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Returning player experience

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The returning player experience is a series of special quests and encounters designed to help players who have been away from Hearthstone return to the game.

The experience appears to activate for any account that has been inactive for more than a certain period. The exact period required is not known, but is believed to be around a few months, and is certainly longer than 2 months. The first and main component of the experience, the Return of the Hero challenge, is mandatory, and must be completed before the player is able to return to the game proper.

The returning player experience is intended to encourage returning players to successfully start playing the game again. In 2017 Game Director Ben Brode stated that "Something like 25% of [returning] players came back and then left again before playing a game". However, following changes - such as the introduction of the returning player experience - this number has been significantly reduced.[1][2]

Structure[edit | edit source]

"I prepared three quests to get you going. Here's the first!" - The Innkeeper

The returning player experience comprises three special quests, each awarding the player with three Classic card packs. The quests are awarded one at a time, and cannot otherwise be completed.[2]

Upon logging in, the returning player is greeted with a special message from the innkeeper, welcoming them back to the game. The innkeeper then guides the player into the Return of the Hero challenge, the subject of the first quest. Set within an interface similar to that used for Class Challenges, the challenge comprises a series of three special matches between the player and the AI-controlled innkeeper. Each match has fixed heroes and decks for both the player and the AI.

The Return of the Hero challenge cannot be skipped and must be completed by players before they can return to the regular game. Once the player has defeated all three opponents, they are returned to the main menu, from where they are able to continue playing the game normally.

Upon arriving at the main menu, the player may be provided with a Standard format "Innkeeper's Deck" automatically assembled from the player's collection. This could have some connection to the relative number of Standard or Wild format decks the player already has saved.[3] The player is then given the first of two follow-up quests: "Ready for Action", requiring the player to play 30 cards in Play mode. Despite the description, it is also possible to complete this quest in Tavern Brawl mode.[4] Once completed, this quest is followed by "Back in the Game!", which requires the player to deal 100 damage to enemy heroes.

These quests appear to take the place of the regular daily quests until they are completed. The quests the player had before going inactive are removed, even if they can no longer be obtained afterwards (such as the Gadgetzan intro quests).

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • Returning players are a reason often cited for maintaining game consistency, specifically regarding changing cards or rotating sets out of Standard format. However, Ben Brode states "I don't think we've ever made a decision at the expense of current players exclusively because of returning players", adding "Part of the reason to keep them in mind is that it helps us find solutions that are good for everyone. ... We just take them into account."[5]

See also[edit | edit source]

Patch notes[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2017-01-14). 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-10-21). 
  3. Tested by User:jerodast between 2017-04-30 and 2017-05-08. Went through returning player experience on multiple regions. The ones where all decks had cards that had moved to Wild format had a deck made by the Innkeeper; the one where two of the decks were legal in Standard format was told "You've got some standard decks, but you can always create more in your collection." and did not have a deck made for it.
  4. Tested by User:jerodast on 2017-04-30.
  5. Ben Brode on reddit. (2017-02-16).