Video Game Thoughts: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a 2014 free-to-play, online collectible card game (CCG) by Blizzard Entertainment that I played on the PC. I have a history with CCGs going back to my Junior year in high school. The group my friends and I hung out with was the nerd group. That meant lots of talk about video games and later, Magic: The Gathering. I bought a few beginner decks. When I got bored of the cards I had, I bought booster packs. These were packs of fifteen random cards. If a player wanted to make their own deck from scratch, they needed to buy a lot of booster packs. I didn’t have the patience for this, so I ended up buying individual cards from secondhand card shops. After graduation I quit playing because I had no friends to play with and also because I realized it was a pretty expensive hobby to have.

Hearthstone basically solved both of these problems for me. First of all, it was online. I might not know anyone in real life that liked to play Hearthstone, but that didn’t matter. The game could randomly find someone online for me to play against. Secondly, Hearthstone was a free-to-play game. Players got cards much faster if they payed money, but there was an easy way to get cards for free. Each day players were given daily quest that rewarded gold pieces. This fake money could be traded in to buy a booster pack. I was able to get about about two booster packs a week. This would be the equivalent of $24 a month in Magic: The Gathering booster packs. The value proposition was amazing.

Getting to the game itself, I think it was perfect for what it did. Bright, colorful graphics with superb animation and sound brought to life all of the various cards. Compared to Magic: The Gathering they did simplify or remove several game rules, but the purpose was to speed up matches. A close Magic: The Gathering game could get to 30 minutes. With Hearthstone they brought that down to 15 minutes. The reasoning behind this was that players could sometimes lose to bad luck in a card game. With shorter games, players wouldn’t have to sit there as long waiting for the inevitable. They could get into the next game quickly and forget about that bad game.

I really have nothing bad to say about this game, but I am no longer playing it. For as long as I can remember, solo competitive games have made my heart start pounding. I tried several times with other games to just play more, thinking eventually the stress would go away. Every attempt failed. My body just could not get over that fight or flight response. When it goes on for a while, it makes me feel bad and I have trouble sleeping. I concluded one day that it wasn’t healthy, so I gave up solo competitive games. It is only solo that I have trouble with though. In team games, I guess my body attributes failure to the team instead of myself. Only in the rare occasions that I am the last man standing, do I have trouble in team games.

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