Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Finally playing Hearthstone

I finally got into playing Hearthstone. I have been following it and it's definitely interesting, but I didn't get any beta invites (unfortunately) and my interest waned a bit. Now I'm playing it, though, so I can talk about it a bit.

Probably the biggest thing about Hearthstone is that it greatly resembles normal CCGs, but with the spice that is afforded by it being a computer game. I wish I could play it for Android, as it fits really well. There's some good and bad things about the game.

First is that there's no timing. The game does everything generally as favorably for you as it can. For instance, if you have an end of turn thing that is beneficial followed by something that is bad, the bad thing generally happens last. There's no fast effect stuff, which I think is actually good. Cards right now are really simple and I think Blizzard will expand greatly on new mechanics so there's no need for stuff like instants to clutter up the turn space. Asynchronous turns is really good. 100% like it.

It also plays a lot like the World of Warcraft TCG, except that hero abilities aren't free and you have to lose a card to put a resource into play. But the idea of card advantage emphasis, cool abilities, fewer fast effects (none in Hearthstone) and a guaranteed resource point every turn is really reminiscent of the WoW TCG.

It's definitely very easy to take basic skills from M:TG or similar games and turn them into Hearthstone skills. Hearthstone is simply really easy if you played Magic at any sort of competitive level (I played a lot of draft Magic so I'm in there somewhere). The game is so much less complicated than Magic so you know right away whether you made a misplay or not. I still bash my head whenever I make an obvious error.

Right now I'm stuck in the situation where I don't know whether I should trade down in order to stop bleeding life. I get into situations sometimes where the board situation is bad and my only option is to trade poorly, and I wonder if I should actually do that and try to make up for it, or if I'm just screwed. I guess I should treat some of these situations like LoL where you just have to try and play out of it. You don't always have the answers in your hand, but you might draw something to help you get ahead later.

The community is generally nice, I think. It helps that you can't type to your opponent, and you can only say polite canned things. You could still "threaten" randomly but I don't think that it has the same effect as trashtalking. Unfortunately the way to make a good community is to prevent them from using text chat. True story.

The monetization is absolutely atrocious. It's so bad I simply don't have the words. You have to play far too many games to unlock a pack and the alternative is doing daily quests or paying real money. Packs only have 5 cards, too. Totally ridiculous. Granted, decks are only 30 cards instead of 40-60 like in other TCGs, but 5 card packs is just awful design.

I'll keep you guys posted though. I have a lot of thoughts and I want to talk about Hearthstone's draft mode but I spent way too much time playing and slacked off on this post already. So until next time!

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