Closed Beta Impression (Part 1)
Hearthstone, the long-awaited strategy card game from Blizzard, finally entered closed beta on August 16th. As one of the few lucky guys who have got a closed beta key, I enjoyed the game very much in the past week. As a card game, it is different from the common card games, but for someone who has played Magic The Gathering before, he or she can easily handle on the game soon. In this article I will introduce some basic information in Hearthstone and also some useful tips when building your own deck.
General Introduction of the various types of cards
Before you meet the various cards in Hearthstone, you need to finish the newbie quest first, which seems to be a compulsory lesson that every player should learn. During the newbie guide, players can take an overview of the whole game in an easy way. Hearthstone has two kinds of cards - Class and Neutral. Class cards are limited to each specific class, which are given the special skills while Neutral cards are available for all classes and is given three attributes: Mana, attack and HP. The picture below is a Neutral card, which costs players 6 Mana with 10 attacks and 10 HP.
All cards can be divided into three types: Basic Set, Expert Set and Reward Set. In Basic Set there are only ten cards available for each class. By playing Practice Mode with computer AI and level up to 10, players can unlock a class's all basic cards.
Expert Set is the core of the game including most Neutral cards and some Class cards and can be divided into four levels: Common, Rare, Epic, and Legendary. The higher level is the harder you can get it.
Reward sets are neutral cards which are only available during some special events, but cannot be disintegrated or crafted.
Oh, by the way, every card has a standard edition and a golden edition. Gold card is twinkling and has special animation. Both of them can be obtained by the same ways mentioned above, but gold card is quite rare that makes it more valuable and collectable than others.
Two ways to get Expert Set:
First one is purchase through the in-game store (check out the pack price here)! In every purchase players can get 5 cards including at least one rare card (sometimes it would be higher level). According to some players' calculation, the probability for players to get Epic cards is about 15%, to get Legendary cards 5%. Also, you can use 100 in-game gold to buy the packs but gold is hard to earn, only by doing some daily quests and winning in the PvP mode (you can check out how to earn gold quickly here).
Another way is crafting which means you can disintegrate the Expert Set you don't want into Arcane Dust to craft a new one. More crafting details can be found here.
Feature and Class
Before you play, you should choose a hero to customize your deck. Each hero stands for a class which is similar with WoW. There are 9 classes available in Hearthstone now: Warrior, Shaman, Rogue, Paladin, Hunter, Druid, Warlock, Mana and Priest. Every hero is given special skills (known as Hero Power) which can only be used once in every turn and costs 2 Mana crystals.
Each class has their own class cards (26 cards are available now including 10 Basic sets and 16 Expert Sets). These class cards play an important role in the playing styles. Warrior and Rogue can attack enemy and neutrals directly with equipped items; Mage is able to control enemies or make a direct damage while Priest is good at healing and exhausting enemy's HP.
Deck buidling and some useful tips
This is the interface of Hearthstone: left ones are cards you can choose; right one is your deck present. The system will reject the cards you cannot use, only leaving Neutral cards and some Class cards for you before play with other players.
Every player should select 30 cards to build your deck and start to play, which is different from Magic The Gathering. The same cards should not be over 2, so extra cards can be disintegrated into Arcane Dust and crafted to the cards you need. When building your deck, the system will give you some suggestions but it seems not very useful, simply helps you to know the game.
For each card, Mana is a critical element that players should take it into deep consideration and good preparation. The more Mana card is, the more powerful it will be. While a player should make a good Mana balance when playing, which is so called Mana curve.
For example when talking about Rexxar, he is given many animal companions and we can have a good combo to power them making your deck into a direct-attack one. Moreover there are some trigger cards, in other word -- Secret that will be triggered in some certain situations making a substantial damage to enemy.
For each card, Mana is a critical element that players should take into deep consideration when building the deck. Generally speaking, the more Mana cost, the more powerful it will be. Here's a small tips for you: you should not put too many high mana cost cards into your deck in order to avoid the negative situation in the early stage of the game because mana crystals are very limited. And meanwhile you should not take all the low mana cost cards or you will be defeated disastrously by your opponent's strong neutral cards. Therefore, you should make a good Mana balance when building your deck, which is so called Mana curve in the card game.
For example, Rexxar is given many wild beasts in the class cards so we can find more neutral cards to add into the deck and rely on the reinforcement each card has to build a strong combo, making your deck into a direct-attack one. Bear in mind that there are many deck building methods in Hearthstone. You can also use secret cards and high HP neutrals with taunt to build your deck, cooperated with Rexxar's hero power to make direct damage to your opponent's hero.
Besides, we can play our hero as an assistant while playing neutrals as our core. For example, shaman cooperated with murloc is another good choice as shaman can strengthen murloc by Flametongue Totem and Windfury to create rush attack.