Tuesday 14 January 2014

Hearthstone (Beta): Put your heart in the cards Yugi!

 The wars in Azeroth are over. Now they just play cards.

Juris gave me a beta key to this game a month back and I can see how it can become addictive. This online World of Warcraft themed CCG (collectable card game) is pretty easy to get into but will take pretty long to master, basically because you won't have all the awesome cards in your stable at the get go - You need to earn your way up. In the beginning playing against the NPC serves as a good extended tutorial while you unlock the various starter decks but after that you will need to go and face random opponents in Play mode who have a similar rank to yours. Despite it being pretty much a game board with slight decorative variants, there's not really much to look at other than the cards. That said, the graphics are pretty good regardless and the little touch of having the classic Warcraft (RTS) music and sounds to the game really add to the flavour for me.

There are still daily quests to do, believe it or not - despite it being a card game - though I imagine your main goal would be to reach Rank 1. There is no storyline to follow and no vast "multiplayer" beyond you and your opponent. In that regard it is a bit like chess, though you don't know what pieces your opponent has and it is quite likely they have things that can wipe you out really easily later on. Some people even just pay for better pieces I'd imagine. There is ofcourse, Arena mode which requires in-game gold to join (which you gain doing quests) where you and your foe build a quasi random deck each time to try even the battlefield. Winning enough matches (without losing 3 times) can give you better cards for your normal deck.

So... I guess it's like pokemon chess then, because you've got to catch them all? Anywho, if you like CCGs then this should probably be on your watch list. If you like WoW then maybe this will be on your watch list, but I suspect you should play WoW instead. Or go to that place where they're playing Hearthstone in WoW, then play Hearthstone like a true roleplayer. Haha! As a stand alone game it is pretty good. The very restricted chat options between opponents (unless they are on each others friend lists) is a good idea too. I'm guessing there are still some balance issues which is why it remains in Beta but otherwise it is a pretty complete game. I give it 3.5 out of 5 happy dwarves which isn't bad considering a) it's in beta, b) I don't like CCGs and c) I'm not into WoW.

For those who already play Hearthstone, Cogitationes Astalnaris has a list of recent nerfs you may want to check out.


  1. I wish there were at least two more emotes included in Hearthstone. Laugh, for when something really incredible happens, and Hurry, when the opponent is taking his sweet time.

    1. Laugh is a good one, not sure about Hurry though. If you delay long enough you get the burning fuse across the board regardless?

    2. Indeed, but sometimes you come accros an opponent who's main objective is to burn your time instead of trying to play the game. Come to think of it, they might just really enjoy seeing that burning fuse.