Pure|News alpha and beta reviews, are reviews of games that are still in development but are already being sold either by early purchase or with micro-transactions already working.
Pull up a chair and pick your poison lad, its time to review Hearthstone.
Now I like a lot of people was left with a “What?” expression on my face when Blizzard announced that their new game was a trading card game, I have been a long time blizzard fan and , and after hearing more about it I still was not convinced at all that this was anything to be exited for, however after some gameplay footage did find it pretty fun to watch at least, they had Warcraft cards and the spirit was there along with a unique personality.
I was intrigued by what made Blizzard think this was the way to go.
Hearthstone is a free to play card game (No trading involved in this one not yet anyway) and it features the heroes of Warcraft, some heroes of Warcraft…Nine heroes of Warcraft, well technically seven heroes of Warcraft plus two villains of Warcraft, pettiness aside lets begin by explaining the classes of this game since there is no apparent story.
First up is the warrior Garrosh Hellscream which anyone who knows the least bit about World of Warcraft will recognize instantly as the current Warchief of the horde and the dude who is going to bring forth the next World Of Warcraft expansion, he was always kind of an douchebag.
Then is Thrall the shaman he has been with us since the early days of the Warcraft RTS series, valeera sanguinary the rogue which to be honest I don’t know much about, Uther the lightbringer badass dude who taught Arthas when he was still blonde and not undead, I guess he dint do a very good job either since he died in Warcraft 3.
Rexxar from the expansion Frozen Throne, a badass hunter who always has wherever I may roam from metalica playing in repeat, Malfurion Stormrage, yes this druid is as badass as his name says he is.
Gul’dan the warlock, he helped bring the Orcs into the world of Azeroth so we can partially thank him for all the bloodshed that followed that.
Miss Jaina Proudmore as always been an important character in Warcraft and she continues by being the mage for this game, and last the priest Anduin Wrynn he is the son of the king of Stormwind Varian Wrynn.
There are no Death Knight or monk classes has of yet or any word on whether they will be added as dlc, I hope they will be added.
So if you didn’t play Warcraft you understood nothing of what I just said so let’s move on to something you might understand, gameplay elements.
This is gonna take a while for me to explain, first this game is fast paced and easy to learn, case in point I never liked any card game and I’ve played a lot of this, and I do mean a lot, its an addictive game and a simple one at that.
Each class starts with 30 hit points and one mana crystal and gains one more each round until each player has ten, each card costs a certain number of mana crystals according to how powerful it is, a meager soldier with 2 hit points and one attack point will cost you one mana crystal while a badass dragon will cost you 8 or more.
As you can guess the goal of the game is to reduce your enemies hit points to zero .
Minions aren’t all attack and hit points though they have special abilities, For example some cards have the taunt ability, when put on the field all minions have to attack it and ignore the other minions.
Charge enables your minions to attack right off the bat and not have to wait a round to attack, some cards have a specific battle cry which is an ability that activates the moment they are played, for example, deal a certain amount of damage, or draw a card or summon another minion to their side, some are however more specific like Deathwing the villain from the Cataclysm expansion is available has a card that costs 10 mana crystals and when put in the field he destroys all the other cards and the ones in your hand,(the Deathrattle ability is the same as battle cry but activates upon a characters death) then you have Sleath, which means a minion cannot be attacked before he attacks, but area of effect spells do affect him, and there is enrage, when a minion gets damaged he gains more attack and windfury which enables a minion to attack twice which is insanely overpowered when used properly.
Besides minion cards you have spell cards, which do what you think they do different spell effects that you’ll find in the games, the mages can use polymorph to turn a minion into a sheep or deal damage so on so on, and there are weapon cards which your hero can equip so he can also attack.
Each class has two unique things about it, its ability, which costs usually 2 mana crystals and his always available, for example, the rogue can equip a dagger that does one damage, and the paladin can summon a 1 attack/1 health minion, and they have specific cards to their class, if you’ve played World of Warcraft or are familiar with its spells and abilities most of these are a card in this game, for example, the paladin and priests have their heals the paladin has his buffs that can turn a chicken into a death machine (literally, there’s an angry chicken card), and so on so on, it makes each class unique and you can pick one to fit your play style, the warrior is more aggressive and focuses on dealing damage fast, his minions have charge and can give charge to other minions and he has weapons obviously, the priest is more about buffs and healing, a lot more aggressive than you would think because his death cards are a pain to deal with, I personally prefer the paladin and have leveled him up to 21, he is all about buffs and power increases and a fair amount of damage and restoration, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets nerfed later on.
If any of this sounds complicated its really not, the game gives you total freedom to play around with its classes and cards and arranging your deck is always a interesting activity and gives the more competitive players they’re strategy playground, and if your not into that the game does have an option to help you along, thought I’d stay away from ranked battles, and its in strategy that this game brings some questions to the table.
This is a card game and like all card games your life can rest on the luck of the draw, I have wished for a card to show up on my hand and it never has and I have died because of it, but the way you build your deck means a lot, you need to have a proper balance of offense and defense, also depending on your class your deck changes a lot to suit your specific abilities, your enemy can have its army decked out with buffs and wind fury double attacks but a silence spell (cancels minion abilities) you put in your deck can save you from doom.
Before we get into my final conclusion lets talk about something I would never expect to praise in a card game, it’s personality and graphics.
This game looks great, the playing fields are interactive and based on the Warcraft lore, what do I mean by interactive, well blizzard loves to polish their games, so in a field there’s a tavern and you can click on the sign and it bounces back and forth if you click on it enough it will break and so on son all the fields have six or so things like this, in one field there’s a catapult that you can load and fire, doesn’t do anything but its pretty cool.
The layout is simple and easy to play the 3D graphics they chose to do while still maintain a 2D format, opening packs is interesting and visual when it could have been boring and standard, this is Blizzard’s take on a card game and has the looks to match, complete with amazing card art from multiple and diverse artists and for a card game it is a pretty funny game, card descriptions are always funny or amusing for example:
Wind fury: wind fury is like earth fury and fire fury, but more light and airy.
Sacrificial pact: (warlock spell that destroys a demon for 5 health) this is the reason that demons never really become friends with warlocks
Fiery war axe: during times of tranquility and harmony, this weapon was called by its less popular name, chilly peace axe.
So on and so on, I mean it has personality to spare, there’s one card that I mentioned the angry chicken, it has enrage for plus 5 stack, this 1/1 card can turn into a beast if you use it right and who doesn’t love wining a game by trowing a angry chicken at your opponent, there’s even cards for Leroy Jenkins and for Elite Tauren chieftain, anyone who loves Warcraft will love these references.
So Blizzard is doing everything they can to make this game good and I’m my eyes it worked, the way I see it this game as something for everyone, for the casual players for the Warcraft fans and for the competitive players, it’s a great game to play with your friends and if you have a tablet that can run it its incredibly fun to play on a touch screen, Blizzard could make a good profit by putting it on Android, and all this content and polish for nothing at all, free to play, you gain gold by completing quests like win a certain amount of games with different classes, you can buy packs thought, but the cards you get are still random.
You can buy 2 packs for 2.69 euros, 7 for 8,99, 15 for 17,99 and 40 packs for 44.99, and for them to make more money they have arena mode where you forge a deck from random cards and see how long you last, the admission price is 1,79 or 150 gold, cant tell you its worth it thought, I found the game mode to be quite frustrating, it counts on your decision making and adaptability but it removes your planning and the cards you have impact your game tremendously, so its really luck of the draw but the longer you last the better your prize is so maybe 1,79 can be worth a lot more in the long run.
This game is great, it’s a really good game, if you don’t like card games I’d still say to try it out because I didn’t either, I only wish it had a offline mode, because practice mode is available so why no offline? Either way, this is a great game that will please a lot of people and if you haven’t tried it, I would highly recommend it, and if you don’t like it, well you dint really lose anything by playing it did you.