Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a free-to-play collectible card game set in the Warcraft universe. Conceptually, the player takes on the role of a Warcraft hero, playing a card game to relax while inside one of that universe's many inns. Using a shuffled deck of 30 cards, players attempt to defeat their opponents either by attacking with an army of minions, casting spells directly at the enemy hero, or a mixture of both.
The game was revealed at PAX East 2013. Hearthstone supports online multiplayer and matchmaking via Battle.Net.
The game comes with nine default, basic decks, but also allows players to construct new decks as they gain new cards. Cards can be obtained by leveling up a hero character (by participating in duels), by completing quests, or by purchasing Expert Packs in the store. There are five levels of card rarity: free, common, rare, epic, and legendary.
Deck construction begins by choosing a hero. The available heroes correspond to classes from the initial launch of World of Warcraft (Death Knights and Monks, the two classes that were added in expansion packs to WoW, are not currently represented in Hearthstone). Each hero has an assortment of cards that are exclusively available to that hero, as well as a unique hero power that is reusable every turn.
These are the currently selectable heroes, alongside the Warcraft character that represent them while playing the game, and their Hero Power.
|Mage||Jaina Proudmoore||Fireblast: Deal 1 damage.|
|Druid||Malfurion Stormrage||Shapeshift: +1 Attack this turn, +1 Armor.|
|Warlock||Gul'dan||Life Tap: Draw a card and take 2 damage.|
|Warrior||Garrosh Hellscream||Armor Up!: Gain 2 Armor.|
|Priest||Anduin Wrynn||Lesser Heal: Restore 2 Health.|
|Hunter||Rexxar||Steady Shot: Deal 2 damage to the enemy hero.|
|Paladin||Uther Lightbringer||Reinforce: Summon a 1/1 Silver Hand recruit.|
|Rogue||Valeera Sanguinar||Dagger Mastery: Equip a 1/2 Dagger.|
|Shaman||Thrall||Totemic Call: Summon a random Totem.|
Decks must be 30 cards in size, and no more than two copies of any single card (and only one copy of any legendary card) can be added to a deck. Arena mode is an exception to this. Your deck must still contain thirty cards but through the random draw it is possible to use more than two copies of a card.
All Hearthstone matches are duels where one hero fights another. Order of play is determined randomly; the player who is chosen to go second will gain an extra card, known as the Coin, to compensate. When played it gives the player an extra mana crystal on the turn it's played only. Each player begins with three or four cards drawn randomly from their deck. They also each begin with thirty Health, and play continues until one hero loses all of his or her Health.
These are some of the game's core gameplay concepts:
A player may cast as many cards as they wish during a turn, but they will be restricted in their ability to do so by the number of mana crystals that they possess. Each hero begins with one mana crystal, and gains another crystal each turn, up to a maximum of 10. Mana crystals are expended to cast spells or minions, but are refilled every turn. Thus, if a player has 10 mana crystals, they can cast one spell or minion with a cost of 10, or two cards that each cost 5, and so on.
Minions are the most common method of attacking your opponent in Hearthstone. They act similarly to creatures in Magic: The Gathering, in that they have attack and defense ratings, and many of them also possess special abilities, such as Battlecry (performs a special action when the minion comes into play) or Taunt (forces enemy minions to attack the creature before any other target).
Most non-minion cards are spells, which have a wide variety of effects. Some spells will deal direct damage to enemy minions or heroes, some will buff your own minions or hero, some will grant you more mana crystals or card draws, etc.
Each hero has a unique power, listed above, that can be used once per turn at a cost of two mana crystals.
Heroes can equip weapons via hero powers or spells that will grant the hero the ability to attack the enemy hero or minions.
These cards activate based on different conditions your opponent may trigger (playing a minion, attacking your hero, etc). Your opponent will see that a secret card has been played, but will not know the triggering conditions or the card effects until the card has activated.
In this mode players play against computer AI. New players will only have the Mage class unlocked. Defeating other classes will unlock them for the player. A small selection of class specific cards can also be earned.
Play - Casual
In this mode players play each other online. A random matchmaking mode can be utilised or you can issue a challenge to players in your friends list.
Play - Ranked
Almost exactly the same as the Casual mode except that wins and losses dictate your current rank. The lowest rank is "25 - Angry Chicken" and the highest is "0 - Legend".
This is a challenging mode that rewards players with any combination of gold, arcane dust, individual cards and card packs dependent on performance during the arena run. The fee for entering the Arena is either 150 in-game gold or a real money fee of $1.99/£1.49. Players must pick from one of three randomly selected heroes. They then move on to deck construction. The player must choose one of three cards that have been randomly selected to add it to their deck. This process is repeated until their deck is full. The player is guaranteed at least four sets of cards at rare or higher rarity, but the opportunity to select epic or legendary cards is random and varies in each arena draft. The matchmaking process then selects an opponent for the player to battle against. A new opponent is selected after each match. A player can continue in the Arena until they have either lost three times or won twelve, whichever comes first. Once the run is completed the Arena deck is deleted. A key is also rewarded at the end of the player's run which unlocks a chest of rewards. The more victories a player has accrued, the greater the rewards.
This in-game currency can be spent on purchasing more card packs or paying the fee to enter the Arena.
This is used to craft cards. Unwanted cards can also be "disenchanted". This destroys the card and issues a small amount of Arcane Dust to the player.
This can be spent to purchase card packs or pay the Arena fee.
Curse of Naxxramas
On April 11, 2014, Blizzard announced it's single player Adventure Mode for Hearthstone titled Curse of Naxxramas: A Hearthstone Adventure at PAX East. The expansion will include one new play area, 30 new cards, and some huge bosses to defeat as the player winds her/his way through the five wings of Naxxramas, an ancient necropolis.
The first wing of the necropolis will be free for all users, but the rest of the dungeon must be purchased with in-game gold or real money. The expansion will be released simultaneously on Mac, PC, and iPad.