|Totally staged screenshot, I'll admit it.|
Simplicity: Right On
Hearthstone is very easy to start playing, as gameplay is almost excessively simple. At the bottom right of the board are your mana crystals, needed for playing your cards. The number of crystals is increased by one and refilled every turn. You can play any card as long as you have the mana for it, but you can only play cards during your turn. That's it. You now know how to play Hearthstone. This might be a turn-off if you're used to more complicated card games, but the extra flashy graphics will deter you from judging the game too harshly without giving it a proper try.
You get better as you play the game and acquire more cards, and so does your hero. You level up heroes by using them, unlocking new cards as you go. To get non-hero cards, you can either unlock them by buying Expert Packs or crafting the card you want specifically.
|Craft or just read all the cool flavor text.|
There are just three game modes, but they cover all of the basics. "Play" mode which encompasses normal and ranked PvP games, "Practice" mode where you fight against bots, and "Arena" mode. This mode is unlocked after you have unlocked every hero through playing Practice mode. Arena mode requires an entrance fee of either cash or 150 gold and allows you to fight other players on an equal playing field using semi-randomly created decks and heroes. Once you lose three times, you receive a reward based on how many wins you received. As long as you can win three times, you get more than your invested gold back in goods. And even if you get zero wins, you still get an Expert Pack.
|Just be careful.|
Progression: Stop and Go
The smooth leveling speed is great only for the first hero you play. Once you decide to branch out to another class, you remember the cards that can only be unlocked through leveling. Quite a few of these cards are essential to the success of the given hero's main strategy. This means that every time you decide to learn a new class you may find yourself losing a lot of PvP matches, so your best bet is to go back to Practice just for leveling the hero before going back to normal play. Reverting to Practice mode when you are used to crushing foes in normal or ranked games can be frustrating.
Tutorial: Good But...
The in-game tutorial is enjoyable and informational. It's also over 30 minutes long and mandatory. When you first start, you have to go through a series of six battles laden with funny dialogue and characters. None of which can be skipped nor repeated.
|Don't have too much fun, okay?|
There are four types of cards. Minions, Traps, Weapons, and Spells. Minions fight the enemy, traps go off under certain conditions, weapons allow your hero to attack, and spells do this:
|Totally staged animal abuse.|
Final Score: 4 out of 5
For what the game does, it does it very well. It has its ups and downs but overall, its a very fun game. If you like TCGs, you should consider giving this game a try. It may seem geared towards casual players, but there is an element of mastery that even pros can enjoy.
|Bonus! Make sure to mouse over the activity ticker on the left to see what's going on.|
- Beat all characters in Practice mode to unlock Expert practice, with harder bots.
- Gold is earned a bit slowly. Do daily quests to earn more.
- Daily quests can't be completed in Practice mode or in duels with friends.
- You get 95 arcane dust the first time you disenchant a card. Get what you really need!
- You have 90 seconds to take your turn. If you use up that whole time, you get less time next turn.
- Your first failure in Arena is free. Use it as a learning experience!
- Win 500 ranked games with a hero and you get their golden version...
- Only 7 minions can be in play at max on your side, and only 10 cards can be in your hand.
- Challenge friends to duels! You still level heroes by doing this, but you can chat and there is no time limit.
- The stuff on the four corners of the map is interactive. Taptaptap!
- Right-click your hero in order to use canned phrases
- Who goes first is decided by a coin flip. Whoever goes second gets an extra card and the coin, which allows you an extra mana crystal for one turn.
- Ranked is based on wins. You start at rank 25, and each win gains a star towards the next rank up. Losing doesn't matter until rank 20, where losing will cause you to lose stars.
- Minion health doesn't come back on it's own. Be careful.
- Beware of Goldshire Footman. If you see him, you are likely going to win.
- This game may make you want to play World of Warcraft.