Hearthstone is just about one of the most popular esports games on the planet. The tournaments for it are wildly popular and the game itself has continued to excel for more than 5 years. In many ways, it was ahead of its time. So let’s take a look at why it has grown into the success it has.
It didn’t hurt that Hearthstone was created by Blizzard. If you aren’t a hardcore gamer but the name sounds vaguely familiar, they are the company behind World Of Warcraft. That game is arguably the most successful MMORPG of all time.
So the development team behind the title had a lot of experience and it shows. The UI is slick. The tutorial is robust and eases you in beautifully and the finished game is just well packaged. It never feels confusing. You never have to question where things are.
It is a card game. But it isn’t an ugly card game! The board that the games unfold on is very much in the art style of World of Warcraft, drawing on a similar colour pallet. It is an older game now but that really doesn’t matter. It still looks great.
sound of Hearthstone
Let’s not pretend that the sound is going to make a lot of bearing on this type of game. It’s not the type of game that needs a stunning soundtrack. Although it isn’t awful. The lilting, medieval style tunes offer acceptable background noise. The taunts from characters when you deliver moves are a nice addition and help to create a more immersive experience too.
This really is the star of the show and if you are searching for why Hearthstone has achieved such enduring popularity it is for this reason. The game starts you off playing simple games with standard decks of cards. It talks you through the cards and then shows you different facets of the game through its tutorial.
At the start of each turn, you get an ever-increasing amount of manna. This is used to place cards on the game table. You can choose minions that have an attack and defence score or you can play a spell card. You also have the option of using your leader’s ability (if they have one). The idea is to take out the enemies leader and they will be trying to do the same to you.
Easy to pick up but with hidden depth
The tutorial makes the game so accessible but that doesn’t mean that you are going to bore easily. There is so much depth to the game. What it manages to do beautifully is add depth without complexity. How do they achieve this? Well mostly due to their excellent collection system.
As you progress you unlock new cards. They are all slightly different and a deck needs balance. Too many high manna cards and you will be destroyed in the early game. Too many low cards and you won’t be able to cope in the later parts of battles. Balancing your deck is all about nuance and strategy and is almost a separate game in its own right.
Free to play
Of course, the game has been helped by the fact that it is free. There are no annoying adverts, you can build a great and competitive deck without spending money and there are plenty of gaming options to do just that.
The future of Hearthstone
While the subscription figures for WOW are rumoured to not quite be what they used to there is no signs that their mobile card-game title is going to follow suit (If you pardon the pun) The future looks bright for this simple card game.