Hearthstone Arena Preview Summary

by Zenstyle on         follow RobertAWing

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The Arena

The Forge? That’s old news. Today, the Hearthstone dev team showed off the Arena.

The Arena will be a mode that requires either gold or cash to play in, and will function similar to a draft event. Players will initially choose between one of three random heroes and then build a 30 card deck, choosing from three different cards 30 times in order to fashion their deck. After building it, players will then battle through the arena until they win the maximum number of games or are bested three times.

A notable change, players will not keep the cards they pick during the drafting phase. The dev team explained that the motivation behind this change was to ensure that players were making their picks based on crafting a fun, competitive Arena deck, rather than trying to build out their collections.

HeroChoosingScreen

Those who have attended draft events can surely recall times where in it’s been more advantageous to take a card for their own collection or constructed decks as opposed to build a competitive deck for the event at hand. That will not be a concern here, which seems very intuitive considering the spirit of the mode. A tip of the hat on this call.

The Matches

The first match saw a showdown between Warcraft 3 allies Jaina Proudmoore and Uther. The Mage deck took to the offensive early and never let up on the pressure. Uther could not staunch the bleeding and Jaina easily took the match, ending on a comical note where in Mirror Entity cloned Ysera.

Match two pit Jaina Proudmoore against the shadowy Rogue Valeera Sanguinar, complete with her new hero art design. Valeera was not messing around and opted to bring out the horrifying Molten Giant after weakening herself in order to reduce the energy cost of the epic minion. Molten Giant did what Molten Giants are want to do and ran things over. Ultimately, it was too much and Jaina Proudmoore crumbled in defeat.

Sadly, there was not time in the stream for a third match.

The Treasure

KeyShot

It wouldn’t be a discussion about a World of Warcraft based game without discussing the loot. It was explained that in the Arena, players would earn treasure, including card packs, gold, gold cards and dust, based on how far they progressed. At present, the maximum number of wins is nine, but the dev team explained that the number could change. The key (shown above) is upgraded with wins, and at the end, players have the chance to open up a chest and receive their winnings.

LOOT

Ahh, the inside of a treasure chest. Is there anything more glorious for an adventurer? Sadly, this haul was based on one victory, and was somewhat small as a result.

OpenedBooster

The guys did manage to win a card pack, something we learned is present at least once in every set of winnings. Here’s what they managed to haul. Two rares and a legendary – and an extra rare golden legendary at that. That’s not bad at all.

Along with the prior information, we learned some other interesting tidbits about the Arena experience:

  • There appears to be no limit to how many of the same card you can run in Arena mode.
  • Players will be able to quit the arena and resume it, assuming they do not quit in the middle of the match. That would end with a concede and thus a victory for their opponent.
  • The dev team is working on the ability to reconnect from a drop or a crash without either counting as a loss. That is not present within the current build, however.

Card Changes

Fireball

The dev team opted to play the Jaina Proudmoore Mage deck and it was revealed that a couple of changes had been made to the card set. The huge change we saw today was the reduction on the energy cost of Fireball. The Mage mainstay now costs four energy as opposed to five, making it far more energy friendly. It also means that, those who are able to get Archmage Antonidas and Sorcerer’s Apprentice out at the same time can easily chain up to three straight Fireball’s in one turn in the endgame, and that is a huge improvement to what before sort of felt like a slightly toothless deck at times.

While it’s still reasonable to believe the beta is just on the horizon, there were definitely a couple technical issues that showed that Hearthstone, while a lot of fun, is not quite as polished as Blizzard would like it to be. That said, we still cannot wait. This game is going to be amazing.

Hungry for more Hearthstone? Be sure to check out our preview articles, as well as any news you might’ve missed here.