Saturday, January 11, 2014
Hearthstone First Impression
When Hearthstone was revealed months ago, I was one of the guys who loved the idea. It was mostly because I played World of Warcraft TCG before so I thought an online version of it would be very interesting.
Of course Hearthstone turns out to be very different from WoW TCG. Hearthstone manages to trim out all of the unneeded complexity from WoW TCG and make it streamlined enough but not make it into a dumbed down game. I need to give a thumbs up to Blizzard for this feat.
Graphically, I thought that most Online TCGs would look pretty much the same but Blizzard just had to take a step further making Hearthstone into the best looking TCG game on the market right now. The UI looks great and although some more work need to be done on the deckbuilding menu, the match screen looks good and they even added silly little stuff like the catapult and the other stuff around the screen.
I can't say much about game balance as this will always change and fixed every update however I can say that I really like what they did with the gameplay. As I said before, streamlining WoW TCG's convoluted gameplay into a simplified yet deep gameplay of the current HS. What worries my right now would be card expansions and whether it will be frequent enough to keep interest going.
Of course the game is still in beta so we don't have to worry about expansions for now but sooner or later the players will ask for more cards that will add more variety to the game and hopefully Blizzard can deliver. Another addition I'd want to see would be more classes, like the Death Knight and maybe the Monk. A Raid Mode like in WoW TCG could also be interesting, although it's not really necessary.
As far as game mode goes, the addition of Arena Mode is really interesting as it adds a drafting element into Hearthstone in a way I've never seen implemented in most online card games. Arena Mode is loads of fun and really teaches the player the value of each of the cards in the game. It challenges the player to play with what they get and to create a deck from a random set of cards. This really differentiates between those who can actually play and those who can only netdeck.
People usually say that card games are innately Pay to Win. This is definitely not the case in Hearthstone and I can explain why. The main reasoning of the "TCGs are P2W" view is that players NEED to buy boosters to get better cards and thus make better decks. While yes, you do still need boosters to make better decks in Hearthstone you can get boosters without having to pay any real money at all. You can finish quests to get gold and use those gold to buy boosters. Having to grind for stuff does not make a game Pay to Win, that is what I always believe in.
The Disenchanting system is also a pretty nifty way to get the cards you want if the RNG Gods are not at your side. Disenchant unused cards to get Arcane Dust and craft cards that you need in your deck, it is that simple. While the disenchanting and crafting rate is a bit bad, at the very least it gives the player a chance to get the card they wanted through other means aside from buying more boosters.
Hearthstone have a really big potential to be big and even now it's already pretty big with a lot of people streaming Hearthstone or featuring Hearthstone on their Youtube channel. Tournaments have been held and people constantly talk about the metagame. This is really a good thing and I have high hopes for Hearthstone in the future.
There are still a few bugs here and there in Hearthstone especially graphical and minion positioning bugs but it should be fixed before release. The gameplay of Hearthstone as it is now is pretty solid with card stats being tweaked all the time to achieve better balance. If card games are your thing, Hearthstone is definitely a must try and even if it's not, do try it out. When it's released, Hearthstone is free to play and there should be really no reason not to at least give it a try.
Well, now that my First impression is technically over I would like to make a giveaway for a Hearthstone beta key. However it shall not be done right now. I will most likely make a contest to give the key away. Contest detail will probably be posted in a few days in this blog. In the mean time, share your thoughts on Hearthstone in the comment section below.