Hearthstone's next update will be remembered for its nerfs

Trading (or collectible) card games are nothing new in the physical realm, from Magic the Gathering in the West to Yu-Gi-Oh in the East to Pokemon everywhere in between. Very few, however, can lay claim to the same fame in the digital, mobile realm the way Blizzard's Hearthstone can. Set in the same world as WarCraft, Hearthstone is one of the very few of its kind to actually make a profit from the genre. Soon, however, Blizzard will be shaking the foundations with its Whispers of the Old Gods update, which will probably be more remembered for how it nerfed the game.

To be fair, balancing a game after it has been released for quite some time is a very delicate balancing act, no pun intended. One has to consider the existing loyal fanbase who have already invested in the game, especially through money, while also thinking of fresh new blood in the future. And some of the issues that need to be addressed cannot really be seen until the game has had time to percolate in the hands of an unforgiving public.

That said, whenever you change something, especially to de-power a previously overpowered feature, you are bound to irk not a few players. That seems exactly to be the case with Blizzard's announced changes. For example, the Force of Nature is a fan favorite because of its fatal combo, but now it will be losing some of its teeth. Effects like Ancient of Lore now has half of its advantage halved, letting users only draw one card instead of two. And that's just two in a long, long list of changes.

One has to give props to Blizzard for announcing these changes ahead of time, giving players some breathing room to vent, adjust their mindsets, or, if they really feel that strongly about it, maybe even quit. Blizzard does claim that the changes are based not only on their observations but from community feedback as well. Whether it listens to that community feedback again after all this noise, we'll have to wait to find out.

The Whisper of the Old Gods descends on Hearthstone on April 26 in the US and on the 27 for Europe and Asia.

SOURCE: Blizzard (1), (2)