Hearthstone To Remove Buckets From Arena In Future Update

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Changes coming to Arena
Changes coming to Arena Blizzard

Hearthstone revealed that it is removing Buckets from the Arena in the upcoming Patch 15.4. The patch is set to arrive sometime before the next expansion is released. This was confirmed by none other than Hearthstone Game Designer Dean "Iksar" Ayala.

The bucket system organizes picks in Arena around the concept of card "buckets." These buckets consist of cards grouped according to a specific criteria. These include, among others, how often a card is chosen during a draft and how often cards are part of a winning deck. Buckets are composed of seven categories of non-Legendary cards and three categories of Legendary cards. They are then organized through performance quality, regardless of the card's rarity. You can learn more about the bucket system here.

In a post on Reddit, Iksar revealed that micro-adjustment balance changes make use of a formula that takes the current bucket information into consideration. This is why any changes made don't happen until after the bucket adjustments are done.

Thus, when patch 15.4 rolls in, Iksar said that they were "going to try doing an arena patch without buckets and have all cards be part of one giant pool."

When buckets were first introduced, the design team said that in theory it was supposed to make individual arena decisions a little more interesting. This is because there was no more weight behind how a card works in the decks players were drafting versus the card's power level in a vacuum.

Iksar admitted that while there was some truth to this, the change hasn't been well-received by the community. For new players, having "obvious" choice is always a win. Meanwhile for the hardcore players, if the change to the buckets does not bring any benefits, then there was no point in doing it.

Once buckets are no longer part of the Arena, Iksar said that the micro-adjustment patches should occur faster.

In a different Reddit post discussing this possible change, Iksar said he was glad that this issue was out in the open even if it was a divided topic. He reiterated the advantages of having no buckets. Iksar went on to say that the buckets have actually been completed for 15.4 and there was always the option to use them. Overall, while buckets did make the drafting a little more interesting, Iksar related that it sacrificed "the gameplay experience by making decks feel more similar that they would otherwise.”

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