Miniset and tournament: the great dilemma between competition and content – Hearthstone

Already very advanced in the revelations of the cards, the mini-set initially scheduled for June will arrive on the 1st of the month, this Wednesday. Most Hearthstone players are very happy with this announcement, with the new content always very well received. That said, other players have more problems with the news, namely the participants in the seasonal championship who will have to prepare for their tournament in a very short time, as has become routine this year.

Many of the players expressed their disappointment at the news and the fact that for the tournament, the most important of their lives for some, they would have taken the time to build a cohesive line-up. With little time reserved for them, the players feel that they have to trust what they know about their group opponents rather than their feelings for the game.

In this article, I’d like to talk about this strategy Blizzard put in place to highlight content through competitive tournaments, favoring the viewers ‘point of view over the players’ point of view. In reality this point of view is logical, because if the spectators do not watch the tournaments, the players will soon no longer have the financial support to play them, the money comes from the communities interested in these tournaments.

However, there are many nuances to this way of doing things, and some may even increase viewers’ interest. What it would be for the best, for the players and for Blizzard

1. The best time to highlight a metagame

The goal in offering tournaments that are very close to the release of a content is to exploit the interest generated by this new content. Viewers, in addition to seeing a game they like, will discover the decks that players have created in this new metagame, as well as how they have to pilot them. Competitive communities will come and look for information, to find out what the popular decks will be for other upcoming tournaments.

These big tournaments therefore serve to lay the foundations for what will be the next metagame, harnessing the influence of both the players and the stakes represented to attract crowds. But you might be wondering if a tournament within days of the new cards being released (the tournament often starts on a Friday for content available on a Tuesday or Wednesday night) is the best time to take advantage of this influence.

The worst time to do a tournament is pretty obvious, it’s when the metagame is resolved and players are asking for new cards. In these cases the tournaments are not interesting, because they only reflect what is happening in the rankings, the formations are all very close and the interest is at an all-time low.

However, this does not mean that it is closer to the release of the cards than the interest is at its maximum. In fact, a perverse effect of running a tournament with so many bets in such a short time to test new decks is the fact that shy players will eventually pick their comfort decks from the previous metagame.

This closeness is interesting when there is a rotation in the game, players are then forced to play new decks because there is only the one available. But in the case of a mini-set that provides support for what already exists, a hesitant player will turn to decks they master for a tournament of this magnitude. It could therefore give the opposite impression, that the mini-set brought nothing to the game.

Personally, I think waiting another week would be ideal. A metagame takes time to stabilize and the first wave of ideas, while very interesting, are often pushed aside once players understand how the best decks work and can be thwarted.

Obviously, the amount of new content on offer will change how quickly players adapt to it. As part of a mini-set, we could say that 3 days is enough to fit 40 cards, especially since these are known before they are available in the game, however, if we consider that we will only see 12 days display, even counting the respective training groups, this is only a small fraction of what can be tested in 3 days.

The reason we consume content so quickly is because the amount of players jumping on it is so high. Therefore, showing only the point of view of a few players does not really highlight the metagame, but the creative ability of these players. By waiting a little longer, the metagame would be mastered better, making the surprising side a little less interesting, but we could see what of all that has been created by all players has attracted the attention of the best in the world. And this is ultimately what these tournaments do, they crystallize the metagame around the choices of a very small part of the players.

2. Tournaments that heavily steer the metagame

In addition to having experienced these rushed preparations and knowing how stressful they can be, I also think it’s not a very good thing from a metagame progress standpoint. The purpose of these tournaments is to showcase new content. But in reality, what is being advanced is the view of the players participating in the tournament with respect to this content. And this could lead to reducing community proposals rather than encouraging them.

While we don’t all have the same logic, absolutely all players are affected by whether a metagame resolves more or less quickly. Even without a competitive goal, a player will not have the same opinion of the game depending on whether he encounters the same dominant deck or when he plays with some diversity in the pairings he encounters.

By offering such important tournaments so close to the release of new content, we encourage the most popular players to influence the views of the rest of the community, and by doing so, we reduce diversity for the metagame to come. .

What leads to the worst phase of the metagame, where it is static and the interactions between decks no longer evolve, is information. The more the community manages to accumulate information and share it, the closer the metagame is to its resolution. In the case of a large tournament with global stakes, players are therefore encouraged to accumulate as much information as possible in a very short time, and then share it during the tournament.

These tournaments will therefore help accelerate the arrival of the worst phase of the metagame, and will make the request for content even faster.

If Blizzard can deliver this new content quickly, that’s a good move because it creates a shorter demand cycle and allows for more activity throughout the year. If, on the other hand, these tournaments help lengthen the static phase of each metagame, during which activity on the game is at a minimum, then the timing of these tournaments could do more harm than good.

Especially for a mini-set, where there is little new to an extension, if the seasonal league pushes the metagame into its static phase the week after its release, then you’ll have to rely on the willingness of the players to move up. the ladder to create activities in the game.

3. Conclusion

While not as popular as they once were, competitive tournaments are still a gathering moment for some of the community. Whether it’s encouraging their favorite players, seeing what the best players are playing, or just making progress in the game, these highlights of the competitive world have an impact on what happens in the large-scale game later on.

Even for a player who has never seen a tournament in his life, the decks they encounter on the ladder will change from before and after the tournament. This can be due to the winner of the tournament, or to a streamer who was inspired by what he saw during the tournament, a tweet from a well-known player who used one of the decks in the tournament …

Consequently, the timing of these tournaments is decisive in the cycle of a metagame and in everyone’s gaming experience, even if the impact is minimal on the scale of a community of millions of players. The habit it has become of sticking to these tournaments upon the release of new maps is not necessarily something that seems relevant to me and doesn’t make me want to watch the tournament any more than if it took place a little later.

And you? Are you excited to discover new content through the prism of the competition? Does it make a difference to your approach to the game or from the viewer’s point of view?

Either way, I’m looking forward to diving into the mini-set this Wednesday night and will be ready to detail the fallout in next week’s article.

Until then, good game everyone!

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