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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!!