In March 2013 I wrote a post about a upcoming new digital card game Blizzard was developing called Hearthstone. I got access to the beta and thought it was wicked fun and when it later launched on mobile I was absolutely hooked. Like the kind of hooked where you play it every day to grind your quest dailies for gold, follow every expansion closely, read up on strategies online as well as new deck recipes and then create your own web show hooked. You know.... hooked. And I have no regrets about that because Hearthstone has been a nearly free hobby that has simply cost me time and has been an immense amount of fun. It feels like I win more than my fair share of the time and I haven't historically had any huge objection to the game or it's direction. Lately Blizzard has made some changes to the game I think aren't great but those don't really contribute too much to where I am right now. All that said, i've been playing Hearthstone for nearly every day for 4 years(honestly I think i've missed only a handful of days in that time) and i'm thinking about stepping away for a while. At least, I really want to and am trying to figure out how.

I don't think i'm hooked to the point of having a problem. I'm pretty sure I'm not so crazy about Hearthstone that I can't actually bring myself to stop playing it but when you do something so much(like playing a game every day for four years) not doing it feels weird. Or at least thinking about not doing it feels weird. But I think that may be a good reason to stop playing. That and the game is starting to feel like a chore. Gaming is a fun hobby I have, it shouldn't feel like work and when it does I think it's time to think about stepping away for a time. But it's hard to step away from some kinds of games, especially Hearthstone because of it's free to play reality.

To win at standard Hearthstone you need to have good decks. The way to get good decks is to open packs. To open packs you need in game gold or money. If you want to not spend money in Hearthstone and open packs you need to win quests. Winning quests means you need to grind your daily quests. To open the most amount of packs you need to clear your daily quests and not have them stack up which means you, mostly, need to grind quests daily. Doing this and rerolling lower gold quests for higher value ones means you can open about 78-ish packs per expansion which means that if you do that you can have a good shot to get a fair amount of good cards to keep playing the game and repeat this cycle. So far, it's been a really fun cycle but it's starting to feel more grindy and WAY less appealing to me. I don't think it's anything to do with the game design but just something i'm less interested in doing after doing it this long.

Hearthstone did just launch the new Un'Goro expansion that just blew the door open on the amount of legendaries it added to an expansion set. What I mean by that is that they increased the amount of legendaries you can get which means it is no longer reasonable for a free to play player to be able to play with even a modest amount of the power cards in a set. Before, the amount of legendaries in a set that were good was limited therefore it was easier to acquire the good ones. Now that each class has two legendaries (one being a very cool class specific quest) it is harder to get all the fun cards if you play for free. It's even harder(if you can imagine) if you pay $50 for 50 packs for each expansion. Because of the increased legendary count and the fact that the fun class quests are legendaries many people felt the pinch and honestly the only way to get all the legendary class quests is to spend a lot of money on packs.

As a free to play player I never cared about owning all the cards. I really still don't, it's just something you have to live with. But it's sad to see the free to play aspect of the game seem to slip further away. I get that Blizzard might want to make a bit more money with Hearthstone but annoying me and annoying someone that spends $50 each expansion is really different and the latter pays to keep the lights on for the game. I've always enjoyed that Hearthstone has other players that spend lots of money in the game because I never did and wanted to keep playing it so I was happy other people could fund it's development. But I wonder at what people will people feel like it's no longer worth it?

At this point i'm trying to figure out about how much gold I should bank in my account before turning off the lights and taking a long Hearthbreak. The thought is that at some point I might want to come back to play it and having some amount of gold to spend on whatever new expansion is out would help get fresh with the game again. Not to say I couldn't come back and play the game in a month or so but I'm thinking of just stopping for a long period because it just feels like the right thing to do.

And I do want to thank Blizzard for making Hearthstone and up to now it's been one of the best games i've played. It's just time to take a break for a while and see what else is out there.

Will_Ball   Game Mod   Super Member wrote on 04/12/2017 at 02:32pm

This is how I feel after a few months of playing. You will be back and so will I. 😄

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 04/12/2017 at 03:03pm

Heh. Yeah, time will tell. I'll do a follow up later about it. Later follow up titles: "I'm Weak," "Why Is This Game So Compelling," "Why It's Hard To Stop Snorting Virtual Digital Card Crack."

Will_Ball   Game Mod   Super Member wrote on 04/12/2017 at 04:09pm

It becomes tough when your play time becomes limited. You start to wonder, "Is this how I want to spend my gaming time?"

jdodson   Admin   Post Author wrote on 04/16/2017 at 05:08pm

4 day update. Honestly putting this aside was way easier that I thought. Surprised I have no pull to play it at this point and have enjoyed getting a bit more back from my day. Since it's gone so well I am planning on removing a few other activities from my day to get back a bit more time!

Will_Ball   Game Mod   Super Member wrote on 04/17/2017 at 03:47am

Great to hear Jon!

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