For the 2017 season, the Hearthstone Championship Tour (HCT) switched to Swiss format. While this change was requested by many players during the previous seasons, the implementation elicited a bunch of criticism. To be honest, I do not think it was as bad as the loudest critics said, but I think a proper examination into a fair and exciting Swiss tournament format for Hearthstone is warranted.
It is not a rare sight to see competitive players complain about the ladder system in Hearthstone: it happens at the end of every season as the competition for those coveted top 100 spots is fierce, and perceived to be in in a large part a matter of luck in addition to skill.
In this post, I will examine the current ladder system, showcase why it is fundamentally broken for this particular environment, and propose an alternative model that could be used to fix it.
Recent days have seen quite some debate on the income available to players and teams from professional Hearthstone: Hearthlytics disbanded despite a competitive roster as they were not able to make ends meet and Orange left Archon as he wanted to take a different direction than the team – something generally interpreted as meaning that Orange wants to focus on competitive play and Archon has become more and more of a streaming organization as of late.
This is not new: Reynad has led Tempo Storm to the direction of streaming and content creation for a good while already, and after Ostkaka won Blizzcon in 2015 there were several discussions where people wondered why he was not making the most out of his win by streaming a lot to generate a steady source of income. Streaming, not competition, has been recognized as the most steady source of income available in professional Hearthstone.
At the time I’m writing this, the 2016 European Winter Preliminaries are currently underway to determine the participants for the 2016 European Winter Championships. It has been a long and winding road already, and Blizzard is no doubt working hard to improve their game when it comes to promoting Hearthstone as a top-class esports title.
That said, a lot has happened on the way that should warrant careful examination by Blizzard staff in order to really make Hearthstone a legitimate contender with the level of professionalism associated with such status.
In this post, I will go through some of the glitches that have caught my attention, and that should have caught Blizzard’s attention as well.