Author Archives: Keeshia

Pull up a chair by the Hearth

Pull up a chair by the Hearth

Hearthstone is now in Open Beta and now that I’ve had a few weeks to play the game and build some decks, I figure it’s time to share a review. In general I’m not really a card game player aside from things like rummy, gin, etc. Once upon a time I played Magic the Gathering but it’s been many a moon since those days. So when I got my invitation I decided, “What the hell, why not!”

I happily report that I’m not at all disappointed with my choice! While I knew there was quite the buzz about this game and I’d seen it played in the background of many a stream, I didn’t anticipate it being so addicting. I’ve enjoyed building decks and leveling my mage, I’ve even played in ranked – though I haven’t played in the arena just yet.

Overview

Hearthstone is a strategy card game where you pit your deck against your opponent’s (be it a player or computer). It’s available on both Windows and Mac, with plans to venture into the iOS/Android market later on. It’s FREE to play and as I mentioned, it’s open to download now and try. You don’t need to have any experience and the tutorial will get you started without a fuss.

Starting Out

You start with one hero, a mage named Jaina, and a starting deck is already built for you. You play through 6 missions to help you get the hang of how the game works. Throughout the game you’ll unlock cards from each basic hero deck as you go, until you have all basic cards for that hero unlocked upon reaching level 10. You can unlock different heroes (classes) by beating that hero in either practice or play – for instance, if I win a match against a player using a Priest deck, I now have the ability to make a priest deck myself.

Heroes

There are currently 9 heroes: Jaina (mage), Rexxar (hunter), Uther (paladin), Garrosh (warrior), Malfurion (druid), Gul’dan (warlock), Thrall (shaman), Anduin (priest), Valeera (rogue). If you’re familiar with the Warcraft realm then the names will be familiar.

Cards & Decks

Certain cards are limited to a hero type and each type has a different hero power. There are also a large amount of cards that are open to all heroes so your ability to customize each deck is pretty high with the already existing card pool. You can earn more cards by buying packs – either with in-game gold earned by playing matches or with real money via the shop. Each pack gives you five cards and it works just like real life pack buying – there is the chance for special cards and duplicates.

Hearthstone's Grimscale Oracle card

 

Each card has several details on it. In the top left you can see the mana cost. Below the image is the name of the card and below that is information about what special things the card does (if anything). On the bottom left is the attack damage and bottom right is the health.

The Grimscale Oracle costs 1 mana crystal to place on the field. If there are any other Murlocs you placed on the field, then they will get +1 to their attack (and the number will turn green to show you it’s been modified). If you make it attack something it will do one point of damage, and if something attacks it, it will die (because it only have 1 hit point).

 

 

Gameplay

 

My Experience

The biggest thing I had to get used to was the fact that when you play a card it takes damage from whatever it’s attacking and can die. The first few hands I played I was like.. wtf? But eventually I got the hang of things and am slowly getting better at the game. Like I said, I haven’t played this kind of game in a long, long time so I’m rusty on making decisions on when I should and shouldn’t do things. And not yet knowing the norm for each deck/hero throws another challenge into the mix. But overall I’m really enjoying the game. It’s very easy to get into, great to just kick back and relax with, and now that it’s open to everyone it doesn’t take forever to find a match.

I’m looking forward to much more time with this game and climbing the ranked ladder! Hope many of you will join me!!

Second Dungeon to the Right

.. and straight on till you notice the sun is out and you’re like, “@#^*!! I’m still playing?” Pretty much sums up my adventures in Neverwinter. I’ve had the pleasure of playing in several open beta weekends through to it’s official release. As someone who’s played my fair share of Dungeons & Dragons, you know – with books and dice and a Dungeon Master telling you there isn’t a trap when there really is – your roll just sucked, as well as previous Neverwinter games, I can tell you it’s unlikely you will be disappointed playing this new MMO.

I know there is a lot of stigma to the PerfectWorld games. Many don’t like them simply because they tend to be grinders, myself included for a little while. Every MMO has some measure of grind to it and thus Neverwinter is no different, but it is minimal. Because of the Foundry system, which facilitates player made content, there is no shortage of quests so you always have something different to do. And of course like every MMO there are guilds, big dungeons, and pvp arenas so you can mingle with others (or just kick their butts). And if you’re a loner like me, that’s okay too! You don’t have to be in a group to get things done, you can queue for daily events with other randoms and use the LFG search if you really need backup on a quest.

Neverwinter-1-620x350

As for the nitty gritty, the controls are easy to use and configure. I’ve yet to have any real complaints about camera or movement and I’m pleased with the way the skills work and build. It’s based on 4.0 and stays, so far as I can tell, pretty true to the text. There are instances when you go up against something that’s overpowered but that’s nothing new. Most of the quests I’ve done – even in the Foundry – have worked pretty smoothly and been fun to go through. I’ve only ran into one bug the entire time I’ve been playing (which is pretty damn amazing).

Neverwinter is Free to Play, though like all PW games you can buy zen to buy in game items. It can be used in the marketplace as well as to buy things like special mounts, costumes, inks, etc. And unlike some it is in fact optional. You really don’t need it to do well in the game, it’s simply nice to use if you can.

So if you’ve got time for another game, I recommend giving it a go.

Starving for a Great Indie Game?

Well look no further!! I have fallen completely head over heels for a great indie game called Don’t Starve by Klei Entertainment. Take a moment to watch the trailer before I tell you bout my experiences with it 😉

This game is currently available on Steam for only $11.99 (usually $14.99) which will give you not one, but TWO copies of the game. One for you and one for a friend! (I’ve spread the love to a few friends now) The game is currently still in beta but I have yet to run into any errors after a week and a half of playing daily. The game plays extremely well, graphics are great, and you can play in three different modes – one of which is a customizable sandbox where you can make the world as easy or hard as you want.

So the whole point of the game is to survive and obviously not starve. At first you can only play Wilson, the lil inventor you see in the trailer. He is dropped in some strange world of horrors and has to survive. You’re given no instructions or anything so you just have to wing it! You just start clicking and running around, eventually when you gather the needed ingredients you can start making things like axes, traps, and a backpack to help you get along. The best thing is to make sure you always have items to make a fire when night comes. I have yet to survive a night without one (in fact I usually die immediately to some unidentified menace).

The world is filled with all sorts of creatures from birds and butterflies to walking mean trees, insane boar hound things and vicious spiders. You chop trees, mine rocks, go fishing in holes, and all other sorts of survival-y things (like my terminology? ha!). And the map for the world is huge (seriously, you can set it to “huge” setting in the custom sandbox) so it will take you quite some time to explore it completely.

The longest I’ve gone so far without dying is 10 days. I had a fort going and all of a sudden got ganked by two boars ( I hear they’re called hounds but I refuse to believe they aren’t boars cause that’s what they look like!) and managed to kill one but died to the other when I ran into a tree stump. Oops.