Hearthstone: Heroes and minions and spells, Oh my!
Written by Bradley Lewis
From the moment when you start up Hearthstone whether it be on PC, Mac, or iPad, you begin to notice how much work was put into this game. On the surface, it may seem like this is just another card game that is all about getting you to spend money on additional cards, but after you dive into it, you see that it is very polished and very entertaining even if you do not spend a dime.
Welcome to Hearthstone: the digital World of Warcraft card game.
Hearthstone is a simplistic objective based card game. The objective is to defeat the other hero that you are facing. Very simple on the surface, but it gets complicated when you throw in all of the many abilities and perks that some of the cards allow you to use. There are a total of nine heroes that you can use in Hearthstone. It is the original cast of heroes that you may be familiar with in World of Warcraft. Some of the newer hero classes in World of Warcraft are not available but one can imagine them being added in at a later date. The Hero you choose is very important to how you play a match. Each hero has a specific ability that only they can perform. The Priest can heal themselves or one of their minions, which are what all of the other cards you can play are called. The mage casts a fireball that can damage an enemy, and all the abilities add much depth to the game.
There is much strategy in this game as in every card battling game. You have a choice every turn to attack the minions or to attack your opponents hero, a choice that can determine you winning or losing. The minions have different abilities themselves. Some have the taunt ability that forces the opponents to attack them before they can attack your hero or one of your other minions. They also have abilities as charge, which allows your minion to attack as soon as it is played, and battle-cry which, when it is played, gives another card an ability such as added attack.
One of the additional aspects that Hearthstone adds to the game is that there are cards that only appear with certain heroes. Each hero/class has a general play style that these cards help to make possible. For example, the Hunter is best at playing minion cards that are beasts, and at playing traps that are kept secret until the opponent triggers them. There is also a list of minions that all the classes can use, which is made up of generic cards that are useful and help fill out a deck. In addition to the minions and heroes, are spells. Spells are not as common as minions, but they do play a very important role. Some characters do not have much in the way of spells, for instance comparing a hunter with virtually no spells to that of a mage which has many.
Some of the cards are soulbound to your character which you cannot disenchant, which leads into the crafting system, one of the coolest features. The crafting system and custom decks are just two of the features that make this game very interesting. You can create your own custom decks with your heroes, and you can also disenchant cards that you do not need, unless they are soulbound. When you disenchant a card, you receive arcane dust that you can, in turn, use to craft cards that you do not have and even have not yet seen in a game.
Hearthstone is a game that can suck you in for hours at a time. The average game does not last very long and you will find yourself wanting to get better cards all the time so that you can improve your deck. There are casual matches and there are ranked matches as well which adds more of a risk/reward factor to a battle. The ultimate risk/reward is the arena. In the arena you select cards for a deck from a draft of sorts and you risk coins or actual money and you receive better prizes the more matches you win until you lose three matches. When playing you can earn coins through quests that you receive or by just winning a match. These coins are used to buy packs of cards that always have at least one rare card in them. This is how you acquire cards if you do not spend actual money to receive additional packs of cards. It is not an absolutely free game, it is free-mium. You can get better if you do spend actual money, but that does not guarantee that you are going to win every match. Its just like an actual card game, sometimes victory just is not in the cards.
Verdict: Hearthstone gets an 8.8 out of 10 on the Game Review Radio. It is very good and even amazing in some aspects. The replay-ability is very high and you will want to play all of the heroes many times until you find your favorites. The different heroes and their specific cards and abilities keep the game fresh. The huge downside to the game, that you face after a couple hours, is acquiring new cards without spending actual money. After you have ranked the heroes up all the way to level 10, card acquisition becomes a tedious process. You could even say that it is a grueling process since it takes 100 coins to buy a new pack of cards and you only receive coins if you win a match. Ultimately Hearthstone is worth your time even if you are not into card games. It is a simple game that is very difficult to master. May the cards be ever in your favor
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