These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a game You Should Play.
Over the last twenty years, Blizzard Entertainment has made a mint through it's World of Warcraft franchise. Since launching last year, Hearthstone, a digital collectible card game based on characters and lore from Warcraft, has developed into a similarly powerful juggernaut on the competitive gaming scene. Tournaments, Reddit forums, and strategy guides have all sprung up to support Hearthstone's turn-based tactical battles, and in April, Hearthstone finally launched on iOS.
If you're even remotely interested in World of Warcraft, you'll love this release. Read on for three reasons why the iPhone version of Hearthstone is your next (free!) game to download.
You'll find familiar orc-ish faces: For those already familiar with World of Warcraft or the Warcraft strategy games, you'll find a lot of familiar faces here. Hearthstone offers nine classes, each modeled after a different Warcraft hero and each with its own unique cards and play style. Priest decks are great for stealing your opponent's minions and healing while rogues can unleash massive combos using their dagger hero power.
If you grew up playing Magic: The Gathering, then you'll understand the appeal of collecting cards to build decks and battle your friends. Hearthstone is sometimes called "Magic for Morons," and on the surface, you see a lot of similarities — players summon spells or minions limited by a player's mana pool, both games utilize fantasy lore to inform their world, and many of the cards have similar mechanics involving attack, defense, interrupts, etc.
But while Magic was built for the tabletop, Blizzard has always designed its product for digital platforms. Blizzard is able to update overpowered cards, release new ones (in seemingly quarterly expansions) and offer a variety of game modes that shows a real understanding of the unique benefits of the mobile and computer platforms. More importantly, comparatively Hearthstone seems far simpler and more approachable to new players. An innkeeper greets you when you start up the game, characters emote and threaten you as you play cards, and quirky, sometimes humorous animations play after certain actions. Running through the tutorial will get you playing; opening a few packs and playing in the Arena for the first time will get you hooked.
Games modes beyond random duels: The aforementioned Arena is one of Hearthstone's better selling points: Players choose between three random heroes and then draft a deck from randomly generated choices. You'll compete against other players who have similarly drafted decks, insuring that no one is too familiar with the cards and offers a welcome break from a ladder system. The more you win in Arena, the more in-game currency and cards you earn.
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