I have well over 100+ hours sunk into Hearthstone. I’m a veteran to Blizzard’s adaptation of the Warcraft card game and have a majority of the cards from all expansion packs. I will admit, I have purchased probably a rents worth of cards. That’s the trap I usually fall into but not until I had a sudden realization. I’m already an experienced player, but what about the new players? Would they have the same leverage I would have if others were to start anew? If I were to do this right, I would have to create a Hearthstone smurf account – which I did – and I wasn’t surprised. I was incredibly irked.
New Account: The Quest to Grind
Starting a new account in Hearthstone had to be the most frustrating progress I’ve encountered in a long time. As all video games usually go, there was a tutorial with NPC bosses to fight. I would fight through six opponents to proceed to the actual game. Five out of the six were a cakewalk but the last boss, Illidan, was a bit of nuance as the whole fight was programmed to a specific path of completion. I lost about two or three times before conquering the evil demon of Outlands.
After the tutorial, I was placed back into the main title screen. Only two game modes were available: Play mode (an online casual and ranked matches) and Solo Adventures (a deck-building, single-player game). There are two more game modes called The Arena and Tavern Brawl, but those were unavailable due to being unlocked. I’ve done my fair share of Solo Adventures, and there are ways to obtain new booster packs from the previous expansion. I headed straight for online matches. At that moment, I knew I was in for a nightmare grind.
I was unable to start in casual and had to place in the ranks. Okay, not a huge deal because ranked matches start at level 25 and can be easily pushed to level 20. Nope. I had to start at level 50! I was shocked, or more appalled, that I had to start that low. There was a reason for this. Blizzard purposefully would have players go from ranked 50 to 25 because beginner players would all be matched equally. Also, every five ranks three packs of classic card packs would be rewarded but only up to level 25. I managed to find out on a forum that I was able to skip all the way to rank 25 but would not be given the booster packs. The players in ranked 25 are more likely to have the new expansion cards and awesome decks – I’ll explain near the end.
That wasn’t the worst of it; I wanted to customize my cards and wasn’t allowed to. Turned out in order to gain access to creating a new deck with new cards I would have to unlock all heroes. I already had the mage class unlocked, but I had to go into practice mode and beat the other eight classes to do anything else.
Did He Do It?
Oh, I did it, but it wasn’t a pleasant accomplishment. With everything unlocked and ranked up to level 25, I have obtained a great deal of the classic cards. I’m now ready to play my first match with players who have the current cards.
The first match in Hearthstone wasn’t horrible. I could tell after the first few turns that his deck was just as good as mine. I lost, but it was a fair fight. In the second match, everything was progressing fine, casual hits here and there. Then the unthinkable happens and the opponent placed a burglary card – which allowed him to steal any class card. Once they used that card, I already knew what was going to happen next. I could sense the future for a brief second in time, and I wasn’t going to be making it out alive for this one. Later, he/she dropped a legendary, filled the board, and I conceded.
Players Who Are Better
I’ve already mentioned about when reaching rank 25 or just doing a casual match the opponents will get harder. I explained through my trials of starting a new account and going through the grueling grind. Hearthstone for beginners will only reward with cards from the classic set and not the latest expansions (Solo Adventures are an exception).
From the beginning, Hearthstone was a little easier to level up and collect all the cards because of only being the base set. This also made the matches fairer because everyone had custom decks that could compete against each other. As the seasons and years dragged on, more expansions would be released- along with Solo Adventures, Arenas, and weekly Tavern Brawls. Blizzard soon came up with the concept to buy booster packs or campaign chapter/wings for around 100 – 800 gold. Quests were given to players daily and only could be active one per day or a total of three quests on the board. Once quests were completed, a certain amount of gold would be granted to the account. The option to save it or spend it was totally up to the player.
Hearthstone will test the patience of everyone who doesn’t want to spend a cent on the game. That meant, waiting every day for a quest to come out. Also, Hearthstone will test the patience of keeping calm from constantly losing matches due to players having better decks. There are ways of beating more advance decks, but that would mean the opponent had a bad hand or they just had no idea how to play the game.
In conclusion, Hearthstone has been one of my most played app games of all time. I’m obsessed with solo adventures and do have the patience to save gold to buy the expansions. Some times I do spend real money for packs, but mainly I use the coins I save up from matches. For new players interested in the game. Don’t get it unless you are ready to pay some money. The single-player missions are fun and free to play, but the decks you want to build for one vs. one battles would more likely need real-life money.