Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Visit to Hearthstone

Thanks to a friend I was able to get a Beta account and try out Hearthstone.  Its interesting but has some very deep flaws.

The gameplay is good, the animations over the top but not too terribly slow.  I will probably end up playing it off and on.  That said lets pick some nits.

The game tossess you into play with an assumption you've played games like this before.I assume they will add a better tutorial but even so it will be more Warcraft and less Wizard101.  To explain in Wizard 101 you get a walkthrough fight that explains in great detail whats going on, and why.  You cast spells you cant normally cause hey its a tutorial people need to know these things.  Hearthstone leaves several things completely unexplained. Id rather not be working things out on the fly if I can help it.  Perhaps a little ? in the corner somewhere with the word Manual next to it for people to read.

Worse yet is the fact your forced to start as a mage and level up as one for a bit in the tutorial.  Then you have to defeat the class you want in order to even try the deck out.  Oh and since the basic cards you need to be effective are locked away behind 3 hours or so of gameplay you get to be meat for the beat like in PvP in Warcraft.  You lose several times before you get those cards.

Since the AI you face give you less 'exp' for fighting them and have set decks in theory you can grind them but their pretty boring.  So you get boring or killed a lot as your options when trying to expand your decks.  Heck a random button on the AI opponent selection would of been a welcome help.

The deck size and card limits boggle my mind.  At 30 cards and at most 2 cards of a type you have a low chance to get any combos flowing smoothly.  Add to that the fact that everyone has neat special cards that can end the match before you get a chance to mouse over them and the game has some serious balancing to go through.

Another thing they strayed from Magic the Gathering on is that you can attack minions.  This make them at worst a complete waste of time and at best wildly overpowered.  Mostly the first for a new player and its an awful feeling to have since they give you so few spells you deck is forced to be creature heavy.

Flailing around in my spell book I accidentally right clicked a card and found the crafting system.  As near as I can tell it takes 8 to 20 lesser cards to make another card a the starter level.  So yes crafting will help.  but not if your trying to collect or play multiple classes.

I think the main flaw of this game is it feels so 1990 or 2000.   It has all the sorts of flaws Magic the Gathering online clones have already went through.  That is weird because Blizzard has a history of incorporating things that work and dropping the dross and here they made a deeply flawed project.

But if you can overlook those flaws I'm sure you can get some fun out of it, especially the free part.  I know I will.  Hopefully they let me play my paladin deck again.

I nit pick because I care and I feel it can be so much more.

Have fun!

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