Published on July 9th, 2014 | by Ashleigh Mattern0
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Ashleigh Mattern gets real with us about her crippling dependence on Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Seriously though, it’s like, the most addicting game ever created.
I started playing Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft in January, just before the game went into open beta, and I’ve continued to play it every day since. The days I don’t play, I’m aware that I’m missing a day. It’s fair to say I’m obsessed.
Hearthstone is an online collectible card battle game from Blizzard Entertainment. It’s deceptively simple, yet endlessly complex, and it plays on everything that makes me obsessed with a game: free to play, daily quests, leveling up, goals to reach, collectables, bite-sized match lengths, and a win-loss ratio that always remains challenging.
Now I almost take for granted the first impressions I had way back in January. Slick presentation and animations, sound effects familiar from my World of Warcraft days, and beautiful card art immediately drew me in. This is a high quality product, and I would expect no less from Blizzard.
What kept me around was the gameplay. Each and every game is a challenge. And because of that, nearly every time you win feels like a true success. The matchmaking is well done, giving you options between casual or ranked matches. Before you amass a larger collection, it can get frustrating when your opponents lay down rare card after rare card, but eventually, you start opening those cards yourself.
Another unique aspect is the lack of a chat. Players can only choose between six emotes: Thanks, well played, greetings, sorry, oops, and threaten. It took me a long time to get into games like DotA (Defense of the Ancients) due to a fear of being openly ridiculed, but no such meanness can exist in Hearthstone (though you’d be surprised how snarky some players can get even with those limited emotes).
The game is free to play, though you can pay to open packs to reveal new cards, essentially speeding up the collection process and giving you access to higher-level cards. There’s no doubt that better cards will help you climb the ladder, but the game is still one of skill, so even paying to play doesn’t mean you’ll hit the top ranks. I’ve spent about $13 buying packs — two packs for $3, and seven packs for $10 — and I’ll probably continue to buy the odd set, but there’s no way you’ll see me spending $50 for 40 packs.
No game is perfect, of course. Losing streaks are common (at least for me), and losing five games in a row can make you feel pretty bad about yourself. Not having the cards you need to build a deck can be frustrating, though I personally see that aspect more as a challenge, a reason to keep playing and collecting. The iPad version randomly crashes more often than it should, and it’s pretty frustrating to lose a game that way. There is the odd buggy mechanic, but Blizzard updates often, which helps keeps these types of hiccups to a minimum.
All in all, I think Hearthstone is a fantastic game. You can take this game as seriously or as lightly as you wish, and you’ll have fun both ways. I see myself continuing to play this game every day for the foreseeable future.