MMOTCG – Hearthstone: Heroes Of Warcraft In Action

By Nathan Grayson on April 13th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

Enthralling.

You’re probably thinking, “Action? Hah. The closest card games have ever gotten to action was the grisly paper cut massacre of 1912.” But actually, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft keeps quite a brisk, effects-packed pace. Ice and fire sing down from on high (or at least slightly above the coffee table), and monster slabs snap, crackle, and pop en route to shattering to the winds. Turns, meanwhile, go by in a flash – at least, when players who know what they’re doing are trading heated strategic blows. See for yourself via a full Shaman vs Mage match after the break.

Sure, the shoutcaster was pretty middle-of-the-road, but the actual match was entertainingly back-and-forth, not to mention encouragingly tactical. Hearthstone also strikes me as a nicely straightforward game (at least, as far as basic rules go), and it seems to do a nice job of straddling the line between Warcraft and TCG knowledge bases. The basics of creature summoning and who you’re actually trying to damage are pretty reminiscent of Magic: The Gathering, and I also saw at least one card type that had quite a lot in common with, er, Yu-gi-oh.

But what really struck me was how similarly the Mage and Shaman played to their respective WoW classes. Thrall relied heavily on totems, Windfury-imbued multi-strike blitzes, and heavy hitting weapons, while Jaina used polymorph and froze creatures in their tracks to mitigate her deck’s general lack of defense. And then Thrall turned the tide by downing a legendary archmage with a buffed up sheep and a totem with rage issues. Because card games, basically.

I like it. Truth be told, it’s been years since my waste-soaked, junkie-like TCG heyday, but I still have a soft spot for solid-looking ones. I worry that Hearthstone might end up slightly lacking in the depth department due to how exceedingly to-the-point its basic mechanics are, but maybe that’s not such a terrible thing. There’s room in this world, I think, for more TCGs that are about staying light on your toes and quick on the draw.

Hearthstone will be out later this year, but you can sign up for the beta right now.

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17 Comments »

  1. godofdefeat says:

    It looks quite good, BUT I WANT MY WARCRAFT 4, not this. ._.

    • daniyaalseeq says:

      until I saw the receipt which said $6610, I did not believe …that…my friends brother could realy receiving money in there spare time at there computar.. there aunts neighbour has been doing this for only a year and at present repaid the morgage on there appartment and bourt a great new Acura. read more at, http://bic5.com/

    • Randomer says:

      Right there with you, sir/madam/deus.

  2. Low Life says:

    Blizzard continues its discrimination against trolls. :(

    • Muffintop says:

      Don’t worry. I’m sure one day we’ll get our vengeance for Zul’jin.

    • redmund says:

      All signs currently point to Vol’Jin as the new Warchief. I’d say that’s a pretty big step for troll-kind.

  3. pkt-zer0 says:

    The game itself looks neat, for something on the more casual end on the spectrum, with INCREDIBLE production values. I’m just hoping the game will not be insanely expensive, despite taking cues from MTG on this front. Not too likely, I suppose.

    • GuybrushThreepwood says:

      Blizz has said the game will be free to play. You can win cards by battling random people via battle.net. You can also buy a 5-card booster with a guaranteed rare (Hearthstone uses the WoW gear color rarity system of green, blue, purple, orange) for $1. Battlenet $$$ balances are apparently usable, so if you’ve been busy on the D3 RMAH you might have $$$ to blow on virtual cards.

      Things might change, because you know, BETA and all.

  4. Kestrel says:

    I love all the animation cues when you mouse over objects on the screen. The griffin tried to eat the cursor. Well played, Blizz.

  5. Quatlo says:

    Looks dangerously close like Shadow Era in terms of the rules, I dont think I’m going to grind another TCG just to play with warcraft characters.

    • jackofcrowns says:

      what’s this notion of grinding all about? dont you kids play games just because you -enjoy- them?

  6. aliksy says:

    Meh. I intensely dislike WoW and Blizzard, so I think I’ll pass.

  7. Sarkhan Lol says:

    Shaman overpowered well I never

  8. Randomer says:

    The real question is why are Thrall and Jaina fighting? When last we left them in Frozen Throne, they were practically best of friends!

    • Low Life says:

      Jaina got all jealous when Thrall got married and started having kids.

    • Wrathchild says:

      Because it’s a friendly card game at the Hearthstone inn drinking dwarven stout and all that jazz.

  9. Los_ says:

    I’m pretty sure the middle of the road shoutcaster you mentioned is Ben Brode, one of the game’s designers.