Blizzard has released a fresh update for its insanely addictive collectible card battler Hearthstone.
Patch #4217 adds a new version of the game's Ranked mode, where ratings are now reset at the end of each month. You begin as a lowly rank 25 ("Angry Chicken") and from there work your way up to "Legendary".
Another important change is a gold cap for winning games in Play mode (you currently gain 10 coins after three wins). This doesn't affect gold earned through quests, achievements or in the Arena and has been introduced to combat gold-farming bots, Blizzard has said.
Speaking of the Arena, the number of matches you can win has now been increased from nine to 12 (good luck with that).
Finally, Blizzard has reworked and nerfed a number of widely-used cards - including the Hunter class staples Unleash the Hounds and Starving Buzzard, plus the over-powered Priest card Mind Control (about time!).
The full list of tweaks and changes lies below, and there's deeper explanation over at Hearthpwn.
Still in closed beta, Hearthstone already has a userbase of over a million players. Not got access yet? Eurogamer currently has 2500 Hearthstone keys to give away.
Hearthstone Patch Notes
- You are now able to abandon one quest per day. When you abandon a quest, you'll receive a new, random quest in its place.
- New Feature: Recently played Opponent - Your friends list now displays the last person you played against, provided they were not a Real ID or BattleTag friend. If you had a particularly great match against someone, you can now friend them for future play!
- New Feature: Players Near Me - You can now opt-in to seeing other Hearthstone players on your local network in your friends list.
- Parental controls can now disable in-game Shop purchases.
- You now have the option to keep the sound playing while the game is running in the background.
- The amount of gold gained by winning games in Play mode per day is now capped at 100. This cap does not affect gold gained through Quests, Arena, or Achievements. There will now be an indication within the game when this gold cap is reached. This cap is intended to combat certain methods of gold acquisition that violate our Terms of Service. The spirit of fair play is extremely important to us, and we will continue to monitor gold acquisition activity closely to ensure a fun and enjoyable game environment for everyone.
- The Ranked play system has been completely redone
- There are now month long seasons that reset at the end of each month
- There are new ranks and minion portraits for all levels of play
- You earn a star for each win and lose one for each loss and your stars determine your rank
- Players who get to top rank of legend and are in the top 10,000 players have their exact region-wide ranking displayed
- There will be rewards for playing ranked mode in the future, but they were not implemented with this patch, and will be added at a future date.
- The number of matches you can win in Arena has increased to 12 (up from 9).
- Arena rewards have been restructured.
- All Golden cards are now animated.
- The visual effects of some cards have been improved.
- Ysera now summons her Dream cards directly from the Emerald Dream!
- King Krush now makes a dinosauric appearance when played!
- Al'Akir the Windlord now rides into battle on the tempest itself!
- Unleash the Hounds has been reworked and now reads: "(4) For each enemy minion, summon a 1/1 Hound with Charge".
- The previous version of this card was allowing Hunters to win in a single turn, starting with no minions on the board. The new version should give hunters some fun new card combinations and bolster their AoE ability.
- Temporarily increased the amount of dust that you get from disenchanting Unleash the Hounds such that it is equal to the amount of dust that it would have originally cost to craft Unleash the Hounds.
- Starving Buzzard is now a 2/1 (was a 2/2).
- At some ranks, Hunter was too strong against Mage, Druid and Rogue. This change to Starving Buzzard helps even the playing field against those classes.
- Mind Control's mana cost is now 10 (up from 8).
- Mind Control was frustrating to play against. Players worked to summon their powerful minions and not only lose the minion but die to that same minion the next turn. This change will give you a couple more turns to play with your Ragnaros.
- Flame Imp's Battlecry now deals 3 damage (up from 2).
- This minor change should help bring the warlock's early game down a small amount. We're keeping our eye on other cards that help the Warlock maintain early board advantage and will make additional changes if necessary in a future patch.
- Temporarily increased the amount of dust that you get from disenchanting Flame Imp such that it is equal to the amount of dust that it would have originally cost to craft Flame Imp.
- Argent Commander is now a 4/2 (was a 4/3).
- Argent Commander is played more often than we'd like, so we are reducing its power slightly to increase the variety of cards being played.
- Temporarily increased the amount of dust that you get from disenchanting Argent Commander such that it is equal to the amount of dust that it would have originally cost to craft Argent Commander.
- Shattered Sun Cleric is now a 3/2 (was a 3/3).
- Shattered Sun Cleric is keeping the creature rush decks healthy enough to avoid many board clearing spells. By reducing the Health by 1, this leaves Shattered Sun Cleric a bit more vulnerable while still remaining strong.
- The golden version of the Elite Tauren Chieftain has been added to collections of those who attended BlizzCon 2013 or who purchased a Virtual Ticket.
- If this card does not show up, make sure the code found on the back of the digital items card found in the badge holder, or sent to you with a purchase of the Virtual Ticket, has been added to your Battle.net Account.
- The chat UI has received additional improvements.
- Your player rank (icon and number) is now visible in the friends list, the versus screen and your BattleTag in-game.
- The PrintScreen key now takes a screenshot of your game and saves it to your desktop.
- Custom art has been added to headers for each class in the collection manager.
- The toggle between Casual and Ranked Play modes is now more explicit.
- The art has been updated for the box and pack opening screens.
- Alexstrasza's ability no longer counts as a healing effect when raising the target's health to 15 and will not affect Armor when lowering health to 15.
- Fixed an issue where Truesilver Champion could trigger twice from one attack.
- Faceless Manipulator will now properly copy all buffs on a minion.
- Fixed an issue where replacing your hero with Lord Jaraxxus counted as a minion death.
- Fixed a visual issue where casting Mass Dispel while multiple global buffs were active was not updating the stats correctly.
- Fixed various issues involving the use of Tracking.
- Fixed an issue where Fatigue damage triggering Ice Block caused the client to halt.
- Playing a minion during Brawl's animation no longer causes client issues.
- Freeze should now always properly cause the affected minion or Hero to miss its next attack phase.
- Fixed various issues involving the mechanic of returning cards to a player's hand.
- Minions returning to the board from resurrection effects no longer trigger secrets.
- Fixed various issues resulting from viewing the credits.
- The cinematic can now be viewed multiple times from the Game Menu.
- Fixes various issues where twinkling sound effects would loop.
- Using the "<" or ">" symbols while naming decks no longer causes client issues.
- The Coin now displays the correct highlight as it enters your hand.
- The warning message for disenchanting cards should now appear at the appropriate times.
- Green highlights around minions are now updating correctly.
- Golden cards earned in the Arena now appear with the correct border on the reward screen.
- Fixed multiple spelling and grammatical errors in card flavor text.