Gold, Gambling, And Getting The Most Out Of Hearthstone

By Rich Stanton on November 25th, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

“Ho ho ho, it’s good ta see ya again,” says Hearthstone as I load it up for the hundredth time. “Save it you Scottish dwarf,” I think, “And SHOW ME THE MONEY.”

Call me a Venture Co. Mercenary, but after a month or so immersed in the collectible card game’s beta I’ve eyes for Gold and Gold alone. Blizzard’s in-game currency is a fickle mistress, there in great lumps one day and on others falling through your fingers like sand.

I’m all about a phat hoard. So hit the jump to find out how you, too, can have one.

It’s worth starting off by acknowledging that parts of Hearthstone’s final release may well differ from the beta – though the structure around Gold definitely feels permanent. Hearthstone’s odd because if you just want to play the game and gradually build up more cards, then you don’t have to pay – you really don’t. The problem with the business model only starts when you’re hooked.

Hearthstone’s Gold can be earned by playing; you get 10 Gold for every 3 wins in Play mode, but the real source is daily quests for between 40 and 60 Gold. ‘Win three games as a Paladin or Priest’, ‘Play 20 Minions That Cost 5 Mana’, and so on. It’s a regular dripfeed, but the first source is negligible and the second runs out fast; you can have three quests at once, but you’ll only get one new quest every 24 hours.

A pack of cards costs 100 Gold, and an Arena entry costs 150 Gold. So let me break all those numbers down to something simpler. Do you want to play Hearthstone for an hour or two a week, and don’t care much about getting smashed down by Epic and Legendary cards in ranked games? You’re good. Do you want to play it a bit more, and do you want to regularly play in the Arena ? You’re screwed mate, and so am I.

We’ll return to the ethics of this momentarily, but first: Arena is a drafting mode where you choose one of three random cards, thirty times over, and in doing so build a deck of thirty cards. Then you take it out for a spin. The point of Arena is to win as many games as possible without losing three, with ever-increasing prizes, and it’s absolutely brilliant – the final release will have an endless Arena mode, but at the minute the cap on wins is set at 9.

Arena works first and foremost because drafting like this is a great way to play a card game, and especially good with Hearthstone, where you start off with not many cards to build pre-constructed decks. Drafting lets you slam together previously unthought-of combinations, use cards you haven’t considered before, and forces you to think creatively about the options available. You could even argue it reveals the most generally effective cards in the game.

And so we come to the money shot: how to make yourself somewhat self-sustaining in Arena. I’ve had the beta for just over a month and pumped in at least £20 on Arena entries, all in the name of working out the various prize tiers. It’s not good news. Anything below seven wins in an Arena session is bad, and even this only guarantees you’ll make back enough Gold for another entry.

Lower than this? Look at the screens. Dotted around this page you’ll see what happens when things go badly wrong and you’re turfed out of there with three, four or five wins. The gap between six and seven wins is insane – on Arena sessions with six wins I’ve had between 50-70 Gold in prizes, less than half an entry fee for winning twice as many games as you’ve lost. Gaaahhhh!

But wait – even if you’re winning, there’s another consideration. If you start regularly going the distance in Arena and racking up the wins, you might want to think about putting the brakes on. Nine wins is the maximum at the moment, and for this you’ll get a good chunk of Gold, plus a small chance of an extra card pack – I read that the chance for a second pack is 20%, but it’s dropped for me fairly regularly.

Problem is that this pack can also be dust, or it can be a golden card. So if you’re just focused on earning Gold for further Arena entries, you’re better off retiring your deck at 8 wins for between 40 and 80 more Gold in prize money; Hearthstone tends towards 280ish Gold for 8 wins, and more like 200-240 for 9 wins. Personally speaking, I like the chance of an extra pack, and can never bring myself to pull out when so close to victory – which is probably why I have a kid. But it’s something to bear in mind.

Which leads us to the overwhelming question – how to do it? It’s all about having solid principles for card selection, and accepting that you cannot build certain types of deck in Arena. The biggest mistake I made at first was having little to no drawing ability in my Arena decks; you need to incorporate either Class-specific drawing cards (Northshire Cleric, Arcane Intellect etc) or use neutral cards like Cult Master and Gnomish Inventor. My ideal is two draw-based minions and one or two spells.

Never pick Murlocs – they’re crap unless you can guarantee other Murlocs, and in Arena you can’t. Only pick Pirates if you’re playing as a Rogue or have already drafted a weapon. Avoid low health taunters (useless) and low cost cards with only one health – the latter are easy prey for almost half of all hero abilities, and swapping a card for that is never a good trade.

Let’s get a little more specific. First, for a serious introduction I recommend reading through Trump’s ranked list of Arena cards [http://ihearthu.com/trumps-arena-card-rankings/ ]. Definitely don’t take this list as gospel (Kobold Geomancer 4 Life!) but Trump’s principles for card selection are exactly right – solid cards like Shattered Sun Cleric and Chillwind Yeti are the key to victory in Arena.

I sometimes think the Shattered Sun Cleric is the best card in the game, in fact – because in your opening hand it can help clear the board on turn 2 (with the coin) or 3 and leave you with two meaty minions. The point about it, and this should be your guiding light for all Arena cards, is it has exceptional utility – the ability (buffing one other card by 1/1) nearly always leads to a good trade, and as a bonus you get a 3/3 on the board.

This reasoning works for many other cards – the Dark Iron Dwarf gives you a 4/4, but the battlecry lets you increase a minion’s attack by 2 – and gets to the fundamental principle behind Arena selection. What do you want to do? Basically you want to force your opponent to use two cards to get rid of every one of yours, because each player only has 30 cards. This isn’t possible in every situation, but you want to make it as likely as possible – so cards like Harvest Golem and Silver Hand Knight (which give two dudes for one card) are fabulous value.

A brief word on spells: whatever class you choose, if the big removal spells come up (Hex, Polymorph, Assassinate etc) you must choose them. AOE removal spells I’m a little leery of outside of the Mage’s outstanding Flamestrike – stuff like the Paladin’s Consecration depends on your also having another Paladin card (Humility) for maximum effectiveness, so it’s a bit of a gamble.

Really that’s Arena in a nutshell – having racked up over 250 wins in this mode, I feel pretty confident asserting that it is fundamentally a gamble. It is one of the best ways of playing a card game I’ve ever experienced, but at the same time it is a mode that you pay money for and that often comes down to luck. I’ve had drafts where not a single decent lategame card came up, and my endgame strategy was Lord of the Arena and Boulderfist Ogre. I’ve had others where I’ve ended up with truly crappy low mana minions, because the alternative was having none. It is the nature of drafting: things can go wrong.

Which is why Arena slightly pisses me off. I don’t gamble IRL, but I feel like Hearthstone has turned me into a bit of a gambler – every time I hand over that £1.49 it’s for an uncertain return, with no second chances (you can’t re-roll the options presented). How does Blizzard get around this? The simple method of guaranteeing a pack of cards in your Prize, so even if you win 0 games you still get a pack worth 100 Gold. And by this reasoning, even a 4 run in Arena is kind of breaking even, because you get the pack plus around 40 or 50 Gold back.

It’s not an especially satisfying return, and I’ll tell you for why; I just like playing Arena. I like getting the packs, don’t get me wrong, but all I want to do in Hearthstone is play Arena mode, and it’s behind a paywall – so my energies are focused on wringing as much Gold as possible out of each run, so I can play again without pumping more cash in or grinding out the Gold.

If you think that something sounds slightly wrong about this, you’d be right – after all, when did part of making a great game become making a great hamster wheel? Arena mode is the true cost of Hearthstone – Blizzard has quite simply put the most fun in this game behind a toll booth. You’re being charged to play a mode.

This, I suppose, is why developers love free to play. Make a game good enough and people don’t just pay for it once – they go on paying forever. I would be over the moon if I could buy Hearthstone for £40 or whatever, and I’d even be happy beyond that to pay for expansions – the game is that damn good. But that’s not enough.

There is a fundamental fact here about the future of games, and its custodians. Blizzard can obviously make whatever it wants, under whatever business model it chooses, and we have the choice to play or not to play. With Hearthstone the company has gone perhaps further than people realise, by making a mode of the game contingent on a continuing gamble from the player – and that’s not cool. I don’t mind paying a bit of cash, but when it comes to a game demanding £1.49 in perpetuity so I can play it the way I want… well.

There’s a sign in Blizzard’s Californian HQ, displayed ostentatiously on nearly every noticeboard – it says, and I’m paraphrasing, ‘If you suspect a colleague is putting short-term gain ahead of the company’s long-term good, shop ‘em using this anonymous hotline’. I could never decide whether it was real, or it had just been put there for the benefit of visiting journalists – after Hearthstone, I can’t help but feel it was a plant. Because this is one of the best card games I’ve ever played and, now that I know it intimately, I can’t help but feel it goes against that principle. Hearthstone I heart you: but Arena mode puts Blizzard’s short-term interests far, far above the long-term retention of its players.

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63 Comments »

  1. WarderDragon says:

    You forgot the first step to earning (and spending) gold in Hearthstone, though – you have to actually be invited to play the game in the first place. No such luck here yet!

    • Premium User Badge

      DeVadder says:

      Yeah, this article is really, really mean on us peasants not in the closed beta. And i have to say i find it wierd to read a strategy article about a game most people cannot possibly play currently…

      Then again i suspect it was not meant as strategic advise but a word of warning regarding the prize tag, yet still you doomed me to another night of self-piting Hearthstone on Youtube watching.

    • donweel says:

      I did not get invited either so I took Might and Magic Duel of the Champions on steam and I am quite pleased with it. Not as difficult as Magic but not too simple either, decent community so far. Not a trading card game either so no way to buy op cards outright.

    • Lagwolf says:

      And it doesn’t even help to have your editor ask them for a beta pass as a game journo of neigh on 20 years. Its Blizzard faves and friends only & a bit annoying to be honest.

      • Moraven says:

        F&F, internet personalities and some game journalist was the first wave in October. Since there there has been numerous beta key waves to people who have opted in. Battle.net users of the Battle.Net App closed beta got a spare key, my 2nd b.net account got a opt in key. Tons of giveaways. If they opened the floodgates we would be at Error 73 and people complaining just as much. Open Beta is in 1-5 weeks, its coming.

    • realitysconcierge says:

      Quadruple check your spam boxes guys, that’s where my invitation was!

      • Solanaceae says:

        Listen to this man!

        I was invited 3 days ago and — just as he said — it’s been sitting in my spam folder!

        Many thanks to you realityconcierce :)

    • Marik Bentusi says:

      It’s going open beta in December, so just take this as a very timely preparation read.

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    RedViv says:

    Priests are stupid.
    And in the game.

  3. Grey Poupon says:

    “Personally speaking, I like the chance of an extra pack, and can never bring myself to pull out when so close to victory”

    Talk about innuendo…
    Edit: Maybe I should have read a few more words before posting.

    It’s a shame the best mode the game has costs grownup money to play. The biggest advantage in my eyes that Hearthstone has in comparison to Duels of the Planeswalkers is the draft gamemode. Though I do still prefer the more complex rules of Magic.

    • Koozer says:

      You can buy into Arena mode with 150 coins, you don’t have to spend real money!

    • Winless says:

      The most recent DotP (2014) actually does have a draft mode, which they call Sealed Play. It’s even more frustratingly limited than Arena though – you have a max of like 6 decks, start with 2 by default, have to pay to unlock more and as far as I can tell can’t reset the ones that you have.

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    bills6693 says:

    What annoys me most of all – that I and many others can’t play! Its had a tournament at blizzcon, its been shown on youtube and played for months, yet its still closed beta.

    To an extent I can understand, but it annoys me that its still based on a closed beta scheme and people can’t try it out despite all the hype etc.

    If anything, they shouldn’t have let so much interest and hype build up when people can’t play, because people will lose interest by the time it actually goes into open beta/launch!

    • Moraven says:

      Its a Blizzard game, that really can not be hyped. And they are nice enough to allow no NDA on their closed betas as of late. Unlike say the Elder Scrolls Online closed beta this past weekend under NDA.

    • Ragnar says:

      What annoys you most is that you have to wait until a game is released to play it? They’ve got you, friend. You’re eating out of their marketing’s hands.

  5. CobraLad says:

    And so great RPS-Blizzard grudge beggins.

  6. Seiniyta says:

    I’m not sure how Blizzard could do it different with Arena. Make an Arena mode which gives a ton less rewards/no rewards at all? Unless you’re drafting for every game I can’t see it working with the 10 gold per win either. If there’s good ideas how to properly handle this WELL knowing this is a free to play game go ahead.

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      darkChozo says:

      There’s two models I can think of that would handle it nicely:

      1. Copy how TF2 handles Mann vs. Machine. Give the option to do an Arena run for free, but take away the rewards at the end (ie. you get the G for wins and quests but you don’t get anything once your run is complete). Then present the current model as a premium option, entry fee intact.

      2. Energy mechanics (booo, I know, but it’s an option). You can do an arena run for free but with some sort of time restriction. Maybe you only get 1 run a week, or you can only play 1 game a day, whatever. If you’re impatient, you pay the entry fee and get the current model. You might have to rebalance the rewards with this model in mind.

    • Steven Hutton says:

      They could just sell the entire game with all cards for $40 and then let players play as much as they choose.

      • InternetBatman says:

        Pretty much this. I love TCGs but hate the exploitative sales model.

      • realitysconcierge says:

        I’d be very happy with that model. They’ve been doing it with yugioh games forever now.

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        draglikepull says:

        Where does the money for Arena prizes come from in this model where users pay for everything up front?

      • Premium User Badge

        darkChozo says:

        Unfortunately, F2P is to some degree built on the idea that you have some portion of your playerbase who spends far more than $40 on microtransactions over the life of the game. If you sell all of your content for $40, then you lose out on the people who would’ve dropped $200 to get half of that content.

        That’s the theory anyway, I don’t think that any F2P has really tested that out yet. Tribes is the obvious culprit here, but they only released the full purchase option very late in the game’s lifecycle.

        • brat-sampson says:

          Well, sure, that’s the point, there’s just a sizable portion of potential players who think it’s a foul way for game companies to do business and want no part of it.

          They could totally release a standalone game for a fixed price with an ‘arena’ mode that works with drafted cards in which you earn cards w/ which to build your personal preferred deck. 2 modes, all the cards built-in, sell more for DLC if you want, without any need to call yourself ‘free to play’ when an entire mode operates like a pricey arcade machine.

      • Kitsunin says:

        I would pay $60 for a non free to play Hearthstone…

        Earning new cards is such a good form of progression in a game, when you just buy most of the cards anyways, it’s rendered pointless as a form of progression – it’s basically gambling instead of earning. It’s so sad that CCGs are so fitted to being ‘free to play’ with a system just like real card games where you buy boosters and such with cash, when one you buy up-front would work so much better.

        Well, at least we’ve got Faeria…

        • Jools says:

          Not to single you out specifically, but I keep seeing variations on this. F2P developers don’t really care that you’ll pay $60 or $80 or even $100 up front for their game. It doesn’t matter, because that’s not how their business model works. The real revenue in F2P games comes from people who are willing to drop hundreds of dollars. The irony here is that “free” games are actually the ultra premium games of our time. Their revenue models are built around people who are willing to pay far, far more than the normal up front cost of a game. The free part of the game just ensures that enough people will stick around for the whales to play with, because there are tons of people out there who are happy to play games that aren’t so great if they don’t cost any money.

          The sad part about Hearthstone is that there’s an amazingly good game stuck behind the pretty exploitative arena model.

  7. Premium User Badge

    draglikepull says:

    I’ve been in the beta for a couple of weeks and I’m having a ton of fun. It’s worth noting that The Arena is optional and it’s not presented as being the primary way of playing; of the three play modes it’s the last one listed on the main menu and it isn’t even unlocked when you first start playing. Yes, if you want to play in tournaments you’re going to have to pay, but that’s how all collectible card games work (Magic: The Gathering Online isn’t any different and Hex: TCG isn’t going to be either).

    I mean, the very nature of a collectible card games is that you need to buy cards. That’s the nature of the beast. I guess we can debate whether that’s inherently a bad nature, but Hearthstone isn’t any worse. If anything, Hearthstone is even more respectful of the player’s time because the simple act of playing standard ranked games earns you in-game currency with which you can acquire free packs of cards; I’ve not paid a cent so far, though I’m having enough fun that I’ve considered spending $5-$10 to increase the size of my collection. Also, because you’re limited to 2 copies of any given card in your deck (as opposed to 4 in most CCGs) there’s less money required to build a good deck.

    As for being stuck facing off against players with decks filled with rares, that’s unlikely because the game matches you up against opponents of similar skill. If you lose to people with decks stacked with rare cards your ranking will fall and you’ll play people whose skill is more similar to your own. I’m currently undefeated in ranked games (just 4-0, I haven’t played a ton of games), and I’ve beaten a couple of people playing piles of rares because their decks weren’t as well constructed as mine.

    • Kitsunin says:

      I’ve never ran into games that were unfair because of high-rarity cards either, and I have something like 40 wins (Platinum 2-star, no idea if that’s actually impressive :P)

      Aside from some of the class-specific legendaries which sort of are OP, most of them just bring novelty effects to the table.

    • dogflesh says:

      Come diamond where i’m stuck you see epic and legendary cards on a regular basis. Trying to down Ysera or Ragnaros is absolutely an uphill battle if you don’t have a perfect deck yourself, and this usually involves owning a few epics or legendaries. The only class that can manage without them is Priest, and they’re subject to a nerf in the next patch. I also have the same problem in unranked, where I must be ranked just as high even though it allegedly keeps a separate skill rating.

      This is a serious problem since it forces you to only play decks which are completely gimped if you want a reasonable chance at winning, and daily quests that require you to play certain classes will regularly force you into this situation if your yearning for variety does not.

  8. quidnunc says:

    Sure arena is the most reliable way to make gold in the game but if you don’t feel the need to play Hearthstone incessantly then you don’t need to play it at all. I only do the daily quests in ranked mode which gets me a pack ~once every two days. I don’t particularly like drafting in arena so I’m more likely to buy some packs of cards eventually. I think the game is easily worth $20 – there’s nothing wrong with buying some packs and calling it a day until some new content comes out. The arena mode rewards skill so for all the people who are making back their gold and getting packs there are others on the other side of that line who on average aren’t making their gold back.

    Anyhow, everything you do in the game can be paid with gold. The game isn’t forcing you to pay money to get into arena. Payment is just a time shortcut. And you can play Ranked all day every day to your heart’s content even if you suck.

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    darkChozo says:

    Bleh, this is pretty much my biggest hang-up with this game (aside from the minor “don’t have a beta key” issue). I don’t like rigid deck construction, so Arena should be my main mode of play, but the idea of having to front any sort of fee to just play the game just turns me off. It’s like having a grind-heavy game if grinding were actively un-fun instead of just being monotonous.

    From a business standpoint, I can’t help but feel that this is missing the point of F2P. F2P is supposed to be about engaging your players with the game using the free stuff so they’ll actually be interested enough to buy the perks you’re charging for. By putting an entire gamemode behind a paywall, you’re just removing a point of engagement for potential customers.

  10. return0 says:

    From my personal experience, this post is 100% correct, if you only like arena. You really need to view arena for what it is: a bonus mode in Hearthstone. The majority of the game is geared towards play mode, even down to the arena rewards (e.g., 9 vs. 8 win rewards). If you like playing card games with constructed decks, this post won’t really apply to you.

    My advice for those looking to get the most out of the game: build a deck with the cards you have, and pit your deck/skills against others in ranked play. As you get more cards, goof off and try new things in unranked to see what works (I have a 66% winrate in Masters 3 with this method, for whatever that’s actually worth). If you play this way, gold is hardly ever an issue. Arena can actually be an annoyance for constructed players, since it can be the most gold efficient way to get more cards. Often I’d rather put my gold in a slot machine and get the arena rewards rather than having to sit through 6+ matches.

    I do find arena good fun when I’m in the right mood, but I view it for what it is: a gamble with 50 gold that I can get 5+ wins for a prize that’s “worth it,” or 7+ wins for the “big” prizes. In that respect, you can view arena as an arcade game where you win tickets. Every once in a while, someone will hit it big with their quarter, but the vast majority are going home with the shitty consolation prizes. If you only like arena, than so be it, but don’t disparage a game’s business model just because you don’t like to play the main game mode.

    EDIT: Fixed some typos.

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      darkChozo says:

      I think that it’s a fairly legitimate criticism of the business model. If people want to just play Arena, and you structure your business model in such a way that those people will view just playing Arena as unsustainable, you’re losing potential customers. Failing to serve the needs of the market and such.

      It’s certainly within Blizzard’s right and all that, but the way the model works right now says, to some degree, “if you don’t like constructed play then we don’t want you as a customer”. Maybe that’s what they want, but I doubt it.

    • Moraven says:

      Arena streamers are popular because it is a fun mode but also, people are looking for a way to make the F2P as free as possible. They want to have every card for constructed without paying a dime.

  11. Kinch says:

    I got an invite today and I’m torn (well, as far as gaming goes).

    Should I play the beta now and get burnt out before the game’s even out? Starting now stinks of sybaritism. Having experienced GW2 betas, I have to say they tainted the release for me.

    But if I don’t start playing now, won’t the party be largely over come release? There’s already a metric tonne of game footage on YouTube, there’s no NDA, everyone’s seen and studied the game. Heck, there’s even been an official tournament.

    Is the closed beta just a marketing ploy? Maybe it’s already too late to start playing?

    [Stares blindly into the aether.]

    • WarderDragon says:

      You know, I’ve been having many of the same thoughts myself. But for all intents and purposes, the game is already released – Blizzard are already maintaining lists of the top players, holding tournaments, etc. I’ve been really excited to try the game, but the excitement has diminished as wave after wave of beta invites have gone by, and there will be no more card wipe happening. It feels like I missed the train even though I was at the station, baggage in hand.

    • Toadsmash says:

      Read the Blizzcon news about Hearthstone. The current metagame is still going through quite a bit of evolution, and there are lots of additions to the game in the pipe that are going to flip said meta on its head. I wouldn’t worry too hard about the game being “figured out” too fast.

  12. Commander Gun says:

    “Do you want to play it a bit more, and do you want to regularly play in the Arena ? You’re screwed mate, and so am I. ”

    Key part is what you mean with regularly? I bascically play one arena each night and can go infinite pretty easily. That isn’t all that hard, considering the daily gives you an average of 45-50 gold. That means that, you have to make at least 100 gold a day to go infinite.

    Now, unlucky draft rounds can happen of course, but assuming you know what you are doing (MtG or other CCG experience helps big time here and the point you make in this article as well), going at least 5-x almost every day should be very doable. 7-x is of course the main target, as that means you have drafted for free and get a free pack to boot.
    If that happens every other day, you are alreasy golden and that is not including the 8 or 9-x runs. Granted though, that it is a bit sucky the 9-x is worse than the 8-x for going infinte. On the other hand, the free booster pack (or the golden card, since it is always rare or better and hence you get a rare of your choice for free) is still better to build your collection in the long term.

    This all being said, it sucks that lots of players can;t even play the game yet. I can steadily build up a collection this way and when the game really get’s competitive i probably am very close for a complete collection, while newcomers have to take quite some time.
    On the other time, people who are at least prepared for Arena will have a lot of field days when the game comes out in open beta, as lots of players who never ever played a ccg will play at least one Arena game (1st one is free).

    Also, at the moment in Arena (pre-nerf), if you can choose Priest in Arena, just do so. Although people whine too much about the power of Mind Control in constructed, in Arena it is indeed a bit OP. Paladins and Shamans are also very good choices.

    • return0 says:

      Well said, though I think your advice to choose priest will be largely unaffected by the MC nerf. While MC is crazy good in arena, priest in general synergizes well with the arena playstyle. Arena matches tend to turn into slower-paced minion-based battles, and that is where the priest excelles. The priest hero ability works great with having a bunch of tough minions on the field (Yeti, Shieldmaster, etc.) and combining that with common hard-removal spells (SW:P,SW:D, MC) is a potent combo. Rare/Epic cards (injured blademaster, shadowform, etc.) are just icing on the cake. Other classes can work just as well, but a good draft will be much less straightforward.

    • Kitsunin says:

      It is worth noting that for every player who goes 3-7 there must be 1.3 other players going 3-nil. I mean, it is entirely possible to frequently get that much, but saying “Do x good and then you’re fine” is a touch unfair to people on the losing side.

      • Gothnak says:

        I was going to mention this, it’s a very fair point. I average 4-5 wins (usually 5-6 but now and then a 2-3), some poor souls out there must be doing the opposite, if that was me, I’d likely give up pretty quick.

        It doesn’t help that the arena draws are REALLY varied. I’ve had decks with 2 gold epics and decks with no purples or golds. Also Hunter decks with no Beasts, great fun.. :s.

        • Kitsunin says:

          Yeah, it seems pretty weird how wildly rarities fluctuate in draft. Once I got two legendaries…though it turned out my deck sucked and in that, my worst run, I went 1 win and didn’t even get to use either of them once.

  13. Moraven says:

    3-4+ wins you are at least breaking even. 100g pack + dust/gold.

    I played a lot more pre-wipe and only have like 50 Arena wins post wipe. Post wipe they increased both the daily quest rewards and golds for wins (was 5 wins = 5 gold, now its 3 wins = 10 gold). Also quests can include wins for two classes.

    A lot of the time I play is when I have 2-3 quests and most of the time they overlap. Right now if I want I can easily play 4 Arena in a day. Or I will simply do one a day and never run into having no gold. I do some unranked play mode but I usually knock out my quests with my Arena choice. If you want to play 12 hours in a day, you have to save up gold or pay for it, like a lot of F2P games with energy requirements. Otherwise play a little a day or some every other and you will have a good experience.

    Or consistently get 7+ wins like Trump and the like and have endless gold.

    No fee no reward Arena mode would be great. Its a fun mode. Let people practice at it. Maybe just charge 5-10 gold? Blizzard recently sent some Beta testers a survey and they are adjusting to feedback well so far.

    Arena is being planned to be updated to 13 wins I believe.

    Have not got 9 win Arena yet. =/ One 8 win so far. Pack + 235gold.

    • Chalky says:

      You’re totally right. Even for the worst players arena is almost always a better idea than spending 100g for a pack of cards, and you have a chance of coming out on top or even coming out with more gold than you started with as well as a free pack.

      You can get 50 gold per day with the daily quests, minimum, plus 50g refund on average for going 3-3 in the arena means you can do what, one arena every 2 days assuming you NEVER do well? All this without spending a penny of real world money.

      Just because you can pay money to play in the arena doesn’t mean you need to, and if it really bothers you you should just play some constructed for a day and you’ll be able to play arena for free tomorrow. You’ve got to take some responsibility for your desire to spend money.

  14. Ergates_Antius says:

    and can never bring myself to pull out when so close to victory – which is probably why I have a kid
    2 questions:
    1) Are you here all week?
    2) How’s the veal?

  15. Bone says:

    I’m still short of a good reason to get hyped for Hearthstone, as I’m currently playing alot of Might & Magic – Duel of Champions. Hearthstone from all the videos I’ve seen seems like a dumbed down version of it, while M&M from what card playing folks told me is basically Magic – The Gathering without some of the more annoying mechanics, and 2 lines of units which makes for very interesting gameplay.

    I know it’s only Ubisoft against a new OMFG BLIZZARD release, but if anyone is looking for something similar, that has a fair free2play model and interesting duels even with the starting decks I’d totally recommend DoC.
    Also you’ll get free tickets for the tournaments about every 2 days.

    • Commander Gun says:

      I found the F2P mechanic of M&M a freaking nightmare tbh. No way to get single cards for the deck you want to construct, different currencies (one of the biggest signs a F2P game is badly implemented tbh), grinding to the max.
      I realize they finally introduced a way to get a single card a few months ago, but it is a big pain, especially when you want to get a card from a more recent set.

      It is a shame, but gamewise the game is quite good like you say.

    • Ernesto25 says:

      I feel the same about blizzard im sure it will be average like most of their games , fool me once….

    • Kitsunin says:

      I tried playing it but man it drags on so badly! Maybe it’s just earlier on when you don’t have any hard hitting cards, but it was just taking so long for any game to go anywhere, because it was really easy to wipe creatures from the board or block attacks, but so hard to actually get any damage through. Does that continue to be true?

      • Bone says:

        Depends on how you play, and what faction, really. I play Necro and their units don’t have that much damage potential in comparison, but I also specialized in getting all the damage spells (water and dark magic), so I have AoE + instant kills, aswell as buffs. It’s easier for other decks to reach the 1000 elo mark much earlier, but I had fun doing my own thing without reading any guides and now I have so many cards I could set up a decent deck for any faction, just by using the two currencies.

        About 150 hours invested into DoC, I have many heroes and uniques yet to grab and things to look for, but man there’s STILL unforseen combinations and strategies developing in the regular duels.

        I know what you’re thinking with the two currencies. I remember thinking the same of Warthunder, but in the first 50 matches and the short campaign + achievements, you’re basically getting showered in the stuff.

  16. WarThunder says:

    I’ve been in the Closed Beta for a while and while I did truly love the game for the first couple of weeks it did then start to get boring. Once you reach your limits (in terms of skill level) then there really isn’t much to do except grind, grind and grind away to try and get more gold and hopefully get some decent packs of cards (or spend real money to buy packs or spend even more money (or Gold) in the Arena with non-custom decks). You can disenchant existing cards to make new ones of course, but this is often wasteful.

    I’ll give it a lot of leeway though as it IS an early Beta – it does have a lot of potential and by the sounds of things the next few builds should improve it a fair bit. So to those who aren’t in the Closed Beta, never fear – the game goes Open Beta in December (in theory!) and hopefully there will be a number of improvements. And look at this way – you’ll be experiencing the game for the first time in a far better way than us Closed Beta testers are. :-)

    • Moraven says:

      And grinding away is what makes it not fun quick. I think a game like LoL people will grind for champions but each game has the ability to be a lot more unique vs a card game.

      I think it as a physical card game where I can pay less for it. When you play its less often due to scheduling and having to get people physically together in one play (or hitting up the local game store community tables 1-2 a week). And I won’t have all the cards or plan to. I use what I have and try different decks. Hearthstone is great in that I can at anytime pick up a game or two and try out decks really quick.

      I am missing a lot of cards still but I still win vs people with every single priest card and many golden versions of the cards (denoting he probably has opened a lot of packs). My mage deck still won vs his priest deck, using mostly the free class cards, neutral minions and smart card choices during the game.

    • return0 says:

      I think the new ranking system and the 12 win limit in arena will do a lot to fix this. I’ve really cut down on my playtime for now, since there really isn’t much to do, except try for the top 50 (not happening anytime soon with my limited cards), goof off with new decks, and get more cards. I’m sure I’ll get back into it as soon as there’s a better ladder.

  17. DarkFarmer says:

    “Arena mode puts Blizzard’s short-term interests far, far above the long-term retention of its players.” incorrect. MTGO has been around for like 14 years now rip-gouging us dead with no problems. I spend 100 bucks on draft every new set. Hearthstone is great by the way, not quite as much as a walk in the park compared to MTGO as i initially thought it would be.

  18. Koozer says:

    You’re missing the main advantage of buying in to arena mode rather than just buying card packs: it’s fun. You basically pay 50g for an entertaining draft mode, plus some gold and dust.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Don Reba says:

    Alright. Now, let’s put the game down and get to work. Oh, well, I suppose I cat steal a look at RPS for a minute. Oh, shiiii…

  20. bstard says:

    This game is to me as Khlav Kalash and Crab juice is when I just ate myself almost to death in the local curry place.

  21. Gothnak says:

    My plan on Hearthstone, is to only play as much as it lets me. This means, only playing to complete the quests i have and once they are finished, go off and play something else (unless i have enough for an Arena run).

    This way, i have never spent any money, and i have an arena match for free every other day or so. I must admit, i haven’t reached 9 wins yet, usually end up at 6 or so unless i get a terrible choice of heroes when i drop to 2 or 3.

    Does anyone else find the game hugely unbalanced, Priests are definitely the most powerful deck in Arena, with Hunters equally powerful in constructed.

    Also, tried playing a Hunter deck once in Arena and drew precisely 0 Beast cards, that was a fun deck.. :(.

  22. Derpa says:

    HS overall needs time.

    The play mode in beta is pretty pointless and with the small card pool just makes it so you see the same cards and deck over and over at the higher ranks.

    Also arena is really flawed in itself.

  23. Premium User Badge

    SuddenSight says:

    For the sake of my sanity, I want to point out precisely the kind of gambling taking place in Hearthstone Arena Mode.

    It is basically Poker, except without the bidding. Just the ante portion.

    Why? Because every win means someone else loses. Each person can only lose three times. So the overall average wins in Arena will always be 3.

    Let me repeat that for people who (like me) are not terribly good at card games:
    The average number of wins in Arena mode will always be 3.

    If you are doing better than that, it’s because some other person is doing worse.

    If three wins doesn’t give you your money back, then the difference is just going to Blizzard. Except this is a virtual game, so it costs Blizzard nothing and they shouldn’t really care about “breaking even.”

  24. WantOn says:

    Out of interest, has anyone played both this and SolForge? I got into SolForge for about a month, splashed about a fiver on it, but got a bit tired of the lack of overarching structure to it. Does Hearth compare favourably? Not at all? It looks as though Hearth takes quite a few things from SolForge (wouldn’t surprise me, this being Blizzard and all) but even an arena mode and daily quests might be enough to encourage me to log in more often.

  25. Premium User Badge

    jrodman says:

    Someone gave me their beta key. I’ve played a bunch of games, like 40 or so. I don’t think it’s that good.

    It feels, overall, far more shallow than all the other offerings I’ve tried recently. I prefer SolForge, Duel of Champions over this. I much prefer Duels of the Planeswalkers over this.

    Is there a high quality single-player game of this nature? Something more like the Microprose Magic of forever ago?