Introduction to Hearthstone
Hearthstone is a collectible card game from the American video game developer Blizzard entertainment. It is a free 2 play title available on PC, Mac, Android and Apple mobile devices. With currently 50 million active players it is the most successful game of this kind. But what makes hearthstone such a huge success?
The core philosophy for Blizzard is the term easy to learn and difficult to master. Every match in Hearthstone is a one versus one turn based game between two players or a human player and an AI. Every player starts with 30 health points and the goal is to reduce the enemies health pool to zero. Many Hearthstone videos can be found here, including tutorials and tips!
Sounds simple? Well, it isn’t. Before you can play a match you must build a deck. Every player can chose from over 1000 cards to build their own decks but only 30 cards can fit into a single one. Those cards can be obtained from card packs. Every card pack contains five random cards. Card packs can be bought with the in-game currency gold or real money. The cards come in four different qualities: common, rare, epic and legendary.
The players must also chose between 9 different heroes. Each of them has a unique hero power and exclusive class cards. Those cards can be minions, spells, weapons or secrets. There can only be two of the same cards in a deck. An exception are legendary minions which are limited to a single one per deck.
To be able to play cards you need to spent mana. Every turn a player gains a full mana crystal. If you play a card your mana crystals will be emptied according to the cards cost. But don’t worry your mana crystals will be filled back at the start of you turn.
There are currently four different game modes in Hearthstone. The most played is the standard format. This mode only includes basic, classic and cards from the most recent expansion packs. It can be played in a ladder format or in an unranked format. You can reach better ranks through winning games versus other players. A ladder season resets every month. The goal is ultimately to reach the legendary rank.
In the wild format, every card is allowed in a deck. Compared to the standard format players must chose between a huge pool of cards. This can often lead to so-called overpowered decks which play the strongest minions and spells from different expansions. Blizzard balances the game around the standard format so the wild format is exactly what it’s called.
In the arena mode, players must choose between three random heroes. Then they need to choose between 3 random cards of the same quality. After thirty picks the deck is complete and players will be able to queue their decks. An arena run ends when you lose 3 or win 12 games. To be able to play arena you need to pay in-game gold or real life money. After you finish a run you get rewards according to your won games.
The last player versus player mode is the so-called tavern brawl. This format changes every week and each brawls week has it’s own crazy set of rules. An example is a mode where you summon a random minion every time you play a spell. Tavern brawl is the only mode where it is possible under certain circumstances to play together with another human against an AI.
It is also possible to play against the computer. In the practice mode, you play against the innkeeper who only uses basic cards in his deck. In the adventure mode, it is possible to attain new cards through winning special encounters. Those adventures can be unlocked via gold or real life currency.
In the card collection, you can look at your cards and build decks for the standard and wild format. You are able to craft cards with arcane dust. Arcane Dust can be obtained from disenchanting redundant cards or as a reward from an arena run. The most common card type in Hearthstone is a minion. Standard minions often only have basic stats which are attack and health. Attack is the damage a minion deals while attacking or while being attacked. Health is the value that determines how much damage a minion can survive. Many cards also have special effects, for example, a battle cry. This comes into effect when a minion is played.
With spells, a player is, for example, able to damage a minion, heal himself or freeze a hero. A spell will be consumed when played. Spells are often used to turn the tide in a hard match up. Weapons work to some degree like spells. With weapons, equipped heroes are able to deal damage to minions or other players. Every hit consumes a charge. If there are no charges left the weapon will be destroyed. The last card type are secrets. Those can only be summoned on a players turn but the effects that result from secrets can trigger during a enemy players turn. An example is the counter spell which negates an enemies spell effect.
As there are so many cards to chose from to build a deck there are a variety of sources in the internet which focus on deck building to help new players. Hearthstone has a big online community ranging from the e-sport scene to discussions of the so-called meta. The meta is the ever changing search for the best deck. Strategy Hearthstone videos are common with players discussing the newest cards and ways to play them. During the start of a new season, players tend to use fast decks which focus on attacking the enemies health pool ignoring enemy minions. This is called the aggro meta.
Quests and Gold
As Hearthstone is a free 2 play game there are possibilities to earn the in-game currency gold. Every day a new random quest pops up which earns gold when completed. A quest can be to win five games with the mage class or play 20 minions with a battle cry effect. It is also possible to earn gold with winning in arena. After 7 consecutive wins, the players earns his entry fee of 100 gold back.
Even if this sounds a little bit more complex than just a card game Hearthstone is, in its core, a simple to play game. From players who like to take a break at work from pro gamers competing for the legendary ranks, it offers fun for everyone. Hearthstone videos discussing quests and gold are posted regularly.