Blizzard walks back Hearthstone update following fan backlash (Updated)

Update: Blizzard has reverted the changes to Tess Greymane. Community manager Jesse Hill confirmed this in a Battlenet forum post:

"After hearing your feedback to that change, we initially considered offering a full Arcane Dust refund for Tess. We also read feedback from players who use Tess in their decks asking for her to be reverted to her old functionality. In this case, we agree that it’s worthwhile to sacrifice some consistency so Tess is more fun to play, especially since our priority wasn’t to decrease Tess’ power level. With that in mind, instead of offering an Arcane Dust refund and encouraging players to disenchant the card, we’re reverting one of the changes to Tess Greymane so that her Battlecry will continue even if she’s destroyed, silenced, or otherwise removed from the board." 

"We will continue to provide full Arcane Dust refunds for changes to cards that decrease their overall power level for balance purposes—in other words, card nerfs," Hill added. 

The post confirms that the changes to Lynessa Sunsorrow will not be reverted, and that an Arcane Dust refund will not be offered because Lynessa's changes were indeed a bug fix. "Lynessa Sunsorrow was never intended to apply her buffs in the order they were cast, so the update to her functionality in 11.2 was a bug fix for that card," the post reads. 

The post also addressed the esports controversy stirred by update 11.2. As Hearthstone caster and streamer Brian Kibler pointed out on Twitter, the update was released smack in the middle of the HCT Seoul tournament, shortly after players submitted their decks. The update made changes to a few card interactions which weakened some of the decks players were using, particularly Quest Druid, and the players using those decks didn't have time to redo their lineups. 

As Hearthstone pro Xixo said on Twitter, the initial response to the deck list kerfuffle wasn't exactly encouraging: 

See more

As such, Blizzard is now giving HCT Seoul players that brought Quest Druid an opportunity to resubmit their deck. 

"Balancing the health of the game with the needs and calendar of a global esport like the Hearthstone Championship Tour is always challenging," Hill said. "This wasn’t an acceptable situation all around, for us, our players, and competitors, and we’ll do better in the future." 

Original story:

Until now, I wasn't sure how many Burgle Rogue players there were, but judging by the angry reaction to Hearthstone's latest balance patch, it's way more than I imagined. Fans are demanding full Arcane Dust refunds following a recent update which quietly changed multiple legendaries, including the Rogue class card Tess Greymayne. 

The update actually categorizes these changes as "bug fixes and gameplay improvements" rather than nerfs, and as such the typical dust refund that usually accompanies official nerfs has not been granted. 

After so many expansions adding so many new keywords, Hearthstone's mechanics have become increasingly inconsistent, with seemingly identical interactions playing out differently depending on the cards involved. Hearthstone update 11.2, which released yesterday, June 5, was meant to address some of these issues and bring a few cards up to speed. However, while most of the changes in the update are broad and fundamental, some changes target specific cards. 

The change that's caused the biggest stink is the one made to Tess Greymane from the Witchwood expansion. Before this update, her Battlecry replayed all the non-Rogue cards you've played in the current game, regardless of what they did. However, update 11.2 changed her Battlecry so that "if she is silenced, killed, transformed, leaves the battlefield, or if any hero dies," her Battlecry effect ends immediately. 

Longtime players may remember that Yogg-Saron, whose infamous Battlecry played random spells, was hit with the exact same change in late 2016: if Yogg dies or disappears, the random spells stop. But the change to Yogg's Battlecry was billed as a nerf, so players were able to disenchant Yogg for his full crafting cost of 1,600 dust after the change. But because the change to Tess' Battlecry has been classified as a bug fix, no refund is being offered. 

The strangest part is that, two months ago, Hearthstone designer Mike Donais confirmed via Reddit that Tess is supposed to work like pre-nerf Yogg. In other words, her Battlecry is not an oversight that Blizzard is just now correcting. And even if it were, it's still a verbatim copy of the Yogg nerf, so why isn't Tess being refunded the same way Yogg was? 

Lynessa Sunsorrow

The irony is that the situation was caused by a patch intended to fix inconsistencies. Tess isn't the only legendary affected, either. Lynessa Sunsorrow, a Paladin legendary whose Battlecry replays all the buff cards you've played in the current game, was changed so that she can only replay a maximum of 30 cards and, crucially, that they are replayed in a random order. 

Before update 11.2, the buffs Lynessa replays were cast in the same order they were originally played, allowing players to arrange some interesting combos by staggering their buffs. It's a smaller change than the one to Tess, but fans of Lynessa reckon it's a significant blow to her power, especially when cards like Dinosize are involved. As such, many are calling for a Lynessa refund as well. 

I reached out to Blizzard for more information regarding update 11.2 and the changes made to Tess and Lynessa, and they offered this statement in reply:

"Thank you for your feedback regarding our recent update. We saw a lot of feedback regarding the recent change to Tess Greymane and are currently discussing this change further. We will provide an update once we have more information.” 

We'll be sure to update this story if we learn more. 

Austin Wood
Staff writer, GamesRadar

Austin freelanced for PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and has been a full-time writer at PC Gamer's sister publication GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover-up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news, the occasional feature, and as much Genshin Impact as he can get away with.