Lucky me. Free night with no overtime and no kids with a sick wife and I get an invite to Hearthstone beta. Things are looking up!
I played some minor Magic way back when. Even some of the Pokemon cards too. I remember having fun but I don’t remember why I stopped playing. I think after tonight’s session, I know why.
I live for spreadsheets. I analyze everything, to the smallest detail. I used to take great pleasure of making decks for different purposes. Mathematically they were super sound. Sure, you’d end up against someone who spent 2K on their deck and get wiped off the floor but by and large, things went well. Until.
You hit that streak of 4-5 games where absolutely nothing came out right. And I mean nothing. Where typical card games have a complex mana system, Hearthstone simply gives you 1 more every round until a cap of 10. So round 1, you get 1. Round 2 you get 2 and so on. This greatly simplifies one of the more frustrating parts of other games where you have the cards but no mana. Hearthstone somehow made the focus against smart play (since you spread mana around) and focused on luck of the draw.
I got a mage up until 12, a shaman up til 6 and played some warrior and priest. On the whole, I did fairly well, even in the PvP matches. The kicker was that it took 1-2 card pulls to make or break a game. I get polymorph on his giant and I win. He gets 3 “draw on heal” plus a lucky healing totem and he wins. The game has been so simplified that skill has next to nothing to do with it.
So I tried something. I played left to right, whichever card I had mana for. I had no strategy, just left to right, see what happens. You know what? There’s no difference for the majority of the games. There are a few where 1-2 cards played at the right time make a huge difference (minions, then minion boost, then bloodlust) and you need to pay attention but those are every 10 games or so. I mean, Windfury is great but not if all you have to play it on is Murlocs for 4 games straight.
PvE you get to pick the type of opponent, so you have an idea of their overall deck. Priest is big on tanks, warrior on outright damage and so on. That makes sense. You can build a deck against that. PvP however, it’s a random match. A typical mage deck is going to get squashed by a hunter. It would be nice to have some level of control on that or instead, just have random cards selected. It just seems to remove the strategy, since each card is worth more.
Is Hearthstone good to look at? For sure. Is it fun to play? If your cards come out half decent, why not. Is it a keeper? Unlikely. I am in the skill portion where the cards are just not good enough to be competitive. All my minions have 2-3 hit points and 2-3 attack. The big guys come out and get killed in 1 round because the enemy has tanked their taunts. My skill only comes into play once every 5-10 games and honestly, that has no semblance of fun for me.
If I can’t find a way to improve and it’s simply a battle against RNG, then I’m on to something else. Going to have to take a much deeper dive…