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Eamon: Hearthstone – First Impressions

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Intro

Join Eamon as he discusses the introductory features of Hearthstone, deck building, hero system, and card mechanics. As an active gamer, he is currently heroic raiding Throne of Thunder while still finding time for weekly Magic: The Gathering tournaments. He can be found live-streaming matches here: http://www.twitch.tv/eamon2tweet or feel free to listen to his blabbering on Twitter @eamon2tweet

Hearthstone, an elegant game from a more civilized time.

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If you are a fan of Warcraft or card games in general, chances are you are dying to get your hands on Blizzard’s latest release, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. While many people are used to the crash & smash nature of Warcraft, Diablo & Starcraft – Hearthstone is a more elegant game harking back to Blizzard’s early development style.

While still in Closed Beta, Hearthstone is a free-to-play digital strategy card game that is expected to be released as free-to-play. Players choose one of nine epic Warcraft heroes to control, and then take turns playing cards from customizable decks to cast spells, use weapons or abilities, or summon powerful characters to crush their opponent.
Hearthstone is designed to be easy to understand and teaches you how to play through simplified card matches and an integrated quest system (think dailies). Upon logging in, you are thrown right into a pre-made match pitting your hero (Jaina) against a computer-controlled opponent. The fight is very simple and is designed to teach you controls, resource management, and card mechanics.

After working your way through the first set of pre-made encounters you are freed into the wilds of Hearthstone with a couple paths available to you. If you are feeling brave, you can immediately jump in to player-vs-player matches and start earning badges and leveling up. I decided to focus on the player-vs-computer practice match-ups which let you unlock additional heroes, cards, and further increase your level.

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As a new player, you will need to unlock every hero you wish to play with via battle. For example, if you wanted to play the always-healing Priest or the shape-shifting Druid, you would need to first defeat them in battle. The more you play with your selected hero in either practice or ranked matches, the more they will level and unlock additional cards for you to play with. By the time I had unlocked most heroes, I found myself at level 10 on my Shaman hero with each level providing Shaman-specific cards. Each hero has its own level, completely independent of your other heroes.

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After you get a couple of wins in practice mode you will be guided to the deck creation interface to customize your favorite deck with your newly won cards. When it comes to deck building, there is a set of class-specific cards which is accentuated with a massive pool of neutral cards which can be used by any hero once unlocked. For example, a Shaman can add totem-enhancing abilities to his deck while also pulling from the pool of neutral creatures.

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Deck building is a bit of an art form and your deck should combine both your play style and strengths. My best advice is to pick a specific focus and maximize it. For example, there are a multitude of Murloc cards which either summon additional Murlocs or buff existing ones. The same can be said for the charge mechanic, allowing you to attack as soon as your character enters the battlefield. Once you figure out what mechanic tickles your fancy, grab every related card that emphasizes it. Some mechanics are stronger than others but you will quickly figure out what strategies work best against your deck and how to counter them.

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And so ends our first peek at Hearthstone and its game mechanics. In the coming week, I am comparing and contrasting Hearthstone to Magic, the Gathering. Additionally, we will explore the player-vs-player aspect of the game and discuss Arena play. As mentioned in the preface, I am actively streaming Hearthstone in the evenings on Twitch. If you can’t get enough Hearthstone, feel free to join and ask questions. Additionally, Blizzplanet.com will be hosting the latest and greatest articles and gameplay footage of Hearthstone and I encourage everyone to check it out.

Hearthstone Beta – The Fatigue Card

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As everyone knows from past Hearthstone interviews, and Q&As decks contain 30 cards which you can play throughout each match. Ever wondered what happens when a player runs out of cards during a match?

I learned the hard way! I played against the AI when suddenly I heard my Jaina emote that I was running out of cards. I had about 2-3 cards left on the right side of the gameboard. I reached my last card, and after the enemy’s turn was over, instead of drawing a card automatically, for lack of cards materialized before me a card with a skeleton skull wearing a black hood.

Across the center of the card is read “Fatigue” with the text “Out of cards! Take 1 damage.” For each round, or for each “Draw x card” your character will take damage.

The first round after I ran out of cards, my character suffered 1 damage. Next time 2 damage. Next time 3 damage. Then I lost the match with a +9 hit from a Core Hound.

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I thought it was just a random thing that rarely happened, but lo and behold — it happened a second time. This time, however, my Jaina fought against Thrall. I defended myself like cat on its back pawing out its eyes like no tomorrow. The hilarious part is … he couldn’t kill my character. The Fatigue card killed my character.

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Hearthstone Beta – Blizzplanet Livestream # 2

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Here is the second livestream on my second day of Hearthstone beta gameplay. This morning I reached level 16 on my mage deck. I lost so many times it’s embarrassing but at least I hope I let those not-yet-in-beta enjoy the mechanics and all the great strategies some people used against me.

Hope upcoming livestreams come from Travis and Eamon. Eamon (draiken) informed me he wanted to join Blizzplanet again. This time not as the hosting server admin (back in 2004) but as a Hearthstone writer. He is a veteran Magic: The Gathering card player. That way you have livestreams from the point of view of a noob, and from the point of view of veteran players.

Watch live video from medievaldragon on www.twitch.tv

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Hearthstone Beta – The In-Game Store

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The in-game store is available in Hearthstone Beta. Players can purchase the packs of cards for real money. The prices range from 1 Pack (100 gold), 2 packs for $2.99, 7 packs for $9.99, 15 packs for $19.99, up to 40 packs for $49.99.

Each pack contains:

  • 5 Expert Hearthstone Cards
  • At least 1 card will be Rare or better

Thus, the 40 packs contain 200 Expert hearthstone Cards and at least 40 Rare or better cards.

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Hearthstone Beta – My First Gameplay Video

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After installing Hearthstone Beta, I went right away into action facing my first five wins in a row, followed by a loss. The video will show you some of the first five card encounters.

It’s fun to play. You don’t need to be an expert. Hearthstone is my first [ever] Collectible Card Game (CCG). I have never played any TCGs in my entire 40 years of life. What rock was I living beneath I have no clue, but there you go. This game is designed so that noobs like myself can play, have fun and start to learn.

I have yet to learn any strategies and deeping tinkering, but so far so good. Only two losses after a series of wins against the AI. Unlocked the Druid and Priest classes, and reached level 5 with Jaina.

The game tells you often when you are making a mistake, and highlights the cards that you can actually use with the mana you currently have. If you don’t have mana to use a spell or card, it won’t be highlighted for use. I can’t believe how many hours have passed already playing. I can now see why the developers said this game is addictive.

In an upcoming video I plan to add, you will see the in-game store where you can buy packs of cards for real money. There are different prices.

More videos coming soon.

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Hearthstone Closed Beta Starts Today!

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Travis: It began with a teaser from Zeriyah’s twitter: a mysterious video of a cake, frosted with a Warcraft Hearthstone, and the word “Beta” scrawled on the side. The excitement was almost palpable. Hype Train coming.

And then suddenly, the Americas closed beta started. The forums appeared and expanded, invites began, and new players outside of Blizzard offices began to duel each other. As it is a closed beta, invites are being sent only to those who opt in. Opting in is easy and done from a potential player’s Battle.net account.

By far the highlight from the Beta announcement, aside from the announcement itself, is the lack of an NDA. Players can, and are encouraged to, do livestreams of their games and record videos, post screenshots and write long, winding articles about the mechanics.

Check those inboxes – invites are coming. Lok’tar ogar!

Medievaldragon: The Blizzplanet staff is slowly getting into Hearthstone closed beta. I am going to share with you the installation process. As soon as I downloaded the beta installer client, something that totally got me off-guard is that upon launching the client, the Battle.net launcher automatically kicked in to take over the download process. The beta file is around 500MB by the way.

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Blizzplanet Busca Escritores en Español

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Aunque he escrito en inglés estos pasados diez años, hablo español en mi casa todos los días. Por muchos años he deseado poder lanzar un sitio en español sobre los juegos de StarCraft, Diablo, y Warcraft. Se acerca una nueva etapa de Blizzplanet pronto, y espero poder recibir fanáticos que han visitado Blizzplanet por varios años como escritores para que puedan informar a fans como ustedes, y que puedan formar parte de una gran comunidad hispana de video juegos de Blizzard.

Esta es una posición voluntaria para aquellos que deseen la experiencia de escribir para un fansite líder de diez años, y tener acceso a juegos beta y otras oportunidades relacionadas a los juegos de Blizzard.

Si estas interesado en unirte a nuestra comunidad come escritor en el idioma español, envíame un mensaje electrónico a medievaldragon@blizzplanet(punto)com

Latinos viviendo en Europa, America Latina, Canada, Asia, Oceania o Estados Unidos son bienvenidos.

Déjame saber que juegos de Blizzard juegas y por el cual te gustaría dedicarte a escribir noticias.

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Golden Gelbin and other news

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hearthstone-golden-mekkatorqueZeriyah provided a lengthy update on Hearthstone today, commenting on some changes to the game as it progresses closer and closer to beta. Among the items discussed was a restatement that the Hearthstone team is working vigorously to launch beta before summer ends. Zeriyah phrased the timeline for beta as “not days away from launching the beta, but [...] not months away either.” Progress is being made but patience is required.

The beta will allow players to spend real money on card packs and Arena entry. However, because of the changing nature of beta testing Hearthstone’s developers have decided to reward players who put down cash with something special – a golden version of Gelbin Mekkatorque. When you purchase cards or Arena entry, you’re granted a copy of the Gnome King. His golden version is only available this way: no crafting or lucky drops from card packs. A regular version can be crafted once the game is released.

Hearthstone has also been tested on the iPad with cross-platform play. Zeriyah called it an awesome milestone in development for Hearthstone. Any means of expanding the player pool for the game has to be considered an incredible success; cross-platform potential is a phenomenal one.

The update ends with Zeriyah telling the community to continue to engage with the Hearthstone team. The community helps guide how the game evolves and the developers want to know what’s working and what isn’t.

Hearthstone – Silence and Aura Buff Mechanics

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Zeriyah (Christina Sims) discusses the Silence and Aura buffs mechanics in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. She actually answered a lot of questions not covered below. It’s worth clicking the blizzard icon at the Hearthstone forum to browse through all the entries posted by Zeriyah. Follow the links, and join the discussion at the official forums.


Thon: If a minion has Divine Shield, and gets Polymorphed…does the Sheep have divine shield? Or does divine shield go away because it’s no longer in the card text?

Zeriyah: When a minion is affected by a transform effect such as Polymorph or Hex, everything about the minion is changed and all effects are removed. For example if a minion has Divine Shield, Blessing of Kings, Blessing of Might and +1/+1, when they are polymorphed they lose everything and become a basic 1/1 sheep.

Based one of your posts, I know that you can target Lord Jaraxxus, EREDAR LORD OF THE BURNING LEGION!!! with Sacrificial Pact (formerly Grimoire of Sacrifice), whether he is acting as a minion or a hero.

However, I am unclear as to what happens after he is targeted if he is in the Hero position. It is my assumption that either:
1) Jaraxxus is destroyed, and the player, no longer having a Hero, loses;
2) Jaraxxus is destroyed, and Gul’dan comes back with the same HP he had before summoning Jaraxxus; OR
3) Jaraxxus is destroyed, and Gul’dan comes back with the same HP Jaraxxus had before being destroyed.

Zeriyah: Even as a Hero, Jaraxxus is still a demon. If he is the target of Sacrificial Pact, he will be destroyed and the Jaraxxus player will lose the game.

Zeriyah: First off, let me address some questions people still have regarding Silence and Aura buffs.

Health in Hearthstone works much like it works in World of Warcraft. Imagine a Priest running through Warsong Gulch with 1 Health remaining, only protected by the power of his Power Word: Fortitude.

If a Shaman purges away the PW: Fortitude, the Priest’s maximum Health decreases, but his current Health isn’t affected. He lives to carry the flag another day. This is also true in Hearthstone. Silence effects remove buffs but doesn’t affect current Health, unless the new Max Health is lower than the current Health.

Silence effects are technically not heals but it can remove instances of damage. Let’s look at some in-game examples:

A 3/3 minion is buffed by Blessing of Kings, making it a 7/7. 5 damage is dealt to the minion, then Silence is cast on it. The minion goes from a 7/2 to a 3/2. Four of the instances of damage was removed along with the Blessing of Kings, and one carried over to the minion.

A 3/3 minion is buffed by Blessing of Kings, making it a 7/7. 1 damage is dealt to the minion, then Silence is cast on it. The minion goes from a 7/6 to a 3/3 with no damage on it. The one instance of damage was removed along with the Blessing of Kings.

This 3/3 minion we are picking on is buffed by a +1/+1 non-Aura effect (like Shattered Sun Cleric), turning it into a 4/4. 2 damage is dealt to the minion, then Silence is cast on it. The minion becomes a 3/2 with 1 damage on it. One instance of damage was removed along with the +1/+1 buff, and one remains on the minion.

Aura effects do not remove instances of damage when they are removed, because Aura effects will still persist through Silence unless the origin of the Aura buff is Silenced.

My opponent’s Stormwind Champion is buffing his Murloc Raider, making the Raider a 3/2. I try to Silence the Murloc Raider (ahh why would I ever do that??). The Murloc Raider is still a 3/2 – the Aura is coming from the Champion, and Silencing the Raider won’t accomplish much.

After my terrible misplay, I do one damage to the Murloc Raider, bringing him to a 3/1. Then, I kill the Stormwind Champion, eliminating the +1/+1 buff on the Murloc. That instance of damage is not removed with the Aura and remains on the Murloc, who goes back to being a 2/1 (with one damage on him) and dies. — source

Zeriyah: I can give you the way it currently works, but the way buffs, damage and Silence resolve is something we’re currently working on to make sure it’s concise and intuitive. Since the way it currently works may change, I’d like to come back to this question at a later time. Sorry for the confusion! That’s what we’re trying to avoid. — source

Zeriyah: They are not explicitly called Aura buffs, but they are buffs that affect multiple minions simultaneously. Stormwind Champion, Blood Imp, or other minions that have effects such as “your other minions have…” are considered Aura buffs. — source

Kargaen: Not sure if this has been asked before, but is Animal Companion like the Shaman’s hero power in that it cannot summon something that is already on the board (e.g. I have Misha in play, so is Misha no longer able to be summoned by Animal Companion)?

Zeriyah: Each minion brought into play with Animal Companion has the same chance to be summoned regardless if one has been summoned previously or is currently in play. Is it entirely possible to have two Misha in play. (Mishae? Mishas?)

 

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