Blizzard’s Hearthstone brings free-to-play fun

Hearthstone
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If you’re a gamer, then the name Blizzard would ring a few bells. If it doesn’t, perhaps you’ve been dabbling a little too deep into World of Warcraft, Diablo III or StarCraft 2. Well, the bringer of epic games has just repurposed its mana and conjured up its first ever free-to-play game – Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

Hearthstone is an online, turn-based collectible card game based on the Warcraft universe, that’s available to play for free on iPad, Mac and Windows PC. All you need to do is register an account on Battle.net and download the game. My Battletag is vernieman#6267 btw, so add me up and challenge me! *snigger

The cool thing about Hearthstone is that it’s incredibly easy to pick up, so even if you’re not a fan of cards games or have no prior knowledge of Warcraft, you can start enjoying Hearthstone from the get go.

I got addicted pretty fast, and went through five battles before I decided to call it a night. Each battle can last for 10-15 minutes depending on how you play your cards (pun intended).

Getting it installed (pictorial)

Getting started

  • The match starts with a coin toss (this is done by the computer) to determine who begins first.
  • You then draw your starting hands.
  • Three cards are given to the coin toss winner, and four to the opponent.
  • Going first offers a slight advantage, but the loser of the toss gets The Coin – a special zero cost card that temporarily increases mana by one.
Hearthstone
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This is me. I’m hot. And I’m very powerful.

The cards

There are three different kinds of cards

  • Minions
  • Spells
  • Weapons

Minions are your warriors and they each have a mana cost, an Attack rating and a Durability (Defence) rating. When you play a minion on the deck it needs to wait the next turn before it can be used for attack.

Spells are special cards that can summon special powers and moves on your Minions or opponents minions. For instance, you can launch a Fireball on your enemy’s Minion or directly at the enemy.

Weapon cards when played can inflict additional damage on an enemy. For instance, a card may give you a +1 damage on opponent Minions when used.

Another special card, can give you a ‘draw two cards’ advantage for the round.

Each card pack consists of five random cards. Cards can be common (white), rare (blue), epic (purple), or legendary (orange). Each card pack is guaranteed to contain at least one card of rare or better quality.

Playing your hand

As each play is limited by the total mana you possess, it is wise to strategise every move. You need to decide if you want to summon a minion, play your spell or use a hero power. This is where it gets really interesting! Do you attack the minion or take out the main enemy? Should you use my spell now or later? All decisions influence the next turn.

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My first impressions

I admit I am a fan of card and board games although I haven’t played much of late. Hearthstone brings me back in time to the days of Heroes of Might and Magic, and also the more recent Catan.

The game graphics are brilliant with an immersive, lively environment. I love the sound effects, which makes the game much more interesting and appealing.

I was gifted the character Jana, who’s this hot, powerful chick. Needless to say, she’s now my favourite character. ROFL.

The interface is as simple as it gets. It’s literally just one screen for gameplay. And I think that’s where the appeal is – it’s just so easy to pick up and play. In no time I was battling my fifth enemy already.

Hearthstone
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Sometimes a big gorilla throws bananas at you.

Buy cards

Players can buy cards in the in-game store using their Battle.net Balance or other supported payment methods like MOLPoints in Malaysia. Players will also be able to get cards through Play Mode and Solo Adventure.

Hearthstone: Victory!
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The screen I love to see most.

So let’s play

Now that you’ve gotten a primer, I suggest you head to playhearthstone.com and start playing. It’s really super fun, and do look me up on Battle.net.

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