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Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

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“Garrosh Hellscream looked about the bar taking note of the patrons who would as soon as buy you some ale as shank you in the back for a silver nugget. The blood stains on the floor, the discarded ruins of furniture in the corner and the dark and dingy interior spoke volumes as to the quality of the goods and services offered, and the personages who took advantage of them.

Garrosh smiled. “My kinda place,” he thought before turning his attention to his opponent.

Although small and clearly out of place in his rich ensemble and his distasteful expression, Anduin Wrynn was not a man to be trifled with. Garrosh had discovered this the hard way.

Garrosh stared at Anduin who returned his gaze, clearly not intimidated or susceptible to menace (something Garrosh took pride in). A trickle of sweat meandered down his spine, the only sign that this was life or death, as Garrosh pulled a card and placed it on the gaming table. “Suck it, Priest” he said as he made his move, continuing the game that had so much riding on it…”


Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Cinematic


Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a digital collectible card game (CCG) coming soon to a PC near you. Loosely based on the lore of Blizzard’s Warcraft and including some familiar characters, Hearthstone revolves around nine different heroes each with a different class, including Thrall (a Shaman), Anduin Wrynn (a Priest), Malfurion Stormrage (a Druid), Uther Lightbringer (a Paladin) and more

To play the game, each hero is assigned a deck of cards, the composition of which may be defaulted or specified by the player. The game is played as a turn-based strategy game in which you play your cards to gain an advantage over the other hero and his/her minions with the ultimate goal of defeating that other hero. The concept is quite simple: You play cards to either defend your hero or attack the opposing hero with the intention to kill, and to avoid being killed.

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There are many different types of cards to use during a given match, such as the ‘minion’ card which will place a creature on the playing area. Each minion may have various attributes, including ‘Charge’ (they can attack immediately) and ‘Taunt’ (the opposition has to defeat this minion before they can attack your hero), and they may even enhance the attributes of other minions on the playing area, with the additional option of automatically drawing another card from your deck. It’s possible for them to even attack the opposing hero immediately.

An ‘Attack’ card (for want of a better word) is one that, when played, attacks either minions or the opposing hero directly. Depending on the attributes of the card and the amount of mana crystals available to you, these cards may initiate a turning point in the whole game when used correctly. Similarly, ‘Defence’ cards will protect your hero or minions depending on the strength and function of the card.

The combination of cards and attributes is very complex and only playing will give you the necessary experience to build your deck into a cohesive strategic unit.

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Each class of hero has cards that only he or she can use but there are also neutral cards that can be assigned to any deck. As you progress and level up your hero, the number of cards that can be included in the deck increases and become more powerful. There are some truly fantastic cards and there are some that I still haven’t figured out how to use correctly. An example was when I was playing the priest, Anduin, and he played a card that effectively wiped out all six of my minions on the board. Very frustrating to say the least.

Fortunately, each hero is assigned a default deck that helps you to play quite effectively. You are able to create your own decks, however, and assign them to the hero of your choice. In fact, when entering the ‘Arena’ (one of the playing modes) you are forced to choose a deck. Choosing a deck is exceptionally difficult, and selecting thirty cards that you expect to forge into an unbeatable strategic unit is incredibly complex. I’m not ashamed to admit that I have been thoroughly defeated on quite a few occasions, but I’m definitely looking forward to learning how to improve.

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Hearthstone currently has three game modes that you are able to play, including the ‘Practice’ mode which allows you to battle against an AI player to hone your skills and to unlock new ones, gain experience and even unlock some of the heroes themselves. This is a great way to learn each hero and, of course, to test any decks you assemble. The ‘Play’ mode, meanwhile, allows you to match skills with an online of a similar level.

Lastly, the ‘Arena’ mode forces you to select a hero and then create a deck specific to that Arena event. The Arena event is an iterative combat against other online players until you have been defeated three times. It does cost money (either in terms of game gold earned or purchased with real currency) to enter the Arena but the rewards are definitely worth it.

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I think Hearthstone is a great game but I have a few problems with it, first and foremost being the micro-transactions. I’m not a fan of micro-transactions and I believe that prowess in a game should be earned and not simply bought. Of course, this is a subjective viewpoint and one that is contrary to popular concepts on the sustainability of the games industry. My second issue with Hearthstone is the fact that you have to be connect online to play. Granted, whilst the ‘Play’ and ‘Arena’ modes are dependent on online opponents, I would like to practice offline.

Third (and this might not be a problem and it may be my lack of skill) is the fact that the outcome of some games seem to be dependent on the luck of the draw. There have been a few instances where I have simply not been able to do anything and the cards that are drawn at the start of each turn are simply useless. Like I said, however, this last point may be a deficiency on my part instead of on the part of the game.

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Currently in closed beta, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is shaping up to be a fantastic game and I can highly recommend it to everyone when it’s available to more players later this year. It’s addictive, fun and easy to play, but challenging in the right places.


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