Since the release of version 1.0 in 2014, Hearthstone has come a long way. The proof with the arrival of patch 20.0. As usual, this major update has arrived with a new expansion. But it also brings a revolution, making the game much more accessible than before.
Released in 2014, Hearthstone has only flourished since. 17 expansions, more than 3000 edited cards … Dizzying numbers that could deter anyone from trying their hand at Blizzard’s card game. However, it has never been so easy to (re) get started thanks to the 20.0 update, released on March 25th. Thanks to her, Hearthstone now welcomes any type of player in its hostel. We explain why in this quick analysis of the game available on PC, Mac, iOS and Android.
An exemplary introduction to the genre and the game
Hearthstone is a great entry ticket for anyone interested in the Trading Card Game (TCG) or the world of Warcraft. The title of Blizzard is accessible for its kind: the cards are light in text and offer an immediate grip. Hearthstone is the perfect embodiment of “easy to understand, difficult to master”. An accessibility that we find in his approach to the lore of the saga. The history of Warcraft is known to be very dense, very rich and Hearthstone manages to synthesize it in a beautiful way. Certain adventures retrace important elements of the history of the MMORPG (Blackrock, Naxxramas or the Citadel of the Icecrown) while The Book of Heroes and Book of Mercenaries focus on some of the main characters seen in the saga.. Introduced last September, this game mode is a perfect introduction to the world of Warcraft while being a great way to learn about the different mechanics of the game.
Let’s go back to the basics first. To play in party mode in Hearthstone, the player must create a deck among 10 classes, all of which have specific cards. A deck is a pack of 30 cards limited to 2 copies each … except for the legendary ones, since they are endowed with unique powers. There are a total of four types, divided by their rarity: common, rare, epic, and therefore legendary. The main way to get them back is to open packages or boosters, in exchange for gold or real money. They each contain five cards, including one of the minimum rare type. The main method for collecting gold and packages is still completing the weekly and daily quests. They provide experiences that lead up to the rewards course, where each level offers something. Added in November 2020, this rewards path gives more gold than the previous system: considering that the player carries out his quests on a daily basis, he will be able to earn an average of 12,000 gold coins before the next expansion, against a maximum of 8,000 on the ‘old system. This saves money that allows you to buy more packs and therefore have more cards, especially since this training course also offers cards, packs and portraits of heroes.
To this system of gold and boosters is added a mechanic of arcane dust. This is the resource used to craft / craft cards. It is obtained by recovering excess copies of a card, but also by disenchanting / decrafting a card. Note, a card requires four times more Arcane Dust for its creation than it gives when it is destroyed. It is a system that has been present in the game since its release, and has not changed since.
Without a reliable source or official figures, it is difficult to say anything about the reasons that push players to stop Hearthstone. Nevertheless, it is legitimate to think that the main explanation lies in the difficulty in acquiring the cards necessary for the creation of a strong, even “professional” deck. Today, it has never been easier to get them. First of all, since 2020 there has been an anti-duplicate protection guaranteeing the opening of cards never obtained: with 60 decks, players collect all common cards and all rare cards in an expansion. In addition, legendary cards are increasingly offered through events and it is even guaranteed to have one when opening the first ten. boosters of an extension. Not to mention the rewards linked to ranked games: at each level reached on the ladder (Bronze 10, Bronze 5, Silver 10 …) rewards are concentrated in a chest, which opens at the end of the month.
But the real revolution lies in update 20.0 (released on March 25) with the fundamental set. What are we talking about ? It is a set of 235 free cards given to all players with all their classes at level 10. Today, it represents 30% of the 775 playable cards in Standard, the main format of ranked games, where you can play. only extensions of the last two years. A real boost for newcomers because the leveling up is done very quickly. In fact, we need a big ten hours to collect the cards from the basic set and therefore benefit from an already full collection. We can save our resources for Standard expansions!
If the fundamental set is, without possible discussion, the keystone of a democratization of the game, other features previously integrated have participated in its construction. The first of these is the overhaul of ranks into Ranked Matches. To prevent novice players from encountering opponents with larger collections, Blizzard decides to change things by dividing its ladder in two parts. Upon entering the game, beginners are placed on the learning path, an alternative ladder where they only meet other beginners. No frustration, everyone is on an equal footing. Once arrived at the end of the 40 stages of this learning path, a “pro” deck is given to the players, to choose from among the 10 classes of the game. This gift thus makes it possible to compete with the best players, but also to always acquire more rare and strong cards since they join the player’s library.
An initiative that also benefits players who have stopped Hearthstone and want to get back to it: all players who have not logged into the TCG for at least four months also benefit from this gift. In addition, they will also have access to the cards of the basic set, while they will be able to disenchant cards that have transitioned from the standard format to the free mode.
All’s well that ends better?
While it’s undeniable that Heartstone has been cherished by Blizzard in recent years (more than an Overwatch or Heroes of the Storm anyway), there are still a few tweaks to be made. While the anti-duplicate protection smoothes out card acquisition and allows players to expand their collection faster, it damages the system of enchanting / disenchanting cards. In fact, it becomes very difficult to obtain “bonus” arcane dust linked to supernumerary copies.. The only alternative is therefore to unravel cards from our collection, at our own risk … Therefore, players’ decks are limited to the cards they open in their decks. Worse, it becomes almost impossible to craft cards following a great discovery in ladder. And that’s a shame. It would have been better to introduce a Legends of Runeterra-style token system, to be exchanged for cards of our choice.
To each their own Hearthstone!
As mentioned above, the regular completion of quests remains the key to expanding your collection.. In Hearthstone, it’s an efficient and proven system for two reasons. First of all, completing daily quests is not time consuming: it takes a maximum of thirty minutes to complete one. Second, they can be done in Battlefields, Duels or in arenas. A welcome versatility that allows everyone to compose their Hearthstone as they wish, without being struck by early weariness:
- Arena is a type game mode where the player chooses one card out of three to build their deck. The player’s course ends after defeats or 12 wins.
- The Arm Wrestling is a rather anecdotal format but pleasant from time to time. Every week, players must respect different rules to create their deck. For example, this week’s one requires you to play with a deck of 3 cards in 10 copies each.
- The mode Duels! is a mix between Constructed (Game mode) and arena. Here, the player chooses a treasure (a very strong card) and builds a 16-card deck of their choice. At the end of each game, he chooses a set of three cards from among three propositions. As for the arena, the attempt ends with 12 victories or three defeats reached.
- Battlefield is an auto-battler, like TeamFight Tactics. The player recruits minions and must strategically place them on the board to defeat those of the opponents. The fights alternate between the eight players, but it is the last standing who wins the game.
- The adventures symbolize, like the book of heroes, a way of clinging to the characters of the universe. Some of them are free and offer a play alternative to Hearthstone: The Armageboum Project is distinguished by its many puzzles and puzzles, while Kobolds and Catacombs offers an adventure focused on building decks.
In short, Hearthstone experiences are many and varied. This flexibility will be all the more justified when Mercenaries is released later this year: announced at BlizzConline, the mode is inspired by “strategic role-playing games, its roguelike style missions offering a new challenge to each game“.
With update 20.0, Hearthstone has never been so accessible and you don’t have to have played the game to pretend otherwise. Beginners have access to many more maps faster than ever before. The players wanting to return are not forgotten since they benefit from an easier return, and even the most assiduous are more rewarded by their consistency. It is therefore clear that the time required to have fun on Hearthstone is less, and it is all the more profitable by the diversity of the game modes introduced since 2019: the Book of Heroes, Duels !, Battlefields, the Hauts Facts, without forgetting the Mercenaries mode to come … Over the years, Blizzard has therefore operated a nice revitalization of its card game which is not about to stop. If you want to get started, it’s now. Or later.