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Hearthstone's next expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods, goes live on April 26

Tue Apr 19, 2016 5:47 pm

Considering that it has 40 million users, we tend to not talk too much about Hearthstone at Mt. Hexmap.

http://www.pockettactics.com/news/heart ... -april-26/

Mirefox
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Re: Hearthstone's next expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods, goes live on April 26

Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:21 pm

I still can't stand - passionately - the RNG in this game. Presentation is top notch, mechanics are mediocre, gameplay is infuriating.

With Magic Duels doing everything it can to soil the Magic name, my go-to CCG right now is actually Pokemon, which I think has more solid mechanics than many CCGs and has very generous rewards for playing.

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biffpow
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Re: Hearthstone's next expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods, goes live on April 26

Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:03 pm

I have to agree with Mirefox on this--the game is beautifully produced, the animations and illustrations are high quality, but the actual game play is just so broken from a strategic POV as to render playing (for me) pointless. The new expansion looks enticing, and I can see a lot of potential for bluffing and misdirection, but a look through the cards they've shown does not make me think it will fix the RNG issues--in fact, I think it could make them worse.

I haven't tried the Pokemon ccg--in fact I didn't know there was a digital version. But now I'll have a look!

Mirefox
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Re: Hearthstone's next expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods, goes live on April 26

Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:36 pm

Since I led you in that direction, let me take a minute to explain:

I personally believe that resource management is an integral part of CCGs. Those that forego it it are flushing quite a bit of strategic decisions down the toilet. Pokemon uses a Magic-like resource system where not only do you have to build a deck with the right resource curve, but you have to make he right decisions in-game as to how to best allocate your resources. This, alone, makes the game great for me.

All that said, while there can be some fun strategy, games can also be easily dominated by one person who gets a great draw or just picks a deck that his opponent is weak to. The games are quick enough, though, that if things get lopsided it doesn't matter much.

As for the digital version, it looks great and usually runs very smoothly. If you download all the artwork, it takes up a ton of memory, though. You get (off the top of my head) 8 theme decks for free, there is a campaign of sorts and you can win boosters through playing, there are daily login bonuses, daily challenges, and a monthly challenge with a whole ladder of rewards. There is also a theme deck-only versus mode if you want to avoid deck building and match up with relatively balanced decks. Finally, there is a fully functional trading system.

Pokemon TCG does not reach the depth of Magic but it has a lot of pros that I personally feel outweigh the cons. Plus, if you ever had any love for Pokemon, the monsters themselves are just as addicting as ever to collect.

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biffpow
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Re: Hearthstone's next expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods, goes live on April 26

Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:43 pm

@Mirefox: thanks for the fantastic summary/intro : ) I downloaded the app this morning but probably won't get to try it until tonight.

I tend to think resource management in a ccg can be really engaging strategically if it's done very well (the best, for me, was the original Star Wars ccg by Decipher, where the deck itself acted as your hit points as well as your per-turn mana, with draws draining both), but many ccgs don't really take advantage of that potential.

I'm very glad to hear that Pokemon is not as intense as MTG, which frankly is a little too dense for me with so much game text and so many cards that it's overwhelming to start fresh. One plus about Hearthstone is that the card actions are fairly straight forward and easy to "get" at first read (or at least they were when I stopped playing a year ago).

And Pokemon allows for trading? That is the first time I've heard of any digital ccg allowing for that between players. That alone is really appealing. Looking forward to trying this out!

Mirefox
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Re: Hearthstone's next expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods, goes live on April 26

Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:58 pm

@biffpow

I've never actually used the trading feature, but just from looking at it, you can browse public trades, filter or search, and post both public and private trade offers. You can also trade literally anything from individual cards to booster packs, theme decks, and all the cosmetics (coins, deck boxes, avatar clothing, etc.). It seems that some specific items are barred from trade but other than that, it seems wide open.

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Falkenstein
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Re: Hearthstone's next expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods, goes live on April 26

Thu Apr 21, 2016 5:01 pm

I've also "moved on" from Hearthstone, but to HEX: Shards of Fate for my digital CCG fix. 8-)

While PC & Mac only, it does really leverage the digital space so much better than Magic. It just went up on Steam this week, which no surprise has had an impact on their servers.

I also appreciate HEX's PvE campaign option. 8-)

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biffpow
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Re: Hearthstone's next expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods, goes live on April 26

Thu Apr 21, 2016 5:26 pm

@Falkenstein: Thanks for the recommendation! I didn't know about HEX, but it looks very in-depth--three expansions available at launch? (At least that's based on the booster packs available via the starter bundle) I like the idea of attaching equipment to cards and the merging of rpg with ccg. I'll definitely give this a download once they get their server issues dealt with and the launch-onslaught dies down a bit. Looks very different from other digital ccg stuff.

@Mirefox: Tried the Pokemon TCG app last night (I'm biffpow there too) and I mostly liked it : ) The tutorial as very well-done, and there's lots to do--they really do start you out with a big variety of stuff you can work on. I tried making a deck from scratch (just to try it out) and had a hard time discerning which cards I owned and which I did not, but that may be some aspect of the interface I haven't figured out yet. My one big complaint about the game is the coin flipping. There's waaaay too much of that. Some interesting strategic aspects are negated because of that. I had matches where it was truly just a matter of waiting for me to get "heads" enough times to win. Not liking that. Does that go away as you advance?

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Falkenstein
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Re: Hearthstone's next expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods, goes live on April 26

Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:23 pm

@Biffpow I'm not an expert, but here's some of what I've learned so far:

HEX: Shards of Fate, https://www.hextcg.com/, has been in varying stages of release for a couple of years. They had an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2013, and with their resulting non-traditional development process they have been in Alpha & Beta for years with their "PvP" part of the game. In 2014 they caught the eye of the Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro lawyers who tried desperately to kill them, IMHO, due to the non-competitive hot mess of their own digital implementations, MtGO and Duels. Fortunately, their high dollar lawyers were not able to kill the competition and the lawsuit was settled last year. I was not expecting that WotC/Hasbro would ever settle out of court due to how superior HEX is digitally, based on my experience with HEX, MtGO, and Duels, they must have had absolutely no shot at killing HEX in court or smothering the company in legal fees.

It was just this year that the PvE Campaign was released and they moved the game from Open Beta to release, which is when I started really looking at it last month. At least, they said release but I know that in mid-March my version was a 0.9.9.x number, heh! ;)

My version is currently v:1.0.0.061, Steam release was this week (the devs said they always intended to be on Steam when the time was right), and next week is the Primal Dawn 4th PvP expansion set release, so once the servers stabilize from the Steam influx now would seem to be a great time to jump in! 8-)

I found the short article by professional Magic the Gathering player Jeff Hoogland of value, "Intro to Hex Constructed for Magic Players". 8-)

Mirefox
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Re: Hearthstone's next expansion, Whispers of the Old Gods, goes live on April 26

Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:46 pm

@biffpow

Unfortunately, the coin flipping is pretty widespread. It also seems to run contrary to my RNG hate but perhaps I tolerate it because it fits thematically with how status effects work in the video game.

    

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