Thursday, January 23, 2014

More Hearthstone

I skipped out on playing Heartstone a bit last week after noticing that I only got one daily quest, not three, and that I'd therefore not be drafting every day. This week I decided I should probably play it again to give it a fair shake and saw that some quests had built up. So you get one per day and only need to play every three days to clear out the queue? I like that as a feature. It makes you feel less bad about missing a day while still incentivizing you to log in pretty frequently.

I've done a couple drafts since then and managed to even pull off a 9-3 record once which got me what I can only assume is this game's version of a foil along with more than enough gold to draft again and a pack and some crafting reagents. I haven't actually done any crafting but it seems like a way for you to crush a whole ton of cards you don't want into specific cards you do want. I don't know the ratios but it sure sounds better than the whole Zimus problem I had with SolForge.

Robb has been trying to tell me that Hearthstone is a better card game in part because it doesn't have the legendary issue that SolForge has and that the commons compare much better to the legendaries. Having played against a few legendaries today (one guy even had two of them in the same draft) I think that's a bit of hogwash. Ragnaros is way, way better than a common and will win a game on his own if the opponent doesn't have a stupidly good board position or a removal spell that can take out an 8/8. Even if he does Ragnaros will have killed something else too so he'll have been a 2 for 1.

Even ignoring the whole legendary thing (I actually beat the guy with 2 of them because I had a removal for his 8/8 haste and he played his broken 2 drop on turn 12) I just haven't been having much for playing the game. I'm finding it really rather boring, actually. Part of it is the pace of the game I think, which is really slow. It has lots of cutesy animations and stuff that just slow the game down. It reminds me a little of the Cyanide Blood Bowl client... Really cool to start but eventually I just don't want to see pass replays and guys slowly running down the field.

The other part is the game doesn't seem to have many interesting decisions. It works a lot like Magic does except you get a land per turn for free (and don't have to waste draw steps on land) and the attacker chooses blockers, not the defender. So if you have a 3/2 and I have a 2/1 I'm going to attack your 3/2 in order to trade. On the other hand you're going to attack me to do 3 damage if it's your turn rather than trade because I'm probably going to make the trade on my turn anyway and that's 3 free damage. Of course if you're about to play a 6/2 or something then you probably want to make the trade on your turn, and maybe you think my deck has a lot of pump spells or something? It's certainly a decision to be made, but it's one that I think has a blatantly obvious choice an overwhelming amount of the time.

I think it's obvious anyway... I play plenty of matches against people who make what seem to be incorrect decisions. I don't actually know all that much about the cards or the strategy but I keep identifying misplays and then beating those people so I feel like I probably have a decent grasp of things.

Because everyone draws one card per turn, and everyone has a 2 casting cost spell they can play once per turn, it really feels like games devolve into who can make the most efficient trades. If I keep getting 2 for 1s eventually I'll have cards left over and kill you with them. So the trick is staying alive long enough for those extra cards to come home. The majority of my losses seem to come against mage draft decks because they have access to a card that does 4 damage to all of my creatures. I've lost 3 times to decks with 2+ copies of that card in the last couple days. The mage passive spell also feels strong in that it does 1 damage to anything which completely invalidates 1 toughness creatures. You're often stuck drafting them anyway and it just results in the mage getting more card advantage on you.

What it boils down to is I rarely feel like I had any chance in the games I've lost. I'm often winning on my opponent failing to properly trade efficiently. And the games are taking a long time to resolve for what they are.

I still have more than enough gold to draft but I don't know that I'm going to bother. The act of picking cards in the draft is fun but the games to see how the deck works out feel like a chore. I have plenty of games to play that don't feel like a chore, so I think Hearthstone is getting axed.

1 comment:

Robb Effinger said...

Ragnoros does get a 2 for 1 (not always-his 8 damage may go to the head).. But so does the mage wipe spell (or it's possibly 3 for 1) and it's a common. Or the warrior's cleave, Druid's swipe, the 4/2 that does 2 damage as it comes into play, and most weapons, as a selection of examples. Compared to sol forge, the commons are better. Also, you can't pay ragnoros until turn 8, whereas all those other examples build an advantage earlier... The game is often over by turn 8.