I play this game at work, I play this game at home. I play it probably 4-5 days at least out of the 7 day week. It's easy to play for 15 minutes or for 3 hours. There is no pausing while in your 10-15 min match, but you can jump up to refill water or something and not lose your turn.

I play MtG competitively every week still (in person). I love card games. What I like about Hearthstone is the following:

1. The game IS free, albeit with options to buy stuff.
2. There's no trading, so there aren't people farming all the good stuff and then trading/selling.
3. Since the game does earn money for Blizzard, they are invested to keep the game balanced and update it.
4. The gameplay is actually balanced. I enjoy playing the different "classes" and making lots of different decks. (You get a 30 card deck that contains no more than 2 of any one card).

I saw an earlier post that mentioned how grindy the game is. I feel the opposite. I've played my share of MMOs and thus my share of grindy games. I have never felt like I needed to grind in this game. I play for the fun of each match. If I happen to get gold out of it, sweet. If it feels like the matches are a grind to you, then you definitely wouldn't like this game. The game IS the matches. That is the end game. You grind in a game to get to that end game, no grinding really needed here.

Sure, better cards win games, but you also can play against the computer early on, play non-ranked matches, or play ranked matches which will keep you pitted against equal opponents. Then there's arena. I had a huge arena obsession for a while. You can spend coins or $2.00 for an arena match. It's basically a draft. You make a deck based on 3 random cards popping up. You pick one and a new set of 3 pops up. Repeat until you have your 30 cards. You can play around with some awesome cards you don't have yet and you can bypass the 2 card per deck limit (I once had 5 of an awesome card).

This game is super easy (for me now) to play well while watching tv as it doesn't require full attention. You gain cards by playing. As your class-character levels up, you unlock the base class type cards for that person. Also, as you win matches you get gold and complete the quest of the day for gold. Doing really well in the arena also wins you gold. You use gold to either buy packs or compete in the arena again. Packs give you 5 cards (one at least will be rare). You also get dust. Dust can be obtained from breaking down cards you don't want or copies of cards you don't need (more than 2) and is used to craft other cards.

I thought I'd put in my 2 cents to the game as I play this game more than any other right now (and for the past year) and I only saw negative to middle of the road reviews.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 02/10/2015 at 11:39pm

Thanks for posting this, I like Hearthstone too. I don't play that much and was curious about something now that the game has been released for sometime. How is the matchmaking? Is it pretty fair or are you incorrectly paired?

Have you spent a lot of money in game? One minor fear I have on playing a game like this is i'll be in deeper than the amount i've payed for something like Magic. Oh and over my entire life I haven't spent that much on Magic.

JaBo   Post Author wrote on 02/11/2015 at 12:57am

The only time I spend money in game is if I'm dying to do some arena. The arena lets you play with your "draft" deck until you get 3 losses. I got a gift card for google play and ended up just blasting through arena after arena. I haven't spent anything since that and before that maybe $10. All in all, $30. Everything can be obtained w/o paying any money, I just didn't want to wait to earn more gold to do more arenas. And considering how many hours I've put into the game, it's not a bad amount of $ on a game.

The matchmaking seems ok... what is weird about it is the rankings start over every month or so. Ok, let me explain the ranking. You start at rank 25 and work down. There are 3 stars for a rank (at 25-15 or so). This means, if you are bottom rank 25 with no stars, it will take 3 stars (wins) to get to rank 24. However, if you get on a win streak, it'll give you extra to help get you to the rank you should maybe be at. Losing costs you a star, but you don't lose stars unless you are rank 20 or better.

At the end of a cycle, they reset the rankings. But, you get a bonus star for each rank you obtained. So, it doesn't throw everyone back to 25 and let everyone duke it out. It's basically just scrunching up your sleeve to your shoulder. Your sleeve is still layered out to the cuff even if it's now bunched up towards your shoulder. So, those that were ranked 1 will still be higher ranked that those that were 15.

So for instance, I was rank 10 when the cycle ended and it rewinded me back to 18 or 19. I wasn't playing much this week, so now that I am, I am playing people rank 19-18-17-16 and I am winning easier than when I was rank 10. So, the game gives me bonus stars with win streaks to help get me to the rank I have more of a challenge at. It eventually balances you out in that manner.

It does tend to be difficult to maintain a stable rank if bouncing between different decks though. I used to play all sorts of random stuff, but now I kind of focus on one concept or strategy or deck and that helps maintain a consistent level of competition.

AdamPFarnsworth wrote on 02/11/2015 at 01:14am

This game constantly intrigues me, but I have never actually played it. I'm thinking I'm going to have to pretty soon here. I don't play MtG much, but I do enjoy it, and Hearthstone seems like something I'd enjoy. It's just a matter of following through and downloading it lol

jaelte wrote on 02/15/2015 at 04:58am

A few of my coworkers play this and some of my friends used to play it, but I'm not sure if I want to jump into this while I'm still playing Magic: The Gathering (the physical card game) as often as I do. Too redundant. Maybe someday, though.

JaBo   Post Author wrote on 02/19/2015 at 12:30am

I do play both often.. it's refreshing to not have the mana issues that MtG has. You get 1 a turn! No mana screw is my fav aspect lol.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 03/06/2015 at 04:46pm

Must be pretty excited. New Hearthstone Adventure Blackrock Mountain.

http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/blog/18140859/fluffy-kittens-announced-at-pax-east-3-6-2015

I was pretty excited to hear phone ports of the game are a few months out. I imagine i'll play this much more on my phone.

GregoPeck   Super Member wrote on 03/07/2015 at 08:20am

I just started playing this game as I noticed it was free. I really like it! So far I've been playing the "Practice" mode. I'm trying to get all characters in that mode to level 10 at least to unlock all of their basic cards. I'm also trying to use every character against every character (I'm almost done). It is fun and it is similar to Magic The Gathering, which is great because I love that game, too. I don't know why Blizzard is giving this game away, but I'm sure glad to have it for free.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 03/07/2015 at 03:34pm

Both Heroes of the storm and Hearthstone are free BUT Blizzard sells you in game card packs for Hearthstone for a dollar and in Heroes they sell you skins, Heroes and mounts. At the end of the day, if one were so inclined one could spend WAY more than $60 on both games.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 03/07/2015 at 03:34pm

Or you could play the game, earn gold and slowly unlock everything for free.

JaBo   Post Author wrote on 03/18/2015 at 03:56pm

Yeah, I just spent $6 yesterday to do 3 Arena runs... sometimes I just get an urge to do some back to back and what's a couple bucks? It's just like Dota2, free to play, but they make millions!

JaBo   Post Author wrote on 03/21/2015 at 12:00am

Oh man, I normally play Priest... a control priest. Right now, I made 9 different priest decks to try out some different mechanics. Twice today I won turn 5 with different styles lol.

One game, went like this:

T3: 2/8 defender
T4: 1/4 windfury mech
T5: cast on my 1/4 windfury - double defense (to 8), double defense (to 16), strength=defense swing for 16 x 2 lol

Another game I just won turn 5 was with those Light Wardens that get +2 attack for each time a character gets healed

I got out that 1/3 taunt guy that has deathrattle, deal 1 dmg to all creatures. I had 2 light wardens out and a cleric guy (the 1/3 draw cards when heal minion). My enemy has 3 guys out. He kills my taunt guy dealing 1 damage to all creatures. My turn starts, I play shadowboxer (each time a heal happens deal 1 dmg) and then played circle of healing to heal all guys for 4 lol... 6 triggers to all 4 of my guys. I drew 6 cards, gained +12 attack on both wardens, dealt 6 dmg with the shadowboxer... attacked for game.

Game is so fun :D

jdodson   Admin wrote on 03/21/2015 at 02:23am

Are you getting Blackrock Mountain? I saw the pre-order bonus was a unique card back.

JaBo   Post Author wrote on 03/21/2015 at 04:19am

I will definitely get it, just a matter of when and what method.

JaBo   Post Author wrote on 03/21/2015 at 04:22am

Hmm, not sure the way to embed an image into this post lol... here's a screen shot of me winning turn 5 just now again... 29 power and 27 power on my two guys on turn 5! lol.

http://imgur.com/GgrhnDH

jdodson   Admin wrote on 03/21/2015 at 04:35am

That's impressive. Have you had a match end that fast before?

jdodson   Admin wrote on 03/23/2015 at 10:19pm

Some people on Twitch are going for the longest Hearthstone turn, which if it finishes will be 40 hours.

http://www.pcgamer.com/this-absurd-hearthstone-turn-is-taking-40-hours-and-you-can-watch-it-live/

JaBo   Post Author wrote on 03/25/2015 at 07:25pm

Hmm, read the article. I was intrigued at first, until I saw he was rigging his hand to an impossible and setting up an impossible board state. Seems pointless.

JaBo   Post Author wrote on 03/25/2015 at 07:29pm

Actually, I read some comments and saw that he manipulated both players, and it was done through real game mechanics. I thought he just hacked the code and made 220 copies of the spell... that's a little more crazy now, wow

jdodson   Admin wrote on 03/26/2015 at 02:44am

Yeah, it is pretty cool. It's not a situation to likely happen in a real game but it's a nice proof of concept that I imagine Blizzard it looking at changing. smile

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