Genre: CCG, Strategy
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
System: Windows, Mac, and iPad (Maybe other tablets?)
So my girlfriend got into the beta for Hearthstone, the new game from Blizzard Entertainment. Jealous. But she was kind enough to let me give it a try so one day, while she was still at work or class or something, I sat down at her computer and gave it a go. She had already played through the tutorial and I couldn’t find any way to access it a second time so I quickly setup a round against a computer so I could have a chance to figure things out.
In my excitement to play, and possibly my general distractedness, I played a game of Jaina Proudmoore vs. Jaina Proudmoore or, for those who don’t know anything about the world of Warcraft, mage vs. mage or, for those who don’t play a lot of nerdy things, wizard vs. wizard or, for those who like what I’ve done with this sentence, female Gandalf vs. female Gandalf. But this was my first time through so I wasn’t too worried about playing against the same character.
Hearthstone is a collectable card game that is a video game. That is to say that it functions like a card game, but it is a video game. So normally you would build a deck, in this case designed around the play styles of various classes from World of Warcraft, and then you would play against another player’s deck. It is very much like Magic: The Gathering. But Hearthstone differs in many ways. Most important to me is the difference in summoning materials. In Magic you need lands, which are cards within your deck so you have to carefully balance how many lands you put in to make sure that you don’t pull too many or too few at the same time. Whenever I played it didn’t seem to matter what I did, because even if I played a friend’s deck I typically pulled all lands or all creatures/spells and could do absolutely nothing. In Hearthstone, you have little mana crystals that the computer keeps track of for you (thank God). You begin the game with one crystal and every turn you gain an extra crystal until you hit a maximum of ten. These crystals regenerate each turn. So unless you fail to pull creatures or spells that require one or fewer mana crystals to summon on your first turn, you will generally have something to do. Don’t get me wrong, a poorly built deck will still have difficulties. Hell, a well-built deck will probably have difficulties occasionally, but in a general sense it’s a great system.
Your creatures can be buffed and the computer keeps track of their stats, which is great because that was always a pain in games like Magic, and everything has a light animated touch to it that breathes life into the battle and makes everything you do so much more satisfying.
Needless to say, I miserably lost against Jaina Proudmoore (mages are broke, yo), but I lost in about eight minutes so I had time to get back in there and try again before my time ran out.
Happy Thoughts: I love this game even if I suck at it and, speaking of sucking, when Hearthstone officially comes out it will probably be like hooking my soul up to a vacuum.
Sad Thoughts: It’s not out yet. And Jaina beat me up and took my lunch money.
The Bottom Line: If you want a game that is generally lighthearted fun and easy to pick up, but difficult to master and if you like collectible card games, you should at least try this. The plan is that it will be free to play, though you can spend money to buy randomized five-card booster packs. These can also be earned just by playing though so that “pay to win” bullshit is bullshit.
Pictures provided by the internet.
Pictures provided by the internet.