Hearthstone's arena mode is getting the most severe balance patch in the game's existence, igniting debate again about whether similar action should be taken to alter the current competitive landscape.
Forty five cards across all but one of the game's nine classes will be removed from the arena draft card pool. The strongest classes, Mage and Rogue, are losing a few of their strong common cards. For every other class except Paladin, some of the weaker cards are being removed to inflate the chance of being presented with the better options.
According to a post on the game's official website, developers are also looking at adjust drop rates for individual cards or the frequency at which different different card rarities are offered.
This massive change to arena has fueled an ongoing conversation about Hearthstone's competitive scene—should some cards be banned from competitive play? The card receiving the most calls to be banned is Yogg-Saron, which has unparalleled potential to turn a game around no matter what has gone before it.
In the past, Blizzard has been very against card bans in tournaments. In 2014, Chris Chan's Deck Wars tournament was forced to withdraw a proposal to ban Starving Buzzard and Leeroy Jenkins following intervention from Blizzard. Current Blizzard tournament license conditions, required for any event with a prizepool of over $10,000, do not allow for card bans.
But some tournaments are beginning to explore the idea. James "Firebat" Kostesich, the 2014 world champion, announced his own tournament series yesterday called BatStone, which will ban five cards voted on by the community. If the low-key, one-day event ends up a critical success with fans, more tournaments may look to echo its success.