Is Hearthstone dying?

Play Mode Discussion
Ok... people have been claiming Hearthstone was dying for a really long time now, and I never took them seriously, because there was never any evidence to back that up, but right now.. I think there is and I am starting to worry if Hearthstone might be on it's way out.

I just checked the viewer numbers on Twitch and MTGArena has roughly the same amount of viewers, which is something I really didn't see coming. A lot of popular Hearthstone streamers have jumped ship, either to MTGA or to Autochess.

It is no secret that the last 2 expansions failed to make much of an impact. Balance patches in rapid succession also clearly show that even the devs are aware that they screwed up.

Then you have all the recent layoffs with Activision Blizzard and knowing that they shut down the support for HOTS, I am a bit worried, that Hearthstone might be next on the chopping block.

Maybe the recent changes to HCT points, were not really about improving competitive play after all, but are supposed to be the first step of a plan to no longer officially support tournament play in HS and instead outsource tournament play to third party organizers?

Am I wrong to worry? What do you think? Is Hearthstone going to recover or are the glory days over?
https://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/aruq70/if_hearthstone_used_to_be_your_main_game_but_isnt/

something that was posted by Dean on Tweeter and truth is i appreciate this move.

Still kinda proves your fears more realistic :P
02/18/2019 04:32 PMPosted by WarrenBleezy
Is Hearthstone going to recover or are the glory days over?

I think the game has peaked, but that goes (as I've said in other threads) to the entire CCG category.

Even as a CCG nut I never would have expected to see CCGs become as big as they did. I love them but, to me, I always thought they'd be too slow paced and beholden t some RNG (draw, etc.) to ever become what it did.

I think the high-time of the CCG market has ended a bit and is now on the course to settling at a smaller number. I think, due to being mobile, that HS will retain it's top spot but Magic caters to the more hardcore crowd and those people are already 'time-tested' CCG players. As such I wouldn't be surprise in terms of active participation and hours played if Magic:Artena and HS eventually became similar with HS having the larger player base but Arena having th emore engaged player base.

Just my belief on how it'll play out.
Am I wrong to worry?

No, the recent layoffs make to seem they are broken, however, it is in good part the interest at unreasonably high rates for profits. It isn't their fault, the current world works this way. You can to check that in banks for example they work with more money than they have really, because, they know it is "impossible" all costumers claim their money at same time and the governments feed this behaviour too.

What do you think?

Hearthstone makes more profit than Overwatch. It is the second force behind WoW. It is going to grow up same with mistakes.

Is Hearthstone going to recover or are the glory days over?

The glory days (for we players) are over if they don't make the game's maintenance and just force the game to make money.
Dying? In the sense that time claims all things, sure. Currently, Hearthstone is in a bit of a lull. The current meta is bad and we're waiting for the next expansion.

There's a tournament coming up, so that'll boost the numbers on Twitch a bit. However, HS is often one of the top games on Twitch. Even now, Zalae (top HS streamer ATM) has more viewers than the top MTG:A streamer (Day 9). While I like watching Zalae, a number of other streamers pull bigger numbers regularly.

So, I don't think HS is anywhere near dead, but it's in a weak state right now.
02/18/2019 04:51 PMPosted by Lykotic
02/18/2019 04:32 PMPosted by WarrenBleezy
Is Hearthstone going to recover or are the glory days over?

I think the game has peaked, but that goes (as I've said in other threads) to the entire CCG category.

Even as a CCG nut I never would have expected to see CCGs become as big as they did. I love them but, to me, I always thought they'd be too slow paced and beholden t some RNG (draw, etc.) to ever become what it did.

I think the high-time of the CCG market has ended a bit and is now on the course to settling at a smaller number. I think, due to being mobile, that HS will retain it's top spot but Magic caters to the more hardcore crowd and those people are already 'time-tested' CCG players. As such I wouldn't be surprise in terms of active participation and hours played if Magic:Artena and HS eventually became similar with HS having the larger player base but Arena having th emore engaged player base.

Just my belief on how it'll play out.


Well, maybe. All other CCGs with the excepting of MTGA have completely failed to establish themselves. Artifact was a major catastrophy and I would not be surprised if Activision is already contemplating some way to jump on the Battle Royale bandwagon.

It is still surprising to me how quickly Twitch viewers on Hearthstone have dropped recently. (I know that's not a really good metric to judge how well a game is doing, but it's the best data that is publicly available.)

To me this is not just a result of the CCG market cooling down, but also the outcome of a series of unfortunate decisions by Blizzard. What I am disappointed by the most is failure of communication. Ben Brode always was a link between the devs and the community, but since his departure, they have not even attempted to fill that void.

The real question to me is not if Hearthstone is still profitable, but if it is still profitable to keep investing resources into Hearthstone. If not, then they will probably just try to squeeze as much money out of the game as long as they still can, and that would be bad news.

I also don't really think that MTGA necessarily caters to a "hardcore crowd". In fact I think MTGA caters more to the "mad scientist" brewer types, than to competitive players. I don't even think MTGA is all that great to be honest, but it is at least an alternative to Hearthstone and players who are no longer content with Hearthstone now have another viable option.
With the current state of Blizzards team being shuffled out the door with not much direction given to the public to ease the situation
To the top HS streamers playing auto chess and other games because their more “fun” right now
To the game state over the last 3 months steadily declining to revolve back to the cheesiest tactics possible to win
To the lack of direction given to us as players by the team to prove they aren’t just winging it isn’t there. Who know what’s going to happen with this game.
To giving players the same lying responses that when you put their logic into the game it doesn’t make any sense.
They say “we nerfed these cards because they became auto include in some classes” but leave out other clear offenders in other classes. Or the whole spiel”OTKs or one turn kills provide gameplay that we think are an unenjoyable experience for the other player” While gearing the entire game to this gameplay with their leading card of Boomsday completely revolving around this kind of gameplay ie Mechathun

All these things are not going unnoticed by the players. And for me personally I’m barely playing at all anymore because the game just isn’t fun.
If it ain’t fun what’s the point at all
02/18/2019 04:32 PMPosted by WarrenBleezy
Maybe the recent changes to HCT points, were not really about improving competitive play after all, but are supposed to be the first step of a plan to no longer officially support tournament play in HS and instead outsource tournament play to third party organizers?


I think that the removal of incentive to ladder, along with the meta over the last 4-5 months, are both contributing factors in many streamers jumping ship on streaming the game. The recent survey (a couple of moths ago) also could have been read (in a biased fashion) that they were considering dropping HS tourneys in the near future.

Will be interesting to see their plan for HCt which, iirc, is due to be announced in the next ~24 hours.
02/18/2019 05:05 PMPosted by Daikaze
Dying? In the sense that time claims all things, sure. Currently, Hearthstone is in a bit of a lull. The current meta is bad and we're waiting for the next expansion.

There's a tournament coming up, so that'll boost the numbers on Twitch a bit. However, HS is often one of the top games on Twitch. Even now, Zalae (top HS streamer ATM) has more viewers than the top MTG:A streamer (Day 9). While I like watching Zalae, a number of other streamers pull bigger numbers regularly.

So, I don't think HS is anywhere near dead, but it's in a weak state right now.


Day9 used to be a Hearthstone streamer though. The same is true for Sjow, Kibler and AKAWonder, all currently streaming MTGA. Dog, Trump and Firebat are streaming Autochess right at this moment. Disguised Toast is streaming Apex Legends.

I don't think it's a good sign when 80% of the most popular HS streamers currently online, are streaming other games.
02/18/2019 06:01 PMPosted by WarrenBleezy
The same is true for Sjow, Kibler and AKAWonder, all currently streaming MTGA


I mean, Kibler made it famous being a MtG champion. It's not surprising that he'd check out MTGA.

But yeah, the game has been horribly stale for most of the year and the people who play it for 6-12 hours a day are going to be the ones to abandon it first. The big names will pull some numbers regardless of what they play, and they'll take a pay-cut in exchange for playing something they enjoy.
I can’t say if the game is dying but HS is losing its player base.

In my head though, the game is definitely dying. On the one hand, the cost of each expansion makes it harder for new players to join, while the stale meta turns away the veterans. Unfortunately I don’t think it will ever lower the pack cost, nor will there be have a balanced meta like that of J2U.

In short, I am not optimistic about the state of the game, or its future.
I'm not sure, but got paired with the same person like 2 times one match after another. it seems matchmaking is suffering number wise.
02/18/2019 06:01 PMPosted by WarrenBleezy
02/18/2019 05:05 PMPosted by Daikaze
Dying? In the sense that time claims all things, sure. Currently, Hearthstone is in a bit of a lull. The current meta is bad and we're waiting for the next expansion.

There's a tournament coming up, so that'll boost the numbers on Twitch a bit. However, HS is often one of the top games on Twitch. Even now, Zalae (top HS streamer ATM) has more viewers than the top MTG:A streamer (Day 9). While I like watching Zalae, a number of other streamers pull bigger numbers regularly.

So, I don't think HS is anywhere near dead, but it's in a weak state right now.


Day9 used to be a Hearthstone streamer though. The same is true for Sjow, Kibler and AKAWonder, all currently streaming MTGA. Dog, Trump and Firebat are streaming Autochess right at this moment. Disguised Toast is streaming Apex Legends.

I don't think it's a good sign when 80% of the most popular HS streamers currently online, are streaming other games.


There’s an upcoming twitch rivals for MTGA, so that explains some of the MTGA interest right now. But there’s not a lot of incentive to play Hearthstone right now; no HCT points to earn and the most powerful cards in the meta have largely been unchanged for a year.

Hopefully, the HCT announcement generates some interest. Rotation should have a large impact.
02/18/2019 06:01 PMPosted by WarrenBleezy
02/18/2019 05:05 PMPosted by Daikaze
Dying? In the sense that time claims all things, sure. Currently, Hearthstone is in a bit of a lull. The current meta is bad and we're waiting for the next expansion.

There's a tournament coming up, so that'll boost the numbers on Twitch a bit. However, HS is often one of the top games on Twitch. Even now, Zalae (top HS streamer ATM) has more viewers than the top MTG:A streamer (Day 9). While I like watching Zalae, a number of other streamers pull bigger numbers regularly.

So, I don't think HS is anywhere near dead, but it's in a weak state right now.


Day9 used to be a Hearthstone streamer though. The same is true for Sjow, Kibler and AKAWonder, all currently streaming MTGA. Dog, Trump and Firebat are streaming Autochess right at this moment. Disguised Toast is streaming Apex Legends.

I don't think it's a good sign when 80% of the most popular HS streamers currently online, are streaming other games.


That has definitely become more pronounced over the last month or so, probably since the auto-chess FOTM thing started. Of the actual pros (tourney players) I follow, only Thijs, Purple and Rdu remain streaming HS as their main game (honourable mention to J4ckiechan who falls right on the line between tourney pro and professional memer, and is actually increasing in viewership).

Im not saying that twitch viewership is indicative of game popularity, time will tell if there is any (significant) correlation which cant be attributed to the "honeymoon period" ending (it has), but it should be of concern to those at Blizz HQ, especially when I see the comments of many long time positive posters here made on discord, all I can say is they better be bringing their A-game for the coming year.
I think HS is starting to become similar to games like Path of Exile where when a new league comes viewership spikes and slowly declines as people experience the same thing in a different package.

I believe from now on HS will have the same pattern of people returning for expansions but deflate in viewership and playerbase as we get to mid season.

Threads that were made in the past about HS dying were met with instant ridicule and rightly so but it's pretty obvious that in 2018 HS took a big hit. Many HS streamers stopped or significantly reduced their playtime and twitch viewership has been consistently in an all time low for weeks now. All those could be circumstantial but we have ingame indications of significant reduction of the playerbase as well, namely the increase in queuetime that i have personally experience and witnessed from other streamers as well. At high legend ranks it's much much easier to "matchlock" yourself with the same opponent even after waiting a bit which is quite indicative.

I don't think it's just meta related .I think the natural wear and tear of the dedicated playerbase has cought up to it.
Where do people get the idea that popular streamers only play one game and forsake all others?

Most streamers that I'm aware of stream this game on Wednesday and that game on Friday.

Besides, if you got the chance to be "roomies" with Danny Trejo, wouldn't you take it? ;-)

WotC failed miserably at their initial attempts to attract streamers. Instead of giving up in despair, their marketing team went to work and now you've got brand name streamers designing events (in Hearthstone they'd be Tavern Brawls) and actively being promoted by WotC; even,yes, to the point of hiring Danny Trejo not just to spice up game trailers but to lend his image to his own branded "tavern brawl" along with Day[9] where each of them actually have avatars in the game.

So, don't imagine that it's as simple as Day[9] isn't streaming Hearthstone today so he must not like it any more. (Likewise for every other streamer.)
02/18/2019 06:46 PMPosted by Slickriptide
Where do people get the idea that popular streamers only play one game and forsake all others?

Most streamers that I'm aware of stream this game on Wednesday and that game on Friday.

Besides, if you got the chance to be "roomies" with Danny Trejo, wouldn't you take it? ;-)

WotC failed miserably at their initial attempts to attract streamers. Instead of giving up in despair, their marketing team went to work and now you've got brand name streamers designing events (in Hearthstone they'd be Tavern Brawls) and actively being promoted by WotC; even,yes, to the point of hiring Danny Trejo not just to spice up game trailers but to lend his image to his own branded "tavern brawl" along with Day[9] where each of them actually have avatars in the game.

So, don't imagine that it's as simple as Day[9] isn't streaming Hearthstone today so he must not like it any more. (Likewise for every other streamer.)


That is true, and all I can give is my anecdotal evidence - 2 months ago at the hours I watch - I would usually have had a good dozen or more of the streamers I follow playing HS. Over the last couple of months, regardless of day, that number has dwindled to maybe 5 or 6 (sometimes only 2 or 3).

And I watch at similar times every day habitually - I have acute insomnia, so throw it on my laptop while lying in bed trying to sleep - and the number of active HS streamers has (again my anecdotal evidence) decreased significantly over the last month or two. I'm not talking a minor decrease that can be accounted for by your theory, but a SIGNIFICANT one.

E: Sidenote; go back even 6 months and it was very rare for HS to be out of the top 5 most streamed (viewed) games on Twitch, now its lucky to break top 10.
02/18/2019 06:46 PMPosted by Slickriptide
Where do people get the idea that popular streamers only play one game and forsake all others?

Most streamers that I'm aware of stream this game on Wednesday and that game on Friday.

Besides, if you got the chance to be "roomies" with Danny Trejo, wouldn't you take it? ;-)

WotC failed miserably at their initial attempts to attract streamers. Instead of giving up in despair, their marketing team went to work and now you've got brand name streamers designing events (in Hearthstone they'd be Tavern Brawls) and actively being promoted by WotC; even,yes, to the point of hiring Danny Trejo not just to spice up game trailers but to lend his image to his own branded "tavern brawl" along with Day[9] where each of them actually have avatars in the game.

So, don't imagine that it's as simple as Day[9] isn't streaming Hearthstone today so he must not like it any more. (Likewise for every other streamer.)

True but you're also being a ostrich if you don't notice the fact that HS isn't as mighty as it once was in terms of viewership and, it appears, user base as well.
https://www.twitchmetrics.net/games/viewership

Hearthstone, for the month of February, is down to 11th (from 6th in late January) with only two new games taking slots (Apex and RE2 Remaster). MtG, for comparison, is at #24, up from #29 in late January, but also had a new expansion so it is probably quite steady.

As I tried to convey earlier I think "dying" is an overstatement but I do think HS is shrinking to a new baseline level for the game. It finally has a real competitor stealing significant hours from gaming and I, again, think CCGs are just on a bit of a downslope.

02/18/2019 05:17 PMPosted by WarrenBleezy
The real question to me is not if Hearthstone is still profitable, but if it is still profitable to keep investing resources into Hearthstone. If not, then they will probably just try to squeeze as much money out of the game as long as they still can, and that would be bad news.

Based on earning it appears the answer is "yes" but I'm not sure it will be to the degree that many of us here would like.

02/18/2019 05:17 PMPosted by WarrenBleezy
I also don't really think that MTGA necessarily caters to a "hardcore crowd". In fact I think MTGA caters more to the "mad scientist" brewer types, than to competitive players. I don't even think MTGA is all that great to be honest, but it is at least an alternative to Hearthstone and players who are no longer content with Hearthstone now have another viable option.

Both in my view are catered to. Magic is a lot more competitive I feel than HS and the pure fact it has Bo3, etc. I think just lends itself t the hardcore CCG crowd more. Most of the serious 'old-school' CCGs players I know consider HS to be a 'fun game' but lacking in depth and those players are who Magic caters to, and in fairness, created. Both have their hardcore audiences for certain but I feel Magic is better at catering to, shockingly =p, those of us who cut our teeth on that.
game.

We won't agree on MtG:A itself... I personally feel all the game options, the new deck builder system, and the dual quest systems run laps around HS currently. I feel HS does better job with sound, ambiance, and (obviously) leveraging the digital medium better.
02/18/2019 05:17 PMPosted by WarrenBleezy
The real question to me is not if Hearthstone is still profitable, but if it is still profitable to keep investing resources into Hearthstone. If not, then they will probably just try to squeeze as much money out of the game as long as they still can, and that would be bad news.


I didnt see this comment until Lykotic mentioned it above. Again, I am going to be subjective here, based on my experience (in an unrelated field, construction, in Aus, not USA, so a ymmv type of thing) for multi-million dollar companies.

A 25% profit margin is what they had for the year 2018. We used to consider a 15% profit margin good, if not great, on a project-by-project basis, and we weren't concerned until it was below 10% (7-8% profit). So, with that in mind, I dont think its even close to being "unprofitable" from an investor perspective, but given recent trends within the field its definitely something upper management should be watching, but overall I dont think its a big issue for the near future.

Putting the "squeeze on cash" now is the worst thing they could do with a 25% profit margin, it needs to be AT LEAST half that before even considering it.
I would call it an end of rotation recession for hearth stone tied in with some bitterness with what going with blizzard layoffs. I think were over dramatic with calling games dead and only perpetuate the problems. I means its a game as long as its profitable there's no reason to take it down and it could rebound in someway.

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