Let me first take into account that I’m not into collectible card games. I got into YuGiOh at one point in my life, but quickly lost interest due to it lacking any strategy as it delves more and more into getting the right cards to pull off combos. Some cards were ridiculously overpowered and if you don’t have the proper cards, you’re basically screwed.
Enter HEARTHSTONE, the digital card game from Blizzard; the same company that brought us STARCRAFT and DIABLO. Like the name implies, HEARTHSTONE pits together some of the greatest heroes and characters from the Warcraft lore. If you’re a fan like me, you’ll instantly recognize Sylvanas Windrunner, Jaina Proudmoore and Malfurion. The setup of the game is simple. Somewhere in Azeroth lies a tavern where people warm their frozen boots by the fire and play a friendly game of cards.
Hearthstone starts with you drawing 3 or 4 cards from a constructed deck of 30, but the principle is the same as any card game: drop your opponent’s life to 0. There’s quite a few types of cards from minions to spells. HEARTHSTONE’s connection to the Warcraft lore is clear from the start. Its choices of 9 heroes reflect upon the classes you may pick from the famous MMORPG, World of Warcraft.
Having played Hearthstone for almost a year now, I can safely say the most fun I have is being creative in making decks. And this is an important aspect. Most card games almost face the same problem: if you don’t have good cards, you can’t win against most decks. This isn’t the case in Hearthstone. You don’t need to have the best cards to make a good deck. Almost every overpowered card in the game has a counter play. A basic deck has as much chance of winning against a deck filled with good cards. It all lies in the strategy of the player. Do you attack the enemy directly or eliminate one of its minions? Do you want to use your 6 damage spell to his face or save it for big minions later? All these decisions are the core of Hearthstone. The strategic diversity displayed means you won’t have to spend too much for the best cards out there. Hearthstone is a free to play with microtransactions in the form of buying packs or solo adventures. They can be bought with ingame gold. Smart move by Blizzard as it encourages players to play daily to check out their daily quests, which grants additional gold. In my opinion, slowly getting cards is my preferred way of playing. It encourages me to learn each class. There’s also another gameplay mode called The Arena. It’s where you test your skills and draft completely random cards from a set of 3 until you complete your 30 card deck. It’s a neat way to test your abilities and rewards you for doing well. The more you win, the better the rewards.
I don’t see Hearthstone’s strategical diversity running dry anytime soon. With expansion packs, it’s exciting what Blizzard can still do. With its user-friendly interface and excellent free to play model, Hearthstone pulled me in a realm that’s kept within its small run-down tavern. And it doesn’t look like I’ll be leaving. Pick up a chair by the hearth, and play a match.
[written by: Melvyn Germono]