Mind-meld: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft hands-on

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Hearthstone

Welcome to rawDLC’s first Mind-meld. In these pieces Josh and Dave will both voice their opinions on a topic or report on an upcoming title and even split a review down the middle if it’s divisive enough. First up is the World of  Warcraft’s card game Hearthstone.

Stranglethorn

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has been put together by a small team of Blizzard employees who set about to create a simple card game using the World of Warcraft lore but offered a different and engrossing experience. Simple to learn as the tagline goes. Hearthstone is similar to well established card games such as Magic: The Gathering, but designed for a faster pace and more fun.

You start by picking a class from classic role-playing game archetypes, such as Paladin, Mage, Rogue, Barbarian and the like. You’re given a deck of cards with various abilities and three values on it. The top left is your Mana and this is how much each card costs to play (your Mana increases each consecutive round allowing you more playable cards options). On the bottom left is your Defence and on the bottom right is your Attack damage.

The cards work like so. Some allow you to directly attack your adversary, others produce minions which you can use as a buffer between you and your enemy (and to deal extra damage), some offer buffs across the board and others allow you to taunt your opponent.

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The secret is picking the moment to play the right card and predict what your enemy will set against it. Savvy players will horde their best cards to the later stages, but be careful. Just when you think you’ve got your opponent on the ropes, BAM! they come with the thunder, so don’t only consider your moves, but consider theirs and your follow-up counter. As we said, easy to learn, but there’s a lot of depth to it, and it makes strategising a close win all the more sweet.

While it’s not going to blow your mind visually, it does have some tasty animations when you attack which don’t feel too over or underdone, the backing music is appropriately soothing or triumphant when it needs to be and you can even interact with the game board in between turns if you’re a little prone to distraction.

What did we think of our time with Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft?

joshheadJosh:

Born in a small town, things like card games were a great way to pass time. I love the tactical chess-like nature of Magic: The Gathering and love a good battle. Hearthstone is right up my alley and at the hands-on I even went back for a second playthrough. Yup, I’m a nerd.

First impression? It’s probably not going to win over everyone.

dave_dance_dance_revolutionDave:

I’ve never played a table-top card game before and this worries me. With an addictive personality and a head for micromanaging I can see myself losing days playing this bad boy. The role-playing game styled character and deck levelling up elements appeal to me as well.

First impression? Accessible and addictive, it will destroy any spare time I fleetingly have.

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