Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft – Venture into a Magical Card World
This is a virtual collectable card game, which has straightforward rules and a vast treasure trove of free stuff. At first sight, you may think that this is just a gem that has fantastic card animations, plenty of items to unlock and great graphics and music; you could even think of it as just “one more game”.
However, you soon realise that there is some depth to the game; smart card interactions and combos await you in this 1,000+ game treat.
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment (Global), NetEase (China)
Platform(s): Android, iOS, MacOS, Microsoft Windows
Release(s): March 2014 (Microsoft Windows, MacOS), April 2014 (iOS), December 2014 (Android)
This is a game that is characterised by simplicity. It has uncomplicated rule relations, thereby allowing for regular play. Usually, card effects are self-explanatory, and you can tell what to do by reading just a few words on the card. Here are some examples
- Assassinate card – will destroy a minion
- Fireball card – gives a six damage
- Chillwind Yeti card – a mid-game minion with 5 health and 4 attack characteristics
The accessibility of the game is enthralling; you simply have to cleverly play the spell and minion cards, until the health of your opponent is gone.
However, this is not just another simple card game where you simply dish out cards and get to see who has a winning hand. This is a game of strategy and careful decision making.
Should you destroy your opponent’s huge minion card that he just played? Should you attack his face using your Fireball card? Do you hold the card until you can combine it with another to make the effect more profound?
There are several layers of timing, strategy and trying to get into the mind of your opponent. This is where the depth of the game becomes apparent.
The card classes
The game has nine different levels for the cards, each with its own set of unique powers. The Hearthstone classes echo the themes of their counterparts in World of Warcraft; they also echo a TCG model.
- A Warlock can draw a card by damaging himself, and this shows an aggressive style of play.
- A Priest will favour defence and heal people.
- A Mage will deal out direct damage, etc.
The game will slowly draw a new player toward a standard deck system, whereas experts will have a broad range of variety.
Unlike other card games, this game has a unique way of leaving critical moments to probability. This unpredictability increases the adrenaline rush. You may have a card that only has a small chance of blowing up in your face, and though you feel safe, the card may eventually go off in your face, leaving you cursing. The game tends to lean a lot towards unpredictable effects.
The physical nature of the cards
The cards are polished to give you plenty of visual excitement. When you play a card, you get the physical effect of the card acted out on the deck. When you play a powerful minion, he will come on stage, pounding the ground and clouting the opponent, much to the delight of the cheering crowd.
This is not just a game where cards are placed on the deck, and the winning hand is highlighted. You also get to see the animation when your opponent passes the mouse over his cards.
Although you may not be sitting across a table looking into the eyes of your opponent and trying to get into their minds, hearthstone lets you get a glimpse of the choices he or she is trying to make. Each single card has a custom sound for play, attack and death. This adds to the overall fun when playing the game.
Easily get premium card packs
You can get a premium set of cards using the currency that you make on daily quests. You may be asked to win three games using one class of cards, deal 100 total damage in a day, etc. The card packs are not expensive and cost between $1.25 and $1.50
Skilled players can also use their currency to enter the Arena mode. It is a premium mode, and you have to spend some gold. It is not easy to win here, but if you complete it, you will be rewarded with more gold than you used to get in.
No card trading
One major disappointment in Hearthstone is that you cannot trade your cards. You end up opening packs which have duplicate cards, which you cannot trade for cards that you do not have. You can turn the duplicate cards into cards that you do not have, but you end up losing value due to the poor exchange rate.
Hearthstone also lacks some features found in other similar cards. There is no tournament mode. The exciting character of the game include playing Ranked and Unranked matches using pre-constructed decks, go to Battle.net and challenge your friends, or play in the Arena. There should have been hourly or nightly tournaments.
When a game is categorised as not having enough of it, it is a good sign for better things to come. The simple, but elegant rules of Hearthstone, the great attention to personality and detail, and the fact that you get to play for free are some of the aspects that will make you fall under the magical spell of the game.
You will get fully immersed in the vast probabilities and strategies that the game offers you. However, when you get to spend some money, you may get disappointed at the poor way in which the store works and also the fact that you cannot trade cards with other players of the game.