Hearthstone team know there’s work to be done making new players comfortable

Blizzard have just banned “several thousand” bot accounts from Hearthstone that were found to be using “third party software” to play Hearthstone. The bans come as the popularity of bots have been on the rise after Blizzard seemingly did nothing about it.

Three of Hearthstone’s key developers took to Reddit to do an Ask Me Anything session, which revealed a great variety of insights into the creation of the new Goblins vs Gnomes cards and what everyone’s favourite new mechanics were. But one of the key things to take away from the discussion is that Blizzard realise that there’s a problem when it comes to new players. 

Jumping from gentle tutorial games into ‘casual’ battles against players decked out with powerful Legendary cards is putting players off, even if they’ve been using one of the best balanced beginner’s decks. And Blizzard know they need to do something about it before Hearthstone becomes the domain of power-players only. 

“We do have some problems with Matchmaking,” admitted Senior Game Designer Ben Brode. “We had taken steps to make sure brand new players were not matched against players who had already built massive collections, but we recently found some issues there and have been working to make it better.

“We are going to continue to monitor the new player experience, and I do think we’ll need to do things to make it better over time, especially as we continue to release new content.”

Casual Mode was criticised as being misleading, with new players expecting a laid-back games with players of a similar level instead catapulted into matches with veterans. In response Community Manager Christina Sims said “The new players experience is something really important to us, and we’ve seen a lot of feedback about Casual Mode feeling less than casual to new players. We don’t want to just push people that are new and have decided to purchase packs into a different tier of players right away either, but we would like to improve the overall experience for Casual Mode as a whole.”

Has playing as a newbie in Hearthstone caused you to run against these kind of brickwalls? Has the game certainly hit a point that it’s unfriendly for new players? Sound off in the comments. And if you fancy reading the whole AMA, you can find it over at the Hearthstone Reddit.