This time we take a look at HearthStone: Heroes of Warcraft, Blizzard’s free-to-play collectible card game based on the popular Warcraft franchise. Watcha Playin’? is a FreeMMOStation show where we give you a first look with commentary on the most popular free-to-play MMO games available.
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HearthStone: Heroes of Warcraft is Blizzard’s new free-to-play online trading card game which is taking the genre by storm, after a few initial unfounded negative reactions from players who clearly weren’t expecting such a game.
First things first, let me say that it is still in beta so some things could change but I am sure for the most part, this game is pretty much just going through some balance tweaks. Everything in it looks and plays like a final build, it’s a very polished and addictive game even at the current state.
When you first log in, you will play a few humorous tutorial matches with a single deck but as you fight other people online, you unlock other themes by beating the unique hero they are using in the card match. Then as you win with that theme, you acquire more cards to utilize in the set. You can also purchase booster packs with gold or life currency, a trend that no free-to-play game shies away from – and they shouldn’t, the developer revenue has to come from somewhere. As long as the microtransactions don’t break the balance of the game, all is good in our eyes.
HearthStone’s depth lays in its deck customization just like any trading card game but what makes this game so special to me would be a couple of things. First, the resource is not drawn and takes no space in deck building. The resource is mana, and one mana is naturally acquired every turn and any used mana is completely refilled. This means that as the game goes on, bigger and bigger plays could be made to turn the tide of a match. I once went from 6 vs 30 to winning and also vice-versa.
Secondly, heroes have abilities and some cards are limited to certain hero/theme decks. A lot of cards are global between the different classes, but also there are cards which can only be used by a single class. This limits customization but also fosters strategic creativity on the playing field.
The hero abilities certainly make the game what it is and can make for some very awesome combos if used correctly. With the combos and the pace of the game, you really feel the intensity, something that was certainly the aim of the developers. Animations and voice acting are also pretty much as good as it gets for a card game, and you can also expect the very same sound effects used in World of Warcraft to be in here as well.
In the end and to sum it all up, this game is fun. It is wholly awesome when you chain off the perfect set of spells and abilities to summon a wave of monsters or destroy your opponents. The pacing is ideal and I find myself going from match to match with little regard for time at all, just playing one more game. The production values are great for such a game, offering a clean yet very attractive style and all of the ideas put into this game really are genuinely well thought out and creative.
All in all, this is a game worth playing for quite some time, since it has that addictive quality which most other trading card games often lack.