Event Coverage

March 24, 2013
 

PAX East Hands-On: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft Logo

Blizzard’s surprise visit to this year’s PAX East in Boston wasn’t just to show off Diablo III for consoles. No, Blizzard had an entirely new game to announce, not a sequel or a previously talk about game, something totally new. Speculation ran rampant as to what the game would be, a new MMO or perhaps a next-gen console game? I doubt anyone was thinking card game, but that is what Blizzard announced. At first I wasn’t sure what to think, a Warcraft based card game for PC, Mac, and iOS. I’m happy to say that after finally playing it, the game is actually a lot of fun.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is based in the Warcraft universe, if you couldn’t tell by the name. You select one of nine iconic classes such as paladin, warrior, and assassin, each of which has their own unique ability in game. Before entering matchmaking I selected my class, a Paladin who was capable of summoning a 1/1 creature to the field for 2 mana, and was matched against another live opponent in a nearby station. In the final version, opponents will found over Battle.net which matches you with the closest skill player possible. Before the game begins players receive their first hand of 4 cards and can choose to redraw.

Actually playing the game is strikingly simple. Each turn you are given a mana crystal and any empty crystals you may have are recharged. Playing cards costs mana, the amount being dictated at the top of the card. Attacking cards are placed on the field and must wait one turn before taking action, while spells can be used instantly to deal damage to your opponent or their cards, or to buff your own cards. As soon as you are able, you can begin to attack your foe. Each player starts with 30 life which is picked away at by attacks. The trick to attacking is to balance not only attacking your opponent, but controlling the amount of attacking cards they have. Each attacking card has a set amount of health and damage done to them is permanent. You can dwindle down the life of an opposing card with smaller cards and then finish it with a spell or vice versa.

My time with the game was limited to one duel, but I am more than intrigued to see just how deep this experience goes. There will be two modes in the final game. The first is the standard duel mode that was available to play at PAX. The other mode will be Forge. Forge tasks players with building a brand new deck and then using that deck against other Forge players. Speaking of cards, there will be hundreds of cards to earn from packs. Packs are obtained from winning duels or by purchasing them with real world money. Each pack contains 5 cards ranging in rarity.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft will be available soon. Soon as in real world soon according to Blizzard who told me they are hoping to release the game by the end of the year. Blizzard is currently accepting applicants for the beta test which will take place this summer. Simply log into you Battle.net account and update your beta profile to include Hearthstone, or sign-up for an account here. As always, keep it here on ThoseGamingNerds.com!

 

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Chris
No hard feelings... / Chris@thosegamingnerds.com /