If you haven’t played Hearthstone yet, let me tell you that it’s awesome. In fact, it’s so amazing that I haven’t been able to finish my review of it yet. Maybe if I just keep saying how amazing it is here, Owen will let me off the hook? [not likely -ed.]
Hot on the heels of the announcement for Curse of Naxxramas, Blizzard has now announced meet-ups for Hearthstone called Fireside Gatherings. The first gathering will be this Saturday, April 26 and, while the list of official gatherings is pretty limited at this point, Blizzard is offering kits for people to hold their own informal gatherings wherever you want to congregate and play Hearthstone.
What’s the point? Well, beside from getting to play more Hearthstone, participation will also unlock a new card back that you can show off. To earn the card, all you have to do is play against 3 people on the same subnet, which can just be a few friends and yourself sitting around the house. No need to head out into public and rub shoulders with the normals.
While you’re deciphering the text on this card, I’ll be over here playing Hearthstone.
In the world of television, the “Special Guest” is usually reserved for sweeps week or to revive sagging ratings. Strangely, Magic 2015 isn’t a faltering sitcom, but instead based on the biggest CCG on the market. For some reason, however, Magic 2015 is getting more special guests than a Love Boat reunion movie when it releases later this summer: fourteen of the worlds best known game designers have created cards that will be included in the Magic 2015 core set.
So, who are we talking about? Guys like Lord British himself, Richard Garriott, the creator of Yomi, David Sirlin, Blizzard big cheese, Rob Pardo, Lords of Vegas (his best design…don’t listen to the Kill Doctor Lucky fans) designer, James Ernest, and more. Pretty much a murderer’s row of video game designers with a few board game guys thrown in for good measure.
I’m sure Owen will hate the fact that I’m cutting/pasting the list here, but let’s see him stop me! List after the break. [you're fired -ed.]
I’ll take mine over easy, and leave the yolk runny
As if waiting for Hearthstone to launch on iPad wasn’t bad enough, Blizzard Entertainment turned the anticipation dial to 11 this morning when they announced an upcoming expansion for Hearthstone that will release simultaneously for PC, Mac and iPad. Unlike the iPad version of Hearthstone, which should be releasing in the next week or two, the ETA of the Curse of Naxxramas expansion is yet to be revealed. This is Blizzard, so I’m guessing the release date is “when it’s done”.
Oh boy…if you’re that Planeswalker on the left DO NOT watch the trailer. This is awkward…
In a move that shocked nobody, Wizards of the Coast has announced a new version of Magic: Duels of the Planeswalkers that will release this summer for iPad and Android tablets (as well as PC, Xbox, but not PlayStation apparently). Magic 2015 follows in the footsteps of last year’s Magic 2014 and…wait for it…2012′s Magic 2013.
If you’ve played the others, I’m guessing you know what to expect here: a really well done conversion of the Big Daddy of all collectible card games to a digital medium. You’ll have the option of a single-player campaign where you can earn new cards, or online multiplayer where you can use your customized decks. This year’s version also seems to include full deck building, allowing you to build decks using cards from any color in your collection.
The biggest issue with Magic 2014 was that it had a bad case of the crashes. There was a period where the app was completely unplayable due to crashes on iPad, and even after a long-awaited patch the stability wasn’t perfect. Will Magic 2015 fix that issue? I guess we’ll have to wait until this summer to find out.
Last night Blizzard decided to release their highly anticipated CCG Hearthstone in limited territories as a soft launch. If you’re a denizen of Canada, New Zealand, or Australia, you can click right here and get Hearthstone from your App Store. The rest of us have to wait until that soft launch calcifies into a hard launch.
Seeing that we’re pretty much the last site to get to this story (hey, those FTL reviews don’t write themselves), why don’t I fill in some context for those of you who have (perfectly understandable) questions about what “soft launch” actually means?
Blizzard’s soon-to-conquer-the-App-Store card game Hearthstone officially launched a couple of weeks ago for PC, but there’s no official word yet on when the iPad edition is coming. Tipsters have been telling me for months that Blizzard employees have been playing it for ages, and Blizzard even showed off the app running on iPads and iPad Minis at a Chinese press event earlier this month.
Curse Network site Hearthpwnsaid yesterday that Blizzard will be holding a media event on 3rd April (PT‘s invitation must still be in the mail, surely) for Western journalists. I’ve asked Blizzard if a release date is going to be announced at that event — I’ll let you know when they get back to me.
It makes sense that Hearthstone’s iPad release will follow shortly on from that media call — but maybe not too shortly. Blizzard have recently posted a list of the unreleased games that will be available to demo at their PAX East booth on the weekend of April 11th. Prominently featured on said list is Hearthstone for iPad — something that wouldn’t be much of a big deal if it was already available to download from the App Store.
So if I were to speculate wildly (and of course I will) about Hearthstone’s iPad release date, I’d peg it in the second half of April.
Watch the final mission of Hearthstone’s tutorial after the jump.
I’m a big tower defense fan the way that slugs are big salt fans, but Prime World: Defenders is a tower defense game from Nival. If you recall early-century X-Com successor Silent Storm, then you know why I’m going to give Prime World: Defenders a crack — for old times’ sake, if nothing else.
Prime World is a part of a whole planned ecosystem of co-located games on different platforms. There’s a Prime World action RPG in the works for PC, plus a forthcoming match-3 puzzler. The series takes place in a fantasy world where a cataclysm has made half of the realm’s population into hideous, unreasoning monsters. Where I’m from we just call that “Election Day”.
There’s gameplay wrinkle here that I haven’t seen with many TD games: it’s also a collectible card game, where you acquire better towers as you play and make a “deck” of them. Neumann’s going to review this one for us, so check back in about a week for that. This game first appeared on PC last year.
The time for that long-promised tablet version is upon is, says Card Hunter producer Joe McDonagh. McDonagh’s Blue Manchu Games will be working with the newly-created Dropforge Games in Seattle to bring the game to life. Blue Manchu are notable for their cast of ex-AAA devs from studios like Origin Systems, Irrational, and PopCap. But Dropforge is no slouch: they’re being bankrolled by Wargaming.net, the Eastern European outfit responsible for World of Tanks (and the forthcoming mobile game World of Tanks Blitz).
I asked McDonagh how soon we could expect the port but his answer was cagey. “We’re not announcing a release date yet but this is not a an epic development project.”