Hearthstone Could Be Amazing But It’s Not Quite There Yet
The closed beta period of Blizzard's free-to-play MMOCCG, Hearthstone, took the gaming world by storm. Thousands of players flocked to the official Facebook in search of keys and some even paid as high as $250 to gain access. The open beta followed that success with hundreds of thousands of players looking to finally experience an online combat-based card game of quality, rather than the poor choices previously available in the genre but is it as good as everyone makes it out to be?
One cannot debate the quality on display in Heartstone. It's arguably one of the best online MMO card games available, although much of the reasoning behind that is due to a lack of any real competition. However, credit where credit is due. Hearthstone is impressive graphically, the cards and artwork are top drawer and the depths of mechanics are on display for all to see. So why do I feel my Hearthstone experience is lacking?
The biggest problem I have with Hearthstone is one you'll see across the CCG genre, collecting the cards. I guess it can be compared to the grinding in your typical online MMORPG game, players are expected to invest time in order to become more powerful and achieve better things. The only problem here is the curve. In the traditional RPG experience players will unlock new abilities, weapons and other goodies on a very regular basis. That's not the case with Hearthstone, unless you're willing to spend a lot of cash.
If you're a daily player and you keep on top of your quests it can be a couple of days before you're able to purchase a single pack of cards and the potential for the more powerful and rare additions to your deck is abysmal. 10 Gold Coins for every 3 wins when it costs 100 Gold for a deck is a little severe, especially with the daily cap that eventually restricts earning any more Gold for that particular day. The only other option is the Arena but unless you're a very skilled player, you're going to struggle just to break even.
Blizzard have mentioned rewards for Ranked Matches and at the moment that's about the only thing I can see keeping me interested. Sadly Ranked Matches are currently little more than an ego boost, with players comparing ranks and streaks with their friends, so the rewards could offer a little more incentive to participate in the more competitive elements of Hearthstone.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time playing Hearthstone but players won't take severe beatings for a long period of time, and I won't either. Skill is a very important element in any CCG game and Hearthstone is no different however, facing players that obviously have far more powerful cards and only win because of those cards is incredibly frustrating.
Give us more ways to at least feel like we have the opportunity to get more powerful units for our decks!