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Hearthstone’s New Player Experience Sucks

Jan 7, 2017

Lately there have been a lot of people complaining about the new player experience. Players who have tried to get their friends to play, or are new themselves. They try and start new accounts, and quickly get frustrated and stop playing. But why is this happening? Everyone was new at some point, why are new players today having issues? It stems from several issues, mostly relating back to in-game currency and safe places.

New Player Safe Space

When new players pick up Hearthstone, they are given the same options as established players: Ranked, Casual, Arena, and sometimes Tavern Brawl. That’s it. They aren’t given a place for them to play against other new players. They are immediately thrown in with more experienced players. Normally this isn’t a huge problem in games, as you improve rapidly as you play, and you quickly contest the more experienced players.

However, Hearthstone has the issue of currency to worry about. Many of the cards released are strictly better than other cards. Many of the legendary cards are incredibly powerful as well. Decks that include these legendaries will almost always beat decks that don’t, strictly based on power level. This isn’t fair to the new players at all, so they should build up their collection before they face off here. Except they don’t have a place to do so.

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In Game Currency Is Awful

The rate at which players earn gold in Hearthstone is terrible. If you play a reasonable amount every day–let’s say an hour or two, and have a 50% win rate, you’ll snag about 50 gold a day. That means you can buy one pack every two days. Which is terrible.

Think of it this way. Gold is, on average, on a 1:1 ratio with dust. So if you want a specific legendary and are willing to dust everything, it will cost an average of 1600 gold. If you are pulling in that 50 gold a day, it will take you 32 days to get one legendary. One. Over a month. For ONE legendary. That’s absolutely atrocious.

The other problem is that the only way to farm gold is through winning games. Well guess what, new players can’t win games, because they don’t have gold! It’s a vicious cycle, and the only way to break out is simply not playing. Hell, you can’t even complete most quests without winning.

Ladder is Getting Harder

When I talked about the in-game safe space for new players, it’s important to note that it wasn’t originally designed that way. The ladder was supposed to have experienced players gravitate upwards and new players lower. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case, for several reasons. The first is how harsh the resets are each month. If you were at legend, you go back down to rank 16. That’s pretty darn close to those new players around rank 20.

The other problem is that there are a group of players who prey on new players. Their goal is to get golden portraits, and the fastest way is easy wins. So they concede until they are with new players, beat them easily, and concede once more. These players completely ruin the experience for new players, as they trounce them with constructed legend decks.

All in all, there are definitely some serious problems with how Hearthstone introduces new players to the game. The new players are thrown directly to the wolves with no real way of getting out. The in game currency sucks, the ladder sucks, and other players can be jerks. Unfortunately, at the moment, it’s simply best for new players to steer clear of Hearthstone.

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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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