It's been a little while since our previous report on various issues that were plaguing our brave duelists at the time, and with the legendary quests having officially arrived (for those who missed their lunar blessings the first time around, at least) there might be another surge of interest for the mode in the cards. If you haven't been a regular there or felt reluctant to try your chances due to potential game-breaking bugs, we do have some news to share after monitoring the situation closely. It would seem that things did indeed get better and Duels has regained its relative stability - even if it's not exactly a flawless experience for everyone involved just yet. 

Something Crucial Got Fixed...

The other week we were graced with brief - if rather cryptic - information from one of Blizzard's community managers, as reported both on the official forums and on Reddit

Quote From Blizzard

Hey everyone,

We’re temporarily disabling Heroic Duels due to an unforeseen issue. We’ll provide an update here as soon as Heroic Duels are back online.

Update 2/1: Heroic Duels are back online! Thanks for your patience. 

Hmm. Out of order for several hours. 

Admittedly, we've been hoping for some kind of follow-up and more details on the subject ever since; but apparently, that's all we could count on in that particular instance - as far as official sources were concerned. So it was up to the community again to keep track of what's working properly and what isn't, and for us to sift through all the reports around the web in order to find some common threads.

If there is anything apparent, it's that you should no longer experience unfair matches where you queue into opponents at 40 health (and with more treasures) while just starting out at your mere 20 or 25 health. Back to the way it's supposed to be; cue a sigh of collective relief. Your runs suddenly breaking and the game forcing you to "build a deck" with no ability to continue should also be largely resolved. That was certainly a nasty experience. 

... While Most Other Things Did Not 

That's probably the extent of good news. I wish there was more. Mostly back to its playable form, but the mode could still use far more attention. Unfortunately, some issues persist, smaller and larger:

  • Deathstrider may still crash your games.
  • The text for cards like Scrapmetal Demolitionist still doesn't update over time (but the cards themselves improve correctly). 
  • Some people encounter this weird problem where Soulcial Studies displays the "coming soon" message. Why just that particular hero power? That's anybody's guess (getting Scholomance Legendary for the class should still unlock it!). 
  • The old bug with "there was an error starting your game"  still shows up occasionally, making people lose out on an entire run worth of rewards and their entry cost. Or get locked out fully in extreme cases. 
  • Once in a while, you may get scammed out of a win (the infamous -1 starting screen may have something to do with that). No fun when your would-be 12 win achievement doesn't register. 
  • Finally, Blizzard support seems to be really, really bad at compensating people for their broken Heroic runs and misplaced rewards (be it from these past weeks or months before), which sadly discourages some folks from playing altogether. 

Now, obviously, Bug Report forums are never a happy place, so it's our hope none of you find a reason to land there. But if you keep running into any of the above problems (or something else), it's important to make your voice heard. Over there, and even in the various comment sections such as below here. Or Reddit and Twitter. We are all counting on as few disruptions as possible. And on another proper patch to do something, pretty much. 

On a side note: if you like finding out about unusual weird interactions and peculiar Hearthstone coding, no other mode will deliver as many unexpected surprises like this one. 

Poison Immunity? Think Again!

At Least The Balance Remains Better

Curiously, almost all classes (Demon Hunters aside, still looking for their new identity) seem to be fairly capable of holding their own and getting high finishes. We have seen 12 Win Heroic runs for a wide selection of them by now - something that Paladin greatly struggled to do before. In some cases this has been even achieved through more than just one powerful Hero Power and Signature Treasure combination, giving us more directions to explore.

People cannot even fully agree on which heroes are uniformly the best, and that's always a healthy sign. Especially compared to the times where there were mainly 2-3 dominant choices. Some still fear Deathrattle Hunters, whereas many of us would tell you that Death Games antics fell down quite a bit, possibly to the bottom half (which doesn't mean you won't get punished if you give them the opportunity or just get unlucky). 

If you were looking for a tentative list in terms of raw power, it might go like this for Tier 1/Tier 2:

Mozaki, Master Duelist Card ImageForest Warden Omu Card ImageArchwitch Willow Card Image

Instructor Fireheart Card ImageInfiltrator Lilian Card Image

Whereas Tier 3/4:

Professor Slate Card ImageRattlegore Card ImageTuralyon, the Tenured Card ImageMindrender Illucia Card Image

Star Student Stelina Card Image

Your mileage may vary, it's definitely close in quite a few cases. As far as Passive Treasures go, Double Time most likely remains as the biggest culprit. For particular builds you may frown at Emerald Goggles or either deathrattle one. On the Active Treasures side, we could probably nitpick a little. LOCUUUUSTS!!! often feels most jarring - and not just because of the overabundance of CAPS and exclamation marks - as it's prominently being used to deliver a ton of unavoidable face damage. 

And Hey, You Could Always Wield Your Own Personal Frostmourne

Something of an odd curiosity these past several weeks, where you could occasionally stumble upon a special bucket choice: 

Why not, indeed. 

Now you may be aware that Frostmourne is technically an uncollectible weapon card, one that could only be randomly generated by The Lich King or the lovely puppy Arfus. But apparently, Duels mode is above such petty restrictions, all in the name of spoiling its players with frosty undeath treats. 

More On The Horizon?

We can only hope that the next patch (expected soon) throws us another bone or two. It's not just the balance concerns and bugfixes on the line when questionable unlocking requirements for Hero Powers and Treasures remain in place. And yet another new game mode may not help with the queue times...

There aren't many good ways for us to reach the developers with these issues beyond hoping they might take notice of forum posts or social media queries. If you would like to try your luck and happen to be awake during one of Iksar's Q&As on Twitter (alas, I'm usually not, awkward timezones), it could be worth poking about the state of Duels. Just politely and factually, as even when you have justifiable frustrations being rude is a road to nowhere. Best case scenario? It gets passed over to the right people. 

Have your personal adventures been mostly bug-free and relatively balanced as of late? Let us know down below!