Monday, November 18, 2013

Hearthstone: My Criticisms and Suggestions

In Part 1 of this series, I did an introduction to Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and in Part 2 I went over some strategy tips. In this post I'll go over my criticisms of Hearthstone and how I feel it could be improved.

First I'll say what I like about it. Its a fun game. The overall gameplay is good. Most of the mechanics are simple and easy to learn, but still allow for interesting decisions and strategy. The hero system is great. It provides variety to decks and leveling up to unlock new cards is exciting because the cards unique to each class are really cool. Deck building is fun and easy to learn too. The suggested cards system and mana curve info they give are really helpful.

My criticisms of Hearthstone mostly lie outside the gameplay. My biggest problem is it seems so hard to get enough gold to unlock new cards. You only get gold for winning, so when on a bad losing streak, it feels as if you've accomplished nothing. Also the main way you are meant to earn gold is by doing quests that require you to win with specific heroes. You can't receive new quests until you complete your current quests, so you are practically forced to play certain heroes. So I'm playing heroes I don't like, and then losing with them due to my lack of experience. So I still can't even complete the quests and I'm just wasting my time. My suggestion for this is to have new quests be randomly assigned every day. Or alternatively, make the quests rotate on certain days. That way I could be excited to play on Shaman Saturday and try to win as much gold as I can. The biggest improvement to the system in my opinion would be if you received gold for playing every single game. You would get a little gold for playing unranked games, more gold for playing ranked, and even more gold for winning games. This would encourage people to keep playing even when they're losing and it makes you feel a little better about those losses. I love that League of Legends does this for IP and I think Hearthstone should do it too.

If you really want new cards and gold, then playing the Arena yields the best rewards. If you win a few games, you'll get some of your gold back, some crafting dust, and one or two card packs. My problem with this is, in the Arena you don't use cards you own, so what's the point of unlocking new cards? I like the Arena, but I prefer playing ranked, so I'm frustrated I feel almost forced to play Arena just to earn cards for ranked. It seems like they want to encourage you to play both modes, but I feel most players prefer one mode or the other, and should be able to play the one they prefer without feeling penalized.

I'm also skeptical about their card purchasing system. I just don't feel drawn to buying plain random packs. I feel it would be more enticing to buy card packs if you could buy different types of packs like 'little minions', 'big creatures', or 'spells'. Stuff like that. It would also be cool if they created a system like Magic: The Gathering, where there are different expansions that are released from time to time with new cards. These expansions could have special pre-built decks you could buy, like 'Murloc Invasion'. I think that would be a great way to introduce people to the game that aren't prepared to make their own decks and give them some ideas on how they can make deck building creative and fun. These decks could also have some unique cards to entice more veteran players to buy them.

I like Hearthstone, but I wouldn't spend money on it in it's current state. It needs just a little bit more to entice me and pull me in. I'm not a big trading card game fan, so I'm sure there are plenty of people that will spend money on this game besides me, but I don't see why the audience should only be trading card game fans. If the game was just a little more rewarding for the average or casual player, then I think more people would get sucked in to this game for a long time (myself included).

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