Three times a year, Christmas comes early to fans of Blizzard Entertainment's digital card game, Hearthstone. When expansions go live after weeks (or months) of anticipation, players new and old flock to the game they love to crack open some card packs, check out what new content is in store and try out fun and wacky decks before the meta is solved. Excitement for the game is at a triannual high.
When Madness at the Darkmoon Faire launched on Tuesday, things were a little different. While many were talking about cool cards and decks they were experimenting with, more were focused on an announcement Blizzard had made earlier in the day.
In recent weeks, the Hearthstone development team announced that they were revamping the way players would progress, earn loot and unlock content in the game. The goal was to better reward players who dedicated their time to completing daily (and weekly) quests, show off the achievements they've earned by playing the game for years and update a system that has been often ignored since the game launched over six years ago.
When the new system debuted on November 12, many flocked to the official Hearthstone subReddit and social media to vent their frustration. The primary point of contention was that the update actually reduced the amount of gold players were able to earn by playing the game -- which they could then use to purchase in-game content -- the exact opposite of what was promised.
Less than a week later, Blizzard issued a statement.
According to Hearthstone Game Director Ben Lee, "it’s clear we missed the mark both in how we communicated and implemented the full functionality of this first version of our rewards system."
While the development team said they were going to tweak a few things to improve the system, the community wasn't having it.
Thousands of comments and angry upvotes were sent Blizzard's way on Hearthstone's subReddit, including many who said they were no longer going to be supporting or playing the game going forward.
While the vocal minority may be just that, the minority, spending Hearthstone Christmas morning opening up a big present from Santa only for it to be a lump of coal isn't how players wanted to celebrate the holiday.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.