New player experience

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The new player experience seeks to help players who are new to the game to quickly learn the ropes, a key focus point for the developers of Hearthstone.

Various special accommodations exist to ease players into the game, such as:

Introduction[edit | edit source]

In the beginning, new players are restricted from accessing certain Hearthstone features and game modes so that they are not overwhelmed. Initially, players can only play as the mage class, with other classes locked until the player unlocked them in the Apprentice Track. Similarly, adventures, other game formats, and other game modes are locked until players finish the Apprentice Track or skip it. For Wild and Twist formats, players must have crafted a card from a Wild or Twist format set. Certain quests are also not given to new players.[1]

Upon opening a new account, all players can first complete the introductory tutorial before they are able to play the full game of Hearthstone (or skip it entirely). Once the tutorial and Apprentice Track are finished or skipped, the "vast majority" of players progress to playing basic difficulty practice mode matches.[2] Some new players choose to go into Casual Play mode, while a minority go directly to Ranked Play mode.[2] In Casual Play mode and the Arena, new players are initially placed into special matchmaking pools to ease them into the game.

Apprentice Track[edit | edit source]

After finishing the tutorial, new players get access to the Apprentice Track. All classes are unlocked during the Apprentice Track, as well as the Tavern Brawl and Arena modes. Other game modes (excluding Battlegrounds) are unlocked after finishing the Apprentice Track. The Apprentice Track also rewards card packs, catch-up packs, Battle-Ready deck choices, and the loaner deck feature.

Along with the Apprentice Track, players are placed into the Tavern Guide, a quest system to help introduce new players into the game. The quests in the Tavern Guide range anywhere from playing games and completing gameplay challenges to doing tasks outside of matches like buying and opening packs, or replacing cards in decks.

Quests[edit | edit source]

The Tavern Guide contains the following quests:

General[edit | edit source]

IdNameDescriptionRewardsNext quest
653 Warm-Up Play a game. 25 Rewards Track - XP.png
654 Arena Fighter Play a game of any mode. 250 Rewards Track - XP.png
655 Tavern Brawler Play a game of any mode. 100 Rewards Track - XP.png

Learning Aggro[edit | edit source]

IdNameDescriptionRewardsNext quest
656 On Curve Deplete your mana for 5 turns in a row. 50 Rewards Track - XP.png
657 All-In Use all the cards in your hand at any point, and win. 50 Rewards Track - XP.png
658 Knock-out Punch Finish off an opponent while they control a minion. 50 Rewards Track - XP.png

Learning Control[edit | edit source]

IdNameDescriptionRewardsNext quest
659 Card Advantage Draw 3 extra cards during a match. 50 Rewards Track - XP.png
660 Board Control Use a spell to remove 3 or more minions. 50 Rewards Track - XP.png
661 Trading Attack an opponent's minion with your minion and have it survive. 50 Rewards Track - XP.png

Touring the menus[edit | edit source]

IdNameDescriptionRewardsNext quest
662 Gold Rush Buy a pack with Gold. 25 Rewards Track - XP.png, Tavern Guide - 250 dust
663 Pack City Open 5 card packs. 50 Rewards Track - XP.png, Tavern Guide - 250 dust
664 Dusting Disenchant a card in your collection. 50 Rewards Track - XP.png, Tavern Guide - 400 dust
665 Crafting Craft a card to add to your collection. 50 Rewards Track - XP.png, Tavern Guide - 400 dust
666 Upgrading Replace a card in one of your decks. 75 Rewards Track - XP.png, Tavern Guide - 400 dust

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Rewards[edit | edit source]

Apprentice Track Rewards Track
LvXP for
next lvl
CumulativedFree Track
1 100 100
    2 100 200
    • CardPack713.pngStandard
      3 100 300
        4 100 400
        • 50 Gold
          5 100 500
          • 50 Gold
            6 100 600
              7 150 750
              • 50 Gold
                8 150 900
                • 50 Gold
                  9 150 1050
                    10 150 1200
                    • 50 Gold
                      11 150 1350
                      • CardPack713.pngStandard
                      • CardPack713.pngStandard
                      • CardPack713.pngStandard
                        12 150 1500
                          13 150 1650
                          • 50 Gold
                            14 150 1800
                              15 200 2000
                              • Booster id 0
                                16 200 2200
                                • Battle-Ready deck option
                                • Battle-Ready deck option
                                • Battle-Ready deck option
                                  17 200 2400
                                  • CardPack713.pngStandard
                                  • CardPack713.pngStandard
                                  • CardPack713.pngStandard
                                    18 200 2600
                                      19 200 2800
                                      • CardPack713.pngStandard
                                      • CardPack713.pngStandard
                                      • CardPack713.pngStandard
                                        20 200 3000
                                        • Battle-Ready deck option
                                        • Battle-Ready deck option
                                        • Battle-Ready deck option
                                          21 200 3200
                                          • 50 Gold
                                            22 200 3400
                                              23 300 3700
                                              • Booster id 0
                                                24 300 4000
                                                • CardPack713.pngStandard
                                                • CardPack713.pngStandard
                                                • CardPack713.pngStandard
                                                  25 500 4500
                                                  • Loaner deck choice

                                                    Deck Recipes[edit | edit source]

                                                    Main article: Deck Recipe

                                                    Deck Recipes are pre-made card lists which players can use when creating a new deck. When creating a deck from a Deck Recipe, cards which the player does not possess can be substituted, with alternative suggestions provided. Deck Recipes are intended to give newer players an easy way to explore new deck types while simultaneously helping them to learn about card synergies and deck building.[3]

                                                    History[edit | edit source]

                                                    While many new players will be familiar with similar games like Magic: The Gathering or the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game, "a lot" of new players have never played a collectible card game (CCG) before.[2] Because of this it is important that the new player experience teaches and eases players into the basic mechanics of card games in general, as well as the specific details of Hearthstone.

                                                    Over time the developers have made numerous changes to improve the new player experience. As of 2015 some of the main reasons for new players stopping playing early on were confusion over how Taunt works; and deck building and large card pools being "overwhelming".[4] The developers sought to address these weaknesses chiefly through changes to the tutorial and hero emotes regarding Taunt and its function, the introduction of game formats (ensuring a moderately sized card pool for new players), and the introduction of Deck Recipes, prebuilt decks giving new and beginner-level players a stepping stone to exploring new deck types and learning about deck construction; the collection's card suggestion system was also improved in the same patch, helping players to fill in gaps in their decks and collections. Changes to the Casual Play mode matchmaking also improved the new player experience, allowing new players to have "a much higher winrate" in that mode compared to Ranked mode.[5][6] The developers also considered locking Ranked the same way that Arena was initially locked for new players to avoid potentially bad experiences.[5]

                                                    In February 2017, milestone ranks were implemented at Ranks 20, 15, 10, 5, and Legend, preventing players from falling below that rank during a season if they had reached it during the season. Ranks 25-21 were additionally limited to players who never reached Rank 15; this was intended to make sure new players were matched more appropriately.

                                                    As of 2017 Game Director Ben Brode admitted that the previous new player experience "needs more work",[6] stating that certain elements of the experience still had "some pretty serious weaknesses",[2] and that Ranked in particular "has poor matchmaking for new players"[7] and was "becoming more difficult for new players over time".[6] However, he explained that improvements to the experience had seen significant improvements in retention rate for new players since the game's launch in 2014.[6]

                                                    In October 2018, a special set of 25 ranks for new players (Ranks 50-26) were implemented and were limited to new players only. These New Player Ranks were introduced into the Ranked system to allow new players to better ease into the game, with a substantial number of free packs along the way during their climb.

                                                    On March 26, 2020, with the release of Ashes of Outland and the start of the new Year of the Phoenix, free decks were made available to new and returning players.

                                                    If you’re new to the game—or you’ve been away for a spell—we’d like to help you get right to playing and having fun. Starting today, players new to the game who graduate from the New Player ranks will get a free competitive deck from a class of their choice [...] ! This also applies to players who haven't logged into the game in the past four months.

                                                    On April 1, 2020, the Ranked system received a large overhaul. New players were put into a new "Apprentice league" with 40 ranks.

                                                    On December 5, 2023, the "Apprentice league" was retired, and the Apprentice Track and Tavern Guide took its place.

                                                    See also[edit | edit source]

                                                    Patch changes[edit | edit source]

                                                    References[edit | edit source]

                                                    1. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2017-04-09). 
                                                    2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Designer Insights: Live Stream Q&A. (2017-01-13). 
                                                    3. Ben Brode on reddit. (2017-01-11). 
                                                    4. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-03-06). 
                                                    5. 5.0 5.1 Ben Brode on reddit. (2016-10-21). 
                                                    6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Ben Brode on reddit. (2017-01-06). 
                                                    7. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2017-02-18).