Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft might be the most successful digital card game of all-time - and that's a claim that becomes worth more revenue with each passing year - but it isn't immune to some of the problems that plague other online competitive scenes, either. Hearthstone has been bleeding players over Blizzard's decision to increase card pack prices and lean more heavily on random elements of gameplay, and Blizzard hasn't been shy about acknowledging these issues either. Hearthstone's latest expansion, Journey to Un'Goro, released two days ago with the intent of "fixing" the game's stale competitive scene, and it has succeeded - perhaps too well, as a new bizarre exploit has now made it possible to completely ruin online matches.
The exploit, which was first discovered by notable Hearthstone streamer DisguisedToast, uses a combination of two new Hearthstone cards called Shadow Vision and Radiant Elemental. The first card is able to make copies of itself, and the second can make this process free. While the loop this interaction creates doesn't truly affect either player and can't possibly win the game on its own in a fair way, the trick lies within Hearthstone's card animations.
For those unfamiliar, many cards in Hearthstone feature animations that play out on screen once they are used. These in-game animations can be slow, however, so players are able to play other cards while the animations are playing out to make sure their turn timer doesn't run out. The animations run on delay and continue until all of them have played out.
In the case of DisguisedToast's loop, the streamer created so many in-game animations waiting to play out on delay that once he had ended his turn, the animations continued into his opponent's turn as well, going so long that his opponent was unable to play any cards as they waited for the loop to finish. The opponent was then forced to pass their turn, essentially robbing them of the chance to play.
As of this writing, the loop is still present within Hearthstone's gameplay, although thankfully very few players have been attempting to exploit it in online competitive play. While the issue will very likely be fixed, however, it is still yet another problem with Hearthstone compounding an anxious time for the game's community. As more high-profile players like LifeCoach begin to abandon Hearthstone following dissatisfaction with its gameplay, problems like this certainly don't help the image of a game that is struggling to stop its recent bleeding.
Hearthstone's Journey to Un'Goro expansion is available now for PC, Mac, and Android and iOS mobile devices.