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    dkirschner's Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (PC)

    [December 31, 2016 02:28:33 PM]
    Been debating to what extent to keep playing this. I usually play a game or three each day, which is ~15-30 minutes. Often, it's while I'm eating or waiting on someone for something or I need a break from working, so it doesn't feel like it's wasted. But what if I read for 30 minutes instead of playing Hearthstone, or watched 30 minutes of a movie, or just played 30 minutes of a game that has a beginning and an end? Do I really care about daily Hearthstone quests and getting 50 more gold? Earlier this semester I got interested in watching a streamer named Kripparrian and watched a video or two of his every day, which added up too. So, I'm putting some restrictions on Hearthstone time to be more efficient and we'll see how this works.

    1. Check the daily each day and swap them out hoping for either the play-a-friend quest (free 80 gold) or the watch-and-learn quest (free card pack). Those are the two best quests, highest reward for least time.

    2. Assuming I will rarely see play-a-friend or watch-and-learn, check the daily each day and swap them out to build a set of three dailies that synergize so that any game will count toward them all.

    3. Aside from those two quests, ONLY play hearthstone when I have three dailies that synergize OR I need to get a tavern brawl in for the week to get a free pack.

    Following these three rules should minimize the time I play, but maximize rewards, and still allow me to have fun. The rules were sparked this week (because I have time off from work) when I got the fool notion to tackle heroic bosses from the campaigns. Terrible idea. I spent like 3-4 hours the other day trying to kill some Blackrock Mountain bosses. Managed to get two, but came away with the realization that heroic bosses are frustrating time sinks. The feeling of genius you get from beating one does not outweigh the knowledge that luck probably played a bigger role than skill, and therefore you haven't accomplished much of anything!

    Otherwise, I'm still thoroughly enjoying this game, even if I do play too much! The new Gadgetzan expansion introduces some neat ideas. There are three "crime families" and they are affiliated each one with three classes. Each crime family has a mechanic. So one is centered around Jade Golems. Each successive golem you play increases its stats by 1/1. So you can really ramp up the threat, as by turn 10 you are dropping big golems. Another crime family features potions, which are basically unique spells, and another has a lot of cards that increase the stats of minions in your hand. It's always scary when a paladin drops a card that adds 1/1 to all minions in their hand, and it turns out they have like 8 minions in their hand. It's basically like a Stormwind Champion that can't be killed!

    After the expansion launched and I opened a ton of packs, I had a ton of dust from disenchanting duplicates and was able to craft a Ragnaros, which is a fun core legendary. I'd crafted Sylvanas a while back, and those two make their way into a lot of decks. I'm about halfway to another legendary, and I think it'll either be Tirion Fordring (badass paladin legendary) or N'zoth (resurrect all your deathrattle minions that died this game).

    Anyway, all for now! My rules are posted on my to-do list so I'll remember and follow them.
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    [May 24, 2016 11:35:46 AM]
    Haven't updated Hearthstone in a long time, and yes, I am still playing this. Hard to believe I've been into this for 2 years.

    I had a funny experience yesterday that I wanted to write down. I was playing wild with this bizarre mage deck I have. The deck is almost all spells and culminates in Yogg-Saron, a 10-mana card with a battlecry that casts a random spell on a random target, one for EACH SPELL YOU'VE CAST in the game so far. It can be amazing/hilarious/disastrous. So if you've cast 5 spells and play Yogg, Yogg casts 5 random spells on the board. I have a Brann in the deck that doubles battlecry effects, so if I have cast 5 spells and have Brann on the board when I play Yogg, Yogg will cast 10 random spells. That's the real gimmick of the deck if I can get that to happen.

    But the deck also has Antonidas (whenever you cast a spell, put a fireball in your hand) and two summoning stones (whenever you cast a spell, put a random minion of equal value on the battlefield). So if this deck gets rolling, it's just a massacre of hilarious random spells and minions.

    Anyway, in this story, I have my opponent to thank for the ensuing fun. I was on the ropes. He had a bunch of legendaries. I used a doomsayer/frost nova combo, and he tossed down the Old Gods Deathwing on his next turn. This Deathwing has a deathrattle effect that puts ALL the dragons in your hand on the board. So the doomsayer wiped the board and I was wondering "what dragons could he have?!" because he hadn't played any dragons and wasn't using a dragon deck. Wow, so out comes Chromaggus, Nosdormu and one of the other 8/8 legendaries!

    Nosdormu is an odd one. If Nozdormu is in play, both players only have 15 seconds to take their turn. I managed to toss down a summoning stone and a couple spells, so I had some board presence. Then on his turn, he got hardly anything done in 15 seconds. Was he on a tablet?! Phone?! Was his connection slow?! This was great! I played a bunch of cards including Antonidas and built up my board. He got one or two things out before time. I killed off all his dragons except Nozdormu. It was clearly disadvantaging him against me. I had Yogg in my hand but didn't end up tossing him down. I had a lot of fun exploiting this person's Nozdormu effect!

    This mage deck doesn't do very well most of the time though. It's just fun when it clicks!

    **Edit** I was playing as I wrote this, and, for example, I got a giant Yogg combo down with Brann out and had probably cast 15 spells before, so I pumped out 30 when Yogg came out. Well, the end result was that I killed myself, oops! The first spell out was a pyroblast against myself, then various other things that changed the board, turned Yogg into a frog, and unfortunately damage spells kept hitting my character, and I died. Haha. Oh Yogg...

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on May 24th, 2016 at 11:51:44.


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    [October 2, 2015 11:31:48 PM]
    7/15 - Hearthstone has a new game mode called Tavern Brawl. It is a lot of (unbalanced) fun! The premise is that every week there is a new set of wacky rules. What have they been so far? I remember…playing as two unevenly matched heroes (Ragnaros and someone…Cenarius maybe), choosing a class and having tons of webspinners in your deck (when webspinners die they put a random beast card in your hand), creating a deck where the rule was that any time you cast a spell, you would also summon a random minion of the same cost, and this week’s, simply choose a class and get a deck made up of random cards. These tavern brawls lead to some bizarre scenarios. My random decks for this week have had tons of legendaries. It’s such a change of pace from playing ranked mode where you see the same builds over and over again, much more light-hearted. And, you get a classic card pack when you win your first Tavern Brawl of the week. Awesome!

    And yesterday I attempted to finish Heroic Naxx. Bad idea. I’m on Kel’Thuzad, the last boss, and have been for a long time. He’s…pretty much impossible. I haven’t even gotten him down to half yet. His hero powers are just nasty. He has two phases, 45 HP and 20 armor. In the first phase, you have to destroy his armor. While you’re working on that, he uses his 0-mana hero power every turn to deal 3 damage and freeze your hero. Wow. That means you will be dead in 10 turns, even without his minions attacking you. So get that armor down fast! But you’re frozen constantly, so no weapons!

    When he changes phases, he summons two 5/5 taunt minions, which is bad enough. But to make it worse, his hero power changes to an 8-cost mind control, which he will use if you have something out. So…don’t play minions? I get sort of stumped here. Should I build a deck that goes for the face early on, then have a lot of high cost spells? But there’s no way I would be able to use spells to take away 45 HP and kill his minions before he kills me. Then I was thinking a zoo deck or something with low-cost minions such that when he steals one, it’s weak and doesn’t really matter. The idea there is that he spends 8 mana to steal a 2- or 3-mana minion, and then you play like 4 minions, and then he steals one, and you play 3 or 4, and he steals one…and that way you win the numbers game and he wastes mana stealing minions. Maybe. But I haven’t gotten that far yet. Heroic mode is brutal. I then started Heroic Blackwing Lair for kicks, beat the first boss, stuck on the second.
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    [April 23, 2015 08:56:12 PM]
    Ah, Hearthstone. I haven't updated about it in 7 months, and I should have! I actually switched computers a couple months ago (the hard drive on the laptop I've had since 2009 started hanging and it wasn't looking good) to my work laptop. I didn't know my password for this site, so I couldn't update anything, not that I had anything to update besides Hearthstone.

    Since the last time I updated, I have:

    - finished all the wings in Naxx, including all Heroic mode bosses except the last 3 or 4.
    - gotten a ton of cards through a lot of good arena runs in the Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion
    - sort of kept up with the Blackrock Mountain expansion. I am one week behind and should have gold for it early next week. Then it'll take me another couple weeks to get the final 700 gold for the final wing
    - crafted my first card (a legendary, Archmage Antonidas, who puts a Fireball in your hand every time you cast a spell -- yikes!)

    But by far the most awesome thing I did is "beat" the arena. I did this several months ago with a Paladin. I actually didn't know you could beat the arena, but I went 12-1. After my 12th win, it just gave me rewards, and I was like "huh?" Yeah, turns out you can't win more than 12! I wonder how many I could have won though! I've become pretty handy in the arena. I've hit 10 a few times, and had a bunch of runs over 7. I still probably average 5 or 6. The last two runs, for example, were abysmal 1-win runs. But I haven't played arena in a while due to saving and spending gold on Blackrock Mountain expansions.

    I am fairly tired of arena now because you just keep getting Goblins vs. Gnomes cards, and I have most of the basic and rare ones. I just keep getting the same stuff over and over. For whatever money-grubbing reason, Blizzard won't let you choose to get classic decks. You have to get the new ones. I lack many more classic cards.

    I've dabbled some more in constructed play too, not seriously trying to climb the ladder (I've managed rank 15), but just seeing what kinds of interesting decks I can make. I finally gave in and looked online at other people's decks for ideas, which has helped me out. I also realize that, at least by rank 15, pretty much everyone you play has a few of the same cards in their decks (Ragnaros...). It's really annoying. I've been playing Hearthstone now since last summer and I haven't managed to craft but one legendary. And sometimes I feel like I play a lot. People must play A LOT or spend money.

    Anyway, right now some of my favorite decks to mess with are my paladin mech deck, my shaman murloc deck, my warrior deathrattle/Grim Patron deck, and my druid ramp deck.

    My plans for the game are to keep on playing til I beat Blackrock Mountain, and then can it for a while and play other stuff instead, especially since I'll have the time. Hearthstone has been great during this busy semester for taking 30-minute breaks from working to have a few matches.
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    [September 14, 2014 11:40:34 AM]
    Super exciting Hearthstone news. I realized last week that I could do daily quests in the arena, so now I don't have to play every few days to do dailies AND do arena. I can do both at the same time, which halves my play time. And I've gotten good enough in arena that the gold I win typically at least makes up for the extra cost of entering the arena.

    My super exciting news is that yesterday, for the first time, I went "infinite." That means I won 7 games. It's called going infinite because at 7+ wins, your prize money is more than enough to enter the arena again. If you win 7+ games all the time, then you can just only play arena since you'll never need the money from dailies to purchase arena entry. That's not my goal, but I was amazed that I won 7. My previous record was 4!

    I think I did get lucky with my draft. It felt like I had about 25% rare cards. I did it with a Druid, which is a class I typically avoid because I don't know it well. But, in addition to the excellent draft, I realize that while I've been playing some of the other classes, I've developed a very keen understanding of what they are likely to do when, and I was able to anticipate other players' moves and secrets. Actually learning class secrets is a huge help because those things will ruin your game if you can't carefully deduce which secret(s) another player has in play.

    I guess I do all this in ranked play too, but I don't realize it because the stakes aren't high. In arena though, I want to get as many wins as possible.

    Anyway, I wrote down my Druid deck to perhaps try and build it at some point. I wasn't just winning by a little bit; I usually obliterated my opponent. On the other hand, a couple of my losses were me getting smashed, most notably by a Priest who was being incredibly smart with his Hero Power, healing minions every turn. He got out a Zombie Chow, gave it +2 health, and I spent 3 rounds trying to kill it. By then, the priest had solid card advantage and it was pretty much over.

    I learned a couple cool things about the Druid from this arena match. I never really understood what the Druid's various mana crystal cards did, but I drafted them to figure it out, and holy crap, they are fantastic. One gives you two extra mana crystals in a turn, which if you also have The Coin, can provide a huge advantage. The other PERMANENTLY gives you an extra mana crystal. There was one game where I drew both of those cards and had The Coin. My first turn I coined and got one permanent mana crystal, which took me from 1 to 3. Then my next turn I used the +2 mana crystal card (which costs 0) and played a 5 mana card. Then I had a great progression of cards in my hand, and my opponent was completely helpless after 2 rounds. I kinda want to play around in constructed with a Druid deck now.

    Anyway, had to write this out, it was so exciting!
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    [August 19, 2014 06:23:02 PM]
    The greatest thing happened when I was clearing out my dailies today. Let me provide the context:

    I save up dailies until I have 3, try to synergize them and quickly knock them out. Today after I finished the two synergized mage win quests, I still had the "Play 30 minions under 2 mana" quest leftover. I have a rogue deck reserved for those 30-under-2 and 20-over-5 quests. What does the 30-under-2 deck look like? Well, it is full of 1 and 2 mana cost minions, in addition to every draw card I have. The idea is certainly not to win, but just to pump out cards to finish the quest in 2 games. If the opponent's deck isn't prepared, this deck will swarm pretty good.

    So today, I was playing around with the 30-under-2 deck and put all my murlocs in for fun. I have like 10 low-cost murlocs, one of which is the one that gives all the other murlocs +1 attack.

    I was playing against a priest, who didn't have a very good deck anyway, and somehow near the end of the game I wound up with 5 or 6 murlocs on the board that he couldn't wipe. The next turn I played the +1 murloc and about killed him. He surrendered to me.

    So. Today I won with a deck full of 1 and 2 mana cards. I won with murlocs. I had a good laugh, couldn't believe it.

    Still really enjoying this game. The Naxxramas expansion is fun. Each boss provides a little unique challenge to overcome. None have been terribly difficult. I'll lose sometimes, but haven't replayed a boss more than maybe 4 times. And I really like getting so many new cards! I've even built a warrior deathrattle deck using many of them that is fun to play. What IS hard though are the heroic bosses. I tried one a month ago and got clobbered. Eventually I will buckle down and challenge myself to develop decks to beat them, but I wager I'll need some better (non-Naxx) cards first. Since I've been putting all my gold toward Naxx, I haven't gotten any normal cards or done any arenas in a long time.

    I do have the gist of all the classes now though, which has made me a much smarter player. My favorite is still my mage spell power deck. With this deck, I put in all my + spell power cards. When I can get a few on the board, my spells become really deadly. I've hit people with 10 damage fireballs, wiped the board with 4 damage arcane explosions, that kind of thing. Players really have to be vigilant about killing my + spell power minions because things can quickly go south for them! I do like to keep a few cheap ones in my hand, and play a couple at once along with a spell for a surprise attack.

    My other favorite classes are the priest and warrior. I think this is because, like my mage, they have more unique decks. The priest deck I have is an inner fire / divine spirit one. The strategy is that you use is put a minion out, use divine spirit to double its health and inner fire to make its attack equal to its health. Obviously this can get insane. My minions for this deck are almost all high health/low attack minions to maximize this gimmick. The other day against one of the Naxx bosses I got an Oasis Snapjaw up to 30/30 and killed the boss in one shot. That was Oasis Snapjaw, then +2 health, divine spirit, divine spirit, inner fire. It took a couple turns, but the AI doesn't recognize *potential* threats a lot of the time.

    For the warrior, I've come up with a cool deathrattle deck, that is, playing a lot of cards that have positive deathrattles. The warrior has a couple cards (warlock would be good for this too actually) that damage ALL cards. So if you have cards that do good things for you when they die, and you can kill them, then, wow, hitting everyone's cards is bad for the enemy and good for you. I just put in two legendaries from the last Naxx wing too, so it should be even cooler next time.

    I have also played some opponents with incredibly cool decks. Last time I did dailies, I had a priest who was using wild pyromancer (deals 1 damage to ALL cards whenever its hero casts a spell). The priest kept casting spells and then healing the wile pyromancer. I had a lot of trouble killing it and it just wasted a lot of my cards. Then the priest went into shadow mode (never seen that before) which, instead of healing 2 for his hero power, dealt 2 damage...to anything on the board! He kicked my ass pretty handily, and it was awesome to watch.

    Good times. Looking forward to one more Naxx wing, then playing the arena some more. I think I will be much better now than last time I played!

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    [July 18, 2014 10:49:04 AM]
    I've been successfully and casually playing Hearthstone for about a month now. I ended up looking stuff up about it and learning important information about strategy, dailies, arena and other things. I'll just sum up what I've been doing.

    (1) I learned that you can only have 3 dailies at a time, and that you can select a daily to re-roll once per day. I know what the list of possible dailies is now, and know that there are some 60 gold dailies and one 100 gold daily. The rest are 40 gold. So to maximize efficiency (the least time for the most gold), I've found it's best to try to synergize 40 gold dailies. Sometimes I can get something like "Win 2 games with Mage or Rogue," "Win 2 games with Priest or Mage," and "Win 3 games." That's great because then all I have to do for 120 gold is to win 3 games, two of them with a Mage! Just do this every 3 days and you get a constant stream of, at minimum, 280 gold per week. That's enough for just under 2 arena runs per week (or 3 card packs), which, if you do well, nets you even more gold, dust, cards, practice and fun. I've read about other people re-rolling dailies until they get the 60 gold ones, but those are "Win 5 with Mage or Priest" types. Hmm...win 5 for 60 gold or win 2 for 40 gold? I understand that 60 is more per day, but winning 2 takes a hell of a lot less time, and is more efficient in that way, especially if you can synergize.

    This requires thinking about the game in a patient frame. There is no rush to accumulate gold. There is no rush to accumulate cards.

    (2) I learned that if you play Ranked and achieve level 20 (of 25) in a season (which is every month), then you get a special card back. Okay cool, there's a goal to reach every month. I found this out right at the end of June and over a couple days managed to get my ranking to 20. Then I got to 20 by mid-July. I didn't mean to get there so fast, but I'm clearly a better player than I was a month ago! There's no real motivation to attempt to get higher rank. I think you get something when you become legendary, or whatever it is after you hit rank 1, but besides not caring about that, I know it wouldn't be possible for me any time soon. Players at rank 20 already have a buttload of rare and epic cards that they use to slaughter me.

    (3) There are two things that have forced me to learn other class types, which is good, because the more you understand how other classes play, the better equipped you are to handle them. The first one is those "Win x games with x class" dailies. One time I had one that synergized with using a Paladin, so I build a custom Paladin deck and leveled him up to 6 or 8 or so in the process of completing the dailies. The second is arena.

    (4) Arena is awesome. Definitely my favorite mode. I had played it a few times when I was a complete noob (now only semi-noob) and I believe my win rates were 1, 2, 1, 0 or something. When thinking about how to maximize gold-for-cards, I looked up arena rewards to see what all you got for more wins. Turns out if you get 3 wins, you'll make up the extra 50 gold you spent on entering the arena vs. just buying a pack. Turns out also if you get 7+ wins, you can "go infinite," which means you make enough gold to enter another arena. If you can average 7+ wins every time, you basically no longer need to get gold for anything else.

    After learning this, and after biting it in my early arena runs, I decided to go check out some strategy, because arena is a bit overwhelming if you don't have good knowledge of cards at least! It works like this: You choose from among 3 random classes. Then you are presented with a series of 3 cards, and you choose one from each trio, until you have filled a 30-card deck. So you must know a bit about which cards are better than others, which work well together, which complement what classes, which cards are efficient, which have worthwhile abilities, and on and on. And there's the whole other layers of game strategy, like mana curves, trading cards and a bunch of other stuff that I am just learning about.

    Anyway, I found a bunch of great resources to learn about the game, read a lot of explanations of mechanics, watched some pro streamers play, all just to get more of a sense of the game. Then I found "draft lists" that are essentially rankings of which cards are generally better to choose by class in arena. Super handy. So the other day, I followed a few of these draft lists, chose a Paladin and actually went 4-3! I got a pack and 60 gold, so I did better than just buying a pack! Pretty cool feeling to win 4, doubling my previous best.

    In looking up all this information about the game, I stumbled upon stat tracking. There are several sites/apps that do this, and I've signed up for a couple to play around with. Arenamasters and hearth-stats in particular seem useful. You can see how many wins you've got with each class, versus which class, using which decks, whether you go first or second, etc. etc. Lots of info.

    The other thing I started doing was trying to beat the Expert AI. They are snazzy, have a lot of good cards. The Mage kicked my ass twice, then I beat her. She had a ton of secrets (I don't even have one!). So the AI definitely has more and better cards than I do. I figure though it'll be good practice to play mirror matches so I can see how the Expert AI plays each class. I'm still clueless about a few classes, like Warlock, Priest, Warrior and Hunter. So anyway, I beat the Mage, beat the Rogue on my first try, and got absolutely stomped by the Druid on my first try, and that's where I stopped. You get 100 gold for beating them all, so there's some more incentive.

    Also I found out there is a sort of free expansion coming out next week, Naxxramas. It's like a raid I guess, where there are 5 wings. The first wing is free, and the rest will cost cash or 700 gold each. I figure I can just casually save up the 700 gold for the others. I haven't read much else about it, but I think it's like a single-player campaign mode. Sounds exciting, and you get some cards for beating each wing.

    I haven't really found people to play with yet though. P is busy, my brother didn't sound too interested, girlfriend not interested, most Bnet friends I talk to playing exclusively WoW and Diablo 3, IRL friends who play all have 100000 cards and crush me into the ground. Still working on that front.
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    [June 24, 2014 12:17:42 PM]
    I woke up this morning thinking "I'll just log on Hearthstone, see what the daily is, maybe complete it, then log off. I'll do this all over breakfast."

    Current Me looks back at This-Morning Me in awe that This-Morning Me could be so naive.

    Way way way too many hours later and I still haven't completed the daily (win 3 games. ONLY THREE!). I won ONE game. ONE game in way way way too many hours. Given my success yesterday, I did not expect this result. At first I thought it could be that I was only playing ranked matches. Maybe there are a lot of more skilled folks on in the morning EST. Maybe I just got lucky a handful of times yesterday. Maybe, just maybe, I am a noob.

    I finally stepped away from the rankings and spent my gold on two Arena entries. This is where I had my ONE victory. I got, like yesterday, a pack of cards and 35 gold (actually yesterday I think I got 40). Then in the Arena series where I lost all 3, I got some gold and some dust for disenchanting or crafting or something. I glanced at that, but crafting is obviously a ways off. So based on 3 Arena runs, it seems you need to win 1 to make it worth the gold, versus just buying a pack of cards. That is, if cards is a main motivation for you to enter the Arena, which it now is for me because I realize other people have some way better cards than I do!

    After failing in the Arena, I switched to normal Casual matches, thinking that I would pick up the other two wins pretty quickly. Nope. I lost Casual matches one by one until I resignedly decided to go eat lunch and hang up Hearthstone for the day. I did figure out that you can close the daily you have and get another, which in my case was "Win 2 games with the Paladin or Warrior," so, basically the same thing I'd been not doing all morning.

    In the end, what I learned today is to NOT chase the "Win x matches" dailies. Those are rabbit holes. I want that "Kill 40 minions" from yesterday! That one I can do no matter how many times I lose. I wonder what other types of dailies there are.

    I also learned that the class rewards past level 10 are cosmetic, at least so far. I lost my way up to level 15 with my Mage and just got a prettier Arcane Intellect card. Then I saw at level 20, you get a golden Arcane Intellect card. The new one I got doesn't do anything different, and so I doubt the golden one does either. I don't care about prettier cards. I want more better cards. How do you get these? Just packs, is it? I read again something about getting Expert cards from Expert packs, but I still don't know what an Expert pack is. What types of packs have I been getting then? Basic packs? How do you get an Expert pack?

    I did play around with the Rogue today. That's who I chose for the Arena. And when I won my ONE match, I decided to make a Rogue deck because the one in the Arena had some really neat things. Very different than the Mage, mainly in that the default focus seems to be on weapons and harassing individual cards rather than damage spells. Still didn't help me win any later games though, maybe because I'm not level 10 and don't have all the basic Rogue cards yet. I played with the Druid in the other Arena matches and got stomped. Not a fan of the Druid. And from playing other players, I think Priests look like my style too.

    I also couldn't help noticing that 75% of my games were against Hunters. Do people just like the two-damage Hunter spell? Hunters also seemed to use a play style summoning a lot of beasts onto the field, so I'd sometimes get overwhelmed by numbers. This was often my downfall actually, so that I think one of my weaknesses is sufficiently handling large numbers with my own minions. I have built decks heavier on spells and abilities and so often don't have many minions to fight with. This can work really well unless the enemy pumps out a ton of minions. I seem to have this really strong point about round 6 or 7 where I pummel people until then, but afterward, I lose momentum, run out of cards, and end up losing. I guess I build my decks front-heavy with a lot of lower mana cards.

    Anyway. Despite all those losses, I was still having a lot of fun. Funny thing about Hearthstone is that most of the games feel close. Some of my losses, I would have won on the next turn. That's definitely part of the brilliance of the game, making battles feel close. But at the end of the day, I still tallied like 1-20. No more chasing "win" dailies. No more chasing levels. See what other dailies there are. Find friends who play. Make it more social than fruitlessly competitive. Should be good.
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    [June 23, 2014 06:30:13 PM]
    Ah, Hearthstone. Bringing me back to Warcraft. P got me started when I was visiting him last month. I played some matches with the computer, unlocked a couple classes, and he and I battled a couple times. Haven't had a chance to sit down with it, but was motivated since chatting with some hardcore CCG players at a party Saturday. So here it is, 3 hours with Hearthstone...

    I leveled the Mage up past 12. I stuck with the Mage more or less because that's what I'd been playing the computer and P with, so I had the most cards with it and was the most comfortable with it. I'm curious to play the others more, but the leveling system is enticing me with rewards (next at level 15!). I figure at some point I'll level all the classes to 10, which seems to be a landmark after which you are an Expert...not sure what that means. I think you get better cards, or Secret cards, or something. Just...more/better/complex.

    When you level past 10, the tutorial prods you to go play other people in Play
    mode or the Arena, and also says that you can play Expert AI matches. I tried one, and the AI was using Secrets...or Secret cards. So maybe those are Expert cards? I also played my free Arena matches. The Arena is pretty cool. You build a deck from random cards. I think you choose from random classes as well. I remember I had a Warrior, Hunter and something else available, and chose the Hunter. If there was some way to scroll and select different classes, I didn't notice. I saw those Secret cards there too, and really realized the difference between common cards and class-specific cards. The Hunter's cards are colored green. Looks like all class cards are color-coded.

    I opened up 3 packs that I had gotten (1 from a quest to get to level 10, 1 from playing in the Arena, and 1 from...I don't remember) and saw more color-coding, and saw rare cards too. I see that packs cost gold, or real money. Going in the Arena also costs you. I won 1/4 Arena matches (you are eliminated when you lose 3 times), and got a pack and 30 gold. You get greater rewards the more wins you get. I am assuming that you always get a pack and that the 30 gold was my reward for winning a match. No idea how it scales. But, it's 150 gold for the Arena (guaranteed pack? + gold and other things[?] for wins) and 100 gold to buy a pack. So it looks like if you win 2 matches in the Arena, then it was worth the extra 50 gold. That is assuming the packs are the same type, like you always get a rare for purchased packs and Arena packs. I have no idea. Anyway, the Arena was more fun than just buying a pack!

    I haven't figured out exactly all the ways to get gold. I see there are quests, which net gold. I don't think you get gold for winning matches. So I've done a couple quests, like get a class to level 10. There are dailies, which I'm not sure how I feel about. I learned from playing WoW that I have a love-hate relationship with daily quests, and I've generally avoided them like the plague in any game after that. I'll have to see what types are available in Hearthstone. Today's was to kill 40 minions, which I played until I completed. As long as I don't feel like I have to complete them, and as long as they aren't mindless, I'll be happy with them. But if I kill 40 minions in the course of playing for fun, that's great.

    I like building decks. Endless fun and thought there. And there are a lot of new cards trickling into my collection. I've already played players who have developed specific types of decks or strategies. I'm sure it depends somewhat on the class, their unique strengths and cards, but I've seen people focus on playing taunt cards, nuking the hero, overwhelming with numbers, using hero weapons and specials...my current (probably horribly noob) deck is focused a bit on getting out cards that give + spell power, then using powerful spells to AoE minions or to hammer the hero. It's actually working pretty well. I've only lost twice in 6 Play mode games, and one of those losses was because I forgot to select my deck, so I had the standard Mage deck.

    I've checked out the ranked matches too. They don't seem any different from normal Play matches except that you can gain/lose rank. I lost my first one of those, then won 3 so that I'm at rank 24, Leper Gnome (yay). According to the loading screen on Play matches, you are pitted against people of equal skill. Then of course the same is true for ranked matches. So what's the real difference? Just a higher stake in the ranked matches?

    And that's my first real sit-down with Hearthstone. I'm a little overwhelmed when I think that there are 9 classes, but easing into it with the Mage feels pretty good. It's very familiar as a CCG and a Warcraft fan, so I think the sheer number of cards and classes is mostly what's overwhelming, but that the content won't be, and in fact isn't so far. Also waiting to see how far I get in ranked matches before people start schooling me.
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    Status

    dkirschner's Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (PC)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 24 May, 2014

    GameLog closed on: Sunday 31 May, 2015

    Opinion
    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Fun, polished, love the Warcraftiness of it all! --------- Setting it aside for the summer to immerse myself in bigger games.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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