Hearthstone, the new collectable card game from Blizzard, is officially released today.
Of course, Blizzard is best known for their epic MMORPG World of Warcraft, as well as Diablo and Starcraft.
Hearthstone is set in the Warcraft universe, but unlike WoW, it’s a collectable card strategy game. “We’re loosening up a little bit and developing… at a smaller scale, but at the same level of quality, the same level of investment, the same level of passion.”
Hearthstone was made by a much smaller team than is usual for the developer. By keeping the project a lot simpler, Blizzard hopes that it will be more accessible to players new to the company. It is designed specifically with that goal in mind, but veteran WoW players are promised that a lot of the spells and mechanics they have come to know and love will still be there.
“The exciting thing about Hearthstone is how easy it is to get in and play it; …within five minutes of jumping into the experience you’ll know exactly how to play”, says Eric Dodds Lead Designer. Imagine World of Warcraft crossed with Magic: The Gathering, and you won’t be far off. You pick one of the 9 heroes from the Warcraft universe, and build a deck based around them.
There are three modes to play in Hearthstone. Play Mode allows you to play your deck against other people online, granting you booster packs when you win, helping you improve your deck. Practice Mode allows you to test your decks against the AI, to see if your strategy can be pulled off, or just to build your confidence. There is even an expert-level AI to really test your skills against. Finally there is the Forge. You’re given a bunch of random cards, based on several selection of three types of cards. You’re then pitted against a random person online who has forged their deck in the same way. This makes it not only totally fair, but a true test of your skills.
If you have tried World of Warcraft and been daunted by the sheer vastness of the experience, this smaller, more palatable experience will no doubt be welcome. What do you think of this new twist to the Warcraft universe? Will you be jumping in on the free-to-play CCG action? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.