Last week, Blizzard invited a small cadre of Hearthstone streamers and influencers to pilot some fresh new decks from the imminent Saviors of Uldum expansion, which is out officially on August 6. This is a continuation of a tradition the company started earlier this year, when they invited a similar guestlist for a Rise of Shadows pre-release sizzlefest. For influencers, it's a win-win. Not only do they get a free trip to California, they have the chance to create in-demand content with cards that are, as of this writing, unavailable to the rest of the playerbase. (Check YouTube, and you'll see plenty of videos from Hearthstone movers-and-shakers like Trump, Kripparian, and Alliestrasza, highlighting some of the potential meta-defining builds of the next few months.)
Obviously, those influencers aren't playing on live servers—they're exclusively playing against other people at the same event—but they still get to be the first judge of what's strong and weak; what's massively overhyped and underhyped. Naturally, the elevation of a handpicked gentry over everyone else caused some abrasion on the corresponding Hearthstone subreddit. Last week, a post penned by user __maddcribbage__ shot to the top of the forum, with the headline: "Unpopular opinion: allowing streamers early access to new expansions significantly reduces the hype for average players."