Hearthstone – The Card Game You Didn’t Know You Wanted

Recently Hearthstone opened its servers to begin Open Beta. For those of you who don’t know, it’s an online collectable card game – but it isn’t like your typical free to play game. In a world where there are dozens of options to choose from, this particular title towers above its competition like a raging Kaiju ready to tear what little leisure time we have into tiny misshapen pieces that will leave us wondering where all the time disappeared to.

While it’s true that this game can become a serious time sink, that’s mainly because the developers Blizzard Entertainment (Yes, That Blizzard, Creators of Starcraft and Diablo) have used their years of experience to push the boundaries of the genre. They have created a landscape that pushes new and innovative ways for players to enjoy card games, which keeps gamers like myself coming back for more. If that wasn’t enough, it also uses the rich lore of the Warcraft franchise to add comical filler and enjoyable audio flavor (triggered whenever a card is played) to drive players deeper into the epic fictional universe.

Battle1

If you’re new to the genre, the game is remarkably easy to understand – being good at it is an entirely different ball game though. A round consists of two heroes facing off with their 30 card decks, each taking turns to use their cards and ever-growing resource pool to summon minions and cast spells, amongst other things.

Sounds simple enough, right?

Well, not quite…

Why You Should Want It

Whilst most card games divide what cards can and can’t be used in factions, like faction A only being able to use A cards, faction B only being able to use B cards and so on, Hearthstone uses something a little different.

Classes

Namely, the well-known non-heroic classes from World of Warcraft, of which there are nine. Each end every class is represented by a heroic figure in the franchise’s history. Now, I know nine may not seem like a large number, but when you combine the fact that each of those classes will have their own unique skill and a variety of class-specific cards plus common cards, it’s a powder keg of creativity in the making. Deck building is the spice of life in a card game after all.

Cards
Cards2

In the simplest terms, the game has a huge amount of depth. It feels like there’s a seemingly endless number of card combinations and play-styles designed to keep everyone on their toes. I mean, if you’re playing you’ll always be wondering what kind of cards and tactics the other guy is using, and it’s when you start to expect one thing only to find something completely different do things go downhill.

Tactics, strategy and luck are all major factors of any card game and Hearthstone does it well. I personally love thinking about it, like a MMO player thinking about their next gear upgrade or a FPS player looking at their next unlock.

Do I build a deck designed to counter a Shaman, but leave myself open to other classes? Do I hold my cards or play them in the hopes that the other guy doesn’t have anything to counter it with? It’s an ever evolving game of checks and counter balance, with players trying to make the best out of their thirty card deck and it is a thrilling experience.

Pack

If thinking about all the possibilities isn’t enough to reel you in, then maybe the fact that it’s free-to-play will. The game has no subscription costs and it’s entirely possible to get a number of packs on a weekly basis, and all you need to do is complete some ingame daily quests. As far as FTP games are concerned, that isn’t too much of a grind. Not to mention that there’s also a crafting system that’ll help people grab the cards they’re looking for, it might just take a little effort.

While it’s expected that people will be putting money in, that’s far from paying to win – the good thing about booster packs is that even if someone buys a ton of them, it’s never assured that the guy will get exactly what he’s looking for.

The Arena

Menu

If that still isn’t enough, development is still underway and I’m sure with enough time Blizz will develop some extraordinary game modes. So far, there’s only one additional game mode and it’s called the arena.

Arena2

This game adds even more depth to a game that’s swimming in it. That’s because the deck you’re going to end up using in the arena gets constructed randomly through a number of sometimes painful choices; I’ve lost count where I was forced to pick between two cards that I desperately wanted.

Basically, the game gives the player sets of cards to choose from, with the player only choosing 1 card for every 3 until the deck is completed; then of course battles other players until they’ve won or lost a certain number of times. Of course, people don’t just do this for the fun factor – prizes are given away after the run and can range from breathtaking to abysmal; it all depends on the number of wins.

Battle2

While I’m a big fan of card games, It’s not something I get addicted to, at least not when I’m online. There’s just something different about the physical feeling of cards in your hands. That said, though Hearthstone may be the exception to that rule. It is definitely one of the best, if not the best online CCG I’ve experienced to date. I highly recommend trying it out as soon as you can, because testing it for yourself is the only way you’ll understand how immersive it can become. If you have any tips or tricks for a Hearthstone newbie let me know in the comments, I could use all the help I can get.

Summary

Let’s face it, card games aren’t for everyone – that is until Blizzard came out with Hearthstone. It’s almost impossible not see what all the fuss is about, and boy it turns out what people have been saying is true. It’s a card game that even the uninterested will give a chance. Addictive, complex and loads of fun – the only card game you’ll ever want.

About Sidney Raflores

Sidney Raflores plays a lot of games on his off hours. In fact, he's played enough that he dreams of games. That's because he thinks that video games are more than just a hobby; it's a lifestyle and a culture and he's proud to be a part of it.

5 thoughts on “Hearthstone – The Card Game You Didn’t Know You Wanted

  1. I’m a big fan of card games, but what exactly do you mean by not too much of a grind?

    I think I should ask how many hours I need to do in order to get the deck of my dreams, and how long it’ll take? Especially if All I can do is buy booster packs, that have random cards each time… yeah I can see that taking forever to build,

    Is there a way to get single cards?

    1. Well the whole economic system revolves around Gold. For every 3 wins you, make you get 10 gold, and for every daily quest you complete you get 40 gold.

      Packs cost a hundred gold while Arena Entry costs 150 gold.

      Arena rewards usually always contain at least one pack and other goodies.

      If you want to be casual playing an hour or so every day is hardly a grind but if you want rapid advancement then it does get tediously grindy.

      But I said it’s not too much of a grind? Yeah, not compared to other free-to-play games and Hearthstone has a kicker, a Crafting system of sorts that lets you recycle cards and craft the ones you actually want. It does take a lot of cards to get the ultra rare stuff, but hey dreams don’t come cheap :p

      If you want to speed up the whole process, you can always buy packs. 3 USD = 2 packs, that’s 5 cards per pack but it get’s cheaper if you buy in bulk.

      Hopefully that helps, If nothing else you should give it a try, it’s loads of fun and trying to create a new combo is the best kind of mind exercise.

  2. Oh hey ~ long time no post! So what you think, hat has a bigger fun factor, this or Might and Magic?

    1. It’s definitely close and they’re both good games in their own right, it’s just that Hearthstone gives card games a little extra zing, in the form of tasteful battlecries ,

      like a someone screaming “For Stormwind” or something like that,

  3. You talk about a crafting system and all that but deep down isn’t this juy another pay-to-win knockoff?

    Where players who spend more will have the advantage?

Comments are closed.