Hearthstone

Stats show Hearthstone Battlegrounds is far from balanced

It’s no secret than Hearthstone Battlegrounds isn’t the most hardcore competitive autobattler on the scene. Blizzard’s entry into the genre is very much its own animal: quirky, fast, and light on mechanics. It is also wall to wall random. And while established autobattlers like Teamfight Tactics are deep-steeped in RNG and that is part of their charm, they still manage to reward skill. Players always work with the same consistent pool of variables in each match. With experience they learn to leverage their randomly dispensed options into a high place finish, if not a win.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds throws that convention out of the window with the addition of heroes. At the start of each match a player picks a hero from a selection of options. This alpha-choice subsequently guides most of their remaining choices in the match. That would be fine if players had access to all heroes each time, or if all heroes had the same power level. Unfortunately, Hearthstone Battlegrounds stats show that this is not the case.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds

 

Battlegrounds currently has 24 heroes available, and more are on the way. However, players can only select from three randomly selected heroes each match. Stats from the Firestone app, which collects win- and pick-rate data on Hearthstone Battlegrounds heroes, show that some heroes consistently out-perform the rest. This makes the hero selection part of the match extremely deterministic: pick the good one. Worse yet, sometimes the trio of options won’t include any strong heroes. When that happens, the unfortunate player may as well be going into a losing game.

In any other autobattler, you have to manage the unpredictable whims of RNG to come out on top. But the final outcome is always the result of a sequence of many choices. The more you learn how to optimize each small decision, the better you get at stacking the odds in your favor. And even when your early game is full of bad luck, there are comeback mechanics to help you salvage things. Hearthstone Battlegrounds is currently the only game in the genre which will occasionally completely cheat you out of a win, right at the start.

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Asen Aleksandrov

I write about games here and at Daily Esports. Send questions/rants to asen@northernarena.ca
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