I am excited for Hearthstone. I am also terrified, because Blizzard have pretty effectively nailed the free-to-play model, which means I won’t need to pay, but I sure as hell will want to. And, as I’ve learned in the past, Blizzard have always had a way with drawing me in wallet-first.
I can’t tell you how long I’ve been craving a game like this though: a free-to-play, Magic-esque, online card game which actually looks satisfying to play. I tried others in the past — in the long, long ago, before I had pushed that longing down, alongside other mad and unachievable dreams, such as owning a chocolate jetpack — and each seemed more concerned with having a functioning battle system rather than offering an enjoyable play experience. Hearthstone looks to remedy this; its presentation is charming, its interface clearly intuitive, and the gameplay… The gameplay. Some things you need to experience for yourself in order to tell whether or not it feels satisfying, but watch any gameplay footage of these matches and you’ll see just how dang meaty and engaging that system is, how obviously (and I’m going to run this word into the ground, but that’s because it is applicable and, more importantly, a word I personally haven’t been able to associate with a single game I’ve played since Bioshock Infinite) satisfying.
Hearthstone is currently in closed beta, but you can opt-in to get a chance at receiving an invite whenever they may send out another wave. If you’re like me however, and tend not to have any luck with those kinds of things, you can always just watch videos of people playing it on YouTube! Always. Forever. I was watching gameplay videos while I drew this comic, I think I have a problem somebody please SEND HELP.