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Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Review (and What’s New?)

It seems everything is going well for Blizzard’s Hearthstone despite the fact that it’s their first time dabbling with CCG/TCG type MMO. Now for the sake of others who hasn’t caught on with this new game from Blizzard, allow me reintroduce Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (not that I’m giving any of you much of a choice anyway).

Most of us grew up with games like Magic The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh trading card games which were quite popular during the 90’s or even Top Trumps from the late 70’s and 80’s, I know that was a pretty far jump, but for those who enjoyed playing and collecting these cards back then may find Blizzard’s newest and first digital trading card game just as entertaining.


Hearthstone login screen.

Blizzard Entertainment’s newest baby, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is, is as mentioned, an MMO Trading Card Game based on the real Word of Warcraft Collectible Card Game set in the Warcraft Universe that was released a few years back. Hearthstone is currently available as free-to-play and was officially released March 11th for Windows, April 16th for iPad and still to be announced sometime or perhaps later on this year of 2014 for iPhone and Android.

Play as one of the nine legendary Heroes of Warcraft, each of them unlockable by defeating them through Practice mode or by purchasing their decks from Shop. There are over 300 different cards in the game and a deck is composed of 30 cards. A deck can be made of three different types namely Minions, Weapons and Spells. Players can choose take up a challenge with the pre-made hero deck or customize  a more preferable set by manually sorting through one’s collection of cards.

iPad release trailer:

Card Types

There are Basic cards and Expert cards. Basic cards are just the plain ones easily earned by challenging other players, completing quests and earning levels. Of course, Expert cards can also be obtained through the same manner (aside from buying or getting them from Card packs). Their slight difference is that little Rarity Gem embedded right under the name or title of the card. Rare cards are rated into four different levels: Common is white, Rare is blue, Epic is purple and Legendary is orange. Better Expert cards can also be crafted by disenchanting excess cards with much lower use and rarity. You can spend real money on buying cards, or you can ear in-game currency by playing a lot and doing daily quests.


Cards differ in rarity.

The foiled cards (golden) are pretty rare in Hearthstone. They are earned either by leveling up a particular hero, or by opening them in packs. Blizzard has decided that, not only these cards should be golden, heroes should have the chance to shine too! Players who have spent a lot of time and money in the game, already have a ton of golden cards in their arsenal. Blizzard has complimented this by adding golden heroes to the game, and these are solely earned by winning 500 ranked games! Check them out down here:

Game Mode Crash Course

PRACTICE MODE is where everyone starts. It is a mode where players can get used to the basics of the game, come up with their own strategies, learn which cards to use against which opponents depending on what kind of deck they have and also it is where players can unlock and obtain other heroes by challenging and defeating these heroes first. Practice mode is divided in to two categories, Basic is the first difficulty setting players need to challenge, although some may not find it that easy and after defeating all the heroes in that level of difficulty, that is the only time Expert mode is unlocked with the same set of heroes to crush but offers a much more difficult challenge.

PLAY MODE is categorized into two different challenges; Casual and Ranked. A Casual match offers all the features that Play Mode has without worrying about any consequence upon losing a game. It is the best  place to level up new decks, perfect set up for newbies to hone their tactics and where experts can play with no worries of losing their hard earn rank. The Matchmaking feature in this mode automatically pairs two players of similar level and experience. Although some newbies may already have advanced decks purchased via the item shop. But win or lose and regardless which challenger has the upper hand, both combatants will still receive rewards and experience points.

A Ranked match is where the big boys (and big girls) play with the possibility of gaining a better rank or losing it to someone else. There are 25 regular ranks amusingly named after minions found in the game and in addition to that there is one special rank “Legendary” allotted to the best and the most cunning players in the game. A new challenger starts at the bottom, rank 25, as each rank is represented with a number of slots to be filled with stars gained which are gained with every win, once all the slots are filled, that is when a player receives a new rank.


First Blood!

The ARENA is the Hearthstone’s place of gamble. Entrance is at the cost of either gold or real money and success may be relying more on luck than skill. Part of the huge gamble of entering this area of combat is taking players away from their own set of cards. This mode presents players a series of random cards before entering the actual match and are tasked to pick from them until a full deck is created. The challenge is that you keep playing with this randomly created deck either up to 12 wins, or until a player has lost three times, new players trying this mode out should be warned that it is not worth the real money cost just to enter this mode, but it does provide a chance of quite an enviable set of rewards for the truly lucky and skilled ones who can win against other ruthless players of the Arena.

DUEL MODE only rewards experience points, it is initiated through invitation limited only to a player’s list of friends who are online. Anyone invited to a duel has the option to either accept or decline the challenge, this is perhaps way different than the usually randomly paired challengers in the whole game seeing players has no way of measuring the capability of their opponent unlike with this mode where a player knows exactly who he’s up against with. Hence the main strategic move for any duel is have more than a few decks as arsenal.

The Curse of Naxxramas

The much anticipated release of The Curse of Naxxramas is perhaps the talk of the town from Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft’s latest news. This single player adventure mode was officially announced just a few weeks ago, April 11th 2014, at PAX East. Aside for the grand adventure that anyone can partake, a new set of cards, a new game board and whole new challenge to conquer!

This feature, as I have mentioned, is made for solo adventure. According to official posts regarding this upcoming update for the game, the adventure is divided into five wings and one wing will be released each wing. The catch? this update is not entirely free except its first wing, the rest will be available through purchase with in-game gold or real money.


Naxxramas Boss, Heigan the Unclean.

Although Hearthstone fans may need to shell out a few bucks just to experience the whole thing, I’d have to say it does sound like it is worth it and for those that are having second thoughts about availing for this whole new feature, there is at least one out of the five part update that could be explored in order to see whether it is or not worth paying for. The Curse of Naxxramas will open the chance of obtaining 30 new cards, it comes with a new and unique set of class challenges that rewards class-specific cards and immediately could be put into your deck. Upon completing the whole adventure, players will be rewarded with new rare cards including what everyone wants – a guaranteed new legendary card to add to their collection!


Fireside Gatherings: Hearthstone Feature for iPad!

Not only that Hearthstone is now playable on iPad now players can meet up in public places, host a match face to face, host their own events and even get together for a small tournament. A gathering can be as large as over 100 people, everyone can connect as long as they are in the same subnet with everyone else. By participating a Fireside Gathering, players can earn a Fireside Friends card after competing in no less than three matches against other players connected to the same network. For those interested, locations for Fireside Gatherings are listed here . Either that or better create your own venue by downloading the instructions found at the bottom right of the Fireside Gatherings website.


Fireside Gatherings: Get together with friends and play!

It is safe to say that we can expect Blizzard Entertainment to come up with more ways to make Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft more fun and more enticing. As the developers did claim how creating a game like Hearthstone is something quite out of their comfort zone but despite of their worries, it did turn out quite well and still has a lot of room for improvement. It makes me wonder how far they can go with this game when the world knows that Blizzard Entertainment goes all out when it comes to jaw dropping updates and making things more interesting. Just look at World of Warcraft.

I have only played Hearthstone for a little while but I truly did find it quite interesting. But with these recent additions, like how the game is now playable on iPad and also the upcoming possibility of an iPhone and Android edition of the game, I may find more time to try the game a little more because of the convenience it presents. But for now, for more information on what’s new and what’s coming for Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft fans, kindly direct yourselves here to their website same place where you can sign up and download the game. Again, Hearthstone is free-to-play so do give it a try.

Hearthstone Fireside Gatherings trailer:

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