What was meant to be an exciting day in the world of Hearthstone turned out to be, for many, a big
Prior to launching a new card expansion for the game, it’s routine that a member of the Hearthstone development team pairs up with a popular figure within the community to showcase some new content being revealed in the upcoming weeks via Twitch. To show off some new cards for the upcoming “Rise of Shadows” expansion being released on April 9, a trio was assembled to get the
Peter Whalen (Senior Game Designer), Cora “Songbird” Georgiou (Hearthstone competitive player/esports caster) and Chris Sierra (Community Manager) were paired together for the event.
The stream started with 15-minutes of back-and-forth banter between the three about content that had already been revealed and some developer insight into the expansion as a whole. Those tuned into the stream (which was in the tens of thousands) to see new content grew bored of the conversation only a few minutes in.
Once the gameplay started, disaster struck.
A Lackey-ing Interaction
Only five turns into the first game, a technical issue occurred that would become a running meme throughout the day in chat and on social media platforms. Georgiou wanted to showcase a new token creature that was exclusive to the Rise of Shadows expansion called a “Lackey.” When she went ahead and tried to generate one of them through a card interaction, nothing happened.
Likely a technical error as a result of playing on a special server or client to prevent cards they do not want to be revealed from being seen too early, it created an awkward moment that the trio couldn’t help but nervously laugh off. As the event progressed, they tried playing on “Wild mode” opposed to "Standard" to see if that would resolve the issue. When it didn’t, they had a member of the design team manually add a Lackey to their hand whenever one was meant to be generated.
A harmless but clunky issue quickly sparked numerous threads on the Hearthstone official subReddit making fun of the game’s “small budget” being made by an “indie developer.”
Once the Lackey issue was “resolved” the stream continued showcasing new cards and talking about them in-game. A reoccurring complaint within chat and social media forums that gained hundreds and thousands of upvotes soon after
The trio found themselves in a difficult balancing act due to the situation they found themselves in: “How do we showcase cards and talk about the design decisions around them/how interesting they were while also trying to play at a high-level?”
The community didn’t empathize with their problems as negative threads continued to pile up online, social media backlash was fierce, Twitch chat grew hostile and people began leaving the stream by the thousands.
Another complaint that popped up was that there were not many new cards revealed and the same decks were being played over and over again, adding nothing to the stream itself.
Once the stream ended, Georgiou took to social media to address the backlash she was receiving:
A second reveal stream will take place before the expansion goes live next week featuring popular community figure Brian Kibler and a member of the design team. The Hearthstone team hopes things go smoother as their first attempt, in the eyes of the community, wasn't good enough.
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