We all know what it is. Hearthstone’s elusive legend rank. The rank at the top of the ladder, the light at the end of the tunnel. Only the best of the best are able to attain this milestone. Or so we’ve been lead to believe. But even if you are in the top percentage, is the grind really worth it? Recently many players have been coming out and saying no, that Hearthstone’s ladder needs to be changed.
The reason I decided to revisit this topic right now is because of popular streamer Day. For those of you who have the misfortune of not knowing him, he is a Starcraft professional turned caster. He is best known for his funny personality and anecdotes. He often streams Hearthstone on Twitch, and he is known for playing silly decks and never going for legend. But this past month, October 2016, Day decided to finally prove he could hit legend. He achieved it on the last day of the month, and followed with this video where he shared his reflections:
The big take away here is his blatant statement that: “the climb to legend was one of the least fun experiences I’ve had playing almost any game”. This is from the man who is considered one of the happiest players in gaming. He still continues to profess his love for Hearthstone. But continue to watch the video for his other commentary, he’s quite insightful.
The Grind to Legend
If you play a lot of Hearthstone, you’ve probably heard people refer to ‘the legend grind’. This is in reference to the ridiculous number of games you need to play in order to hit legend. The following paragraph will be a bit number/math heavy, so skip to the end if you are not so inclined. I will be using numbers provided by reddit user Deimorz. His stats have been referenced many times and are accurate.
Hitting rank five is hard enough for some players. With a 51% win rate, you need approximately 372 games to hit rank five. If your win rate is 66%, you need 101 games, and that’s winning two out of every three! With a 75% win rate your games drop down to 67, but this requires a lot of skill and luck. And this is where the grind really starts. To get from rank five to legend with a 51% win rate takes 617 games. With a 66% win rate it goes down to 76 games. 75% leaves it at only 49 games.
A 66% win rate in Hearthstone is almost unheard of at the top ranks. This means that unless you are extremely good and extremely lucky, you will need over 200 games to hit legend. If you play an aggro deck and each game is five minutes, that’s 17 hours. If you play control and each game takes fifteen minutes, that’s 50 hours.
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Hearthstone’s Stale Meta
The other big issue with the legend grind right now is that the meta is incredibly stale. For the past few months, the only thing you see on ladder is Midrange Shaman. And even if you did the legend grind before or after this meta, you always find the meta stale after 200 games. It simply isn’t fun to play that many games within a short period, particularly if you’re forcing yourself.
The Month Limit
Which brings us to our last point. A month is way too short of a period for a season. Being expected to play around two hours of Hearthstone every day to hit legend is absurd. Many players have recommended making the seasons three months or longer.
Recently there was a bug that allowed players to go on win streaks after two games. I, like many others, hoped this was Blizzard acknowledging that the grind is far too… grindy. But we were let down, and the bug turned out to be unintentional and was quickly removed. I personally have hit legend many times, but lately I simply find myself unable to put in the effort required. A month is too short and the meta sucks. And unfortunately, I don’t have a 75% win rate on ladder to make it less than 200 games!