Blizz-Card: Hearthstone – Heroes Of Warcraft

By Adam Smith on March 22nd, 2013 at 2:34 pm.

PAX East is happening right now and even though I’m not there to watch people announce things on stages, I’ve recently discovered a magical portal that allows me to read about reactions to things that are happening on the other side of the world. Currently, the tiny aperture is bursting with words and letters, things like ‘CCG’, ‘Free to play’, ‘first’, ‘Warcraft’, ‘Blizzard’ and ‘oh…really? Oh’. It would appear that the denizens of whatever land exists at the other side of the portal are discussing the announcement of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Blizzard’s first free to play game, which is a strategic collectible card game. Either that or they’ve all gone mad.

Made by a smaller team within Blizzard, the reasoning behind Hearthstone is as follows:

We looooooove collectible card games and have been playing them since our Silicon & Synapse days. Creating a digital strategy card game felt like a natural next step for us, so we put together a small team and have been hammering away at Hearthstone for a while now. We’re excited to be working on something different from our other games, which we’ve wanted to do for a long time. Same goes for creating a game for iPad® in addition to PC.

Packs of cards can be earned in-game or purchased for around one USA BuckDollar. Card crafting is also possible and is achieved, from what I can gather, by destroying gathered cards and using the remnants to construct new ones. I’m guessing that magic is involved at some point. There’s more info here.

There’s an official website where you can sign up for the beta and even a trailer, which is just down there. Right there!

Beta is scheduled to start this summer and the game should be available by year’s end. If you don’t like this announcement, you can burn it and use the ashes to build a new one.

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64 Comments »

  1. Shakermaker says:

    This is – for me at least – the most underwhelming news of the year so far.

  2. Moraven says:

    CCG is all the rage now on mobile devices.

    As long as the grind is not to bad and made essentially into pay to win that the tedious CCGs that are out there now.

  3. Brun says:

    Yeah, my initial reaction to this was a huge “meh.” I don’t really see anything wrong with the game but it just doesn’t have any appeal to me – I imagine most RPS readers will feel the same way.

  4. bglamb says:

    That link goes to the US version of Blizzard. I tried to log in there and they locked my account. Boo :(

    • AraxisHT says:

      I’m American and it locked mine too.

    • jrodman says:

      Blizzard is getting seriously stupid about “suspicious login activity” lately. OH NO YOU GAVE YOUR ACCURATE INFO TO THE CORRECT PLACE (but the link was our other domain).

      I logged into my blizzard account after not logging into it for 3 months. They called that suspicious.
      This broke my ability to play starcraft 2 ???

  5. kyrieee says:

    Someone wake me up when Blizzard writes its first non-cringeworthy line of dialogue.

  6. Fyce says:

    So, you buy cards to melt them into a magical online furnace in order to make new one more powerful.
    Can I melt my ‘USA BuckDollar’ directly instead of going to the online shop? It would be faster and thus, people will be able shout at me directly for spending money to have better cards than they do.

    CCG like we all love them.

  7. tyren says:

    I was….. surprisingly interested in this. I tend not to enjoy TCGs unless I have some connection with the setting AND enjoy the ruleset itself (despite being a Pokemon fanatic as a kid the Pokemon TCG wasn’t really my thing) so it’s hard for me to find an online TCG I like. The shoutcasted match they played at the announcement looked fun as hell, so I’ll probably end up giving this a try.

    • Fyce says:

      Except that “TCG” means “Trading Card Game”. There seems to be absolutly no trading involved in this whatsoever.
      So it’s just you, your cards and your money. It’s really the worse kind of card game, even if the gameplay and the graphical theme are great.

      • pakoito says:

        All-in-one with standalone expansions (Summoner Wars) and LCG (Warhammer, A Game of Thrones) are current good business models. M:TG, not so much anymore, and even worse if we’re talking digital goods.

        • pkt-zer0 says:

          LCGs eliminate the randomness of boosters, but the designers are still incetivized to continuously bloat the game so they keep making money. So I wouldn’t necessarily call it a good business model.

          It is what makes money, unfortunately, so that what publishers are gonna go for.

          • pakoito says:

            You are right, new cards tend to make old ones worse, but there’s at least a small shrewd of balance compared to MTG’s bloat of common 2M 2/2 Flying.

      • tyren says:

        Since you can earn boosters without paying and their crafting sounds like it all uses one “resource” (unlike, say, TF2′s, which I’ve always thought had some weirdly specific requirements) I can deal.

        • Fyce says:

          If you have the time and the patience to earn your cards without paying a dime AND don’t get pissed if you go against a guy who spent his whole salary to build an awesome deck which will cruch yours (at equal game level, indeed), then, by all means, go for it.

      • Apocalypse says:

        Just play draft games and enjoy your free casual game ;-)
        I actually like this whole idea just for this.

        But if they try to force me to buy cards they can burn in hell, I already have 10 000 magic cards, I am done with buying new cards ;-)

  8. Hoaxfish says:

    Is this the thing they were trailing? Because I thought that was supposed to be something completely new?

  9. Rao Dao Zao says:

    I’ll trade you five Footmen for that Illidan.

  10. Xocrates says:

    Why did they use the same animation style for the cinematic as Duels of the Planeswalkers? Is there a rule somewhere that all CCGs must use that?

    • Namey says:

      At least in the case of DotP, they do that because they’re animating two dimensional card art, moving the layers around and adding some effects. Every “scene” is actually on a card. They’re probably doing the same here.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        It’s also easier and cheaper to do, which matches the small team/quick production mentality behind this game.

  11. Seiniyta says:

    They said: It’s not an expansion, not a sequel, nor the rumoured MMO. and the announcement page also said “something little new” So people expecting like something huge were dumbasses to expect that.

    Looks really fun for a online tcg. Since Magic the gathering online kind of sucks, Pokemon tcg is cool but still quite buggy. This looks pretty neat.

  12. 2helix4u says:

    Give us your money! In return we will continue to mishandle our own franchises!
    ~actiblizzard Fel Hybrid

  13. Cruyelo says:

    I watched the demo (online, wasn’t there) and honestly… It looks fun.
    I’ll give this a try; I don’t mind if gaining new cards for free takes a while. As long as it’s a possibility and the game is fun, I’ll give it a shot.

  14. Westcreek says:

    Hmm, i thought they already made a cardgame cashcow? What did i miss..

    • jrodman says:

      That other one is offline and a partnership.
      This one is online and fully owned by Actiblizzard, and thus potentially far more profitable.

  15. Eddard_Stark says:

    Somebody please remind Blizzard that April’s Fool is still a week away.

  16. DrZhark says:

    woot! a new CCG!!
    I can’t wait to try this (and spend more money than planned on it)

  17. TsunamiWombat says:

    In the words of my tribe: toplel

  18. Blackcompany says:

    How are people still falling for this business model. I ask this as a recovered mtg addict, mind. And I mean addict. Finally woke up to their pay more to win philosophy.

  19. derella says:

    I had low expectations when they teased their announcement. Thank God.

  20. zeroskill says:

    “Packs of cards can be earned in-game or purchased for around one USA BuckDollar. Card crafting is also possible and is achieved, from what I can gather, by destroying gathered cards and using the remnants to construct new ones. I’m guessing that magic is involved at some point. “

    Sounds good. Kinda like the Team Fortress 2 crafting system. Should be fine. I’ve been looking desperately for a very good TCG on the PC for a long time, since I don’t know many RL people that play this sort of thing. I hope trading….cards will be involved, or even an android app/version? Maybe this will be what i’ve been looking for, for so long.

    • Themadcow says:

      $1 is very good for this kind of game. The top earning mobile CCG (Rage Of Bahamut) charges up to £40 for a pack that isn’t even guaranteed to have a decent card in it. Sadly, there are people on that game who have spent thousands of dollars for digital cards…

      • zeroskill says:

        I gave Rage of Bahamut a shot, but turned away from it pretty fast. Then there is also Shadow Era, which I tried. It was ok, but it didn’t fully capture me.

        On the Hearthstone FAQ page there is the info that this game will eventually be available on iOS, so there is hope they will also bring this to Android. If it all works out, this could be good.

    • Derppy says:

      Magic Online has a very dated user-interface and you can burn tons of money on it, but I’d say it’s still easily the best PC TCG.

      All the cards and formats are there, it has just as much depth as the physical version. The economy of the game is based around event tickets (~$1/ea IIRC), which you can buy to access tournaments, or trade to other players/bots for cards.

      While taking part in drafts and tournaments can get very expensive, one fun and cheap way to play is to grab a few tickets with your friend and see what kind of decks you come up with. One ticket can get you hundreds of common cards, tens of uncommons or a couple of rares, with the exception of the most recent set or cards that are considered very good.

      You can build the deck entirely from scratch and there’s tools to tell you statistics like cost, mana and card type balance. You’ll make miserable decks that flat-out fail, but at least for me doing just that and improving/optimizing the decks, coming up with crazy combos is 70% of the fun in TCGs, which is why games like Duels of the Planeswalkers just won’t cut it for me.

      I’ve barely tried the WoW TGC, but I really hope this works like MTGO and gives you total freedom over what you want to do, rather than limiting you to a few premade decks.

  21. rockman29 says:

    The heck…

    Whatever, just make Warcraft 4, except don’t butcher the story.

  22. Maka Albarn says:

    @pakoito: So far the good ones I’ve seen are Assassin’s Creed: Recollections (iPad Only), Shadow Era, and the almost-in-beta SolForge (which is my favorite).

  23. DickSocrates says:

    Should people who enjoy card battling be allowed to marry?

  24. shockwave says:

    And out comes the Blizz-hate, this time for *absolutely* no reason.

    Let’s take a step back here. A top gaming company has decided to go out of their comfort zone and release a minor game with minimal interference to their other projects. Oh, and it’s free to play.

    What’s the problem here?

  25. Malibu Stacey says:

    Never seen the point in a digital version of a card collecting game. Abstracting the mechanics of a game which abstracts the mechanics of another game?

    Also whatever happened to that Blizzard Dota thing? Been awfully quiet while Dota 2 keeps on growing.

    • Chris D says:

      Not quite sure where you’re getting all those layers of abstraction from. Card games tend to be fairly abstract by their nature, but they’re not really abstracting other games, they’re their own thing.

      A digital version isn’t really abstracting anything else either. You’re removing the physical cards but in most cases all the systems remain the same.

    • zeroskill says:

      Last thing I heard about the Blizzard Dota thing is that they are redesigning it. It will also be a standalone game, free to play, and not, how it was believed, a Starcraft 2 custom map made by Blizzard. However it matters little, it is widely believed not to be much more then Blizzard fan service. At least that’s the word from the Dota 2 community. I don’t think the two will directly compete. Dota players already have what they wanted all those years. Dota 2.

    • tyren says:

      It’s not exactly hard to translate the mechanics of most card games into a non-physical format. Does it count as “abstraction” when the mechanics of the game are identical?

      For that matter, there are things you can do on computers that would be harder to represent using physical cards, and I hope they take advantage of that.

  26. Don Reba says:

    Card crafting is also possible and is achieved, from what I can gather, by destroying gathered cards and using the remnants to construct new ones. I’m guessing that magic is involved at some point.

    Or maybe just a lot of scotch tape.

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