Those of you who have been playing _hearthstone and finding yourself consistently bothered by the Priest card Mind Control, rejoice; the latest patch should balance things a little better.
The newest update to Blizzard's collectible card game brings a selection of new changes, including a reworked Ranked mode, in which you work your way up through 25 ranks from Angry Chicken to Legendary, and have to start from the bottom again each month. In order to rank up, you'll need to earn stars by winning -- though you'll lose them for losing. The 10,000 top-ranked players will have their exact region-wide ranking displayed to everyone, and there are plans to add rewards for playing and performing well in ranked mode in the future, though they have not yet been implemented.
New opponent-finding features allow you to re-challenge or send a friend request to recent players, and also to quickly and easily see other _hearthstone players on your local network in your friends list.
The amount of gold you can earn through Play mode per day has been capped at 100, too, largely to combat gold farmers. This cap does not include gold earned through quests, Arena mode or achievements. "The spirit of fair play is extremely important to us," reads the patch notes, "and we will continue to monitor gold acquisition closely to ensure a fun and enjoyable game environment for everyone."
Arena mode has been tweaked, too; whereas previously the sealed-deck mode would challenge you to get nine wins without suffering three losses, now you can aim for the lofty heights of twelve wins. You still need to pay either $1.99 or 150 in-game gold to jump into this particular challenge.
As for the aforementioned Mind Control, a card regarded by many players as enormously overpowered, it has been adjusted by increasing its mana cost from 8 to 10. This, according to Blizzard, "will give you a couple more turns to play with your Ragnaros" rather than losing one of your own minions and then dying to it the next turn.
Other class decks have also seen adjustments; the Hunter card Unleash the Hounds was previously allowing some Hunters to win a game in a single turn, starting with no minions on the board. The new version, which allows players to summon a 1/1 Hound with the Charge ability, will both bolster Hunters' area-of-effect abilities and provide them with some interesting new combinations of cards.
The patch should be live for everyone now; fire up your game client to download it, and be sure to give Blizzard your feedback on the changes that have been implemented so the game can continue to be improved and balanced for everyone.
If you haven't yet joined in on the hearthstone fun, our sister site Eurogamer currently has a a whole heap of beta keys to give away, which will allow you access right now. The open beta is supposed to begin this month, but no announcements have been made about it as yet.