Hearthstone in a Nutshell: 10 Random Thoughts about Blizzard’s TCG

Hearthstone - Heroes of Warcraft (Header)

I’ve always loved trading card games and throughout the years, I’ve obsessed over different franchises, including Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh and of course, Magic: The Gathering. Although I’ve enjoyed both the physical version of those games and the digital ones, none of those games have captured me like Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has. I’m not saying that Hearthstone is a better game and I’m not saying that I like it more than the aforementioned titles. What I’m saying is that there’s something special about Blizzard’s TCG.

Note that this isn’t a preview article or a review (I need more time to write a review, but I can assure you it’s coming soon.) Instead, I decided to work on an article with some random thoughts about the game written by someone who’s been playing those games for a long time. As usual, leaves thoughts and ideas in the comments section below and if you enjoyed this article and want more of these, please let me know.


Hearthstone benefits from its free-to-play model

Like Dota 2, which happens to be another free-to-play title that I really like, Hearthstone benefits from that model. If you don’t want to spend any money on the game, you don’t have to and the game will never force you to do that. In fact, you can unlock everything in the game by playing it, including expansions, packs of cards and so on.


The recently released phone version of the game is terrific

Hearthstone - Heroes of Warcraft

I’ve been really looking forward to playing the iOS version of the game to play on my iPod Touch and I was really glad to see that Blizzard released it a few days ago. You might think that a small-screen version of the game might not look that good and that the controls can be cumbersome but actually, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Of course, if you have access to the PC or iPad version of the game, those versions will look sharper and the game really benefits from the larger screens. But don’t be afraid from playing Hearthstone on your phone or iPod.


This game is perfect for people who usually don’t like TCGs

If you’re not a fan of Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh or all those other collectible card games available on iOS don’t worry about it. Hearthstone’s rules are really simple to understand and the game does a great job of teaching you those and then encourage you to play against other players. Even if you have never played the genre, you’ll have a terrific time and the game’s extremely accessible.


The game looks and controls really well

Hearthstone Screenshot 01

The only version I’ve played so far is the iOS version (on my iPod Touch to be more specific) and both the visual aspect and the controls are amazing. The screen always shows you the information you need and the controls never get in the way. On top of that, the game’s really fast which can be a serious problems when it comes to card games because you’re constantly checking card effects or creating decks from your card collection.


There’s enough content here for a long time

Hearthstone has daily quests, deck-creation tools, multiplayer options, single-player missions and more. I know I’ll be playing the game for a long time. On top of that, there’s room for improvement and I’m pretty sure the developer is constantly thinking about adding more cards, expansions and so on.


The multiplayer matches are well-balanced

Hearthstone -Thrall

Again, I’m going to compare Hearthstone with Dota 2, since both games do a terrific job when it comes to balancing the game. Rarely have I felt that the game put me in a match that was insurmountable. To be fair, I haven’t spent a lot of time creating a deck of my own which can certainly be a problem (especially when you play against people who have clearly unlocked dozens of cards and created combo decks that can wipe you out in a few turns,) but I’ll definitely do that as soon as I can. There are players of all skill levels.


The mechanics are deceptively simple

The mechanics give the impression that Hearthstone is like Magic: The Gathering with a massive appeal, but once you really start exploring the different cards and abilities, you understand that there’s a lot of depth here. That’s terrific for players like me who can spend hours and hours creating that specific deck with a unique strategy in mind.


The deck-creating tools can use some fresh ideas

Hearthstone - Well Played

Again, I haven’t spent that much time creating decks, but when I explored the menus I had a hard time understanding how many cards I had, which specific cards I needed for the deck I had in mind and how large the entire collection of cards released so far is. I know Blizzard’s probably aware of this and that eventually they’ll fix it. In the meantime though, these issues will prevent a lot of people from creating the decks they want because they can’t find what they need in the menus.


The communication tools are simple yet effective

In Hearthstone, there’s no chat , but you can communicate using some pre-written messages to say thanks, greetings, threaten, sorry and so on. Despite its simplicity, this system works remarkably well and prevents matches from becoming slow if you used something voice chat or something like that.


Playing with friends can be tricky

To play with friends you need to add them to your friend’s list which is simple enough. But the game never tells you that they need to be on the same region (read: server) as you. I couldn’t play with my cousin due to this and I thought I was doing something wrong. until I found a thread on a dedicated forum. It’s worth pointing out that the game has cross-play, so regardless of the device you’re using to play, you can play against each other, but bear in mind that you need to be on the same region/server.


Conclusion

Hearthstone - Heroes

I’ll continue playing Hearthstone and I’ll start working on a review really soon. Of course, some of my thoughts here are to paint a clearer picture of the game for those who have never played it and some of them might change in the near future. In the meantime, I’ll say I’m having a great time with the game and I can’t wait to play more of it.