Without quite coming out and explicitly promising it, Hearthstone game director Ben Brode has given a strong indication that a balance patch will arrive next month. This morning he took to Twitter to address recent calls for change from the community.
Been reading discussions about balance; we have an update coming next month which includes some cool events, and that is when any balance changes would happen. We'll be sure to announce any changes as the patch gets closer. See you at the HCT World Championship next week!January 10, 2018
Whilst the key line here is obviously "when any balance changes would happen", which still leaves room for nothing to happen, I don't for a second think Brode would have raised the subject unless something was about to happen. So, what can we expect?
Interestingly, Corridor Creeper was one of the last cards spoiled from Kobolds & Catacombs, partly explaining why there was less hype around it going into the set.
The most obvious card in the firing line is Corridor Creeper from December's Kobolds & Catacombs expansion. Though largely slept on when it was revealed, this 5/5 Beast has found its way into a ridiculous number of decks thanks to the fact its 7-Mana cost is reduced by 1 whenever any minion dies.
That means it can often be played for free, and with the large amount of early-game trading that goes on thanks to almost every deck running Patches the Pirate, including Corridor Creeper in your deck is too much of a no-brainer right now. That problem is exacerbated by the fact that the card won't rotate out for almost two years and people are already sick of it.
Speaking of rotation, it will happen when the first set of 2018 launches, which on past experience is likely to be around April. Given that Patches is due to leave the Standard format at that time, I wouldn't expect the Pirate package to get touched next month, even though it's pretty absurd that Southsea Captain is currently being run in Priest decks.
Speaking of Priest, which is currently dominant in terms of ladder representation according to the VS numbers, Raza the Chained is also due to rotate, so it could be that the class won't be touched. The counterpoint being that if Raza is left as is, then Reno Priest decks in Wild will ultimately become completely oppressive, so maybe changes are merited. I also wouldn't be opposed to seeing Psychic Scream, which Anduin almost certainly didn't need at this point, being bumped up in Mana cost.
Whatever happens, assuming something actually does, I'm keen to see Blizzard addressing balance midway through expansions rather than waiting for a new set to fix all the problems. I'd also like to hear what other cards you think should be nerfed next month (because realistically Blizzard isn't about to start doing buffs after years spent explaining why bad cards need to exist). Other candidates I would consider on the watchlist would be Shadowreaper Anduin, Call to Arms and Voidlord, though I think they're all fine.
Those of you with particularly strong ideas, and a track record in game development, may even want to consider the position of Balance Designer (opens in new tab) on Team 5, which is open right now. When I spoke to principal game designer Mike Donais last year I was somewhat surprised to hear there were only four people on the final design team, so perhaps Blizzard is looking to expand in that area. If you aren't sure whether you have the necessary CCG chops, check out designer Dean Ayala's list of ideal candidate requirements.
At least I've got the Kripp one covered.
Looking for this all-in-one combo. Please apply if you think it describes you.1. Designer2. Master Deckbuilder3. Frequent High-Legend Hearthstone Player4. Loves Working With a Team5. Doesn't Skip the @Kripp6. Wears Plaid Shirts(5-6 Optional)https://t.co/reQUonPcKj pic.twitter.com/YlC0dz7t5zJanuary 7, 2018