Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

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DECEPTIVELY SIMPLE. INSANELY FUN.
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Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Review

Does any company have a better grasp on what makes a game triple-A than Blizzard? The company responsible for Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo, three genre-defining blockbuster franchises, has decided to step into the collectible card game genre with Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Although this is Blizzard’s first attempt at an online card game, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it’s packed with detail and play-tested to perfection. 

Similar to other iPad card-battling games like Rage of Bahamut or Magic 2014, Hearthstone is a free download that gives you the option of spending money to build your in-game deck. Fortunately, you can still get hours of enjoyment without paying a dime– just be warned, you might encounter a few players with deep pockets and a deck full of dragons.

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After a lengthy tutorial that breaks down the game’s simple mechanics, you’ll have the ability to jump into an online match, customize your deck, or practice against the game’s artificial intelligence. When you start playing online, your characters will level up with each win or loss, unlocking unique cards that can only be used by that character type. With each new character you defeat online, you’ll be able to play as them, for a total of nine playable classes.

Once all nine classes are unlocked, there’s an extremely fun and challenging bonus mode called The Arena. Here, you’re given a supercharged deck and are expected to last as long as possible against a string of online opponents with equally overpowered cards. The longer you survive, the larger your rewards. While your first entrance into The Arena is free, subsequent visits will cost 150 units of in-game currency, which can alternatively buy you a card booster pack or cost you several hours of playtime.

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With so many cards to unlocked, the best way to advance is to just keep playing, and it’s not a chore at all. Each match can last ten to fifteen minutes, and while the luck of the draw is a factor, you can customize your deck to take advantage of emerging strategies. For example, playing as the Warlock means that you can sacrifice two hits of damage for an extra card. Balancing your hit points and hand is a recurring theme of every online match, which often comes down to the wire in a dramatic showdown.

If this was a bare-bones card game with well-balanced gameplay, that’d probably be enough to make it worth a try. But then again, it wouldn’t be Blizzard. Every piece of card art, background screen, and attack animation in Hearthstone shows a great deal of planning, with perfect execution. Cards shimmer with special effects to indicate their abilities– they’ll cloud over with smoke when they’re stealthy, or flutter in the wind when they have extra attacks. The card art is evocative, with many familiar Warcraft faces like trolls and murlocs. And the epic cards, when you encounter them, will blow you away with their devastating attacks.

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From the way the screen rumbles when you take heavy damage to the interactive catapults and banners that line the edges of the screen, Hearthstone  is an unbelievably absorbing online experience. Even if you’re already invested in other online card games, Hearthstone will dominate your attention for months. Don’t miss out on this incredibly fun, free game– it may be the best iOS app you’ll download all year.

More stories on Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Interesting via Pocket Gamer:

Hearthstone: The Making of Blackrock Mountain

We all love Hearthstone. If you don’t love it, chances are you’re one of the few who hasn’t given it a shot. Pocket Gamer interviewed Jason Chayes, the Production Director and Vice President of Blizzard, and dived deep into the making of the game. From the article:

“I love the belief that we have predictive models about how the meta-game will change over time,” he laughed. “That’s high praise given how it actually works! What we have is a team of smart and skilled balance designers. They make tons of decks and play them against each other to get a sense of which cards are going to be played and in what types of decks.”

Via Pocket Gamer

News via Touch Arcade:

Hearthstone’s Blackwing Lair is Now Available

The latest chunk of Hearthstone content has just been released within the game. It’s called Blackwing Lair, and it boasts new cards, bosses, and class challenges. From Touch Arcade:

The bosses Razorgore, Vaelastraz, Chromaggus, and Lord Victor Nefarius are expecting you, and if you beat them, you get the Legendary Chromaggus. Today’s Wing also includes two Class Challenges, Warlock and Rogue.

Via Touch Arcade

News via VentureBeat:

Hearthstone’s third Blackrock Mountain wing, Blackrock Spire, is now live

Lately it seems like Hearthstone posts just don’t stop coming. That’s because a lot is going on with this fantastic card battling game lately, and if you’re not playing it, you should probably change that ASAP. The third section of the Blackrock Mountain DLC has gone live. VentureBeat reports:

This gives you three new bosses to fight against as part of the continuing solo adventure. This is just one of the ways that Blizzard is keeping fans of its first free-to-play and mobile game coming back for more, and it’s working as Hearthstone is one of the top-grossing apps on iOS and Android. The developer is selling this new episode for $7, but you can buy the entirety of Blackrock Mountain for $25 — that will save you a few bucks over purchasing each wing separately.

 

Via VentureBeat

How-Tos via Touch Arcade:

A Hearthstone Deck-Building Guide

Yesterday Touch Arcade posted a standard beginners guide for Hearthstone, a fantastic Magic: The Gathering-like card game that has just come to the iPhone thanks to a universal update to its iPad app. Today TA has posted a beginner’s guide to deck-building, which is an essential part of the Hearthstone experience. Read it here.

Even if you are willing to splurge and get all kinds of fancy Legendaries, if you don’t know how to use them in the correct deck, you’ll simply have expensive, but losing, decks.The main take from this guide is a relatively simple one: to use Ken Nagle’s, aMagic the Gathering designer, axiom, “Play good decks, not good cards.” When you are putting cards together, you should be thinking about the deck as one unit consisting of smaller parts rather than a collection of cards put together just because individually the cards look strong. Deck-building is about deciding on a strategy and making a deck that adheres to that. Don’t be afraid to leave out a new, fancy card you just got if you can’t find a good reason to fit it in the deck.

Via Touch Arcade

Deals via Pocket Gamer:

Amazon App Store Offers Hearthstone Deals

Getting ready to download Hearthstone onto your Android-based phone? Back up. The Amazon App Store is running a promotion by giving away Amazon Coins with certain in-app purchases. In fact, Amazon has a page dedicated to Hearthstone deals.

You get 30 percent of your expenditure back in Amazon Coins so that you can put them towards more in-game purchases, basically.

What this means is that, if you’re spending money in the game anyway, doing it through the Amazon App Store gets you more Card Packs.

The example we were given by Amazon is this: if you spend $90 then you get 106 packs on the Amazon App Store, whereas you’d only get 70 packs for the same price on Google Play.

 

Via Pocket Gamer