Ten days after the Hearthstone development team launched their take on the roguelike dungeon crawler genre, Mercenaries, controversy has reared its ugly head.
On Friday evening, a hotfix was made to the game mode that prevented players from accelerating the rate at which individual Mercenaries could be leveled up using a gameplay strategy that, despite being very repetitive, was quite easy and efficient.
The full strategy can be found here. But the short version is that players could continuously replay a single bounty over and over again to guarantee themselves the opportunity to find the Mysterious Stranger. Once located, he gives players Quests to complete and level up their Mercenaries much faster than usual.
Apparently, the game's development team wasn't a fan of that gameplay strategy as they wanted players to encounter the Mysterious Stranger at a slower rate and enjoy the game more organically.
The hotfix, released on the company's site, included the following:
"We are adjusting the appearance rate of Mysterious Stangers to be based on the relative level of the strongest Mercenary in your party compared to the suggested level of the Bounty. This move is to encourage people towards more engaging gameplay instead of repeatedly taking on low-level Heroic Bounties with highly over-leveled Parties."
Shortly after it was discovered, Hearthstone players who have dabbled in the Mercenaries game mode took offense to two things: The hotfix was hidden in a sea of patch notes that were difficult to find and a game that many found to be a real grind became even more so.
Later in the evening, a Lead Designer on the Hearthstone team, Dean "Iksar" Ayala, responded to a player's question during a weekly Ask Me Anything he holds on his Twitter account, addressing the topic.
No other comments have been made by the development team on the topic since. But if early feedback is anything to go off of, they may have to do some thinking on how much of a mystery the Mysterious Stranger is.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.