The developers of the web app HearthArena have announced that they are creating an in-game overlay for “Hearthstone” that will rate cards to help players make better decks in arenas. Blizzard has since spoken out against this app because they don’t approve of third-party software in their games.        



HearthArena screen capture


“Like any third party programs for Hearthstone, we can’t condone or approve of their use. Our Terms of Use don’t allow changing game files or automatic game play.” said Blizzard.


Some gamers have agreed with Blizzard’s decision to disapprove of the program, because they believe it would give tech-savvy players an unfair advantage. “Hearthstone” players don’t need to download the HearthArena app in order to see which cards they should choose in their arena run. Websites like ArenaValue, Icy Veins, and HearthArena have lists that rate which cards have the highest chance of creating a strong arena deck. With all of the card scoring resources currently available to players, should Blizzard really worry about the HearthArena overlay?       



“Hearthstone” Senior Game Designer Ben Brode has said in the past that third-party software is acceptable, as long as it “duplicates what you can do with a pencil and paper.” HearthArena’s overlay does in fact duplicate what can be done with a pen and paper, since players could keep track of card ratings on a spreadsheet. Rather than giving players an unfair advantage, the overlay would act as more of a convenience app, so players don’t have to spend time searching for card ratings themselves.      


Third-party convenience add-ons have been a big part of Blizzard’s early titles. World of Warcraft’s Deadly Boss Mods contains the game’s most popular add-ons, with over 125 million downloads since its creation in 2008. The mods give players visual effects, timers, health bars, and alerts, but none of these features give players an advantage over those without the add-ons.


Blizzard has yet to announce whether or not they will ban players that use the HearthArena overlay after its release. It’s possible that Blizzard will send out a wave of bans to make an example out of some HearthArena overlay users, but for now it seems unlikely.          


Is there a problem with third-party software in games? Do you think Blizzard should ban those that use third-party software? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter @Karbowski_Devon.