It has been a week since I received my beta key for Blizzard’s newest game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Azeroth, and since then I have been playing it avidly and enough to feel comfortable talking about it. Long time readers might know that this was one game that I have been eyeing for a long time, ever since I saw Blizzard’s Hearthstone booth on the floor of PAX East earlier this year and it was the highlight of my week when I finally got accepted into the beta trail.
In previous first impressions of other betas I would write a bit about the lore and focus on the gameplay but Hearthstone does not have any real lore. If you wanted to read too much into it you could interpret it as the faction leaders and heroes of Azeroth have gathered around to play a card game for fun. Since I was in one of the later waves of the beta invites there have been better writers out there that already dissected the game mechanics and there are others that have uploaded entire matches online and anything I would be able to contribute in that aspect would just be preaching to the choir.
I do want to answer some questions that I posed when I first heard and played the game.
Yes there is strategy in the game and it comes through the mid/late game where you have a hand that offers you multiple different combinations with it comes to summoning monsters or casting spells. Enough of a strategy for me to take my time and weigh the pros and cons of each move and imagining the enemy’s counters to what I would play.
And to my surprise, this game was also made with love. The entire game is lighthearted, offered a unique mechanic for mana pool and they made sure that there is banter and ad-libbling between the heroes in every match.
This game, although free to everyone with or without a World of Warcraft subscription it does have free-to-play elements built-in with the option of buying booster packs to get a chance to get new and better cards for about a dollar fifty.
But fear not you can still buy packs by earning gold by completing Hearthstone quests
That was my first impressions my follow-up thought was, ‘I really want to play World of Warcraft again’. Not to don my tin foil hat, but I think that was the main reason that Blizzard green-lit this game that was started as a pet project within the company was to give the Hearthstone players the itch to subscribe back to WoW.
If you look at Hearthstone in the right light it is an excellent interactive advertisement for World of Warcraft. Not only is it free for anyone interested and the cards mimics the monsters and spells’ mechanics but it has the same sound files and voice actors as the MMO.
I would not be surprised that after this games goes live that there will be a spike in subscriptions from players who heard good things about the card game and is then reminded of the cherry picked aspects of the game and tint their memory of the game a bit more rose-colored than before.
Will I resubscribe to WoW because of this game? The answer is no, between the gaming backlog that I really need to get through and stuff happening beyond the computer I have no time to invest that much time back into World of Warcraft. But I will continue to play this game because it is truly fun and one of the few games to convince me to play just one more game when it’s late in the night and I have to get up early the next day.
Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays