Hi there! I’m going to be writing about arena for the site and as such have a huge amount of ground that I would like to cover.
I’m going to start at the bottom and work my way up so as to provide a little structure. This means that some of you will find the first couple of articles a little basic but I’d like to make sure nobody gets missed out.
Soon enough I’ll be writing about the importance of not taking a mediocre five-drop too early, don’t worry. I’ve also included the entire table at the bottom of this article that even experienced players will hopefully find useful.
How much Arena should I play?
One of the most common questions I get asked is “Should I play arena?”.
For the purposes of this article, I have expanded that to “How much arena should I play?”
Everyone is different and every case is different, so to answer that question in one article is going to require me to make some assumptions. Firstly I have to assume that you’re trying to maximize your efficiency. There is no need to ask the question if you have lots of disposable income. Secondly I’m assuming you are playing arena as a means to an end and you are using it to build your card collection. If you’re playing it for the fun of playing it, you don’t need to ask the question.
To help provide answers to this question for all skill levels, I calculated the average gold return for each win rate. A chunk of this table is provided at the bottom of the page.
I’m going to look at portions of this table to determine a guide for how much arena you should play.
Truly infinite players
Truly infinite players have a positive gold expectation without help from quests.
At this level of play, your arenas are sustaining themselves and each time you play you’re adding a free pack to your collection as well as a little dust and the occasional card. The only factor that matters when you get this good is that the time you’re spending playing arena is time you’re not improving your constructed skills.
This is your free to play job. You work at it as often as you feel you can and build up your collection.
Pseudo-Infinite players can sustain themselves with a combination of daily quests and arena gold.
This is a pretty typical win rate for an improving player, or a good player who doesn’t quite have enough time to dedicate to arena. At this level you are effectively buying packs for 50 gold, and again you will want to play as much arena as time and gold allows.
You will also find you occasionally run out of gold. However your 10 gold for 3 wins in constructed and your quests will soon put you back on track and you should try to be patient and not buy packs as soon as you can. If you do, you are spending 100 gold on something you can buy for 50!
A trap to avoid is to play the game to increase your gold for adventures and suchlike. At this standard you’re actually losing gold on average but it’s more than compensated for by the cheap packs you’re opening. You are very unlikely to go on a run that earns you 3500 gold to purchase an adventure
Average players actually get a tiny discount on packs.
This is where your time becomes important. You’ll make 4 gold and 11 dust for each arena but you will be missing out on 10 gold for the 3 wins you could have got in constructed, so it’s pretty much even.
My advice here though is still to be playing arena rather than buying packs because the practice will improve your play which will give you a long term positive expectation.
Sadly for each player above average there’s one below average.
At this level you’re paying for the privilege of playing arena, although it might not be as bad as you expected. 1 dust is worth pretty much 1 gold in the scheme of things and if you add the two together you’re only losing 10 or so units.
However, when you’re learning the game, gold and dust are at a premium. You will also find that just learning to play the game better translates to arena, even if your specific practice is not in the arena.
I’d recommend playing the occasional arena to see how you are progressing but also to mix in buying packs with gold as that’s a little better value.
If you can spare the occasional cash purchase for one arena and write it off as entertainment value then that will be very helpful, as many people get very frustrated at this point in their Hearthstone career.
We all have to start somewhere!
At this level your constructed play will be better served by saving up to buy the adventures. How much of each adventure you need to build your deck will vary depending on what you want to play, but taking the guaranteed cards and learning how to play simple and cheap decks will benefit you more than sinking gold into arena.
I do still suggest you do your free arena so you know what people are talking about and don’t be scared to jump in there and have a go if you don’t mind writing off 30 or so gold. Just be aware that your Hearthstone learning can take place on any part of the site and you don’t need to write off gold to do so.
The table below shows the percent chance of getting each different arena score based on individual game win rate.
At the end is how many wins, gold and dust you can expect per arena run.
For example, if you win 50% of your games, you’ll score exactly seven 3.52% of the time. There is also a surprising result in this table. Some of you may have already spotted it. A 50% win rate does not mean your average arena is 3.00 wins!.
This is because arenas don’t let you finish your entire run.
Imagine if they stopped at 3 wins instead of 12. You can see that your best runs will be 3 wins, but sometimes you’ll go 2-3, meaning your average has to be below 3.00.
Note: A point on the calculations on the table. I assumed an even distribution of wins, which is not entirely correct as you are more likely to win at 0-1 than at 7-0. It is however a very good approximation and saves a lot of mess to do it this way.
I hope you enjoyed this gentle introduction. If you have anything you’d like to see me write about in the arena world then leave a message in the comments below. I already have many ideas but will try my best to make as many people happy as possible.
Neil “L0rinda” Bond