Back in March 2013, Blizzard set the internet abuzz with the announcement of their free to play game, Hearthstone. They announced that it was going to be a Collectible Card Game, where the cards were to be based on creatures and characters from their catalogue of other games.
As the only other Blizzard game I've ever played was World of Warcraft, I wasn't sure what Hearthstone would be like- but, as an avid player of Magic the Gathering, I really wanted to give it a try.
I got my beta key about a week ago now, and have been playing daily since!
The game uses the class system from WoW, and uses nine classes. These classes are; Mage, Priest, Warlock, Paladin, Warrior, Druid, Hunter, Rogue and Shaman. I generally play Priest, because I enjoy tormenting people with my lifegain (guess which colour I play in Magic).
Different modes of play
There are three different game modes in Hearthstone- Play, Practice and Arena. In Play mode, you compete with other real players- either just for fun or to improve your ranking. In Practice mode, you can level up your characters against AI opponents, allowing you to unlock basic cards. Arena mode is draft-based, allowing you to build a deck by choosing 30 cards from those you're given. Arena runs end after three losses, and you gain prizes at the end of your run depending upon how many games you've won. You don't add the cards you get in Arena to your collection, but the prizes can include expert packs, plus it's a fun game mode!
Pay to win?
Some people have suggested that Hearthstone is a pay-to-win game. It's true that you can pay for Expert Packs and Arena runs with real money, but the ability to play the game is based on skill and the packs you buy are random, so you may get terrible cards a lot. You can also buy them with gold you earn by completing daily quests and winning games (3 wins make 10 gold), so unless you particularly want to get Arena runs quickly, you can save your gold to pay for them!
You can also turn non-basic cards into dust, which you can then use to craft cards you haven't got in your collection.
I really enjoy playing Hearthstone. It should be in open Beta soon, so you should be able to play it fairly soon, if you haven't already.
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