Hard to believe, but it has finally happened. A Blizzard title that does not end with the suffix -craft? The “Team Five” developers (Elite) have been hard at work outside their comfort zone to bring us their current “work-in-progress” title Hearthstone. I was fortunate enough to receive my Closed Beta invitation early December 2013, and just like a Subtlety Spec Rogue, this title has snuck in taken advantage of my soft spot for unique game titles and is quickly becoming one of my larger time consuming pastimes.
Very difficult to try and explain in words alone, Hearthstone is a very animated collectible strategy card game which would appeal to TCG fans and Non-TCG fans alike. If you are new to the world of Blizzard or Warcraft, this is a great casual title to introduce you to the universe, and if you are a veteran to this universe you will appreciate the subtle inclusions of animations, sounds and effects from titles as early as the original Warcraft game.
In my review video (below) I cover gameplay and as much of the features as I can, but one important aspect I failed to mention was that additional cards for your decks are obtained either by beating online opponents and raising the level of your deck, in turn receiving new cards as rewards or by purchasing expert decks for either real money or gold, which you also receive as in-game rewards for completing achievements like: “Win 3 matches in a row” or “Level a deck to level 10”.
As new and intriguing as Hearthstone is, it is not without certain flaws, one of which, is the current unbalanced card abilities and uncounterable builds within the Mage Class deck. Many players have been complaining that since the most recent beta patch, the Mage is far to OP (Over Powered) and can easily cause a board wide sweep by “stun-locking” their opponent and their minions with frost skills, rendering the opponent frozen for a few turns, allowing the Mage to unload a world of hurt without worrying about counter spells. This is however the reason for beta phases, and at the time of writing this review, leaves room for improvement or balancing of class decks.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft will be available for mobile devices, so it will be very easy to fill time spent in a waiting room with a quick 10 minute match. Being very different in genre and style for Blizzard, I think they have done really well and I can imagine that it will be an application or game that will be played and enjoyed by many. I hope you enjoy my video, where unfortunately, I get beaten up quite badly, proving to me that it is very important to build a custom deck with my favorite cards as opposed to relying on a random deck.