http://i.imgur.com/euhfWQ9.jpg
A few days ago Blizzard blessed me with access to the Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft beta. Since I have been pretty busy with Terraria 1.2, Monaco and PixelJunk Monsters I haven't given much attention to the Hearthstone beta. That said, I installed it and over the last few days have played most of the practice matches once and tried my hand at two online matches with real live humans.

You start out Hearthstone by playing 5 guided matches. Over these matches they let you know the games rules and slowly acclimate you to how to play. The 5 matches are not optional and they are not skippable. I thought it was pretty nice and they really do usher in the more complex game elements in a way that is not overwhelming. I started the game as Jana Proudmore and remembered her persona from Warcraft III and enjoyed the banter she had with the other heroes I played against.

The basic premise of Hearthstone is that you pick a hero to play as and then have cards that fit under that hero type. So Jana is a Mage and she has a special ability that for two mana she can target a creature or hero and inflict one damage. The goal of the game is use your cards to overpower the other hero and you can do that by casting creatures, spells and having your hero fight as well.

Hearthstone is very Magic: The Gathering-esque but goes off in different directions and as it does that builds up its own style. I really enjoy that by default your creatures can target other creatures or the Hero. Hearthstone has a taunt ability and when a creature card has it, all attacks from other creatures must hit the taunt creature first. Hearthstone has many things like this that really add to the strategy you use in the game but the core game itself is quite simple to understand.

Like most card games online, it is free to play and you can pay money to get booster packs. You can also accomplish in game stuff to get packs too, but if you don't want to wait for that you can drop the cash and get a whole bunch of cards. I don't mind this freemium aspect to the game as, at this point, its not annoying at all. I imagine this will divide up players that have lots of options from other player that have less options, but one can spend the time and get good cards without paying or by only paying a little. Or you could just play with friends that play for free too, since its all on battle.net your friends list carry over.

Hearthstone is a pretty easy to understand free card game I am really enjoying. I can't wait for more people to try it out and if I get some extra beta keys you guys will be the first to know. If you have played Hearthstone, I wonder what you think of it?

vdogmr25 wrote on 10/30/2013 at 01:38am

I got in sometime last week, and I enjoyed it. I would almost describe it as M:tG lite. The mechanics are easier to grasp than Magic, and Hearthstone matches, on average, take about half the time which is awesome if there isn't much time to jump into a game. Fun little title.

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 10/30/2013 at 02:12am

Yeah, I agree. This hits the I have time for a quick game spot really well. Strategic enough to keep me interested but simple enough to not get lost. Plus it's coming out on tablets, which is awesome.

JaBo wrote on 10/30/2013 at 03:34pm

I do love me some CCGs. I'll have to check it out

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