Often after I post something about SolForge I'll get someone talking to me about how Hearthstone does it a little differently and asking how I feel about the differences. I do my best to avoid playing betas so I haven't been able to contribute to that conversation as I've never played Hearthstone, or watched anyone play it, or even read much about it except what Sthenno has posted about it. Over the holidays my brother finally convinced me I should sign up for the beta (the day after they'd invited everyone who had already signed up) by giving me an interesting comparison between the two games...
Basically he told me that SolForge is clearly a game made by CCG players while Hearthstone is clearly a game made by video game developers. So SolForge is a better card game while Hearthstone, despite being in beta, is by far the more polished game.
At any rate earlier this morning I got an email from Blizzard inviting me to the Hearthstone beta. It's almost like they read my post from 2 days ago where I swore off SolForge and decided it was time to capture me into their market. I got it installed and played a little bit this morning and was definitely impressed with the polish of the environment. It's integrated with Battle.Net for one thing so I already have a friends list and chat features with people playing WoW, SC2, or DIII. But the tutorial missions featured characters from Warcraft lore, and sound effects as well. The speech from a peasant finishing a job in WC2, or the sound of an archer being constructed in WC3. Probably the best thing was the final fight in the tutorial which was against Illidan Stormrage (who I'd swear should be dead... My druid has his skull!) who opened the fight with the ominous voice saying 'YOU ARE NOT PREPARED'!
Which made me unreasonably happy, though I suspect it will also make other people who played World of Warcraft during the release of the first expansion, The Burning Crusade. I just had to go dig up the intro video from that expansion...
Anyway, Hearthstone didn't seem like that interesting of a game, unfortunately, but it deserves more time before making a final judgment on it. I did get pranked by the tutorial and ended up buying packs with my first 200 quest gold. It's 150 for a draft, so I didn't get to do a draft today beyond my first free one. On the plus side the draft format is a lot better than the one in SolForge. In SolForge you get 3 games per draft, period. In Hearthstone you get until you get 3 losses or (I think) 9 wins. So you get at least as many games in, and you almost certainly get a bunch more. I went 5-3 in my free draft which I think is pretty good for not having a clue what I was doing.
I think the daily quests give out enough gold on average to be worth a draft per day on their own, ignoring what you might win, which is a lot better than SolForge where I was looking at getting a draft per 3 weeks or so ignoring prizes. And on the bright side just playing games for the quests will be interesting while I still have stuff to learn about the game so I won't mind grinding for draft gold for at least a while!