Hello, Hearthstone!

hearthstone3-1364077961It’s been an interesting and generally informational convention weekend, with more news to come.  Plenty of studios, even if they weren’t hosting a presence at PAX East or GDC, are busting out some fairly big reveals, including new titles, expansion announcements, and release dates.  Getting all of this news at once makes me want to put on my jams and roll around in the information while saying “Whee!” very loudly.

Apart from WildStar’s housing reveal, which is STILL making me grin like a loon, probably the most interesting announcement from PAX was Blizzard’s reveal of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

It was an interesting announcement for several reasons.  First, I’m still amazed that Blizzard deigned to attend a convention that it didn’t have iron-fisted control over.  Considering that there’s a BlizzCon coming up in a few months, I have to wonder why the studio didn’t just save this announcement until then (maybe Blizzard has something even bigger in the pipeline?  maybe the studio wants to get Hearthstone out the door before BlizzCon?).  It also wasn’t what anyone was expecting: an online CCG based on the Warcraft universe and developed by a somewhat small (~15 devs) team.  Some people loved the announcement, some hated it, some were rather meh about it, if Twitter reactions were a good read on things.

I’m siding toward the “loved it” category.  Why?

  1. I am a huge sucker for CCGs and have been craving an online one as of late.  I remember Magic Online fondly but don’t have a billion dollars to get back into that.
  2. It’s eventually going to come out for iPad.  A mobile Blizzard game?  Yes, please.
  3. I miss the feel of WoW and wouldn’t mind a touch of that back in my life without going whole-hog back into that game.
  4. It’s a Blizzard game, so it’s not going to be that original but it will be polished and pretty addictive.  I can live with that.
  5. Free-to-play.

All in all, it looks kind of cute and kind of fun.  I like that there will be ways to earn cards in the game without hitting a pay wall, although I have no illusions about Blizzard pushing packs on us like an aggressive drug dealer.

CCGs and MMOs have this interesting relationship, especially in the SOE corner.  It’ll be fascinating to see how this plays out.

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8 thoughts on “Hello, Hearthstone!

  1. If it goes like the physical card game did I expect too many new sets coming out trying to milk us for as much cash as possible. I wish it wasn’t a CCG, I love card games but just can’t justify spending money on ccg’s anymore. Especially when it’s a digital only service that they will likely charge the same price that the real card game sells for.

  2. I really didn’t think Blizzard could ever put out something with the Warcraft name on it I wouldn’t want to play, but they managed it.

    Not that it looks terrible or anything. I’m sure it will be a good game for what it is. But I just don’t care about card games, and even if I did, I wouldn’t play one online. During my brief flirtation with Magic, having the actual physical cards in my hand was the whole appeal.

    Also, it seems really P2W.

  3. This will only be F2P, unless they get very good with an ELO system, if you can accept not being competitive. And with the whole “just $1″ per pack bit I expect that buying packs will start to feel very mandatory.

    I still think this is either designed as a movie tie-in for the non-gamer market or as a test for monetizing mini-games in Titan.

  4. “maybe the studio wants to get Hearthstone out the door before BlizzCon?”

    They plan to beta test this summer, so yes, holding the announcement until fall would not have worked out so well for them.

  5. I’m not sure if anyone else caught in the announcement but from what i read you won’t earn the cards from hearthstone you will earn the cards from playing World of Warcraft. Frankly i’m surprised that hasn’t had more of a backlash from it. I have no interest in getting in to it if i can’t earn any of the card rewards without buying them or paying 15 bucks a month to play a tie in game in hopes of finding some, mind you i am never against supporting and giving some money to f2p titles. Maybe i misread that though so feel free to prove me wrong.

  6. i correct myself, massively originally misprinted that they were earned through WoW play, but they have since corrected the article themselves on the website. You can earn them through hearthstone play and there goes my only complaint about the game =)

  7. When I first heard about it I wasn’t all that interested, but now that I’ve looked up some information about it and seen the shoutcasted match I’m also in the “loved it” category.

    I played quite a bit of Magic back in the nineties, but eventually stopped because of the high cost of staying up to date.

    A CCG in the Warcraft-universe which is F2P seems just what I’d enjoy.

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