HearthStone: Heroes of Warcraft is a new fast paced strategy game from Blizzard, currently in it’s open beta phase. We got access to the beta and have been putting in some hours to see what the new game is like.
Hearthstone is a free-to-play digital strategy card game where players can select one of nine Warcraft heroes to play as, and then take turns playing cards to cast potent spells, heroic weapons or summon powerful characters to crush their opponents.
I have never played any form of table top/collectable card game before and thought that this may be a barrier to entry for Hearthstone. Drawn in by the beautiful artwork and awesome trailer videos I couldn’t resist wading in. In doing so I was pleasantly surprised by the simple game mechanics and easy to follow tutorial, showing you how each element of the game works by isolating each part and adding more at particular stages. After 15 minutes or so you are all ready to play.
I mentioned that the mechanics are simple, but that doesn’t mean that the game is easy. Hearthstone is layered with strategy and as you dive deeper into the game so you discover more of the subtitles and see just how hard the game can become.
The game is based around a deck of 30 cards that you are able to select, based on your play style, from the cards that you have available to you (through unlocks, game and real world currency). A large amount of strategy sits here before you even get into the match. Once you are int he game you play a familiar turn based game where each player is able to play cards from their hand and draw additional cards from their custom deck. The ultimate goal is to destroy your opponent.
The matchmaking system employed works well and I enjoyed lots of well matched games before moving to the ranked system which also delivered a greatly competitive and fun experience. One of the things that I really enjoyed was the snappy speed of the matches. You can jump in and play a quick ten minute game without any fuss which is great.
The game is currently on PC/Mac and you can apply for the open beta through your Battle.net account. An exciting prospect is the fact that the game will be coming to iPad as well – this is great news as the game is perfect for iPad and will provide a very addictive experience for quick match ups.