clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Is Hearthstone too random to be a serious competitive game?

Hearthstone has always been a game that embraces what the community calls "RNG" — short for random number generator, the idea of elements that are determined completely at random. In a lot of ways, the ability to have RNG beyond just "what card did you draw" is what sets Hearthstone apart from physical card games. When you have a card that, for example, summons any random two-cost minion in the game, the computer can do the work of pulling that minion at random. That would be much harder to accomplish using physical cards.

But with each subsequent expansion set, Hearthstone has added more cards with random effects, and they appear to be increasing in power. While popular decks and strategies are still shaping up from last week's newly launched Grand Tournament expansion, a popular complaint is popping up around various Hearthstone fan communities that the RNG has gotten out of hand.

That narrative gained a lot of steam when some big matches at a recent tournament had their outcome almost completely determined by random effects. Here's a Reddit thread all about that.

In the video above, popular Hearthstone player NoxiousGLHF explores every single RNG card in the game, beginning with the base set and moving through the Goblins vs. Gnomes and Grand Tournament expansions. As someone who's been playing the game and watching professional tournaments for a long time, Noxious has a great sense of which cards are too random to even be used in a competitive setting, and which are so powerful that they could arguably ruin any serious strategy.

He also uses some harsh language that might bug some people, so watch out if you're sensitive to that.

Of course, some players have rolled their eyes at these complaints, noting that Hearthstone is meant to be more casual and fun and not so serious. Then again, Blizzard has a ranked mode in the game and hosts its own tournaments, including a big one planned for this year's upcoming Blizzcon event.

For more of Hearthstone at its most serious, high-level play, check out our Grand Tournament launch day livestream video below. You can find more Hearthstone videos on this playlist.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon