Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!
but more seriously let's take something like magic
at any given point in time, there are upwards of 22 different colour combinations (discounting 4 and 5 colour decks), plus different strategies within these colours and colour combinations (R/W aggro plays different than R/W burn plays different than R/W heroics)
it is simply not possible to have these all perform equally well. some colours and strategies will inevitably perform better than others. some cards will just synergize more and be better. so the balance goal obviously can't be "get all decks competitive" because in order to do that you have to have either very few options or very simple decks. instead what magic focuses on doing is having regular releases with varying cards that play better with certain themes (along with introducing new potential antics) to ensure that even if something is a bit strong, cards that have answers to it can come out, new strong cards can enable new viable strategies, and within Standard format at least eventually powerful cards will outright rotate out and no longer be legal
now let's spin that back around to hearthstone. as mentioned, everything can't be viable. so you have to be a bit clinical and ask how many different decks you want at the various ranks to say the game's balanced enough. as it stands quality players can take any class to legendary, which for me is enough. i think it's a big ask to say that someone be capable of bringing priest aggro up there for example. now there will always be a higher representation of certain decks absolutely, but that's not inherently problematic, and many factors beyond deck power can also contribute to a disproportional representation.
at the same time, there's an argument that MtG rarely alters cards after the fact due to the difficulty of doing that with print cards, and that in a digital format you can do that willy-nilly. and while that's technically true, i think it's a dangerous road to throw yourself down. i think the current hunter situation is a great example of this - because hunters were weak, blizzard focused their buffing on a singular card: unleash the hounds. i don't think i need to say much about what focusing so much of hunter rebalancing on a single card has done, many people have QUITE A BIT to say about that card. many of the neutral cards they nerfed haven't really gone anywhere, either. sure, so shattered sun cleric and defender of argus are slightly weaker. they're still played so ubiquitously that it might as well not have happened. the decision-making process of including those cards in your deck has not changed, they're still the best at what they do, so you put them into board control decks.
ultimately, what i want to see is not more nerfs to try and shape the metagame to blizzard's vision. what i want is more strategy enablers. I want more good class cards that let you make decks. druid is in great shape, because you know what? you look at a druid's class cards, and there's almost nothing there where you go "oh that won't fit in a deck". and not only do they fit in a variety of decks, but they enable other decks! no one else can do some crazy violet teacher token shenanigans! stuff like that is GREAT! stuff like miracle rogue is fantastic! because it allows these really unique kinds of experiences and decks.
let's say i want to build a secrets mage, because i'm an idiot. so i put in my secrets, and i put in my ethereal, and then...i just make another mage deck. all i've done is trade say two yetis for two ethereals, and a bunch of deck slots for unreliable gimmicky spells. imagine if there were more mage cards that interacted with secrets, cards that let you draw cards when secrets were triggered, cards that just enable you to do things other than just try to get a guy low enough to pyroblast. i want cards like that to come out, i want cards that enable that weird rogue return-to-hand-discard deck. i want better beast synergies, i want stronger buff protection. i want someone to actually take inner fire into a tournament because they have this WICKED deck that they couldn't build at hearthstone's release because the cards weren't there.
so, much as i'm sure some people are tired of hearing, i just want new cards. i want new decks. i want to think about cards in new ways. because right now i kinda just think in a very narrow "could i replace card X with something that gives me slightly better board control" way, and while that's fine for a game just starting out, it'd be a real bummer if that's how things keep going
(that's why it's neat that there's a bit of an aggressive deathrattle focus in the next set. right now deathrattle is just something that happens, you don't really think about it unless you're doing something tricky with sylvanas. you don't get loot hoarder because he has a deathrattle, you get him because he should give you a card. having these cards that interact with Deathrattle means that you care about the fact that it IS Deathrattle (in a way other than "oh so it can be silenced") and that's cool)