What follows is more reminiscent of my personal blogs in the past, so no gaming news or analysis here.
As I grow older and closer to the age of 28, I’ve been able to accept a lot about myself. One of them is that I am very prone to ennui, apathy, boredom, all of the above. I’ve been simmering for a little while, but I couldn’t really put my finger on it. I can tell that my Twitter account isn’t providing the source of excitement that it had afforded me in the past. I can tell that a lot of things in the world are falling apart around us. I can tell that there has been change in myself.
In this blog post, my 210th for this site, I shall explore the past, present, and future of I Can Taste the Mana, and my general experiences in gaming since I started doing this. Hopefully this introspection can help myself (and maybe others) have some clarity about the future.
My @GreenRangerHS Twitter account first tweeted on August 31, 2015, and this blog first posted not long after on September 10, 2015. In my introductory post, I do the basics, like state my name, why I am called GreenRanger, and my intentions. Back then I was a worse Hearthstone player in general, stating that I hadn’t gone past Rank 10 in Ranked, and had only 3 12-win Arena runs. The takeaway is that in the introductory post, I wasn’t sure where the blog would take me. I honestly didn’t think I had aspirations of anything other than “it being fun to do.” Also, I was extremely enthused playing Hearthstone during The Grand Tournament, and enjoying the heck out of Arena, something that hasn’t really changed since.
The Past 2 Years
My blog eventually picked up steam in 2016. Just by sheer volume of blog posts, the higher view averages came by October 2016. But my most successful day was April 1, 2016, when I posted the first “Hearthstone Evolve Chart” on Reddit, and it was a big day.
My Twitter account also grew a lot during this time. I followed more people, got followed by some, and interacted with even more people. Additionally, I lifted my initial reservations of tweeting outside of Hearthstone. I notoriously only interacted with people on Twitter for Hearthstone purposes to discuss Hearthstone. Eventually, this stopped, but I will get back to this point later. Anyways, a great time was had by all.
A lot of other stuff happened of course. Hearthstone grew a bit in their team, and a lot of cards were released. The Hearthstone Arena actually changed since I started blogging. The community has grown tremendously, with podcasts sprouting all over. I showed up on a few podcasts. I played Hearthstone with other people in co-ops and tournaments.
At some point, I thought my blogging would take me to somewhere further up. The gaming industry and esports has grown exponentially since I started blogging. Having played games forever, the idea of having gainful employment in gaming just seemed like a great fit. Of course, the flaw was that I expected the blogging to do all the heavy lifting towards this desire, and there is much more to it than the work.
2017 has not been a high point for me regarding Hearthstone. While I was playing Ranked at a decent rate to begin the year, I definitely have become an Arena-only player nowadays. Ranked play doesn’t appeal to me at all anymore, and I am playing minimal games each month in that mode. I seem to get a 12-win run monthly now, which is great, but I have also had to take breaks from the game due to frustration.
On Twitter, my timeline has become more difficult to follow with enthusiasm. While I blame a lot of this to Twitter modeling themselves into Facebook, people change. People are making Twitter a surrogate for Facebook they formerly used. Basically, the talk about Hearthstone has gone down considerably, and people are using Twitter for other means. It’s not a stretch to put some blame on politics; had the US presidential election had another outcome (or better candidates), Twitter would be a lot less politically inclined as it is now. So it’s hard to sift through my timeline for worthy Hearthstone stuff.
And even when I find worthy Hearthstone stuff, my own problems come in the way. I lack enthusiasm upon seeing Hearthstone content. Content creators need to find ways to prevent themselves from being stale. But frankly with Hearthstone being a slow game in terms of releasing new stuff, it is hard to do that. Further, the Hearthstone network I have been part of doesn’t have much an Arena focus. I definitely still am a fan of Arena, and that is preventing this blog from dying completely. But given how hard it is to find actual Hearthstone stuff on my timeline, coupled with no Arena information, it is hard to stay engaged nowadays.
I’ve gone full circle to my September 10, 2015 introductory post in that I don’t know where I will go with this blog. It is almost safe to say that any aspirations I had in moving up in Hearthstone beyond this blog is gone. There is just a lot of saturation in the game, and it will take real dedication to separate yourself in order to move up. Kudos to those who are trying, but I am not in the same class.
It is possible that something changes, and I completely fall in love with the next expansion. It is possible that I suddenly become an Arena savant. It is possible I start enjoying myself more often. I am not betting on any of it.
For now, this blog will continue to exist as it is, with my infrequent blogging about Hearthstone Arena. I’ve recently just been writing with numbers from HSreplay.net, and that won’t likely change, given my lack of knowledge outside of Arena.
It is possible that I shift my focus more on Duel Links, the game that I am honestly more invested in now. With some modest success from the podcast and Twitter account, I feel like I’ve had a bigger impact in that community.
Despite the depressing nature of this post, I am proud of this blog. As said, this will be post #210, so the volume is something to be proud of. In a couple months, I should be hitting a 30k view milestone, which is okay I guess for an independent blog such as this. Also, it just gave me an outlet to write stuff and share my passion for Hearthstone.
Anyone who reads this blog closely or follows me on Twitter would know that I am at a bit of an identity crisis of sorts in gaming. I made this blog and Twitter with the sole purpose of talking Hearthstone. Lately, I’ve had issues with Hearthstone, mainly precipitated by my not enjoying the changed Arena format. I actually did not realize that I liked the Arena so much. In my taking a sabbatical from Arena play, I can barely play the game anymore.
By sinking in less time into Hearthstone, I have opened up time for other games. Notably, I am playing three other card games in addition to Hearthstone. Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links is the mobile game I have played since January and podcast about. Shadowverse is the secondary card game I played probably once a week, now more regularly. Gwent is a new card game released in open beta that I am trying out. Playing all these games together has given me some ideas which lead to this post. Why do we play games nowadays?
The changed landscape
Gaming has evolved tremendously since I was young. While I wasn’t around for almost all of the 80s, I can say I sampled my share of old games. And by old games, I mean titles from SNES and Sega Genesis. I didn’t really play games regularly until my family got a computer, and I have been primarily a PC gamer since. The main evolution in gaming, besides the obvious upgrades to gameplay, graphics, and design, is the ubiquity of the Internet, and the ability to play games with people you’ve never met physically. I admit that I was playing games alone for a really long time, and it wasn’t until I started playing Diablo III that I started to play games with other people.
The fusion of gaming and Internet has not only changed the landscape of gaming, and also the reasons why we play games now. Back when I was playing Operation: Inner Space in my cold basement or Syphon Filter 3 in front of the TV, I can say I did it for fun. Sure, I wanted to set high scores in Inner Space and unlock secrets in Syphon Filter. But now the reasons are more complex and varied. I will try to dig into the reasons why we game using the games I am playing concurrently as an example.
The generic umbrella reason for why we play games. Games are a hobby and it is something we do for fun when we’re not doing something else (more important) in life.
I have played Hearthstone almost daily since December 2013. While I have taken breaks now and then (including now lol), my enjoyable experiences have kept me in the game for all these years. I have logged thousands of Arena games just because I found it so fun. Arena is known for not being the most generous when it comes to rewards. You don’t make the 3.33 gold/win you get in Ranked play and even in Casual. According to Hearthstone, I have 3710 Arena wins. This equates to 12,366 gold I missed out on because they were Arena wins. When it comes to my enjoyment playing Hearthstone, it lives and dies with Arena.
As mentioned before, my relationship with the Arena is currently strained. The fun factor is mostly gone as the Arena revamp with Patch 7.1 coupled with Journey to Un’Goro cards has brought on never-ending reactionary play and big power creep on card quality. And truthfully, it isn’t because I’m losing significantly in the Arena now. It’s important to note that these are just my feelings (and some other players), and not those of the entire Arena community. I don’t know if most people share my feelings on the Arena changes. I’m sure people who enjoy Control decks are having a blast.
To fill the void in gaming fun, I have resorted to the other card games. I am having a really fun time playing Gwent, mostly from the Casual game mode available to me. As someone who is completely foreign to The Witcher universe, I have no idea what the underlying story is. I don’t even know what the ubiquitous keg-opening character is called. A lot of the fun is derived from the game just being a new experience, and a break from the Arena. I am also playing Shadowverse a bit, though the game hasn’t gotten more fun than before. I’ll explain later.
Those who graduate past the notion of playing games just for fun are more ambitious in the hobby and want to make something of their gaming career. By playing a game at a high enough level, one can be known for something, and springboard off a new height. This is a new development in gaming, given people were not connected to the Internet to track scores back in the day. It likely started with the seeds of eSports, and have known people play games. All four of the card games I am playing have leaderboards, with your legend tiers, points, or high scores. And by playing at a high enough level, you get invited to participate in tournaments. In the end, you fight the final boss (real life person) for a trophy. Gaming is just like real sports now!
Alternatively, you can achieve fame by doing something with your gaming experience. All of the “creation” nowadays associated with gaming, your streaming, recording, blogging, podcasting, and drawing would all fall into this category. A lot of people I follow on social media and associate with would fall into this category.
In all honestly, I started this blog for a reason. I wanted to be known in the Hearthstone community as an all-purpose writer who talked about Arena a lot. I had ambitions that it would all lead to opportunities in my future. While those dreams are at a moribund state, I was able to meet and talk to a lot of people in the process of creating the blog.
Those who become really famous for gaming may eventually reach the top tier of gaming for money. There are those who are full-time video game players for a living, making money through tournaments, streaming, endorsements, and donations. Others work for a living or go to school, and have supplementary revenue streams from gaming. Obviously, gaming for money didn’t happen for decades, and is just a recent development.
Unfortunately, the window of gaming for money is closing for existing games, as the market is gets more and more saturated. Gamers who enter the game (lol) later are at a bigger disadvantage, as they have to compete with existing players and personalities. It is a more prudent idea to try to forecast the next big game, and become an established player in that realm. For example, it is much really difficult to make a name in Hearthstone, given it has been in existence for close to 4 years. Your big name competitive Hearthstone players are mostly making money with their streaming brand now. It has become really difficult to make a name for yourself, with so much competition. This goes for other forms of creation in Hearthstone. I doubt that a newbie bug-finder can dethrone Disguised Toast at this point.
It could be easier to game for money in newer games. Notably, Lifecoach has become the first professional Gwent player signed to a team. Right now, I don’t think there are any Duel Links players who play the game for money, but that could change, given the World Championships coming in August. I do not know if there are Shadowverse players who game for money. The challenge is knowing if the game will stick around for the long term, long enough for your efforts to come to fruition.
Gaming has always had an occasional social aspect, as multiple people playing a console was a way to hang out. As a kid and teenager, I fondly remember going to friend’s houses to play video games for hours. With the availability of Internet, the social aspect of gaming has evolved into playing games with people online.
In the Blizzard world, Battle.net was once the site you used to connect to online servers. Now known as the Blizzard Launcher, it is a one-stop-shop with an instant messaging list to your friends, online news, etc. Hearthstone has quests for playing games with friends, and now allows questing to be done in friend games. Duel Links has the Vagabond sharing system with friends. Spectator mode is another aspect that gives a social aspect to gaming.
In my card game carousel discussion, I mentioned I am playing more Shadowverse than in the past. This is because they are offering doubled rewards for completed daily missions. This means 2 free card packs for 4 Ranked Wins, or 100 rupies for 4 wins with x class. The rewards are so good that Shadowverse isn’t the second fiddle card game for this month. They also have the Freshman Lou promotion, so I am trying to earn those card sleeves.
Shadowverse has really exemplified the gaming for rewards aspect. We are playing games for in-game currency, so we don’t have to (or spend less) spend real money. This is something that clearly didn’t exist in older games. You bought your game at the store or online, and you paid it. That ended the spending. In the age of Internet and microtranscations, companies want you to continually spend money on a game, by adding more new features. It really is an interesting thought to think we are playing a game a lot because we don’t want to pay for it.
A lot of people play new games for the sheer experience of trying something new. Trying new games has numerous advantages, as you can discover really fun aspects of games that are not apparently obvious. Steam is now the go-to source for PC gamers to get access to a wide swath of games. Monthly Humble Bundle deals allow one to discover a lot of new games at a low price. One can also purchase old games online, though this is mostly a thing done on consoles now.
My fun playing Gwent is mostly a gaming for experience venture. Given all the comparisons to Hearthstone, I just had to play the game to see for myself. What I discovered is that Gwent is nothing like Hearthstone, and is just linked to it because of Lifecoach’s endorsement of the game. Part of the new experience is learning names in Gwent and trying to understand the unexplained rules in the game.
In climbing the Shadowverse Ranked ladder, the experience is turning less fun, as I start seeing the same “good decks.” I typically go in as a Tempo Runecraft deck, which is not a meta deck in a class that primarily plays the fun and interactive Dimensional Shift deck. However, I see a lot of Forest Roach decks, and Heavenly Aegis Haven, popular climbing decks. In Hearthstone, seeing the same variants of decks was always second nature to me, and something that was burned in the brain as normal. Going into a game like Shadowverse, the same emphasis on bringing the same good decks still applies, but I was just not inured to it.
By loyalty, I mean loyalty to a brand or franchise. It is unlikely that Hearthstone would’ve been the success it is without being under the “Heroes of Warcraft” title and Blizzard flagship. People who bought WoW, or Diablo, or Starcraft were willing to give Hearthstone a try since it was made by Blizzard. This is not unlike buying a brand of clothes or car. Trust is earned through reliable workmanship and satisfaction.
I bought into the loyalty to Blizzard games long ago when I first played Diablo when in 1997. Then I played Starcraft, Warcraft III, Diablo II, and flash foward to Diablo III and the Bnet launcher era. Who knew that entering the Cathedral, and spending hours and days walking (couldn’t run back then) through the labyrinth in Diablo would lead me to everything else Blizz has now.
The gaming for loyalty aspect is a also big reason for why I started playing Duel Links. @hsdecktech posted some screenshots one day on Twitter, and I haven’t put down the game since. My enjoyment playing the Yu-Gi-Oh TCG in 7th and 8th grade awoke, and I destined to relive the nostalgia I had playing cards. And this is allure to Yu-Gi-Oh is not a unique thing, as Duel Links is catching on like wildfire, hitting 45 million downloads recently. Konami created a great franchise, buoyed by a TV show and card game, and that loyalty now it is manifesting in Duel Links’ popularity.
Back in the day, playing a game for a new high score at the end was the goal. When my ship blew up in Operation: Inner Space, I wanted to get on that leaderboard. This isn’t lost in today’s games. In Hearthstone, competitive players have a goal of hitting Legend in Ranked Play. Some just want to do it, for the sake of doing it, and others have the goal of hitting it every month. This is playing games for fulfillment. You’re trying to hit a goal. Another common fulfillment goal in Hearthstone is getting golden characters. While getting Legend and golden characters technically result in rewards, it is more of a set goal, as the rewards are paltry.
As an Arena guy, hitting 12 wins for the Lightforge Key was a sense of fulfillment. I tracked my 12 win runs for a time with screenshots. I set a goal to hit 12 wins for every class, and that is something that still eludes me. I’ve never hit Legend in Ranked, but getting Golden Rogue was very satisfying.
Gaming for a sense of fulfillment really is a fascinating thing. Most of it is how one derives fun, by continually winning. I wouldn’t have fun if I lost a game many times. Some of it is fueled by competitive drive. Some of it is fueled by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. But you’re sinking in hours into a game for something that isn’t even tenable. And by not hitting the goal, you could become angry or depressed (usually both). Crazy right? But hey, it is the reason many play games now.
Well, that’s all I have to say about why we play games in these present times. There probably are a lot more reasons out there, but this post is long enough already. Why do you play games?
I haven’t written anything for a while on this site. And it hasn’t been because I stopped playing Hearthstone or suddenly got very busy in life. I just don’t like playing the Arena anymore, and as a result, have thought less about Hearthstone. While I have competed in some fun tournaments of late and have been playing the Ranked ladder, my core way of thinking about Hearthstone is through the Arena, and it is decaying.
I mostly recently discussed the Arena changes brought forth by the “Arena 7.1,” what The Lightforge guys called “The Threat and Response Meta.” I struggled with the Arena meta then for a while, but did eventually muster a couple of 12-win runs. With Journey to Un’Goro, the changes from Arena 7.1 persisted, just with a new card set and the loss of many other cards. I will try to discuss some of the problems I feel are hurting the Arena to a big degree in an attempt to sound coherent and controlled.
Most of my posts recently have extracted data from hsreplay.net, and this one will be no exception. Here I’ve isolated the top neutral cards picked from all classes. I cut it off at 18%, to specifically highlight some problem cards I think are ruining the Arena.
Stonehill Defender – This is card is regular plain good in some classes, absolutely broken in others. Will discuss further later.
Vicious Fledgling – Reminds me a lot like the olden days of a Micro Machine or Gurubashi Berserker that ran away with a game. Certainly a fair card, but the ability to get Windfury for another adapt is just back-breaking.
Primodial Drake – Corrupted Seer was a fair card as it was grossly under-stated, and did nothing to Murloc enemies. Primordial Drake, just costly 2 more mana, is only under-stated by 3 points, with the neutral AoE ability that screams class convergence.
Servant of Kalimos – Elemental decks just get out of hand and feel like Constructed decks. Servant of Kalimost is just the on-curve play after Fire Plume Phoenix with the powerful Discover. I haven’t used Heartharena in this meta, but I would assume this guy gets gross amounts of tier score points with just a few elementals in the draft.
Discover in a small card pool
Stonehill Defender is great on it’s own and broken in two classes in particular, Paladin and Shaman. Paladin has 3 top-tier taunt minions in Sunkeeper Tarim, Tirion Fordring, and Wickerflame Burnbristle. Grimestreet Protector ain’t bad either. With a reduced card pool and a 4x Discover rate on class cards, you’re going to get one of these cards quite often. Check out this table:
The % of decks metric specifically refers to the card draft. So in the last 2 weeks, 7% of Paladin decks had Sunkeeper Tarim and 4% of Paladin decks had Tirion Fordring drafted. Fair enough. But if you look at the Time Played metric, you’ll see that Tarim and Tirion were played just as much as Lay on Hands and Stand Against Darkness respectively. Stonehill Defender is just so adept at getting these cards, you’ll see them as if they are in 18% of Paladin decks.
The Shaman taunts aren’t as good as Paladin but still a force. Al’Akir shows up as much as epic cards in Far Sight and Eternal Sentinel. White Eyes is being played just less than Lotus Illusionist. These weaker numbers are indicative of Shaman being a lackluster Arena class, but still demonstrate the power of Stonehill Defender.
I rage against Arena Mages a lot because I never got 12 wins with the class, and I consistently lose most against them. But Mages are on a new level. They are just on an absolute level of Discover magic, RNG, and power cards.
In the table of top drafted Mage cards, you see a lot of power, but one card is crooked here. Primordial Glyph, despite being 8th in the draft, is the 2nd most played card, only losing out to Flame Geyser. Mages are chaining the Discover of Primordial Glyph to get a free-cost Primordial Glyph to get a second round of Discovers. And Primordial Glyph has resulted in some ridiculous gets.
Above is Cabalist’s Tome, played a good amount despite a modest 19% draft rate. A 3-mana Cabalist’s Tome is great value, and will lead to more Discover chains.
Here’s Pyroblast, a card that should suffer from a lower play count, since it is just a finisher, and has to be held longer than other cards. It is played as much as Nerubian Prophet.
Finally some rarely drafted Mage spells in Ice Block and Mirror Image. They just blow out the other cards in this list in play counts, despite being drafted so rarely as well.
Mages aren’t the #1 class right now, but they will definitely make you shake your head in games. Or curse aloud. Or both.
In order to create a smokescreen of fairness and equality, I will say some things about my favorite class, the Rogue.
By simply sorting the top drafted cards for Arena Rogues, you see hard removal up the Wazoo. Vilespine Slayer, is just as bonkers as it looked at first glance. The saving grace with all the Envenom Weapons is that properly-drafted face decks like Hunter can clearly take advantage of winning the game. But still Rogue is likely the #1 class because of these removals, brought on by the boosted spell offering rates.
A bit of my anguish isn’t expressed well with data but just comes from within. Arena doesn’t feel like Arena anymore. It feels like a bastard spawn from Constructed and some RNG servant. The minion-based combat and playing sturdy things on curve feel isn’t there very often. Playing against Priest feels most like playing against a Constructed class, since you can predict what a Priest will do based on cards kept in hand. No card (Free from Amber) should be in 67.5% of all drafted decks.
Not sure if anyone has made it this far, but here are some thoughts:
Cut the spell boost – Spells are clearly not made equally, and does nothing to rebalance for classes. Warriors are played at historically low levels because their spells suck.
Reduce percentages of specific cards – I would like to see reductions for the highest drafted cards like Stonehill Defender. Arena should be about being forced to play bad cards, not ramping up a Discover to get something amazing.
Reduce outlandish RNG cards – A lot of random things have gone on in this game, but some Arena games have things going too far. A lot of this has to do with the Mage random Discovers, but things are getting out of control in this department.
That’s really all I have to say for now. I just know that I got a 11-2 run on May 10th, and proceeded to not play an arena on May 11th. I played a 4-1 Warlock yesterday and didn’t finish the run in that sitting. My waning interest in the Arena isn’t because I’m losing at historical levels. It just feels wrong and different, and something that I am sadly struggling to have fun with. I hope other original Arena hardcores feel the same.
I’ve always been an honest person in my life, sometimes too much to a fault. I also have difficulty hiding emotions or disguising facial expressions, and this has gotten me in trouble now-and-then. So, I’m going to say it: I’ve played the least Hearthstone I have played in a while. I started this January 2017 season very strong, getting to Rank 8 or 9 within the first week, doing well with various Miracle Rogue decks. Then things slowed down to a halt, and I find myself barely getting by the past few weeks. I must note that I have listened to the first 8 minutes of the Top Deck Kings Podcast #79 (which you should totally listen to) as of this writing, and I have paused it, until I finish all my thoughts, to prevent any cross-contamination. But I have pinpointed a few obvious reasons to my playing Hearthstone at a minimum these days.
1. Real life getting in the way
One of the perks to being a professional gamer is that gaming is your “real life.” While you may have family and friends to interact with, the job portion of real life is bundled into your gaming space. My real life is definitely getting in the way, as I am looking for a new job. While people look for jobs all the time, I was rather complacent in that area, and I am in a bit of trouble. Writing cover letters, updating resumes, and applying takes time, but the more arduous task is figuring out what I want to do in my life. This is something I am unlikely to figure out by the time I get my next job, and will be a struggle for the future. But, I am cutting out time each day to look for and apply to jobs.
2. Other games getting in the way
When I am very enthused with Hearthstone, it is the only game I play and devote time to. With other games getting mixed into my more limited gaming time, I am starting to manage my interests. Heroes of the Storm has a Lunar New Year promotion Rooster Race, with the special golden rooster mount acquired with 25 Rooster Races completed. I completely suck at HotS, but by god, I want that golden rooster mount. Valeera is also a new hero that appeared in HotS. While she is difficult to play, and I have a habit of overextending, I am a big fan of the character, and she has brought me back to the game. Competing card games Shadowverse and Duelyst have daily login rewards that require my logging in to get as well.
And thanks to LA-based esquire Decktech (@hsdecktech), I have been hooked on Yugi-Oh Duel Links on my phone. The whole reason I got into Hearthstone likely is tied to my interests in Yugi-Oh, and now it has been recreated as an addictive phone game. This is not unlike the Pokemon Go craze, but I do not have to brave the outdoor elements to play Duel Links. Also unlike Pokemon Go, Duel Links is actually quite the strategic and interactive game, not just walking around and throwing a ball in different angles.
3. Meta getting in the way
The above two reasons are actual excuses for me, but let’s not sugarcoat the problems affecting Hearthstone. While I am hesitant to say that the meta has gotten stale already, the game just seems very “binary” now. There still remain various competitive decks in Hearthstone, and definitely more than there were in certain points of the game’s history. But it seems like “everything” is Face Aggro (Warrior, Shaman) or Highlander (Kazakus/Reno). Classes are clustering too much it seems, and deck types don’t seem too different by class. Rogues are still doing fine in their own thing, and Jade Druid is here now and then. But Paladins and Hunters are suffering now. These problems have been discussed at length by Devs in recent articles and tweets. The main problem of course is the high rate of Shaman play, something bolstered by seemingly-continual OP cards released for the class.
This is all likely some sort of bias, losing to frustrating decks like Pirate Shaman and Warrior. But truthfully, If Hearthstone didn’t have it’s problems, I would likely not be playing other games as much.
Of course, what now? I actually expected possible nerfs to Small-Time Buccaneer by the end of this month, but it seems like the Devs are deciding what to do about that card, and perhaps others. I haven’t stopped playing Hearthstone, as I am still interested in completing dailies, and doing an Arena run almost nightly. But the already tepid desire I had to play Ranked has just gotten cold. If things don’t change, I will likely revert to my old self, and just play Arena until the last 2 weeks of the month, when I can pick on weaker competition. Yep, Scavenging Buzzard mode is likely for next month.
You know, I had plans to compile a bunch of stats from the year that explicitly stated how well I played Hearthstone. Then my regular computer stopped working, and the Decktracker on this one didn’t record a whole lot of games, so there you have it.
Last year, I wrote a post at the end of 2015, stating it was the year I became an Arena player. This goal was reaffirmed in 2016, where I mainly stayed in the Arena while enjoying Hearthstone. But, I guess in 2016, I began to play more Hearthstone, and Constructed/Ranked Play. Let’s talk about 2016 in Hearthstone for me.
My Arena average stands at 4.83, which means that my overall wins per run was short of 5 as well in 2016. I did get the Lightforge Key (12 wins) 7 times in 2016, putting me at 11 Lightforge Keys overall. There was a bit of diversity in classes this time, as I got my first 12-wins with Shaman, Warlock, Hunter and Druid. The Hunter run was also my first non 12-2, as a 12-1 run.
2016 saw the first changes made to the Arena ever, with the rebalancing initiative. I would like to see more done to recognize the Arena and players in the future, though I am not particularly looking forward to any drafting synergy changes, which I feel would promote less transparency. For now, I will likely continue approaching the game with this Arena mindset.
Having the Decktracker stats here would be great, but whomp whomp. I won something like 51-53% of Ranked games. I can say that I got Rank 5 only once in 2016, achieved by either playing Reno Rogue or when Shaman was the new hotness. I started the year brushing Rank 10, but ever since the Rank 5 breach, I have been regularly ending seasons around Rank 6 or 7. This inability to muster a little extra effort to get a golden epic reward rather than a golden rare card epitomizes where I hit my limits in Ranked play. I would very much like to get Legend some day in 2017, but the inability to get to Rank 5 on a regular basis highlights my general inability to play Ranked.
I don’t play much Wild, but I did play mostly Wild in November 2016, when I was completely done with the Standard meta. I hit Rank 10 there as a high. Otherwise, I head to Ranked Wild as a playground to complete quests and earn some easy Ranked wins in the same action.
On the Golden Hero front, nothing happened in 2016.I got Golden Valeera in April 2015, and haven’t gotten another one since. This is something I don’t put priority in at all I guess.
I blogged all year about Hearthstone mostly, and I am not sure if I reaped the rewards from it. I know the amount of traffic blogs get have a bit of variance, so no idea “how well I did.” But, I blogged a lot, a lot of people (relative term) read stuff. While I am not the best Hearthstone player, I do have a lot to say on the blog!
I have a concurrent blog going on Creators, but haven’t had the time recently to double-post things. Will hop back on that blog soon.
Hitting 10,000 views was a bit of a milestone for me, and I ended the year with 11,468 views.
I have mentioned it before, but I got huge spikes in my views from Hearthstone Reddit. Surprisingly, 2 of my best posts in the year were about Diablo 3 and Syphon Filter. Maybe I should blog about other games once and a while.
Nothing really new in my blog audience. I do get a kick out of a single view from random countries/territories/isles now and then. I will achieve the ultimate country achievement if North Korea some day registers. Hearthstone is taking over the world.
This blog is run by myself and I don’t get paid for it. Everything is “organic” (I hate myself already for saying that). So, most of my views come off various search engines and spikes on Reddit.
I did appear in the Top Deck Kings Podcast as a guest once, that was a good experience. I have thought about Podcasting in the past, but it is something I haven’t gone into, as I don’t feel I bring anything new to what is already out there.
I also have an experimental YouTube account where some videos of gameplay and analysis are found. That hasn’t gotten much traction, and I am not interested in being a streamer, so that’s that. Another thing that I did this year!
Oh yeah and don’t forget the time I predicted Am’gam Rager.
Here’s to 2017 in Hearthstone. I look forward to all the neat stuff that will come out. I sure hope I am still enjoying the game and blogging by this time next year. We never know what will happen, but I fully intend to keep playing this game.
While I woke up this morning cold, sneezing, and covered with tissues and snot (allergies are the worst), I remembered to check my phone to not miss an important milestone for this blog. And I happened to catch it at the right time:
10,000 views is not a big deal for any mainstream site, as they probably get that many views in a matter of hours. But this is something that I am proud of, given I get my views through my own self-promotion and getting SEO hits on search engines. The other hilarious thing about my blog is that I got 16% of my views on one day. As much of a wasteland Hearthstone Reddit is usually, I owe them that one. Thanks for reading about Master of Evolution, a card that Shamans don’t play because they have better options.
Anyways, I want to thank everyone who reads my blog or has come for a look. While most of my views come from the Western world, people from all over the world (I mean all over) have come by, all united by the interest in Hearthstone. Thanks to everyone on Twitter, who I talk Hearthstone with. Thanks to all my fellow game bloggers on WordPress.
I don’t have a lot exciting going on in my life, but this blog is something I enjoy doing. Talking and thinking about Hearthstone gets my juices flowing, and I try to share my thoughts here. While I am also posting on the Creators blog (https://creators.co/@GreenRanger), where there are editors working on my posts, this will still be my go-to site for posting anything. Moving forward, I expect to delve into Mean Streets of Gadgetzan completely, and I also might write about other games now and then. I recently realized that I have a lot to talk about Diablo I.
Anyways, thanks for getting me to 10,000 views. I look forward to keep talking Hearthstone with everyone.
Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do about Hearthstone or gaming. More personal stuff, if you are interested.
Thought I am writing this post from Baltimore, I spent most of my life in the New York Tri-State area, having grown up in Jersey City, NJ for my pre-college life. I was actually born in New York City, and spent a considerable number of Saturdays in New York, to go to Chinese School and learn Mandarin, as my family’s native language is Cantonese.
September 11, 2001 was a beautiful day, one of those days that capped out in high 70s to low 80s, with very few clouds and abundant sunshine. I remember it specifically as the second day of 7th grade, a Tuesday. Given that it was the second day of the school year, it was the first “normal” day, after the re-familiarizing the day before.
The first signs of things being unusual occurred in our math class, the second class of the day. The windows were typically open in class (given no AC), and I just heard sirens everywhere. Police sirens and ambulance sirens were just persistent. I had no idea if the teachers and staff were cognizant of what was going on across the Hudson River. Then I heard intercom announcements about calling kids who have family who worked in the World Trade Center. This happened at least twice.
I don’t ever recall hearing the World Trade Center go down, but by lunchtime, the class clown of our class, was telling us rumors of the World Trade Center being hit by planes. Being aware of the concept of terrorism was completely foreign at this time, I must have thought it was a pilot error. We didn’t get to go outside for recess. Something was up.
Shortly after lunch, school was over. Everyone was dismissed. Parents had been picking up students in our class through the day. I was one of the stragglers dismissed at the end. I remember going outside at the beautiful day to go home (2 blocks away), and just seeing smoke in the sky, and confusion amongst everyone.
When I got home a few minutes later, I realized the TV was frozen. There was an infamous image of the plane hitting the Twin Towers being frozen on the WB channel. Anyways, I remember the TV being spotty, and my learning of the destruction of the World Trade Center. I don’t think my mom worked that day, and my dad took one of the last trains out of New York City. Besides visiting the World Trade Center as a child, I remember just passing it by every Saturday for Chinese school. I took the PATH train from Journal Square to the World Trade Center stop every Saturday. My fondest memories just involve staring into the sky at any point, whether crossing the street, or whatever, and seeing the Twin Towers. Just staring into the sky and seeing a giant behemoth of architecture. I had to come to grips that it was no more.
I returned to New York City when they reopened the Holland Tunnel. I had to go to New York for Chinese School and also some other school to prepare me for the PSAT. It was about 2 weeks after 9/11. I remember just walking the streets in Lower Manhattan, and there was just dust on the ground, like a small snow accumulation. Clumps of dust blowing around like tumbleweeds. Tumbleweeds of ash, concrete, asbestos, and possibly human remains. This dust was just around for weeks, and so was the resulting smoke from the smoldering remains at Ground Zero.
I also experienced the “patriotism period” in New York and New Jersey. There were just American flags everywhere, especially paper flags taped to the windows of cars. We had a few assemblies at school that commemorated the event. We saluted the flag a good deal. I had a 9/11 pin on my bookbag for the whole year.
Flash forward to today, and the World Trade Center is once again a behemoth in the sky, and all is seemingly normal again. I was around for a considerable time during the rebuilding, but it was just a slow, progressive rebuilding process. I’m not a nationalistic or patriotic person by any means, but 9/11 meant a big deal to me! Though I didn’t personally know any victims from the attacks, it had a big impact on life! My sister’s friends dad was a hero window washer in the World Trade Center who saved lives that day. I just can’t believe that happened 15 years ago. It is probably the biggest event I will ever experience, and it happened. I remember it like it was yesterday.