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The Hearthstone Saga BEGINS! …Almost

Hearthstone has been a constant thought in the back of my mind for a while now. Quite a while if truth be told. When a game starts being talked about in hushed tones by game developers and journalists on twitter and rather than fade into obscurity but instead become more and more talked about I tend to pay attention. Especially with the praise the game seems to be garnering. However the Blizzard developed turn based card game has been in closed beta since first I heard of it. Until now!

Yesterday it was announced that the free to play game was finally going into open beta as soon as the announcement was made. For North America at least. As a European gamer I am unfortunately left waiting a little longer and staring at the game launcher, just waiting for the PLAY option to light up.

My interest here may seem unfounded I understand. I’m not usually the kind of person to get obsessively involved with one game and one game alone and play for umpteen hours to get better. Sure I’ve spent plenty of time playing League of Legends but that’s more of a social experience than a hardcore one. As it stands though, I work a 9-5 and do plenty of college work outside of that. Now more than ever may be the time to buckle down and learn a game the way I never have before and I’m giving Hearthstone the first shot at my undivided attention game-wise.

So enough rambling, now that I’m so tantalisingly close to finally playing the game: What is Hearthstone? Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is an online, free-to-play digital card battling game based on the Warcraft universe. While only on PC now it’s expected to see an iPad, iPhone and Android release this year (although this open beta has been delayed already so further delays are a realistic possibility). Since entering closed beta in August 2013 the game featuring a current 382 cards, with more incoming, has seen a number of wipes of player’s cards and progress to keep up with difficulty/balance reworks in each update.

I have no idea what's going on here...

I have no idea what’s going on here…

Extensive reading up of previews on a number of sites is a difficult feat since this game like many in the same genre has a system best understood with practice and actual use. Youtube videos of established players have highlighted the nature of the game that most appeals to me, a depth of understanding of not just your own deck and abilities but also your opponents which rewards long time players who invest in the game. Rather than just being based on your card collection there are also seem to be character traits depending on the race you play as, meaning an investment of time into a single class may not benefit you as much as learning a few classes to understand your rivals.

And herein lies a singular worry of mine. If I’m awful at the game I can easily deal with that, I’ll keep trying and learning and hope I improve. That is, as long as I find the game appealing and more importantly fun. What I can’t deal with though is if the free-to-play nature of the game too heavily rewards people who choose to invest swathes of money in the game rather than their time. I’ve played games where a single person paying for features in the game unbalances everything in a way that seems unfair and if Hearthstone seems to be turning out that way I doubt I’ll hesitate to stop playing.

So here after a mini tirade of hope and fear I stand, checking the login of the game one more time and still seeing that I can’t play.

Check back soon for my first impressions of the game and after that for final impressions of if I’ve decided the game is worth my time. If you’re on the same track as me, looking for another player to start the Hearthstone journey with, feel free to leave a comment or tweet at me. Looking forward to battling you all!

21 year old Government student studying in Ireland. Regular tweeter @aerach71 about games, horror movies, love and life. Also my life loving games and horror movies.


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