Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is an upcoming free-to-play digital collectable card game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. Hearthstone draws heavy influence from Blizzard’s own World of Warcraft in terms of visuals and gameplay. Even though it’s still in closed beta, it has already attracted a large fan following – and for good reason!
Hearthstone features nine heroes you can play as, with each hero representing one of the main WoW classes pre-Wrath. Sorry, Death Knights and Monks, but your classes won’t be represented at launch. The main goal of Hearthstone is to bring your opponent’s health down to zero before they can do that same to you. This is done by attacking them directly.
Each player starts with 30 health and 1 mana crystal. You gain one additional mana crystal after every turn, capping out at a maximum of 10 mana crystals. Mana crystals are the main resource used to play cards or cast spells. All heroes have one hero spell that can be cast at the cost of 2 mana crystals, which operate independently from their deck. In addition to their spells, each class also has their own set of cards that are exclusive to their class. There are also neutral cards that can be used by any class to help mix things up, bringing your deck up to a total of 30 cards.
Cards can either summon a minion or cast a spell. A minion has its own attack and health rating, as well as their own special abilities like Taunt, Charge, or Heal. When you play a minion, you will have to wait till the next turn for it to get ready and attack. However, some minions have the special ability “Charge,” which allows them to attack the moment they are placed on the playing field. Spell cards work as expected and supply players with a wealth of abilities and effects to turn the tide in their favor.
You can unlock all of the basic class cards by leveling up each hero’s class. Other cards can be bought via the in-game store with either real money or Hearthstone’s gold currency. You can earn gold by completing the daily quests. You get 3 new quests every day and each completed quest rewards you with 40 gold. Examples of these quests include: “Win two games as Warrior or Shaman” or “Do 100 Damage.”
Once you have 100 gold lining your pockets you can buy a pack of cards. Each pack holds 5 cards with a single guaranteed rare card. You even have a small chance to get an epic or legendary card, the latter being a lot harder to come by – but tare known to be over-powered and able to turn the game around in your favor.
Hearthstone is a quick and simple strategy card game with familiar heroes seen along your travels in Azeroth. The gameplay is fun and addicting, but the ultra rare card drops could use some refining. Still, Hearthstone is definitely worth your time if you’re a fan of collectible card games or World of Warcraft. Blizzard is aiming to officially release Hearthstone in 2014 for PC and Mac, with Android and iOS versions releasing soon after. The best part of all, Hearthstone will be released for free on all platforms.
[Written by Contributor Shehryar “Mokx” Shah]