“Hearthstone is a free-to-play digital strategy card game that anyone can enjoy. Players choose one of nine epic Warcraft® heroes to play as, and then take turns playing cards from their customizable decks to cast potent spells, use heroic weapons or abilities, or summon powerful characters to crush their opponent.” – Blizzard
“Hearthstone takes the best qualities that you would want from a CCG and mashes them together to create an experience that is both highly addicting and refreshing.” – VGBUZZ
Let me start off by saying I have played a few online TCGs and have been thoroughly unimpressed. That being said, my good friend Marc over at VGBUZZ hasn’t stopped singing the games praises for weeks, so I decided to give it a go; I am very glad I did.
When I loaded up Hearthstone for the first time, the slightly corny intro grabbed my attention right away. Despite my initial reservations, I found the visuals to be really appealing, and the familiar sound of Murlocs “Rawglrrrrggglllllrrrrglurg”-ing sealed the deal. The interface is very user friendly, and the game mechanics are really easy to learn. Blizzard did a fantastic job at creating a setting that makes you feel like you are sitting down at a table in Goldshire Inn for a game of cards.
Within the first few minutes of playing, I found the game to be incredibly easy. I was destroying the AI with little to no effort. I finished the practice rounds and moved on to try to unlock some new heroes – and that is when things changed drastically. I must have tried ten or twenty times before I finally beat Rexxar, the hero I was most interested in playing. Since then I have put around 15-20 hours into the game and have unlocked all of the heroes (Rexxar is still my favorite), but have only started to scratch the surface of custom decks.
I have always been a fan of the Free to Play model, and I think Blizzard made the right choice making the game accessible to as many people as possible. The game is completely free to play – you can buy packs of cards and access to tournaments with real money, but you can get the exact same things via in game currency earned by playing the game more.
For a game to be great, there needs to be a balance between accessibility and difficulty. Hearthstone is still in Beta, but I am confident in saying that Blizzard nailed this one like they always do. Hearthstone has officially changed my mind about online TCGs, and I fully plan to continue playing it as it develops.
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Ben is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of PCGR. He writes much of the content, manages the site, and does other editorial things that would bore you to tears.