Patch 21.4 releases a whole new game: Mercenaries! But more importantly these patch notes hold secrets on the Final Numbers and the F2P life.
Hearthstone's Patch 21.4 ushers in the newest era of Hearthstone: the great wide world of Mercenaries.
Though this patch releases our brand new game mode, the patch notes most importantly clarifies a few things:
- All of the true and final numbers for Mercenaries in their fully-leveled states (!)
- How much your Village costs to upgrade to a "complete" Village (900g!)
- and some more information on Matchmaking
For those that have been keeping up since the dawn of the Information Age (#builds-chat in the Mercenaries Discord), Mercenaries has been building up an infectious charge of excitement. The OutOfCards leak of all the early Merc numbers and stats meant that there was access to some early stuff-- stuff that Patch 21.4 now throws for a loop.
The Final Numbers-- and a twist
The community began to work with a huge chunk of numbers that were figured to be real-- at least, real enough. But Patch 21.4 swoops in and confirms what our new reality will look like: slightly different than what we thought, featuring a flat buff.
In an unexpected turn every Mercenary will receive +1/+5 to their stats when you fully level up everything about them. At Level 30 with every maxed out ability and every maxed out item, they'll get a little bigger.
What this really does is it takes every "to-the-number" theorycraft that's already been written (before the game was even out), and warps the numbers. If you had your Samuro just barely killing Uther by Speed 5 on Turn 1, well-- now he doesn't.
The changes to the Mercs themselves as well as the flat +1/+5 buff upheaves a number of positions on the binary of "Alive or Dead," changing the expectations of just about everything. This will hopefully ensure a brand new world for those committed to exploring the game on a deep level while simultaneously balancing the format.
The "Free-to-Play" Gamer and their Village
The second most important thing in Patch 21.4 is the announcement of the Gold values required to max out your Village. The Village in Mercenaries is the hub, the home base, and there were whispers of needing to spend Gold to upgrade it. One of the most prominent early fears for Mercenaries was the potential to F2P it and now the numbers are out: they're fine!
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The patch notes clarify that upgrading the Village to its maximum capacity will cost you 900g. But let me break it down for you:
The Price of a Village
- The Fighting Pit will cost 100g. This is your portal to PvP, this is one of the most exciting parts about the game to a number of people, and it will be a requirement to even access the mode.
- The Travel Point is 200g. This unlocks Heroic difficulty, and a little birdy told me that early Heroics are quite doable with good rewards. If you are looking to turbo-boost your competitive team or your new favorite Merc, this might be a great investment, if not a literal one. There is a world where ripping Heroics as early as possible (after Beating Zone 1 and 2) will earn you your 200g back quite quickly-- and then some.
- The Campfire has two upgrades: 200g for Tier 1, and 400g for Tier 2. These grant you access to more slots on your Task Board, which gives you better access to Quests. An earlier update on the Village says the "rewards can include Mercenary Coins, Mercenaries Packs, or Equipment for a particular Mercenary." These upgrades will be the highest variance-- it will become quickly apparent whether or not that 600g (a lot of packs!) will be worth it right away. Keep your ear to the ground to soon find out if it'll be worth your investment.
The take-away: save at least 900g of your F2P Gold you had built up for Packs. I know, I know it's gunna hurt-- but open until that and then just play for a little bit. Let the world get a better understanding of what is needed when, and if you really want permission, you can spend down to 500g and forgo the Tier 2 Campfire upgrade.
More Matchmaking ft. A.I.
The final piece of information (other than the cool Halloween Hero Portraits, those are neat too. There's, uhh, there's a Rexxar in a little hat. Lil Rexxar Hood.) is another update on Matchmaking. Initial confusion around the PvP centered around "How do I get a balanced opponent? What happens if my Mercs are just 10 levels lower? What if they bought every bundle?"
Patch 21.4 quotes that "this new system is the most complex matchmaking and rating system Hearthstone has ever seen, to account for all the variables in each Mercenaries matchup. And if the perfect match can’t be found, we’ll make one for you with new A.I. opponent technology!"
A.I. opponents? In PvP?
Another clarification came later on Twitter/Discord:
If anything this looks like the equivalent of a "Beginner" or Intro Ranks to PvP in Mercenaries. Leveling up? You will get someone else who is leveling up or an A.I. substitute. These A.I. options fall off after a certain rank, so after that it should be all humans, all day.
More details need to be unveiled as to what that matchmaking looks like, but until then, we grind. The expectation will be that most players in high elo will have fully leveled comps, but now with a flat +1/+5 buff for only the True Grinders (and whales), time will tell.
Good luck, and stay tuned to Esports.gg for more breaking Hearthstone news and Mercenaries guides!