Hearthstone is an online free-to-play trading card game (TCG) set in the Warcraft universe. I don’t know about you, but I fell in love with the game when I first laid my eyes on it. I’m a big World of Warcraft fan, so it was a dream come true to be able to play with my favourite characters in TCG format (again). This game is probably the reason why I’ve been lacking sleep for the past few weeks; always trying to resist the urge to play one more match and rank up before going to bed (and I’m sure that I’m not the only one).
I also played the original WoW TCG, which actually shared a lot of similarities with this game; in fact, Hearthstone even recycled some of the character portraits used in the physical card game. Sadly, the TCG was discontinued by Blizzard back in August 2013, making this new game a blessing for those who still want more.
Hearthstone is still on its open beta stages, so some stuff may not be set in stone just yet. But what exactly does this game need to be even better than the addictive element it already is? Here’s my little wishlist.
Note that I do respect Hearthstone as its own game, and the ideas jotted bellow are nothing more than my personal opinions and random speculation.
Choose Your Character
World of Warcraft is an MMORPG that revolves around the conflict between the Horde and Alliance. In the MMO, picking your faction is just as important as choosing your character class. This was also well exercised by the physical card game, which gave players a myriad of characters per race and faction to choose from. Sadly, Hearthstone only features a fixed character per class, which means that Horde lovers looking to go Mage are stuck with Jaina Proudmoore, just as Alliance Warrior users are left with Garrosh Hellscream.
An interview with Hearthstone’s Executive Producer, Hamilton Chu (http://www.hearthpwn.com/news/275-dev-interview-new-heroes-gameboards-adventure-mode) stated that the game will soon feature a new premium element which will allow players to choose Varian Wrynn instead of Garrosh when playing the Warrior Class. It’s good that players will be able to use another character portrait to say “Well Played” with, but while it may be aesthetically amusing, it doesn’t really add up to the game’s depth. I guess it’s going to be nothing more than a paid avatar. Ever imagined Varian Wrynn carrying the Gorehowl? Pretty badass, but wouldn’t it be much better to have him use Shalamayne instead?
There were tons of characters per class in the old Warcraft TCG, and the hero you choose greatly affects which cards go into your deck. I think Blizzard should at least give Varian his own unique hero power. Not only will this feature give players more options to work with, but it will also exercise Varian’s individuality as another hero with his own respective build.
Throw in a “For the Horde/Alliance” emote, and it’s probably good to go.
Just to warn you, I’m going to mention a lot of WoW TCG references from here on, so please bear with me. The developers stated that they do not want Hearthstone to follow in Magic: the Gathering’s footsteps, and would rather have players summon minions for board supremacy than wait for said combo to appear. While I do agree with their approach to keep the game as minion dependent as possible, there are a lot of ways to tweak the game without having it turn like Magic: The Gathering. WoWTCG presented a variety of interesting playstyles that this game can greatly benefit from on the long run, such as solo characters like Mother Misery, who can only use weapons but can strike with six of them at the same time.
Okay, Blizz doesn’t have to go with sextuple wield, but having a character who can only use weapons (possibly dual wield?) could present some interesting twists in the game as well as the overall meta. Recent surveys also show that people want Death Knight and Monk classes to appear in the game. The more, the merrier, I suppose.
Got Sylvanas? Trade Ye!
“Is there a trading system?”
That’s probably the first question people ask me when I invite them to play the game. Sadly, for those of you who’ve yet dabbled into the game’s crafting system, the only way to attain new cards is through expert packs and crafting. As an online TCG, I think it wouldn’t hurt to at least have a trading system, even if it’s just for common and rare cards. The game already has a ‘Soulbound’ feature which prevents players from disenchanting certain cards, so Blizzard could still issue a limit to what cards can be traded.
It’s always a treat to play Hearthstone with your friends, but it would even be nicer to have an option to watch them duke it out with one another. Usually found in various fighting games, I believe that the ‘King of the Hill’ format would benefit Hearthstone players pretty well. Being able to invite your friends in a private room where you can freely challenge each other (or the winner) while the others act as observers would definitely be a good addition to the game.
What’s a good card game without tournaments, am I right? For now, the only thing close to a tournament is the game’s arena mode, which sports the traditional gauntlet draft format normally held by hobby shops. No, I’m not talking about big stages and giant projectors; I’m merely referring to small bracketed in-game tournaments that players can join for a fee (be it in gold or a couple of dollars). Throw in ten Expert packs for a prize, and players should be joining like crazy.
Raids and epic boss mechanics are probably what made World of Warcraft the MMO that it is (aside from being a game that makes kids punch holes through walls). When WoW TCG first introduced the concept of Raid decks, I couldn’t help but be amazed at how well they translated WoW’s MMO raiding goodness over to the TCG world. Nothing beats teaming up other players, taking down the likes of Onyxia and Magtheridon, and rolling for loot after the epic battle. I’m not sure how blizzard will handle it, but I assume that an entry fee will be required, much like their arena system (probably even more expensive).
They could also feature a weeklong cooldown on raids, so as to prevent players from grinding the feature.
Recent Hearthstone surveys show that players actually want Raid decks to make an appearance in the game, and honesty, I’m all for it. It was indeed a unique feature that added more depth into the game’s already awesome TCG predecessor, and I for one can’t wait to see it make a return in Hearthstone. They could even issue a raid only Party chat to help players communicate better, thus increasing their chances of winning.
It Will Only Get Better
The game has only entered its open beta stage, so players will most likely have to wait more for extra features. We don’t necessarily have an assurance that Blizzard will implement the changes and features fans asked for in their recent survey, but do note that this is an MMO game (and a card game at best), and will gradually evolve as time progresses. I can already see this game being played by people around the world on a daily basis, and may I say that I literally can’t wait to see what else they’ve got in stored for us. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my little wishlist.
Do you have your own wishlist? Let us know in the comments section below.