In the video game world, “World of Warcraft” is one of the most well-known games of all time. Blizzard, the developers of “WoW,” are branching out from the world’s normal RPG roots and creating a card-based video game based on the “Warcraft” universe called “Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.” It combines characters and types from “Warcraft” to the battling system and novelty from games like “Magic: The Gathering,” and it has the potential to become another master of the genre.
In “Hearthstone,” players choose one of nine heroes, which serve similar roles to classes in World of Warcraft, or WoW, and build decks based on the cards given. Some cards are either hero-specific or neutral, and each has different effects and costs. Each card has a cost in mana, which is a form of magical currency and a way to control the flow of the game. Every turn, a player gains a maximum amount of mana up to 10 crystals which allows for characters to use cards or use a hero-specific power, like attacking, summoning a weapon or calling a minion.
These cards usually come in spells, minions or weapons. Weapons are items that allow for the heroes themselves to attack directly for the amount of times the weapon allows. It usually deals as much damage as the weapons allows, but it can be boosted by spells. Spells can also be used to directly inflict damage, but to also shield minions, draw cards or boost statistics.
The final type of card is the minion, which is the main type of card in the game. Minions usually have an attack and health stat, where the attack stat doubles as a defense stat. When a minion attacks another minion, both minions take damage equal to their opponent’s attack stat. If a minion attacks the hero, then the minion takes no damage. Usually, minions have different effects when put on the battlefield, whether it is a stat boost to other minions, a “battle cry” that allows minions to perform a task like summon another minion or boost stats or perform a taunt that draws the focus to them in battle.
These battles usually take place until the battling heroes have no health from the standard 30 points at the beginning of battle. In practice mode, players can battle AI heroes, which can be unlocked for playing after battling them. In the Arena Mode, players can battle each other online. To ensure that the opponents are at a similar skill level, an experience system is used to judge a player’s time with a hero. Experience allows for leveling up, and playing online grants players gold, which they can use to purchase cards to build their decks. Gold can also be bought with real world currency through a free-to-play model.
If players have “Expert Cards,” they can craft with them, where they could make new cards by destroying other cards. This is a way to give each player a unique style of gameplay rather than simply giving all players the same types of cards.
“Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft” is slated to be released on PC, Mac, iOS and Android devices sometime in 2014, although the game is currently in open beta on the PC.