Spectator mode, also known as observer mode, is a game mode that allows players to watch other players' matches. Spectator mode made its debut with the game's first expansion, Goblins vs Gnomes, in December 2014.
- Players can choose to view matches being played by any of their friends, by browsing their friends list. Players can only choose to spectate players who are currently engaged in a match.
- Once the player has entered spectator mode, the player will see the battle with the usual layout, from the perspective of the player being spectated. While the display largely reflects the view of the competing player themselves, the spectating player can interact with the display in some ways.
- All possible actions will be highlighted
- The player cannot take any actions, or select any actions, such as readying a minion to attack
- The player can view the history, check the number of cards remaining in each deck, and magnify cards by mousing over them
- Cards currently being moused over by the competing player will also be magnified for the spectating player
- The player can interact with all battlefield features
- The player cannot emote
- A "Spectator Mode" label in the bottom-left corner will remind the player that they are not actually in control of the action
- There is a limit of 10 spectators simultaneously
- Players are able to see if any players are spectating their match, as well as how many and who they are.
- Players can choose to make their matches invitation-only, preventing players from spectating them unless specifically invited. Players can also kick unwanted spectators from their games.
- Spectator mode supports spectating both sides of a game, allowing players and casters to watch the game from both players' perspectives from within a single Hearthstone client. Simply choose to spectate both players at once, and an integrated display will show all cards and details for both players. The display does not switch each turn; rather the "opponent"'s cards are shown upside down.
- When a match ends, any spectating players will enter a 'waiting state' until the player being spectated joins another match. When the player starts another match, all spectators will automatically be connected to the new game.
- Players can currently only spectate actual matches, not the deckbuilding and selection screens.
- The Battle.net "Do Not Disturb" setting will not prevent players from spectating your matches.
- Developers have cited spectator mode as perhaps the most wanted feature by players, and recognise players' interest and desire to watch competitive games.
The Starting Game screen
- Main article: Starting Game
The Starting Game screen is the loading screen displayed while the system prepares to spectate the match, featuring a selection of helpful tips and some comical 'tasks'. It depicts a mechanical element which slowly fills from left to right, supposedly representing necessary steps in preparing for the game. Once the loading bar has filled a certain number of times, the game is ready and battle begins automatically.
- Patch 18.104.22.16835 (2015-02-25):
- When a match you are spectating ends, your client will be put into a waiting state until your friend joins another match. You’ll automatically connect to their next match without having to re-enable Spectator Mode.
- Bug fix: Players will now continue to spectate a match even after 30 minutes of inactivity.
- Patch 22.214.171.12434 (2014-12-04): Added.
- Yong Woo on Twitter. (2015-02-25).
- Zeriyah on Twitter. (2014-12-06).
- Hearthstone Developer Interview with Mike Donais and Jayson Chayes. (2014-11-10).
- Dev Interview - Rating, Social, and Balance Issues; Innkeeper Invitational Spotlight #2