Hearthstone: A Casual Player’s Review

As a casual player I wanted to tell you about this excellent card game. I played everything from Table-Top Games, Board Games, Video Games and more. I love Skyrim. Played many hours on World of Warcraft. I game mastered Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play in my 20s and 30s. I get into strategy games and card games like Dawn of War and Magic. But I am not a tournament player. Nope. Just someone who likes to play and design games.

I  consider Blizzard’s games as the standard to follow. World of Warcraft remains the top MMO of all time. I played the game for many years and enjoyed the heck out of it. So I checked out Hearthstone a couple of months ago. I am not dissapointed with this product like Diablo 3, Heroes of the Storm or Starcraft 2. This game does everything right for a card game. I plan on playing this game for the foreseeable future. Who knows I might get to Legendary?

For a card game playable by mobile device or PC Hearthstone ranks high on the scale of everything I evaluate games on. Even though they are separate, Hearthstone truly does encapsulate the essence of World of Warcraft into a neat card game. Between World of Warcraft and Hearthstone Blizzard has two great games along with several mediocre games I will review later. (Diablo 3, Starcraft 2 and Heroes of the Storm I will review later on having played all three)  For right now let me describe Hearthstone a bit.

Hearthstone is a Free to Play, micro-transaction financed, turn based, two player, strategy card game with a focus on synergy mechanics, cards that work with other cards. You can play one of nine hero classes at a time, Rogue, Shaman, Warrior, Paladin, Mage, Hunter, Druid, Warlock and Priest. and create nine unique expert decks. Each deck has thirty cards and each class has 1 unique hero power. Players starts off with 30 points of health. The object of the game is to take away your opponent’s health by playing minion or spell cards that hit your opponent directly.

Several modes of game play exist in Hearthstone. In Play mode you go head to head against a live opponent. Play is divided into two areas, Ranked and Casual. Solo Adventures mode is where everyone who plays the game should start out. Practice mode, a link directly under Solo Adventures is the best place to go with two levels of difficulty, Normal and Expert. (Hint, if you play expert mode and defeat all nine classes you get gold!) Three other solo adventures await those with enough gold to buy them (You can earn gold in game but it takes a long time). The Arena mode lets players create a random deck against other players with random decks for 150 gold (or $1.99 USD) for some great prizes. Then there is the weekly Tavern Brawl which introduces new and unique mechanics to the game. I personally love the Unite Against Mechazod! brawl.

UAM

So with that out of the way let us dig into the review.

Fun Factor: 5 out of 5 The enjoyment of watching cards work together is akin to watching dancers choreographed to move on your command. The sheer joy of setting up situations for an advantage is great. There is always something new to learn and enjoy. Whether your card minion does something upon death or when it comes into play, you can watch in glee as you outplay your opponent be it AI or fellow player.

For example: Take a Knife Juggler with Onyxia

KJ.pngO.gif

It is hard to set up such a play, but doable. After it goes off you will see something like this.

VxwLuKT

Oh wait, when your knife juggler threw all those knifes triggered from the seven minions you laid down, your opponent’s card it grew in size? Now you have one move left. But boy was it awesome watching the cards work together right? Until you get smashed for 192 points of damage.

And so goes the engagement. WARNING!  You can get stressed out. You have to constantly adapt your strategy to your opponent’s play. But in my eyes it makes the game feel alive and brings a thrill to you on an otherwise boring day. Yes you will get frustrated. Just put it down. The game will be there.

Player Engagement: 5 out of 5 The fun factor leads to constant player engagement. Everything from the solo adventures to daily quests keeps the player grinding away without making too much commitment.  I do not play the game all day (lest it consumes me!) but I do the quests every day and I aim to craft more rare, epic and legendary cards. Discovering new cards is part of the joy in this game.If you play on a PC the environment has a ton of small things to click on while you wait for your opponent to think things through. For what it is, there is tons of player engagement. The best part is you can put it down anytime you want and the games only last 5 to 20 minutes max. So budgeting time for Hearthstone is much easier. My only grip is there needs to be more cooperation battles like the Mechazod one for Tavern Brawl.

On an additional note to Player Engagement:

The card game emphasis on random elements and adaptability gives strength to its engagement factor. Players must be able to adapt to situations in the game rapidly. There is a limited amount of time in which you must make your move. Combined with random elements it throws a lot of pressure into the situation which creates brilliant engagement. You could compare the adaptability needed for Hearthstone to any tactical game out there. In fact this game teaches you to be more flexible and adapt to circumstances. Even a basic deck can win against someone with an expert deck but no clue on how to deploy and use their cards. Skill and cards make the game.

Content and Story: 3 out of  5 There is a lot of cool adventure stories in the solo part of the game. I had a blast playing the latest expansion The League of Explorers This is hopefully the style which more of the expansions will use. Unless you already know the background for Hearthstone by playing World of Warcraft you will get lost playing this game. There is some story here, but Hearthstone focuses more on the game itself. Which some people enjoy. I love to see more of the World of Warcraft lore inside of this game. I believe in a couple of years my rating for content and story will be higher. As it stands this is where it lies.

 

HS

Possibly I will discuss some tips and tricks on the game in the future. Also I have some decks  I am building slowly. Once I get into lower ranks I will be glad to share some of them with you all.

Until next time.

 

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