Despite worries from the community regarding its similarity to gambling, Hearthstone’s new Heroic Tavern Brawl that offers huge rewards for a big pay-in has proved extremely popular. Blizzard recently announced an increase in the number that could be attempted per account, going from 5 to 100 (more than anyone is likely to be able to complete in the few days it will remain available for). It’s also seen Hearthstone as the most popular game on Twitch over the past few days, peaking at over 150,000 concurrent viewers, with single streams in the dozens of thousands.
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The announcement of the increase in limits is over on Reddit, also giving details on when the last moment to start a Tavern Brawl will be, and when games stop being playable. The reason for this is Blizzard don’t want anyone spending their 1000 gold and their run being ended by the servers before they’ve had their money’s worth of three losses. They also tweaked it so that draws – which can happen in Hearthstone if one player takes an action that kills both, for example a Warlock Hellfire when both players are on three or less health – do not count as a loss or win for anyone.
As for Twitch, at time of writing there are more than 83,000 people watching Hearthstone at what will never be considered peak time. While a lot of the newness factor has worn off, each match actually mattering rather than the long grind of ladder games has lead to renewed interest in folks seeing their favourite streamers do well. These streamers are also the only people likely to have the gold to be able to consistently do heroic brawls. At times friendly to US and EU watchers, players like Amaz have seen viewer numbers nearing 50,000, beaten only by expansion launch day pack-opening sessions and the largest tournaments.
There’s another couple of days left, but it’s certainly been a massive success in its stated goals of giving competitive players something to try for and new life to the streaming ecosystem. It will be interesting to see how often Blizzard bring it back, or what new mode they develop for competitive players out of its success.