Blizzard Entertainment has come under fire for what some players see as a poor implementation of the new Hearthstone reward track and Tavern Pass, with gold-earning potential seemingly reduced despite promises to the contrary.
The reveal of the new reward track and Tavern Pass back in October has originally raised concerns from players, who thought that their potential for earning gold – an in-game resource used to buy packs and entry to the arena – would be affected by the new systems.
In Blizzard’s October Fireside chat, senior game designer John Yang answered a series of questions about the update, stressing that Hearthstone players had nothing to worry about.
“We’re absolutely not taking away any of the gold you can earn,” Yang said, adding that they had retooled the pass to increase flexibility around rewards by locating them in one place and allowing players to set their own goals.
Tavern Pass eventually launch on October 21 and is currently on sale for £16.99/US$20. It and adds cosmetics, achievements and a boost to earnings on the reworked reward track. However, despite the promises made in October, players have found that gold earnings have been hampered and return on investment seems to be worse.
In a video deep dive, Hearthstone player Dekkster analysed the new rewards track and Tavern Pass, saying that Hearthstone is “the most expensive [free-to-play] game and that is definitely being exacerbated by the new reward program”.
He also found other elements lacking, citing redundant rewards such as previous season card packs, poor pacing of rewards, and that the meagre XP boost from the paid Tavern Pass did little to solve this. “This new system just got implemented and it almost halves the amount of gold that most players will get,” he claimed.
Dekkster linked to a summary post on reddit by J_Alexander_HS, which revisits an analysis that the pass did not meet expectations, saying that the structure was “worse than the original estimate I had for it” and that after five hours of play he had earned “almost 25% less than I estimated using the 400 XP/HR estimate we got from the devs”.
It seems that developers are struggling to meet player expectations for Battlepass, as the current Hearthstone misstep feels similar to the criticism that Respawn Entertainiment are currently facing over Apex Legends Season 7.