Posted by Relkin (103 posts) -

I think I should preface this by saying that I have very little experience with CCG's, so my grievances may be entirely from a lack of appreciation or understanding of the genre as a whole.

I've been playing since 3 months prior to launch, and I've formed an opinion about the game: Hearthstone is fun slash bullshit.

Hearthstone is one of the best card games I've ever played while simultaneously being the most frustrating. It isn't that the game is hard; in fact, Hearthstone is pretty simplistic. The best possible play is almost immediately apparent every single turn. It isn't that the game is unbalanced(although I'm sure some might disagree with that). To the layman (me) each class appears pretty balanced. They all have a few class-specific cards that get on my nerves, but none rise above the rest. My issue with the game lies with certain types of decks, and the random nature in which cards are drawn.

Getting an opening hand that is entirely unusable for the first four turns of the game is disheartening to say the least. When your routine card draw each turn also provides you with nothing to play, you can usually assume that the game is lost. Perhaps you'll luck out and your opponent will be in a similar situation, but its unlikely. This leads to a completely one sided game, and I've found that regardless of what side of that fight you're on, its not enjoyable. Losing horribly and winning by a mile are equally boring. This leads me to my deck issue.

Different types of "gimmick" decks are quite annoying. I'll focus on "Rush" decks for the sake of brevity(which I probably won't achieve). A rush deck is a deck that is devoted to doing as much damage to the enemy hero as quickly as possible. In an ideal situation for the rusher, their opponent is incapable of turning the fight around even for a single turn. Here's my issue: if things aren't ideal(or close to it), I've found that these decks are easily countered. In my experience, if I have even a mediocre opening hand, or are capable of taking control of the fight for even a single turn, the fight is won handily. This means that running into one of these decks is almost always a one-sided battle, and they're commonly used. There are also cards/plays that I refer to as "Hail Mary's" that can be exasperating. A couple of legendaries like Ragnaros or Ysera are just disastrous if you aren't capable of dealing with them immediately; and even then sometimes the only way you can remove them in an expedient fashion results in terrible trades(using multiple creatures or spells to kill off/neuter a single card). If I don't have a Polymorph/Hex/etc in hand, in most situations the match is lost; if not the following turn, then after a slow, lingering loss taking the next five minutes. At least some of these Hail Mary's(like a Priest using Divine Spirit and Inner Fire, or the card Edwin Van Cleef) require multiple cards to pull off. If you're capable of removing them, then at least your opponent has sunk a bunch of cards, giving you the preferable trade.

I don't want to sound completely negative about the game; Hearthstone is a lot of fun in at least in half of my matches, win or lose. The free-to-play model is quite friendly to those that don't want to spend much money(if any at all). The portraits and animations are attractive, and the decision to speak with your opponent through emotes was an expert sidestep of the vile obscenities that some like to excrete when under the protective cloak of online anonymity.

I know that the more reliable decks are ultimately far more effective than the gimmick decks, but it's quite frustrating having to deal with them at all. Obviously there is no way to avoid them in matchmaking, but my complaint remains.

#1 Edited by Fredchuckdave (5353 posts) -

Rush isn't a gimmick; it's just a faster mana curve. Miracle Rogue is a gimmick, murlocs are a gimmick; can't really think of any other once-dominant gimmick decks at present. Hunter all-face straddles the line between gimmick and not; mostly because that's just how hunter is built for aggro decks.

#3 Posted by Relkin (103 posts) -

ah. Well, I don't have too much experience with all of this, so I'm not too surprised I'm getting some terminology wrong/mixed up.

#4 Posted by TheMasterDS (2046 posts) -

@fredchuckdave: I dunno if that's really true at the end of the day since the current popular Hunter deck is more of a midrangey controlly deck with the Savannas and the Hyena plays.

#5 Edited by davidwitten22 (1708 posts) -

There's nothing wrong with playing an aggro deck in any TCG. A person playing an aggro decks knows that they'll either hit the cards they need to get a quick win by round 4 or 5, or they won't hit the cards they'll need (or their opponent will hit their cards) and they will just lose. Games like this are always heavily influenced by chance, as sometimes just getting a single lucky draw can completely change the course of the game. For people new to games of this type that can be VERY frustrating, but once you play games like this for a while you'll get used to quick wins/losses vs. aggro and bullshit long game losses and wins vs. control. All TCGs are imbalanced towards people who spend more money on the game, that's kind of the point. It's not necessarily wrong (as you have to spend money on the game for it to stay alive), but don't expect a 100% balanced product when someone can buy 10 booster packs and you can't afford it.

Edit: BTW, if you can't tell I'm a Magic player and I understand your pain. Aggro can be annoying to play against and to play with , depending on the situation.

#6 Edited by Relkin (103 posts) -

@davidwitten22: I don't think Hearthstone has gone down the pay-to-win path; or at least not very far. In my experience buying packs hasn't proven to be that useful. I'm still missing a bunch of cards, and the amount of dust one gets for DE'ing the surplus is generally pretty low. Now, if they sold individual cards or dust by the boatload, THAT would be pay-to-win. But you are right, I don't get as frustrated as I used to. Also good luck with Magic. I tried to get into that a decade ago, and it just spat me out. Too dense for me. Or perhaps I'm too dense.

#7 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5353 posts) -
#8 Posted by spraynardtatum (2806 posts) -

I played it for a weekend and will never play again. Maybe it's a game that you're supposed to constantly devote time to for an incredibly long amount of time for it to feel fulfilling because I walked away from it feeling drained. Or maybe it's a game that you're actually supposed to pay money for.

If they want people to pay money for their addictive crack/game they shouldn't go around calling it free though. Conversely, If they truly want the game to be free than they should bump up the slow shitty progression.

Hearthstone is just like any other free to play game. The gameplay is fast and repetitive but the progression is slack and drawn out because those two things together give the player a great incentive to pay some money. Which I find to be a dick move for something they love toting is free. I wonder how much better this game could have been if they weren't trying to figure out the best and most discrete way to trick their customers into paying for their FREE product.

It's an empty time sink just like 99% of the trash in its genre/business model. I give it a middle finger out of fuck Hearthstone.

#9 Edited by Relkin (103 posts) -

@spraynardtatum: I've spent maybe ten dollars on Hearthstone. If you focus on one class (mage for me) then the progression is much quicker. Even then, it's still pretty slow; but can you blame them for doing that to those that don't want to spend money on their product? I wouldn't mind some sort of $30-$40 deal where the buyer receives all commons, and an assortment of rares/epics with a few legendaries thrown in. You may have a point, though. Blizzard does pretty well for themselves, I wonder if they could have put Hearthstone out in a fashion similar to how Valve put out Dota 2; All cards available with a bunch of cosmetic stuff to keep it profitable.

#10 Posted by spraynardtatum (2806 posts) -
@relkin said:

Even then, it's still pretty slow; but can you blame them for doing that to those that don't want to spend money on their product?

Yes. I think it makes the game not free and therefore not free-to-play anymore. This makes my brain feel like it is being tricked and I can't blame my brain for feeling tricked (because it is being tricked) so I have to blame Blizzard.

Having a fast and addictive game coupled with a glacier slow money and progression system is a pretty glaringly bad design decision. It's blatantly pitting your wallet against your patience. The best things in Hearthstone are there for those that play the game like it is a cigarette addiction or those that pay for it. They would have to completely redesign the game in order to fix it.

I'd only want a $30 deal if the game wasn't:

A. this game

B. still being called free-to-play

#11 Posted by TruthTellah (8753 posts) -

I agree regarding some frustration with "bullshit" that does crop up, especially when you're trying to spend little to no money and put focus on Constructed over Arena, but then, I've also found that it's perhaps the cheapest while still playable CCG I've ever been a part of. I've played numerous over the years, and despite getting hours and hours of enjoyment out of Hearthstone, I've still not spent one dollar on it. Which is still a tad insane to me. On other CCGs, I have probably spent a few hundred dollars, but with Hearthstone, as long as I pace myself, I get tons of play out of it without spending a dime. Despite some balancing imperfections that will perhaps be adjusted in the expansion, I have found Hearthstone to be one of my favorite CCGs in quite some time.

For context, I generally play a few hours every three or so days. A little constructed and then a few Arena. To me, Arena is the best aspect of the game, and when I can play a few rounds worth multiple hours ever few days for free, I frankly can't complain. I've been interested in and enjoyed Hearthstone since the Beta came out, and I look forward to where it's going from here.

#12 Posted by TheMasterDS (2046 posts) -

but don't expect a 100% balanced product when someone can buy 10 booster packs and you can't afford it.

10 ain't nothing. I've bought like 120 packs. 3 50 dollar buy ins on 3 separate occasions.

#14 Posted by zombie2011 (4972 posts) -

@relkin said:

Even then, it's still pretty slow; but can you blame them for doing that to those that don't want to spend money on their product?

Yes. I think it makes the game not free and therefore not free-to-play anymore. This makes my brain feel like it is being tricked and I can't blame my brain for feeling tricked (because it is being tricked) so I have to blame Blizzard.

How much money did you spend to play the game? 0, then it is free to play.

I can't stand people who complain about free to play games not giving them everything they want right away. Either spend the time to get what you want or spend money.

#15 Posted by BisonHero (6428 posts) -

@zombie2011 said:

@spraynardtatum said:
@relkin said:

Even then, it's still pretty slow; but can you blame them for doing that to those that don't want to spend money on their product?

Yes. I think it makes the game not free and therefore not free-to-play anymore. This makes my brain feel like it is being tricked and I can't blame my brain for feeling tricked (because it is being tricked) so I have to blame Blizzard.

How much money did you spend to play the game? 0, then it is free to play.

I can't stand people who complain about free to play games not giving them everything they want right away. Either spend the time to get what you want or spend money.

Yeah, I feel like spraynardtatum has never seen any of the sleazier free to play games if he thinks that anything about Hearthstone's F2P model is offensive. Whatever, I guess that was his gut impression, but Hearthstone is literally the best case scenario for how free games are handled. Nothing is behind a paywall, there aren't challenges that are impossible without buying one-time use boosts, the grind to get the currency is pretty reasonable (as a counterpoint, I found Hawken's gameplay fine, but back in the beta, the grind seemed like it would take you like months of playing every day to ever actually buy a different mech). Hearthstone is as free as a game gets without literally being a free flash game on Newgrounds (or do devs get money based on hits or something? I have no idea how Newgrounds works).

Everyone I know personally who plays Hearthstone hasn't spent a cent on it, as you can get boosters at a pretty decent rate if you just log in each day and do the minimum requirements for some quests. And it's certainly leagues cheaper than playing actual CCGs like Magic, which will easily run you a few hundred dollars a year.

Online
#16 Posted by BisonHero (6428 posts) -

@themasterds said:

@davidwitten22 said:

but don't expect a 100% balanced product when someone can buy 10 booster packs and you can't afford it.

10 ain't nothing. I've bought like 120 packs. 3 50 dollar buy ins on 3 separate occasions.

Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy. After a while, you're basically buying packs of dust, since you sound like you're the sort of guy that is in deep enough he must have all the commons and rares by now. It seems like a poor investment.

Online
#17 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5353 posts) -

@bisonhero: Hearthstone is far from PoE on the "perfect" free to play model front; though it's generally somewhat playable without spending money (it used to be perfectly fine back before everyone netdecked).

#18 Posted by Relkin (103 posts) -

@truthtellah: Yeah, I'm especially interested in this single player stuff they're releasing; if nothing else for the new cards.

#19 Posted by phampire (284 posts) -

Gimmick decks aren't really used at higher ranks in constructed. If you find you are losing to the same strategies over and over you should alter your deck. I don't see the current F2P system as unfair or pay to win, perhaps a little slow is accurate. Big legendary cards can be removed cheaply with basic free cards, often for a lower mana cost allowing you to play another card, the immediate effects of Ysera and Ragnaros are also random which is another downside. This is my first CCG and I appreciate being able to play without spending a cent. I should note that I pour all my in-game gold into arena and do daily quests (and re-roll the bad ones). At the moment I can basically do at least one arena run a day.

#20 Edited by spraynardtatum (2806 posts) -

@zombie2011 said:

@spraynardtatum said:
@relkin said:

Even then, it's still pretty slow; but can you blame them for doing that to those that don't want to spend money on their product?

Yes. I think it makes the game not free and therefore not free-to-play anymore. This makes my brain feel like it is being tricked and I can't blame my brain for feeling tricked (because it is being tricked) so I have to blame Blizzard.

How much money did you spend to play the game? 0, then it is free to play.

I can't stand people who complain about free to play games not giving them everything they want right away. Either spend the time to get what you want or spend money.

You misunderstand me. I don't want everything right away.

I'm saying Hearthstone is slow as fuck if you're playing for free. It's a time sink that requires constant attention and an abnormal commitment to get anywhere. I'm saying that the difference between the time you have to spend to get what you want and the money you can spend to do the same is insulting. I'm saying they would have been able to balance the game better if it were $5.

But, I guess they get to kill two birds with one stone. Hook as many people as possible with their dangerously addictive (not a complement) preschool game and then, since the game is free, no one can really complain about how the progression is horrendous because anyone who mentions it is entitled.

#21 Posted by Random45 (1128 posts) -

@zombie2011 said:

@spraynardtatum said:
@relkin said:

Even then, it's still pretty slow; but can you blame them for doing that to those that don't want to spend money on their product?

Yes. I think it makes the game not free and therefore not free-to-play anymore. This makes my brain feel like it is being tricked and I can't blame my brain for feeling tricked (because it is being tricked) so I have to blame Blizzard.

How much money did you spend to play the game? 0, then it is free to play.

I can't stand people who complain about free to play games not giving them everything they want right away. Either spend the time to get what you want or spend money.

You misunderstand me. I don't want everything right away.

I'm saying Hearthstone is slow as fuck if you're playing for free. It's a time sink that requires constant attention and an abnormal commitment to get anywhere. I'm saying that the difference between the time you have to spend to get what you want and the money you can spend to do the same is insulting. I'm saying they would have been able to balanced the game better if it were $5.

But, I guess they get to kill two birds with one stone. Hook as many people as possible with their dangerously addictive (not a complement) preschool game and then, since the game is free, no one can really complain about how the progression is horrendous because anyone who mentions it is entitled.

I agree 100% with you. Furthermore, those who pay are at an advantage, since they're the ones most likely to have legendary cards, which can range from 'very good' to 'overpowered'. Who in the world can defend Ragnoros or Ysera I wonder? They both give you instant value the moment you play them. They should be nerfed like Nat Pagle so the opponent at least has a chance to remove them before their opponent can get any value from the card, similar to almost every other card in the game.