Though I’ve never partaken in the dangerous drug that is World of Warcraft, as of late I’ve become quite hooked on the recreational use of WoW’s little brother, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Blizzard’s strategy card game. The game is based upon the lore of World of Warcraft and calls forth various heroes to cease their battle in order to play a friendly round of cards. Tthe game’s catchphrase is “Deceptively simple and insanely fun.” and this description is precisely accurate.
While the card game may not be as elaborate as Magic: The Gathering, further inspection reveals Hearthstone’s intricate colors. As gameplay first unfolds, two opposing players are allocated either 3 or 4 random cards, depending on if your turn is first or second, respectively. Each card costs a set amount of mana, which typically isn’t refilled until it is your turn again. The goal is to strategically slaughter the enemy’s minions and defenses in order to ultimately destroy their 30 health before your opponent returns the favor. The most wonderful thing about Hearthstone is how much enjoyment it induces while demanding little in return. Even the longest matches rarely last more than 20 minutes, which allows the player to pack up and walk away at any moment, unlikely as that may be. The game appears to be fairly straighforward; jump in, slay some goblins, jump out and yet despite this, Hearthstone gets pretty complicated pretty quickly. For Hearthstone, the complexity is all in the cards. The massive selection allows players can pick and choose their own personal playstyle, be it totally offensive, defensive, or otherwise. There is no better way to assert an individual’s dominance than by whipping out an unforeseen “wombo combo” and subsequently claiming your victory spoils. If the enemy sends out a powerful Boulderfist Ogre, an opposing Rogue could swiftly clean him up with one fell swoop of the “Assassinate” card. Nothing serves as a better metaphoric middle finger than promptly eliminating a powerful and pricey card in one swift turn.
Along with ample variety in cards and combos comes the 9 different classes the player can choose from before going into battle. Each class has numerous cards specific to that class only which adds even more opportunity for creativity during battle. For example, the Rogue gets the option of playing the “Assassinate” card but cannot utilize the Mage’s “Polymorph”. Players then have the option of creating custom decks to further cater to a specific play style. A Mage with an offensive strategy may load up his or her deck with high damage spells. However, if an individual happens to worship the Dark Lord Satan and is feeling particularly heinous, he or she will likely opt for an all Murloc deck, which is an unparalleled pain in the ass. This versatility adds replay value to Hearthstone, giving players the opportunity to experiment and master various playstyles in all 9 of the classes. Further longevity is added to the game with the arrival of adventure modes and expansion packs. Blizzard introduced the adventure mode “Curse of Naxxramus” which pits the player on a journey of sorts where he or she will face a number of bosses. The unique game mode adds 30 new cards and can even be purchased for gold earned in-game! Hearthstone’s first expansion, “Goblins vs Gnomes” is also slated for release this December and will bring players 130 new cards, the new Mech minion type, and a spectator mode. There is far more to do than simply battle online in Hearthstone.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is laden with content to occupy your time. It takes the “just one more round” mentality to a whole new level; I frequently find myself transitioning from playing on my desktop to squeezing in a few more matches in bed on my tablet only moments later. When I’m not actually battling, I spend time crafting new cards and decks. It also flows quite smoothly on the iPad; the game feels as if it was specifically designed to be played on the mobile platform. I’m also not typically one to sit down with any tablet game for extended periods of time, but Hearthstone has changed that. It now strongly competes for my time against my other consoles. The game’s beauty lies in its simplicity and efficiency. In the midst of our otherwise busy lives, Hearthstone offers oodles of joy and requires minimal commitment in return, much unlike World of Warcraft itself. Ultimately, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is an absolutely wonderful time and is most definitely worth picking up, even if you aren’t a particularly big fan of card games. As a result, I give Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft a solid 9.0!’
*Cue Angelic Choir*