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Hearthstone in The Guardian

The British daily newspaper has a solid write up of Hearthstone. It doesn’t describe much beta-players and close watchers won’t already know but it’s a good read regardless. The author, Rich Stanton, has some good quotes from Eric Dodds and Jason Chaynes about Hearthstone’s simple game mechanics as compared to other CCGs and the difficulties of playing those games online.

Dodds also mentions that the kinect feedback for Hearthstone was very important. “…when we started working on the online game we wanted to keep the soul of [physical cards] which is why we made the box, and the cards in the way they sway as you’re moving them through the environment, and the buttons that feel and respond like physical buttons.”

Staton also comments on the paradoxical fun of the Arena. He, like many, enjoys the Arena the most but finds the gold flow too slow for regular runs. Blizzard is walking a tight rope to find the proper balance between earning money from Hearthstone and opening up all the play modes easily.

The other major highlights? There’s one more patch coming before the game is launched, which is still slated for this year. The beta-less shouldn’t fret too terribly – everyday brings the game’s official launch closer and closer.

Staton’s article is available here.

Hearthstone – How to get 1600 Arcane Dust for your Uber Card

As someone who has played Hearthstone beta quite a lot, I can tell you right off the bat it is not so easy to get 1600 Arcane Dust the old-fashion way.

Old-Fashion Way

As you win games, you obtain gold either by winning three games (10 gold reward) or by completing quests (usually 40-60 gold). With the 100 gold you can buy individual card packs; or with 150 gold you can buy a pass to the Arena Mode gameplay; and if you already have some card duplicates the Crafting Mode button will pop an Arcane Dust Jar to alert you there are duplicate cards that need to be disenchanted.

In Arena, you get rewarded Arcane Dust, gold and cards, so it is recommended to play Arena Mode to collect as much Arcane Dust as possible.

Better Arcane Dust for your Buck

I did never play a TCG/CCG game ever, and don’t know the rules. I’ll mention it as often as I am able. When I first started playing Hearthstone a few months ago, I went with buying single packs of cards for 100 gold each. The results weren’t so great, but I did get a few nice cards.

After the character wipe patch, I have focused my gold spending on Arena-mode gameplay to get my new cards. Alright, an Arena Mode costs 150 gold, and you might not win many games; but this is the way to go to get better cards, and to collect your way to the 1600 Arcane Dust you need to craft the uber card you want. So this is a time investment that will eventually pay off.

Just a few minutes ago, I played Arena Mode two times. Won only 2 games each run. On my third Arena Mode run I won 4 times.

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In this attempt, I got one rare, one epic and ta-da! … one Legendary golden card: King Mukla.

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King Mukla costs 3 mana to play in a match and he has 5 damage and 5 health. His Battlecry is to give your opponent two bananas. However, the opponent can use each banana to add +1/1 to a selected minion. I don’t like King Mukla much. So I disenchanted it to obtain Arcane Dust toward the card I do want to craft.

When you obtain a Legendary Card that doesn’t have much appeal to you, go to the Crafting Mode browse through the card book and locate the Legendary Card. Right-click it and the Disenchant UI pops up. Click the Disenchant button and you will get 400 Arcane Dust for a Legendary Card. A rare Golden Legendary card provides 1600 Arcane Dust. According to Colorhammer and Eswift in the comments it is extremely rare to find a Golden Legendary card, so you might have to disenchant about 4 Legendary Cards to obtain 1600 Arcane Dust (400 Arcane Dust x 4 Legendary cards). Thanks for the correction.

In my case, I entered Crafting Mode again, clicked the (7+ mana) icon at the bottom to locate Ragnaros, the Firelord. Personally, I like this card a lot. It was used against me so many times, I tested its effectiveness.

It requires 8 mana. Usually by this eighth round most Hex/Sheep/Kill Command/Assassinate (etc.) have been used. If you are lucky, this card will put your opponent in serious trouble. The card itself can’t melee attack. However, at the end of your turn it will hurl an 8-damage fireball at a random enemy minion or at the enemy hero.

If the opponent throws a silence on your Ragnaros, the “Can’t Attack” rule is dismissed. In that eventuality, Ragnaros can melee attack and still kick some booty.

If you aren’t into buying cards for real money, then I recommend spending your gold efficiently in running the Arena Mode. Increase your chances to acquire Legendary cards this way, or other rarity cards and amass those 1600 Arcane Dust. It’s your best shot at crafting your desired card.

If you haven’t seen how Crafting and Disenchanting works, check out my recent article to view the UI screenshots.

Activision Blizzard to Release Third Quarter 2013 Financial Results on November 6, 2013

Activision Blizzard announced they will broadcast the Third Quarter 2013 Financial Results after the close of the market on Wednesday, November 6, 2013. Coincidence? BlizzCon 2013 takes place on November 8-9. Will Mike Morhaime have a few spoilers to share?

Personally, that would be a great move considering some people might want to watch the BlizzCon DirecTV or Livestream. Not all these conferences yield juicy announcements, but some have proven to provide approximate launch dates for beta testing.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013
1:30 p.m. Pacific Time ( 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time )

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Because Everyone Needs Weapons!

Five of the nine Heroes have weapons, and several. It makes sense that they’d swing swords or axes or shoot arrows and the casting classes wouldn’t. A melee mage isn’t a viable build in Hearthstone’s progenitor. But mages, priests, warlocks, and druids still use weapons. A warlock without a weapon is half a warlock. I’ve taken the liberty of creating some epic quality weapons for the Heroes currently unarmed. To keep things balanced I’ve also added some epics for the already equipped.

Mage
Staff of the Shadowflame
6, 1/5 – +2 Spell Damage. Each time you cast a spell, lose 1 durability.

Priest
Anathema and Benediction
5, 1/1 – Your hero power now heals friendly targets and damages enemy targets.

Warlock
Healthstone
4, 0/3 – Lose 1 durability, restore 3 health to a friendly target your Hero.

Druid
Fist of Cenarius
6, 2/3 – Draw a card each time you attack.

And for the weapon ready:

Rogue
Evasion
6 – You are immune until your next turn.

Paladin
Silver Hand Champion
7, 4/5 – Battlecry: Give all other friendly minions Divine Shield.

Shaman
Lightning Shield
5 – Deal 3 4 damage to your next 3 attackers.

Warrior
Thunder Clap
5 – Deal 1 damage to all enemy minions and reduce their attack 1 until your next turn.

Hunter
Scattershot
6 – Your opponent cannot cast any spells any cards next turn.

They’re almost certainly not balanced so why not offer some suggestions in comments?

Hearthstone – Ranked Mode Medals to Reset Weekly

I was playing Hearthstone last night when around 3:00am New York Time I got the message onscreen: “Congratulations (2-star Gold) Medal earned last week.” When I won my next game, I was greeted with a Copper Medal. This didn’t bode well, and I double checked the Ranked Mode UI. Indeed, I had been ranked with a Copper medal. The server reset the Ranked Mode Medal.

hearthstone-medal-earned-last-week-congratulations

At first I thought this was a bug and reported it so. After discussing the matter with Narull (Australia/New Zealand Diablo III MVP) it was obvious that the Congratulations message stating “earned last week” means the reset was intended. Blizzard Entertainment is planning as of the current Hearthstone beta build 3890 to reset the Ranked Mode Medal on a weekly basis.

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Of course, this is beta. Things can change overnight as Blizzard continues to test and iterate beta and listens to fan feedback.

What does it mean for players to reset Ranked Mode Medals on a weekly basis? At the moment that is unknown. Blizzard did not mention this reset in the patch notes nor on the official forums or via Twitter. A response will likely be revealed in the next few hours. Stay tuned for an update to this post.

The first thing to come to mind is that Blizzard might be planning some juicy Hearthstone rewards if the reset is weekly. Those medals have a very short lifespan and resetting weekly might burn out players’ interest unless the rewards are so awesome they keep coming week after week to reach the highest possible medal.

Rewards might be different rarity of cards, extra Arcane Dust to create new cards, or something beyond my imagination. Arena Mode works this same way, but requires 150 gold to enter.

Update

There was a blue response from Community Manager Aratil at the official Hearthstone forums

The ranked ladder was reset yesterday. This was done in order to help us to test the ladder reset functionality as we continue to work on and develop how ladder systems will be implemented for Hearthstone. We appreciate your continued testing efforts through the Hearthstone closed beta to make this game the best it can possibly be for everyone on release!

 

Hearthstone Support for MacBook Pro Retina Display?

Quality Assurance Rolkyr posted the forum thread: “Hearthstone Closed Beta Known Issues” on October 3rd.

I found curious the choice of words: “Mac retina resolutions are not yet supported.” The “not yet” part gives away there are plans to support .

Blizzard Entertainment has supported Mac users for over a decade, so it is no surprise they might be planning to support Retina users. However, MacBooks are not the only Apple product using the Retina display. The Apple iPad with Retina Display is a good example.

The Retina display on iPad makes everything look crisp and lifelike. Text is razor sharp. Colors are vibrant. Photos and videos are rich with detail. All thanks to its 3.1 million pixels — a million more pixels than an HDTV.

Blizzard plans to launch Hearthstone on iPad later in 2014. The internal iPad alpha testing apparently began a few days ago, as Rob Pardo implied via Twitter.


Known Issues:

Gameplay

  • Setting a custom deck name can cause issues when trying to edit the contents of the deck. Restarting the client will allow you to edit the deck again.
  • The first custom deck you create on the account can cause the client to halt. This only occurs with a mage custom deck and a client restart is needed.
  • Sometimes daily quests are not granted immediately.
  • Sometimes minions will shift positions on the board.
  • The AI can make incorrect choices.
  • The End Turn button can appear at the incorrect angle.
  • An already opened chat history window overlaps any pop ups for friendly challenges.
  • The Credits do not roll properly when viewed from the lobby of Play Mode, Practice Mode or The Arena.

UI

  • Opening multiple packs in a row using ‘Spacebar’ can cause the client to become unresponsive. A client restart is needed to work around the issue. This is only a visual bug and the cards are added to your collection properly.
  • Alt+tabbing while on a loading screen can cause graphical issues.
  • Alt+tabbing on a Mac can cause the Dock to remain visible.

Client

  • The client can become unresponsive when quitting from the menu.
  • The sound effects from pack opening can loop.
  • Mac retina resolutions are not yet supported.
  • Alt+tabbing can cause audio to be heard when the client is not in focus or to not be heard in-game.
  • OSX specific keyboard commands do not function consistently with other Blizzard title.
  • The Warcraft 2 music is incorrectly controlled with the SFX slider as opposed to the music slider.

Cards

  • Returning a card to a player’s hand can cause the card to remain facedown on the board.

 

Hearthstone – Detailed Card History

Before the patch that wiped characters I can only remember when hovering your mouse over a card in the “card history” tab — on the left side of the Hearthstone board, you only saw the card name, type and flavor description text.

Now the card history contains a bit more information such as what cards it destroyed, or what card or hero it healed.

hearthstone-detailed-card-history

This new feature actually makes me wonder if Blizzard is planning to introduce some sort of Replay feature as seen in StarCraft/StarCraft: Brood War, StarCraft II and Warcraft III. There isn’t really much time to play your cards, and check out the history and checkout what happened last round or several rounds before the current round.

Maybe some sort of lobby where one can only browse through the detailed history outside Play Mode, where the player can actually see the name of that hateful card that annihilated your gameplay, to later plan to craft that card. A way to learn from other players’ strategies outside of a Play Mode game.

The new “Card History” feature is useful and interesting, but will Hearthstone have a Replay feature? Does it need a Replay feature? Share your thoughts.

Hearthstone – Crafting and Disenchanting

Disenchanting and Crafting in Hearthstone got a few UI changes in the latest beta patch build 3890. I can see people who buy many cards with real-money and those who play Arena-mode might benefit more than those who buy single packs with gold in terms of the amount and speed rate in which you obtain Arcane Dust to spend in crafting new cards.

You will see now a few screenshots of the Disenchanting and Crafting UI to give you an idea how it works. It’s very straightforward and intuitive. (More after the break)

Hearthstone – Murlocalypsed

Fear the Murlocalypse, brothers! I was so convinced I had this game. Every time he came up with units I would have a counter and at the end of my turn he didn’t have any units. I had a few, and more coming.

I grew overconfident, and let him slip a couple of murlocs, while I used all of my units to hit his hero. Out of the blue things got really, really ugly for me when his Murloc Tidecaller began to grow in health and damage as he summoned murloc after murloc. Then the cherry on top for his Murlocalypse sundae … Old Murk-eye.

If you see a single murloc out — my suggestion is to squash it right away. Otherwise you will get ambushed by a legion of murlocs with their battlecry in unison: “RwlRwlRwlRwl” which will leave you screaming in agony: “Nooooo!!!! I want my mommy =(”

hearthstone-murlocalypsed-2

Hearthstone Beta Opt-in Email Sent to US and EU Players

All United States and Europe players with a Battle.net account who enabled the Hearthstone Opt-in option have a good chance to be among those Blizzard Entertainment just invited to test Hearthstone Beta. Check out your email in the next 24-48 hours and double-check if you got one.

Yong Woo tweeted both US and EU Opt-in players were invited to test Hearthstone, and more waves of invites are coming in the near future. Additionally, there was a record of concurrency of players flooding the servers.

Yong Woo clarified that by US (United States servers) — he means players from South East Asia (SEA), Oceania: Australia/New Zealand (ANZ), North America, Latin America were invited yesterday, and many more will be invited more often in waves. This is the largest batches of invites ever going in Hearthstone.

I know you are very excited, but always precaution first and foremost. Beware of scams. Do not click on links blindly before checking the URL destination carefully.

Don’t forget to visit your Battle.net account page in case the Hearthstone beta has been enabled on your game list. Good luck everyone! See you at an Inn near you, matey!

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