Chinese Hearthstone Players Found a Creative Way of Grinding by Using Surrender Macros

Hearthstone’s new Mercenaries update has been filled with controversy since it landed. Two weeks after its official launch on October 13th, the situation among players has become cheekier:  as many Chinese players are deliberately surrendering as soon as they enter a match.  Not to be toxic or even in protest but instead, to work together to help the community grind in-game resources faster.

Hearthstone’s Mercenaries update introduced some very grindy roguelike mechanics, making it extremely difficult for free-to-play players to build a decent deck that fits the current meta. Naturally, some smart players found a way to make the grinding easier. They realized if they intentionally stayed in a particular chapter of the game, that a specific random event would, as a result, occur more frequently. Reducing the amount of time needed to grind resources.

Blizzard did not like this, so they tweaked the game and reduced the probability for said random event to happen in PVE campaigns. They hoped this would force players to follow the controversial new mechanics in their intended way.

When players could not reliably grind in PVE, they instead turned to the PVP Arena. The mechanic was that if a player wins a certain amount of games, then they can be rewarded related resources. There were no minimum requirements on win-rate or consecutive victories.

At this point, some inventive player came up with a great idea: They proposed that players who needed to grind the new resources build a deck with only blue, red, or green colored cards. Then, if a red deck meets a blue deck, red surrenders. If a blue deck meets a green deck, then blue surrenders, and finally; if a green deck meets a red deck, then green surrenders. If enough people are doing this, then the community can finish many more matches per hour, shortening a potentially months-long grind to just a few afternoons.

This plan was a little too complicated at the time and most players couldn’t be bothered to learn the color code, but they did agree with the philosophy of the plan: If everyone’s losing their matches, then everyone is winning their matches too.

So the most ridiculous scene in modern multiplayer game history happened. For the next few days, every PVP player on the Chinese Hearthstone server would just surrender as soon as they enter a match. Some of them even using macros to surrender faster and contribute a little more.

Blizzard tried to intervene today by changing the reward system. Players now also need to defeat three Mercenaries during the match they won if they want to get the reward. These changes only caused players to follow the original red-blue-green color-coding system. Allowing them to quickly understand whose turn it is to have a free win. The ‘winner’ of the rock-paper-scissors style system would kill the opponent’s three mercenaries and get a credible free victory, and this process only takes a little longer than the previous way of everyone instantly surrendering.

This organized mass surrendering even made manipulating MMR possible. Players that need to grind would keep their MMR between 6500 and 7000, so other players can still have a relatively normal ladder experience. That way, if a player didn’t respect or understand the tacit agreement, by not surrendering or always surrendering, they would be out of the MMR bracket very quickly, instead of slowing down the grinding players. Participating players are proud of their achievement so far, comparing this movement to the French people storming the Bastille.

After most players have finished their grind, it would be very difficult for this surrendering movement to continue. While this still lasts, it’s no doubt a hilarious scene to watch, and a very good lesson for game developers to learn from.

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