A couple of days ago, we talked about how Ben Brode, Hearthstone‘s (Free) Game Director, went on reddit to describe the steps being taken to enable the team to maintain a better communication with players in the near future. Today, Brode decided to wade into a reddit discussion about the problems of the new player experience. The discussion was specifically about how the biggest problem with the new player experience is that there’s not enough separation between those just starting out and people who’ve been playing the game forever. Brode first talked about how they’re aware of the work needed to improve the new player experience and how they’ve been tweaking it for years and have seen significant increases in new player retention. The team has worked a lot on improving the Casual matchmaker, which resulted in new player winrates increasing by around 15%.
Lots of good discussion regarding the new player experience. I chimed in here: https://t.co/MpmbuUDhiM
— Ben Brode (@bbrode) January 5, 2017
At the same time as the Casual has been improving for new players though, Ranked is becoming more difficult for new players. He did point out that new players play in a separate matchmaking pool for the first several sessions to help ease them into the game. Still, they know that the introductory missions play well up through Illidan and then, well, don’t. They’ve talked repeatedly about having hired someone whose sole focus is the new player experience, but I’d have to agree with those who say the game is pretty daunting for newcomers at the moment. The addition of deck recipes is definitely a boon, but I think more guidance is necessary, even if that guidance comes in the form of written tutorials about CCG principles.