First of all let me thank all of you reading and supporting the website in its Launch Week. We have received a ton of positive feedback and we would like to thank all of you for encouraging us to continue to produce content!
Community Questions is another segment we’re thinking of doing regularly, consolidating and answering questions directed at us and our articles. This week we plan on addressing something a little different than what will be our standard format. We’re deeply involved with the /r/hearthstone sub-reddit, so I’m going to discuss it, the state of the meta game and what we can do as a community.
There has been a lot of discontent in the Hearthstone Community lately particularly on the Hearthstone sub-reddit. A lot of you including notable Pro Players, Streamers and YouTube personalities have expressed something approaching loathing regarding the current state of the game, particularly the meta game.
You’re sick of constantly seeing the same decks, of them being overpowered and you not being able to win if you’re not playing them. You’re not having fun with Hearthstone anymore and you resent Blizzard for creating this situation and not communicating regarding how they plan to resolve it.
What’s wrong with the meta-game?
Tears have been shed, rage has been induced , but what is it exactly that has everyone so riled up? This is the most board-centric meta game in the history of Hearthstone. Everyone and their dog are playing Secret Paladin on ladder. We can’t dump all the blame on Secret Paladin though; there are also a lot of Aggro Druids, Face Hunters and even Tempo Mages.
So what’s the big deal? Anyone who has been around Hearthstone for a while knows that there have always been periods of super dominant decks and play-styles. Why is there such uproar over the current state of the meta game compared to when decks like Miracle Rogue were so dominant?
The issue for most of us seems to be the skill necessary to pilot these decks, particularly Secret Paladin. In the era of Miracle Rogue and Patron Warrior the decks were overpowered but also very difficult to play, you were provided multiple options every turn. As a result, the decks were effectively available to a much smaller section of the community; you were much less likely to run into these decks especially at lower ranks than you are Secret Paladin.
But even the mindless nature of the archetype and its popularity isn’t the core issue. The issue is both how simple it is to play and how simple it is to play against (from a decision making perspective). Just as the Secret Paladin has simple turns – using his mana as efficiently as possible – you, as the opponent have an equally basic decision making process.
The problem with this board centric meta-game is the lack of skill required for everyone involved. You play all of your removal each turn, try your best to control their board state, make no mistakes and you still lose. This process of feeling like you played perfectly and still lost is very aggravating especially when it happens over and over again, especially when it happens against the same deck.
It’s easy to understand how the meta-game is growing stale.
What can we do?
So we know it isn’t just a problem with the lack of diversity on ladder but also how these decks devalue skillful, thoughtful and reactive gameplay. How do we fix it?
A lot of us have descended into Circle-Jerking rather than trying to be proactive. We’re unable to think of a counter ourselves and everywhere we look people are complaining, even players we respect, players much better than us – surely this game must be broken.
Firstly, let’s put an end to all the melodrama on this sub-reddit. This meta-game is annoying and un-interactive and the popular decks don’t reward the skill and intellectual process that made this game great. This can’t be disputed. That all said, it’s not like there aren’t any solutions. There are a lot of slower and more reactive archetypes available to us that can perform really well against the current meta-game.
We need a mentality adjustment. Our options aren’t just joining them or stop playing. Archetypes like Freeze Mage, Patron Warrior, Demon lock and Control Priest offer a lot of potential when combating these ‘cancerous’ board-centric archetypes. If we, as a community, start promoting content and discussion geared towards ‘how to beat secret paladin’ rather than ‘I’ve grown to hate this game’ we can start changing the game.
Look at what streamers are playing, listen to what players are saying, look for decks to counter the meta-game and start playing them. This meta is only out of control, especially at lower ranks, because we’re allowing it to be.
For myself, I’m going to be playing Patron Warrior, Oil Rogue, Pirate Rogue and Control Priest to legend this season – what will you be doing?
TLDR: This is a board centric meta filled with Secret Paladins, Hunters, Aggro Druids and Tempo Mages. The problem with the meta isn’t that Secret Paladin is incredibly overpowered but rather that it and decks like it reward and create a simplistic play style. The lack of diversity on ladder and skill required to play the game currently is resulting in a dramatic baby rage outbreak.
It doesn’t have to be like this. Being pro-active and promoting different, but equally viable archetypes can save us from the hell we’ve created. Adapt, discuss and learn, don’t be part of the problem.
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