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CCG Week: Hearthstone

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:30 pm
by admin
Matt finishes off our CCG-themed week here at Pocket Tactics with a look at the King itself – Hearthstone. What's the secret of its success? And more importantly...

Re: CCG Week: Hearthstone

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:48 pm
by Mirefox
Credit where credit is due, Blizzard certainly has their finger on the pulse gamers looking for a polished product. I've been playing Overwatch on the PS4 and it just shines with polish.

I really don't like the actual mechanics that Hearthstone seems to push, mainly the RNG. At its core, though, I'll even admit that the game has great mechanics for what people may be looking for on a phone or tablet.

The original WoW TCG was quite fun, and as far I I knew, was fairly unique in having you pick a hero with specific abilities and then allowing you to build a deck around it. The game also forced you to use cards for resources, rather than generating resources automatically. It wasn't the most sophisticated resource-management model, but it at least forced you to consider the opportunity costs of using cards for resource rather than the effect listed. Just as an aside, the iOS game Shadow Era is a pretty blatant clone of the original WoW TCG. I can't really speak to how well the app functions as I haven't played it for quite some time, but it just updated, so I know it is still active. It may be worth a look if you like the idea behind Hearthstone and want a little more strategy and a little less RNG.

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 3:57 pm
by MrGohl

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:03 pm
by MrGohl
I've played more Hearthstone than probably any other game in my lifetime now. Literally, every day since closed beta. So polished, so accessible, still complex enough. The RNG doesn't bother me too much, either.

The reason my love is dwindling for Hearthstone is that the content can't come out fast enough. A new expansion comes out, and within a few weeks, I've got all the new cards, made all the new decks and the meta-game has settled back to equilibrium. After getting all 9 classes to 500 wins, and achieving Legend, what else is there to do?

I can't complain however, I've definately gotten my money's worth ($150 total spent) over the last few years. I'm trying Elder Scrolls Legends(and others) and loving it, not because Hearthstone is bad, just because there are new frontiers to conquer.

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:43 pm
by RoccoD
Bought a tablet and am looking for a CCG (I never played one before but feel like I have too). I just don't like hyped stuff that you NEED to play, that's why I never downloaded HS yet but meh, might end up doing it.

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 9:24 pm
by biffpow
I have indeed enjoyed CCG week here on PT--thanks for the series, and I hope we'll see more articles on CCGs as they evolve and are released for mobile.

When compared with the other ccgs on mobile, HS has remained #1 in its genre in part because of its simplicity--Matt is totally right about that. It's easy to learn, it's not that challenging to keep up with, and (my personal biggest difference-maker) the cards do not have too much or too confusing game-text. All of that gives it a huge advantage over most.

But I also think a significant part of its lasting appeal is that its atmosphere--the visual production values--are just very satisfying. There's nothing confusing about the layout, the colors are very bright, and it just "feels" engaging in a way that most ccgs (most apps, for that matter) do not.

Mrghol makes a point that I've heard a number of high-level players make--the new material doesn't come out frequently enough. As a more casual player, I don't feel the same way, though I admit to finding myself drifting away but then checking back in when new cards are being released. I think the solution might be to release the same number of cards, but over a slower period of time. Imagine new, UNLeaked cards that players can't prepare for, being released a few cards per-week for a couple of months. That would add serious life to the game and force the meta to constantly evolve, week by week.

As it stands, the reasons the game doesn't continuously engage me is that there's too much RNG (which will never change--the luck factor is part of what makes it so appealing to new players), the successful deck strategies are far too narrow (as Matt noted), and I find a handful of the Legendaries to essentially be silver bullets--they win games on their own regardless of deck synergy. Apart from being boring, they undermine real strategy.

I plan on trying Shadow Era (which I'd forgotten about--thanks Mirefox!), and I hope some new ccg emerges to challenge HS and push Blizz to make some changes that would improve the game.

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:52 pm
by RoccoD
the only battle card game I played so far was "Card Crawl" but it is extremely simple and after a got bored after a few games as it's also not really challenging. Was about to toss 3??? in to have the full game unlocked but I heard from reviews that it doesn't really make the game more fun.

Re: CCG Week: Hearthstone

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:00 pm
by Mirefox
@biffpow let me know what you think of Shadow Era. Like I said, I only dabbled briefly and that was a few years ago.


Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 5:03 am
by tofeklund
I also think a significant part of its lasting appeal is that its atmosphere--the visual production values--are just very satisfying. There's nothing confusing about the layout, the colors are very bright, and it just "feels" engaging in a way that most ccgs (most apps, for that matter) do not.
I think you're right about that, but I'll admit that Hearthstone's atmosphere is one of things I like least about it. I find it garish and boring, and am irritated by the way the game wastes my time with overdone animations. I'm not against cute: I really loved the look and style of Outwitters, but that game fully embraced it's cuteness. To me, Hearthstone looks like it's trying to be "WoW Epic" and cute at the same time and not pulling either one off well.

Posted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:34 pm
by derekw741
Lots of good articles for new CCG ideas to try out.
But what about Star Realms? It's inexpensive, there's plenty of expansion content to keep things fresh, it has asynchronous multiplayer... it's a really good implentation of a CCG for mobile.