Greetings again readers. NH Stimpack here again to give you my first thoughts on one of Blizzard’s latest installments to its collection, “Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft”.
Lets talk about what Hearthstone is first, a turn based, fast paced, single and multi-player strategy card game that revolves around some of the main protagonists in the Warcraft universe. To summarize, a card game that consists of 30 card decks that can be pre-built or customized to play against the AI or human opponents.
(Disclaimer): Skip this paragraph if you already know what Hearthstone is or have already played it.
Hearthstone works off of a mana system, where each hero gains one mana per turn, with the player that goes second receiving an extra card and the “coin” card that grants the one extra mana for one turn to offset the first turn advantage, to a maximum of 10 mana. Playing cards costs different amounts of mana, lesser power cards cost less, higher cards more. The cards have a wide variety of function, including but not limited to; minion cards, control cards, damage cards, removal cards, and buff cards. Below you’ll find an image of the user interface that points out some of the mentioned items above. Hearthstone is advertised as simple and fun. Fun, for sure! Simple, well that’s a different story. On to my thoughts!
Here I am, greenhorn to Hearthstone and jumping in headfirst with no knowledge of the game. Entering into the game for the first time sends you into a tutorial that gives you a basic idea of how to play the game, (and I do mean very basic). Your journey begins playing with Jaina Proudmoore the mage on a quest to run through a series of opponents, ending with a fairly easy end boss, Illidan Stormrage. I found this tutorial easy enough, but some have had trouble with the Illidan battle. If that’s the case for you leave a comment here and maybe we can help you out. Onward adventurers!
So I’ve got my feet wet and have the very basic, vanilla, bland, starter mage deck. I’m ashamed to say I went on a huge losing streak while trying to unlock the other heroes. Largely frustrated I exited out to the main screen and right before I shut the game down to figure out what I was doing wrong, I noticed the “My Collections” tab. Life saved! Gutting out some of the useless cards in the deck and adding in more valuable cards that work with every class, lead to a great amount of success. This is both a great move and a great failure by Hearthstone. Deck customization is crucial, and with the right deck the AI becomes very easy. On the other side of the coin there should have been a prompt to let a new player know to check out deck customization or perhaps a small tutorial. Other than that small complaint, initial game play was fluid, visually appealing in its simplicity, and most of all, fun!
Since then I’ve unlocked all of the heroes with ease and leveled the decks to 10 to get all of the heroes “basic” cards which are essential if you want to play against opponents. While I wanted to jump right in and play against other players, my reigns were pulled back pretty heavily on this one, but I now feel the practice with the decks is necessary. I plan on writing a beginner’s guide in the near future covering all of this and how to overcome opponents with far superior decks with the basics. More on the task at hand, work work!
The system demand of the game itself is quite small, a huge plus for those with older pc’s. I can play this game on a 10 year old laptop!
|MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS||RECOMMENDED SPECIFICATIONS|
|Operating System||Windows® XP/Windows® Vista/Windows® 7/Windows® 8 (latest Service Packs)||Windows 7/Windows 8 (latest Service Packs)|
|Processor||Intel® Pentium® D or AMD® Athlon™ 64 X2||Intel Core™ 2 Duo E6600 (2.2 GHz) or AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ (2.6 GHz) or better|
|Video||NVIDIA® GeForce® 6800 (256 MB) or ATI™ Radeon™ X1600 Pro (256 MB) or better||NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT (512 MB) or ATI Radeon HD 4850 (512 MB) or better|
|Memory||2 GB RAM||4 GB RAM|
3 GB available HD space
Broadband Internet connection
Keyboard and mouse, or touchscreen
1024 x 768 minimum display resolution
Hearthstone is available on PC, Mac, a version for iPad, and mobile versions coming in the near future. Hearthstone can soon go wherever you may travel.
The artwork, game play, tempo, details, and fun factor are all there, and the biggest bonus, it’s free to play. I had some extremely fun games last night with a more seasoned veteran and creator and author of this site, Torg, who has a great start on some of the better cards in the game. Our record stands at 3/3, so don’t be discouraged if you have to face opponents with superior decks, with proper play and a little luck those hurdles can be overcome.
Summing it all up, after a few bumps in the road and a bit of a learning curve the game is immensely fun, and I’ve managed to keep a 60% win ratio while learning! This is not my official review of the game, just some thoughts from the first hours of game play invested. I would highly recommend this game to my friends at this point and time, but at the same time warn them that it can be extremely addictive!
See you again when it’s my draw;