neighbor leaving out their bins on rubbish day. But as far as actual in-game bugs go, Hearthstone has its fair share of game-losing issues. Here’s a tip: don’t ever play a Charge minion and click it as it is entering the battlefield. If you do, the minion becomes unable to attack that turn. I’ve lost several games because of this in my career as a Hearthstone player, and it’s been around since beta, if I recall correctly. It’s a game-breaking bug when it happens, but there’s no acknowledgement or promise of a timely fix coming from Blizzard.

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The previous patch managed to break quite a few new things as well. In a game during the Hearthstone Championship Tour, minions swapped around. It’s another bug from beta, and it’s still happening — this time, however, it was in a championship game. His opponent used Meteor and it hit the target and a minion two over. It didn’t change the game’s outcome, but it easily could have. There have also been reports of many other issues coming out of this patch. For example, this guy with nine minions on his board. Of course, none of them could attack either.

One of the many bugs in Hearthstone's client lets you have nine minions out on the board, but you can't attack with them.
Credit to Reddit user Lukthar123.

Disguised Toast released a video recently with another bug — apparently Justicar Trueheart doesn’t affect your hero power if you’re playing Maiev. It just… does nothing. You can find a clip of his incredulous laughing here.

Fix Hearthstone’s Client or Lose Players

Please, Blizzard. Get your shit together. I know, I know, you’re trying to program for two platforms, PC and mobile, simultaneously. That’s not easy. But I also think we’ve been more than fair by choosing to look the other way with things like frequent app crashes. It’s time to take some of that $400 million a year and hire an extra developer or two. We’re not being unreasonable here, but you have to meet us halfway.

Right now, you’re sitting at a broken game, and I’m sitting at not playing it.

Hearthstone's June update includes a variety of small changes designed to improve the player experience, like streamlined deck importing.Hearthstone is in a rough place right now, and this time, it's not clear whether the game will be able to bounce back without Blizzard making substantial changes to their development process.
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Stephen Draper
Stephen has a degree in English from Brock University. He grew up playing video games and card games, always having an affection for strategy. He picked up League of Legends in early Season One and has since achieved Diamond rank multiple times. He also picked up Hearthstone in Beta and has since achieved Legend consistently. When he isn’t reading, writing, or gaming, he’s probably watching other people game.
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