Why Hearthstone Drives me Nuts
I’ve been wanting to talk about something like this for a really long time, ever since the game actually came out, and especially since I was suckered into playing the thing itself. If you haven’t heard of Hearthstone by now you’ve been living under a rock because that shit’s been advertised to holy hell and whenever you play a game of anything banners and ads will pop up screaming at you to play hearthstone. Online playing pokemon on a free site? Go play hearthstone. Opening a video in youtube to watch one of your cooking shows? Go play hearthstone. About to make sweet love to your childhood sweetheart after finally bringing up the nerve to tell them after so long and then everything works out in the end because your life is an anime? Well if you were using any electronic devices in this situation where in that case, more power to you, but yes indeed an ad will pop up to tell you to, GO PLAY HEARTHSTONE.
It’s not a bad game in any means, I’m gonna get this out of the way right now that I rather like Hearthstone. I enjoy the random elements, the skill in deckbuilding, the nonsensical interactions between cards and players. But the real problem I have with the game isn’t even really in the game itself. My biggest problem with Hearthstone, is with Blizzard itself, the creators.
To start off with, what do you think of when you hear, “Free to Play?” You think of stuff like League of Legends, you think of Team Fortress 2, or Portal because if that doesn’t get shipped into every copy of anything you do ever then I don’t know what is. You think of these games with upgrades and multiple characters and a whole crap ton of unlockables, but nothing that really inhibits you from playing the game. In TF2, you have more than enough to enjoy yourself out there, equipped with every character and their basic set of weapons, easily gaining new ones as you go along. Hell I haven’t played in a while so I don’t know if you get any free crap for starting out nowadays but you still have enough ability to get on an even playing ground with the veterans. There is no problem there. Then ya get your League of Legends, a bit harder to get everything right away. Honestly I’m still working on owning every champ in the game but I still know exactly how each one plays since they rotate 10 free ones each week. When you start out they put you reaaaaaal low, forcing you to play with other crayon-eating shit heads that don’t know what they’re doing so no one has an advantage. The gameplay is also tailored around building yourself up while you play, not essentially before-hand. It is true that as you level up these things called runes and masteries play a huge role in how you play, but when you start out everyone has nothing, and the highest level ones that you can buy are actually put on lockdown, forcing you to play the game to a certain extent before you can even get them, making sure no one has the upper hand. Good champs are cheap and you have quick ways to buy the ones you really want to play. A bit of a stretch but once again, no problem here.
The good ol Hearthstone comes strolling along just to make sure I’m not feeling too good about myself and squats down to take a shit on my dreams. I’d seen the highlights, I’d seen people play online, looked at the cool cards goin, “Man wallet warrior sounds really cool, I wonder why they call it that,” only to realize exactly why after I signed up and started to play. This shit costs money. Everything in this game is lined up and ready for you to play with except it all costs so much goddam money. Yes it is free to play because yes you can earn virtual cash to buy the stuff you want, but in reality, there is absolutely no way you can get everything this game has to offer within the next century if you don’t use actual money.
Before I go into the specifics of what happens when you start the game, I’m going to first spread out the numbers on what it takes to get cash, and what you can use it on. Every three games you win earns you 10 gold. Now that’s games you win, not games you play, which is important. Every day a new quest is given to you that gives you a sum of money ranging from the very common 40 gold to the highly prized and rare 100 gold. Each of these challenges usually say something like, “beat X amount of games as Y.” It only takes 100 gold to buy a random pack of 5 cards, where each pack guarantees you to at least pull a rare, giving you the chance to randomly pull epics and legendaries, the other incredibly valuable cards. So right now this all seems pretty nice. You’ve got a clear cut idea on how money works and exactly how you can save up to go and play that sweet looking deck you saw online. Now if you want to spend money, buy a few packs, get some of those really nice looking solo adventure quests they make to get some cool cards, that’s totally fine, go for it, more power to ya.
But, instead, if you want to try and earn all the fake monies yourself, battlin your way through the challenges to rake in that sweet digital cash, I’ve got just one thing to say to you. You, will get, absolutely nowhere. It takes months to get anywhere in this game without spending a single bit of cash on this black hole of fun. That wallet warrior I was talking about before has at least eight legendary cards in it, lord knows how many epics, and a crap ton of rares. Whenever you buy a pack you are most likely going to get a handful of commons and a rare that doesn’t match the deck you want to build. That sucks, but Hearthstone gave you a little system to be able to still use these cards to get the big ones by converting the little ones into dust. Each common card can be burned down and converted into five dust, with rares giving 20, epics giving 100, and legends can be turned into a sweet 400. Now that would be a fantastic thing to think about before you realize that Legendary cards cost SIXTEEN HUNDRED DUST to make. Yea, freaking sixteen hundred. Oh you just got a pack full of cards you’re not gonna use after playing 10 games and managing to beat all the quests you did? Well good cus that’ll give you a nice wopping total of 40 dust and you’re on your way. Only fifteen hundred and sixty more to go. Oh right that’s just for your first legendary that you want to make, you’ve got 7 more to go. Oh and I almost forgot. One of the integral parts of the deck comes from a card halfway in one of the solo adventures that you need to buy, each part of it costing 700 gold in total and you can’t skip any of them, you need to go in order. Sounds like fuuuuun riiiiiiight?
So after you let the existential crisis and understanding that you’re gonna get nowhere without forking over your hard earned cash set in, you decide to toughen up, to fortify yoself and try to go about it anyway. I can do it, I’m a tough guy or girl or some third thing that doesn’t need to stoop to chucking money at a computer to feel good about myself. So now you go off to try and play some games, but you remember it’s 3 wins to get 10 gold. . . yea 10 gold that’s it, not even haflway there to buy a pack, let alone one of the solo adventure parts. Yea you’ve got to play 69 (heh 69) more games and that is only IF you win them. And here’s the final kicker. The deck you get to start with, is garbage. It’s absolutely chicken shit in comparison to these final decks, or anywhere even close to the middle. There are single cards out there that will absolutely ruin you, if you don’t have the proper means to combat them. And trust me, starting out the game with no money thrown in, you don’t stand a chance. Which is why they implemented a system where you just fight people in your range. Yea of course they would do that it only makes sense, that would just crush any reason for you to keep playing the game and would be terrible marketing. Instead, they leave it up chance. You have no ability to earn the cards you want through the ridiculously over grindy means they provide you, and the insanely subpar cards they give you in the beginning. If you don’t spend any money here, I can assure you, a game will come where you are doing everything in your power to win, you’ve got a strong hold on this game and there is nothing that can take you out from your high chair. God it feels so good. You’ve got such advantage and only divine intervention can rob you of this moment. Oh but wait. Fuckstick over here pooped out some money and bought more packs then you did, and managed to pull one of those massively unfair legendary cards that shits all over your deck right now. You don’t have the spells to deal with it and you didn’t save any for this moment because of course you didn’t see it coming, this guy plays like trash there’s nothing he could do to you. Well nothing besides this. Now you’ve got no way to get back to winning. You throw everything you’ve got at this schmuck to finally kill their card but it’s too late, you lost too many resources and they’ve gained too much momentum and there ya go, game over. Alright go back in to another game and try again. Who knows it probably won’t happen again maybe.
Now I know what some of you are gonna say right away about this here. “It’s a card game so of course you gotta spend money to play.” And of course you are technically right. But the thing is, with real card games like magic or yu-gi-oh or whatever new one comes out nowadays I’ll never care about, you get real physical cards. You get these actual cards you get to play with and use and own that can be used to trade for other cards with other people or even gift to your friends cus your such a nice person. Man that’s real nice of you way to go. Instead, you have no way of building up your little card game empire through any means other than your own wit and of course that little green paper thing sitting in your wallet, and everything that you get that doesn’t lead into the decks you want builds up into a pile of shattered hopes and dreams.
Now if you already play the game there’s also another thing you’re probably gonna say which is the arena. Now the arena is a special little bit of chaos because it takes 150 of your little gold earnings and throws you into a hole saying, “MAKE A DECK,” and sends you off on your way. You are given a chance to fight other people that also have crappily randomly made decks to fight for super duper prizes that are usually dust, bits of gold, and usually a pack or two. Now that is awesome, and all well and good, but the thing is, you have to actually do well in arena. The cards you get are completely random, as well as the order in which you get them and whoever you play with. There’s a lot of skill involved in arena of course but only for those that have played for a long time. For everyone else, it’ll take quite a bit to get on that level, much like anything else in this game.
Besides people playing asinine decks that are designed to be annoying and make you lose, the biggest part of Hearthstone that’ll cut you at your knees is the money system. You can’t go anywhere without paying money, and you sure as hell can’t do it within a nice and easy amount of time either. Everything is designed to make you want to use cash too. The bargain sales, the fact that if you don’t use cash you have to buy each pack one at a time. There is no function to buy multiple packs in one go, you have to keep clicking that freaking button to do it. But not for the money users, they get to click on how many they wanna buy all lumped together in one nice fantastic package. Hooeee how swell for them.
The fact that this game is labeled as free-to-play probably urks the crap out of me more than anything. It is technically free-to-start, but if you want to get anywhere within this lifetime you need cash, and that drives me up a wall. Just even throwing 5 or 10 bucks at this thing can put you at a clear advantage over any other player, and that clearly turns Hearthstone right around into Pay-To-Win territory. Once again, I still like it, I have a lot of fun doing zany stuff. But I know unless I fork over loads of cash, I’ll never get to play the crazy stuff that I look for online within the time frame of me being able to remember what fun was before the robots overthrow us.