Finally got beta for Blizzards digital card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and I have to say I’m pretty impressed. As someone who stopped playing magic a while ago because the games constant power creep, I really wanted something to fullfill my need to play trading card games. Sadly Pokemon isn't going to make a comeback in a while. So what makes hearthstone fun.
Well the game from the looks of it will be either cheap or free to play, which is awesome. Buying packs of cards works the same way as it does in real life. You can buy booster packs with actual money or earn coins through winning matches and completing daily quest to buy packs. Your guarentee at least one card that's "rare" or better in each pack, you get 5 cards per pack, and a pack is a hundred coins.
The game seems like a very big spiritual successor to the World of Warcraft: TCG which is a card game I enjoyed and played with a small group of friends for a while. I still own many of the cards though. So after getting into this and playing through the tutorial I was pretty comfortable with the game mechanics already as it all seemed very familier. The game itself is easy to learn, the GUI is very well designed and the whole experience is very streamlined. The game is also very stylized to match the other Warcraft titles. It does have a bit more of a sense of humour then the other Warcraft titles, but it also might just be more obvious given the theme and setting of the game.
So the gameplay
Each player chooses a "class" or hero card. This defines a lot of your abilities and what some of the monsters are. Similar to types in Pokemon or mana in Magic the Gathering. The first player to take out the other players hereos health wins. The player achieves this buy using spells, summoning monsters, and equiping weapons to the hero. In my experience syngergy between cards matters a lot. Just putting out a bunch of strong cards and hoping they kill the guy doesn't generally work. Their seems to be a lot of checks and balances between cards. One thing that one does have to keep in mind though is the game is still in beta and so some cards do change over time.
So when the game comes out, download it, it's definitly worth a look. It probably won't repalce the joy of going to a magic tournament and losing every round to people with $300+ dollar decks, but it's still enjoyable. It's also a good way you can play a trading card game with friends without having to see you friends. I migh discuss this game more when it comes out of beta, but I cant imagine it changing to much between now and then.