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Blizzard is about to implement a new patch for their multiplayer card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The update is aimed at fixing two problems vexing players: the Arena and mages.
Currently mage decks based around ice spells are a bit overpowered. The Cone of Cold, Blizzard and Frost Nova spells allow mage players to constantly freeze their opponents' minions, preventing them from attacking at all. Here's a video of a control mage in action:
The developers were watching Freeze spells for months now, according to a new post on the Battle.net forums. They decided that the next patch is the right time to finally nerf the cards.
"These cards are all having their mana costs increased by one. We understand that the Freeze mechanic can be frustrating to play against, and we feel that these changes should allow the opponent some additional time to be aggressive with their minions and well as slow the overall pacing of the control-based Mage play style while still keeping Freeze playable in many different types of decks."
Dramatic balance changes in Hearthstone can be frustrating because players have to earn new cards by either crafting or purchasing booster packs. In some cases, players are spending real-world money on those booster packs. To make it easier for mages with freeze decks to adjust, the developers will boost the disenchant value for Cone of Cold and Blizzard. The cards can be disenchanted into the exact amount of arcane dust it would cost to craft them for the two weeks following the patch. Frost Nova isn't included in that change because it's a Basic card that mages get for free.
The other major fix included in the upcoming patch concerns the Arena. Since the last update, some players haven't been able to start new sessions of Arena play. This new patch should put that bug to bed, though.
Hearthstone allows players to create decks of Warcraft characters, spells and weapons. Each deck is based around a different iconic Warcraft class, such as paladin or shaman. Players can go head-to-head with other players or opt to practice against A.I. of different difficulty levels. The game is free-to-play but players can spend money on Arena passes or booster packs. You can find out more about the game and my thoughts on it by reading my hands-on preview
The closed beta for Hearthstone went live in August on PC and Mac. Blizzard said that they plan to begin open testing in December but they've yet to announce a firm date for that yet. An iPad version is also in development but not being tested publicly at the moment.