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You Should Play: Get your World of Warcraft fix with Hearthstone

Chris Holt | May 8, 2015
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.

The game's ladder and casual modes are a great way to play against random strangers and learn that everyone is playing a better deck than you. Just kidding! Sorta! You'll lose a lot in player versus player modes — at least initially. And thankfully, Blizzard only allows you to communicate with your opponent through pre-assigned emotes and none of them are expletives.

The game also offers single player campaigns beyond the tutorial. These can be earned through accruing in-app currency (the game is technically free, after all) or purchased outright. There are daily quests to allow you to collect gold and purchase packs, and there are plenty of players who have crafted decks utilizing this method (rather than say spending $20 on 15 packs). Playing through the single player campaigns will earn you access to strong cards, and demonstrate, once again, that Blizzard knows how to make a campaign experience.

Hearthstone on a smaller screen: Hearthstone's approachability and polish aren't limited to the single-player campaign experience; in the Mac and iOS versions, Hearthstone offers large game boards and colorful, interactive environments where you can battle your foes. When bored, you can fiddle with a stage's loadable cannonpult or explode some nearby fireworks.

On the iPhone's smaller screen, some of these trappings are lost. If you're bored, you'll find the mobile versions of the interactive stage backgrounds are reduced in size and far less fun to fidget with. Building a deck is also a bit harder because you have to be careful what you  drag into and out of your right hand deck list. I've experienced some connectivity issues in areas where I have good reception and a bug where when you steal an enemy secret, you can no longer tell what it is you just stole.

Still, I've been playing the iPhone version over the last two weeks and with only some small quibbles, the experience is largely just as fun and addictive as the standard version. I play both versions now interchangeably. Blizzard has also streamlined the log-in and purchasing processes: you don't have to log into every time you want to play and pack purchases are all done in app and appear on your iTunes bill.

Blizzard has effectively and painstakingly translated its award-winning collectable card game to a new platform without missing a beat. If you're curious, it's mix of chessboard nuance and addictive collectability will appeal to hobbyists who grew up on Magic, baseball cards, or stamps. There's nothing like it on the mobile platform and it's free to download. Feel free to challenge me — on iOS or on the Mac. You don't want to mess with my Priest deck.


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