Hearthstone: Heroes Of Warcraft Review: A Deck Full of Fun
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is the newest game to be released from Blizzard Entertainment. A bit of a departure from the main games in Blizzard’s action/role-playing catalogue, Hearthstone is an online card game set in the Warcraft universe. Currently available for PC, the game is also expected to hit mobile devices sometime in the near future.
Hearthstone is free-to-play, online card game in which players collect and build a deck of cards which is used to play against other players in real time head-to-head battles. You select one of nine heroes of Warcraft fame, and then take turns playing cards from a deck with the objective of destroying the other players hero. Players create their own deck of 30 cards using combinations of spells, creatures, or heroic weapons and abilities. The game features a robust catalogue of cards which allows for high levels of deck customization.
Each of the nine heroes is representative of an individual class, and each class has different hero powers and ways of play. While you may play as Garrosh Hellscream the warrior and focus on summoning strong monsters to quickly decimate your opponent, you are also able to play as Anduin Wrynn the priest and focus on spell casting and healing your creatures. Being able to switch between heroes and decks every battle that you play allows you to play differently every match. The level of customization between characters, decks and play styles ensures every Hearthstone match feels fresh and different.
Hearthstone allows you to obtain cards in a few different ways. Players can spend in game gold (earned by winning matches and completing challenges), craft cards using magic dust (obtained by winning matches or dissembling cards), win packs in arena mode or purchase them with real money. Giving players the option to earn new cards in multiple different ways balances the game and makes it so that free players can always compete with players who have spent money to obtain their cards. While it is true that players who are willing to invest real money will have a bit of an advantage, you are quite capable of constructing a deck that can take on mostly anyone without spending any money on it.
Hearthstone has four different game modes to play in. Practice mode has players practicing against AI opponents, a place to hone their skills and try out new decks. Play mode is a non competitive mode in which players can play friendly matches against strangers or friends, while Ranked mode is where you take on other players to increase your overall rank. This is arguably the main mode of Hearthstone, as this is where your deck will be put to the test against other competitive players. Each month a new season is started, where players will battle their way from level 25 to level 1. Each match you win gives you stars; collect enough and you will move up to the next rank.
Hearthstone also has a fourth mode called The Arena. To access this mode, players must pay an entry fee of 100 gold (acquired through completing challenges or using real money) which gives them access to the arena until they either win nine games or lose three. This mode focuses on your deck building skills, which tasks the players with creating a deck out of a pool of randomly given cards. Winning in this mode gives you great prizes such as gold or card packs.
While all of these modes are lots of fun, the lack of variety of different types of modes is unfortunate. You are basically limited to playing against other players with a carefully constructed deck of your own, or participating in the draft mode of the arena. With limited challenges and little offline mode or AI battle options, it is possible to get bored after a few hours of playing. The game would benefit greatly from some sort of challenge/campaign mode or different online ranked modes such as a tournament style bracket.
Blizzard plans on bringing many new features to Hearthstone including customizable card backs, new play modes and more cards. If the game is updated regularly, Hearthstone will definitely be around for years to come. With simple, fun, yet deep gameplay, Hearthstone is a game for players of all skill levels and can be as casual or hardcore as you want it to be. Blizzard, as usual, has done a great job in creating an engaging and genuinely fun PC game.