Wherein Ceraphus was right.

I whearthstone_release-335x256as wrong. I never have had a problem admitting my mistakes, ever. I make mistakes all the time…doozies too. Yes, its a bit of a punch to the pride to admit when you were wrong, but there’s no shame in it. Hey, I’m not perfect, I’m not always right. No one is always right!!! So, yeah…I was wrong.

Tuesday March 11, 2014 saw the final patch from Blizzard for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft; and boom…live. I thought they would bring down beta for a short time, just a few weeks. Then they would allow D3:RoS to launch and give a few weeks breather until dropping Hearthstone. I figured last week of April, 1st of May. Nope. wrong. Its live, now; and you can get a nice shiny new mount in World of Warcraft too! Just win three matches in play or arena mode with a single class.

Actually, its a very nice mount.
hearthsteed
Now, new players understand that you may be playing against seasoned players who have all of their available cards including legendaries that may make it tough to win your three matches. Just keep plugging away, and learn the cards you have and how where the synergy lies within your deck. There are many resources available online to help you build a deck that will work (HearthPwn comes to mind). As always, mileage may vary simply based on RNG/Card Draw. FYI: Card Draw is the ultimate elevator boss in hearthstone….just saying.

So, the game is live. Play away. Get a new mount. Plus alternative card backs, golden hero plates, and generally have a lot of fun playing a great game. I was wrong, I admit it.

What I have to admit…What I hate to admit…Ceraphus was right. His claim was they would patch it and go straight to live…he was right. Its like fire on my tongue. Its more than a bitter pill, its like castor oil. Nasty. Disgusting. Ceraphus was right.

I’m never going to live this down. ugh. Enjoy Hearthstone everyone…I’ll be sobbing in the corner.

Q

hearthstone_small

Is Hearthstone Almost Here?

So here we are nearly a year into Hearthstone. That’s right folks, the announcement was March 2013, closed Beta began in August 2013 with open Beta following six months later in January 2014. It’s now March 2014…its been a year. So when will Hearthstone be live? Well, perhaps we have a clue…

blizzquote_hearthstone
Well, perhaps we don’t have a clue. “Drawing near” is no better than Blizzard telling us “Soon”. Its conjecture at this point still to say Hearthstone is launching on X date, but its fun conjecture! Additionally, with the above info now in our hands, I think we can make some reasonable conclusions.

We know that Blizzard has at least three games slated for launch in 2014: Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls, Hearthstone, and World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. Bear in mind that while Hearthstone will launch initially for desktop only, at some point it will also release for iOS and Android devices which could be viewed as additional game launches, but I won’t at this time. We also know that Warlords Beta will drop at some point, plus we could also be seeing Betas for Heroes of the Storm and potentially the Protoss chapter in the Starcraft 2 line, Legacy of the Void. If those later 2 do come to fruition, my guess is Q4 2014. Lastly and certainly not least…Blizzcon. That is a huge time and energy commitment on the part of Blizzard, and they are not going to skimp…nor should they.

So thinking about the time line its D3 in March definitively. HotS Beta, SC2 Beta, and Blizzcon in Q4 2014. Leaving April – September for Hearthstone launch, Warlords Beta, and Warlords launch. Warcraft has had around 5 months of beta time per XPAC, and I think they will launch Warlords prior to Q4, roughly August/September time frame, Which means the beta for Warlords should start around April/June. If all of these estimations prove to be accurate, that leaves April and May free. Now I originally said Hearthstone was going to launch in May. I could see it going a touch earlier in April, but honestly will stick with May.

Beta closes at the end of March, game goes away for a month as they prep for final patch and launch. Hearthstone live 1st week of May (potentially last week of April). That’s my prediction. What do you think?

Q

Hearthstone: Initial thoughts

hearthstone03I’ve had the opportunity to play Hearthstone: Heroes of Azeroth thanks to being sent a beta key from the lovely folks at Blizzard (thank you Zarhym!!!).

So far, its simply fun and addictive. The UI is clean and easy to understand. There are great flourishes all around and nothing in the UI serves zero purposes. Hint: try clicking on the various artwork all around the game board – lots of surprises abound.

hearthstone01

Starting out…

You begin as Jaina Proudmoore (aka the Mage deck) and as you go through each duel the computer pauses momentarily to teach you about the various parts of game play and provide info on the UI.

hearthstone05

The cards themselves contain fairly intuitive instructions and information as to cost, abilities, effects, etc. There are various counter abilities that effect game play outside of your direct control:

hearthstone_cards1

  1. Taunt: forces the enemy and enemy minions to attack it before attacking you or other targets.
  2. Charge: Allows a minion to attack immediately upon being placed on the play mat.
  3. Secret: A Card whose actions are only revealed when activated.
  4. Battlecry: Performs the described action upon placing the card on the play mat.
  5. Stealth: These are untargetable until they first attack.

Cards also come in various rarities, and also can be class specific or class neutral.hearthstone_snaketrap

In addition to the cards themselves you also get a hero ability specific to your class. These abilities are fairly familiar for each class to any experienced WoW player. Example Hunter ability is Arcane Shot. 2 mana cost and causes 2 damage to the enemy Hero.

I find a couple of the cards fairly annoying for which to contend.

hearthstone_assassinatehearthstone_saphearthstone_biggamehunter

Cards like these are hard to defend against and simply put can destroy your best moves. Its rather annoying when it happens.

The rarest cards which are legendary are quite powerful, and work better with some classes than others. There are many support type cards that help buff common minions and provide additional benefits and abilities.hearthstone_Malygos

hearthstone_blessingofkings

I bet you all can guess which deck is so far been my favorite. In another article I will talk more about actual game play. For now, me and Rexxar have some fun to attend to…

hearthstone_Rexxar