Here it is, the end of Hearthstone’s first official season. Things changed drastically in the last few days thanks to various odds and ends, although I can only say I’m partly at fault for one of them.
The scientific test went as follows: two accounts, one “paid” and one “free”, proving to the people complaining about how Hearthstone is purely a “pay to win” game that there is no truth to their accusations and gives me a reason to play more.
On the NA servers, which is my paid account, the highest I achieved on ranking was 12, with the last day bombarding me back down to 14 thanks to a 8-game loss of 8 hunter decks in a row. This is usually unheard of, and I typically play 10 games before calling it quits, but I didn’t want to lose any more stars to cheesy hunters. I settled on my main Hand-warlock-control deck called “Sherlocked” and couldn’t compete with the speed and balance of beating myself up while hunters UTH overtook everything else. My final ranking for the paid rank : 14.
On the EU servers, a similar issue, except it wasn’t players causing me grief, it was something to do with sprites and lag on Blizzard’s end. Since this is a controlled experiment, I used the same two free-based decks I was using, only substituting cards gathered from arena packs, and started at 14. However, disaster struck when two days before the final day, Hearthstone apparently was the victim of a massive DDOS attack. I’m going to blame priests, since they piss me off the most in-game anyway.
What would happen is a game would start, we would greet each other, start a few turns, and the game would freeze. The iPad would show a message saying “Attempting to reconnect” and then show a message saying “The last ranked game resulted in a loss.” This happened all the way back to rank 20, before the network stabilized and I could finish playing games and get back to 16.
To summarize, I ranked in the US at 14 using a Handlock Warlock and a rush-Warrior deck, and 16 in the EU using a control Hunter and rush Paladin deck. I plan on doing the test again during Season 2 of Hearthstone, however given the network issues and the severe rush of players at the end of the season, I would say this is accurate of what to expect. Given the highest I ranked were about the same on both servers throughout the season, the pay-to-play model doesn’t matter. I plan to continue playing since many people show the higher ranks (>10 ) see more structured decks involving the more pricier cards, but we’ll see how this plays out.
Keep playing, and congrats to everyone who achieved legend or under 20 and saw new card backs!