When Blizzard revealed an upcoming battle pass-style overhaul to Hearthstone (opens in new tab)'s reward system in October (opens in new tab), it reassured players that it would not cut into the amount of gold they could earn through gameplay. Gold is used for things like purchasing card packs, accessing the Arena, entering Heroic Tavern Brawls, or unlocking adventures, so it was natural that people—especially those who are F2P—would be concerned about any possible reductions.
"We're absolutely not taking away any of the gold you can earn," senior game designer John Yang said during an October fireside chat (opens in new tab). "One of the goals of the new progression system is to give you more gold, more reward, and more cosmetics for all players. No matter if you play the game ten hours or 1000 hours an expansion, you should be expecting to be more rewarded for your time."
The Tavern Pass, which sells for $20 (opens in new tab), recently went live, and unfortunately it seems that those concerns were well founded. Despite Blizzard's reassurances about the same or better rewards, a large number of players have found the opposite to be the case. Octavian "Kripparrian" Morosan, for instance, had this to say about it:
Oh I forgot the most important issue. It's just way too confusing lol. It shouldn't need reddits brightest minds to figure out if the system is good or notNovember 16, 2020
Dekkster dove into the problem in more depth in a YouTube video, saying that Blizzard's statements about the new reward track were "completely wrong."
"A lot of people have been running the numbers, running spreadsheets, and you just don't get what you used to get," he says in the video. "Plus you have to pay money to even get access to the experience bonus."
Streamer J_Alexader_HS is one such number-cruncher. You can see his raw results here (opens in new tab), but he summed it up in this Reddit post (opens in new tab) in which he said that earning 1500 XP per day over the 120 days between Hearthstone expansions will net him 5000 gold less under the new system than he would have pulled in previously—that's 50 card packs.
Dekkster concludes his video by saying that the new reward system "looks great, and the achievements are fun," but that the rewards it offers up are putting the game out of reach for too many players—precisely the opposite of what Blizzard promised in October. "It's a free-to-play game," he says. "It's the most expensive free-to-play game, and that needs to change."
I've reached out to Blizzard for comment on the changes and will update if I receive a reply. We've also got a more in-depth analysis of how Hearthstone's new Tavern Pass reward system has impacted the game coming soon.