Hearthstone designer explains how 'most players' will be better off under new rewards structure

Hearthstone battle pass
(Image credit: Blizzard)

The current leadership on the Hearthstone team aren't afraid to shake things up in a major way, as the release of Demon Hunter—the game's first new class since launch—showed. It also demonstrated that things aren't always balanced perfectly out of the gate, so when a survey went out recently suggesting a battle pass-style revamp, players reacted in a calm and measured way.

Just kidding: they freaked out on Reddit. Though Blizzard did confirm a 'major rework' of the game's reward structure is in the cards, game director Ben Lee waded in to explain that the new system would maintain the value players can currently earn in-game. Unsurprisingly, that hasn't entirely quietened the waters, and so game designer Dean 'Iksar' Ayala has had another go.

Just off a social media break, Iksar headed straight to Reddit and delivered more detail on the potential changes. He said players should expect to earn "slightly more gold and more non-gold" in the future, while netting "as much or more rewards" in comparison to the current system. 

He also noted that Gold will be removed as a reward from quests and replaced by XP, which doesn't sound reassuring, but Ayala explained: "Our intent with the system is for it to be upside for all players. We've done many checks on different player segments to try and make sure that is the case no matter how you play." 

And in case they don't get it right first time, it should be simple to tweak the formula because, Ayala said, "We're making XP per level and XP bonuses as tuning knobs in case our predictions were incorrect."

Completing the new quests will help players level up, and Ayala has mentioned that most of the rewards for doing so will be gold. Similarly, if you usually bank your gold to spend on the first day of an expansion, you should be able to open roughly the same number of packs as usual, "but with more non-gold rewards added on top".

As ever, the proof of this particular pudding will only be known when players crunch the numbers in the real world. Earning gold in-game is vital to the free-to-play section of the audience, which Blizzard needs to keep the game population viable. Earning other types of rewards, presumably cosmetic stuff, over the course of an expansion does sound more interesting than the current system, which has barely changed since launch. Let us know what you'd like to see (new Rogue hero please) down below. 

Emma Matthews

As PC Gamer's guides writer, Emma is usually juggling several games at once. She loves competitive first-person shooters like CS:GO and Call of Duty, but she always has time for a few rounds of Hearthstone. She's happiest when she's rescuing pugs in Spelunky 2.