Hearthstone's bugged Journal notification is a terrible itch that none of us can scratch

Hearthstone Town Crier The Witchwood
(Image credit: Blizzard)

Update: This bug was fixed on January 28 in the 19.4.1 patch, alongside the Hysteria nerf and Duels balance updates. 

Last Thursday, Hearthstone's Darkmoon Races first mini-set launched, dropping 35 new cards into the Darkmoon Faire pool. As you'd expect, a new patch often means new bugs, of which a few surfaced immediately. Thankfully, these hiccups were pretty minor. Most weirdly, we saw The Witchwood's Town Crier briefly morph back into human form, and a couple of cards displayed incorrect rarity gems. This caused a few players to do double-takes as they opened Darkmoon Faire packs, thinking they'd received a pack containing only Common cards, when Rare newcomers Rally! and Hysteria had simply been mislabeled.

The team at Blizzard was quick to react though. Community manager u/cmdylux promptly posted an update on Reddit, acknowledging the issues, and most of them have since been cleared up. However, one bug that has yet to be squished is the most innocuous but also by far and away the most annoying. Currently, if you log into Hearthstone, you'll see a notification on your Journal, which directs you to the Achievements tab.

Unfortunately, however far you scroll down the oddly clunky achievement system, you will not find the offending one to click off. At present there's nothing you can do to clear the phantom notification, which doesn't appear to be linked to a specific achievement at all. Despite the fact that it's just a visual prompt, this tiny badge has, predictably, sent the community into paroxysms of despair, with more threads posted by the minute notifying Blizzard of the issue and asking—begging—for help.

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Players have also reported similar issues with the Book of Heroes chapters, which are currently displaying as incomplete, even if you've previously beat them all.

A fix is on the way, but it's interesting to see how such a harmless, empty prompt has sparked so many threads on Reddit and the Blizzard forums. Admittedly, while it's a bit annoying to see the notification appear every time I launch the game, I haven't given it much thought. We've had more pressing issues to attend to, like the disgusting new Wretched Tiller OTK combo, that allows Priests to use four cards to deal a whopping 60 damage. This deck has been running rampant in Wild since January 21, and it's already in the firing line for a swift nerf.

The attention a meaningless notification has received is a reminder of how beset all of us are with various badges, dings, and exclamations from our devices and pieces of software that simply will not shut up. So when there's one we literally can't remove, the resulting rage may feel a little out of whack with reality.

(Image credit: Blizzard)

It's also another headache for Hearthstone's new rewards track and Achievements system. Despite its bumpy inception, players seem to have been somewhat pacified by the affordable pricing model of the mini-set. Though the issue of cost is likely to remain a hot button one.

As Luke outlined in December, the current fury over Hearthstone's 'greed' has been coming for years, but when you're making such a dramatic change to a six year old, free-to-play game, it's difficult to keep everyone happy. Blizzard has made an effort to patch things up with players, giving away one-time rewards as compensation, and the system has already undergone a major overhaul. The seasonal track now requires fewer XP to make the higher levels easier to reach, and adjustments that award gold more frequently.

While we're clearly deep in the mindset of ticking off Achievements and keeping our Hearthstone to-do list clear, I'd also argue that this shows that the game is in a pretty good place. If a bugged notification is a problem worth highlighting across multiple threads and platforms, I'd say we're on track for a good year of Hearthstone in 2021.

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.