The Search Continues

The search for a WoW replacement continues. I don’t think I’ll find the answer from a Blizzard game. I’ve tried out Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm. Heroes of the Storm is mediocre at best, and Hearthstone is terrible. Pay to Win games just plain suck and there’s no way around it. I’ll play around with Diablo 3, since I got a free copy anyway, but my hopes aren’t high. As far as I’ve seen, Blizzard hasn’t turned out a quality product in almost a decade. It’s sad, really, because they used to be so good. Now? Well, now my launcher was closed for 3 or 4 days and I didn’t even notice.

Hearthstone

I saw the free mount offer and so decided to check out Hearthstone (as was undoubtedly Blizzard’s intention). A few firsts impressions.

  • Gameplay itself is pretty fun. It’s not as good as some other CCGs I’ve played (Magic: The Gathering, for example), but it seems to offer a nice mix of simple and complex.There were enough mechanics to allow you to set up combos without being completely overwhelming. The tutorial was pretty well done; introducing one new mechanic at a time was a good choice. The old axiom “easy to play, difficult to master” comes into play here.
  • The UI is terrible. Everything from character selection to deck selection to the deck editor is harder than it needs to be. Obvious features are missing, and some of the options listed don’t actually work.
  • It feels unpolished and buggy, especially for a launch. By my standards, this game is at the beginning of the “playable beta” stage. It simply is not ready for release.
  • The matchmaking feature, in particular, needs work. It seems to randomly pair you with literally anyone in the queue. An match has basically 3 outcomes: 1) you get stomped, 2) it’s a tight match, or 3) you pwn the other guy. A balanced match should lean toward option 2 with options 1 & 3 being a rarity.  Granted, I don’t have a massive sampling thus far, but to date, 1 & 3 seem to be the norm in roughly 2:1 W/L ratio, with tight matches being such a rarity as to suggest they may as well never happen. I either get stomped quickly by someone with a massive card superiority (they’ll get out more rare cards by round 5 than I even own), or I overwhelm somebody so completely that I can only imagine they never knew what hit them (meaning I probably have a massive card superiority over them). Twice I’ve beaten an opponent so fast they never got a single point of damage off against me and several other times it was 5 or less damage. Whether this was bad matchmaking, poor shuffling RNG, or both, doesn’t really matter to me. It wasn’t fun for me and I can’t imagine it was fun for them, either. The system(s) need work.

So, TLDR: overall a positive experience, but it feels incomplete.