Mar 092014
 

This is somewhat embarrassing. I’ve been gushing about Hearthstone, planning to write guides and things for it…and now, I can’t be bothered to log in. Just jumping on to knock out quests feels like a chore now, when a few months ago, I vividly remember staying up until the daily quest reset a few months ago to get one more in.

So what happened? Well, I thought about it for a bit, and there’s three main factors:

  1. Lack of extrinsic progression. Otherwise described as “nothing-to-do” syndrome. WoW players are intimately familiar with this; once you’ve ran all the content in the current tier and gotten most of the drops you need, there’s no real reason to keep coming back. (Excepting raiders, who have a whole set of group dynamics that non-raiders do not.) Same thing for Hearthstone; once you’ve unlocked the majority of the cards, there’s no more meaningful progression. That would be fine, except…
  2. Lack of skill progression. My progression in Hearthstone reminds me a lot of my progression playing online poker. If you study, you go from being completely clueless to being reasonably good pretty quickly. However, further improvement past that point gets more and more challenging, and becomes extremely hard to quantify. For Hearthstone, once you’ve figured out the basic flow of the game, researched deckbuilding (or Arena drafting for value) online, and made all the the common newbie mistakes, there’s not really anywhere else to go.  I’ve realized that any further progression on my part revolves around anticipating draws (both mine and my opponents) and adjusting current play to account for that, but that’s pretty fiddly. I’d still play anyway, though, if it wasn’t for…
  3. Speed. The current turn limit is pretty slow. There are a few turns where you need 90 seconds (either due to a complex situation, or just waiting for all the animations to play out if you have lots of moves to make) but for the most part, 30 seconds is plenty. I’m not sure how to change this, though, as I did need that time as a new player to read card descriptions and things. Currently, I’m doing something else in a second browser window or on the phone while I’m waiting for the opponent to take his turn. When I’m enjoying that other activity more than playing Hearthstone, that’s a problem. My way of fixing this in online poker was playing multiple tables at once; that’d be really cool for Hearthstone, but will never happen.

Note that I’m not really complaining – I’ve definitely enjoyed my time in Hearthstone, and it’s completely unrealistic to consider a game that has still not been officially released unworthy because it can’t be my go-to game forever. I do hope that the upcoming patch with the live release addresses at least the speed issue, though, and gives me something else to work towards. (Grinding out Legend rank seems off-putting to me with the current rapid rank resets.) I’ve got about 2000 gold and 3000 dust saved up hoping for something new to come along.

In the meantime, I’m dabbling in a bunch of games. I’ve gotten hooked on Marvel: Puzzle Quest on my phone; if you liked the previous PQ’s at all, give it a shot; it’s F2P, and the limitations of playing for free aren’t that restrictive. I may write up a one-off guide post for it, as there’s some interesting depth to the mechanics of the asynchronous multiplayer. I’m also working through my Steam backlog, though I have no hopes of ever finishing that. :)

 Posted by at 10:57 am

  5 Responses to “My current problems with Hearthstone”

  1. The time between turns is definitely too long! It would be awesome if they added a “speed” version of the game; where you can choose different brackets depending on how well you know the game/ how fast you can read.

    I had never really sat down and thought about the -why- behind me losing pretty much all interest in Hearthstone after enjoying it so much, but you have summed it up nicely. I’m hoping that once it’s out on tablet I’ll get back into it, but in the meantime I am off playing other things.

    Thanks for sharing the tip about Puzzle Quest! I’ll have to try it out some time :)

    • I thought about a “speed” version (like blitz chess) too… the only problem with that is matchmaking. Blizzard deliberately doesn’t let you specify much of anything when you click Play in order to match you quickly; adding a speed filter would hurt that.
      (Plus, it’s more likely going to be experienced/better players going for the speed version, which sets up an unfun choice.)

  2. I have the same problem, but am in a bit worse situation – I co-run the biggest Hearthstone site in Poland, recently we’ve gotten the official fansite status from the Blizzard, heh. On the plus side, I’ve got hooked on diablo3 again, so at least I ‘stayed in the family’…

    • Yeah, I’m back into Diablo 3 too. Still not sure if I’m going to purchase RoS, but as someone who quit on Act 2 Inferno not long after release, the 2.0 update has fixed basically everything that’s wrong with the game. (Minus the online requirement, which I can live with.)

      • Yeah the game is more or less like it should have been in the first place, but with RoS it will be a complete package. I hope they’ll continue to add smaller content patches every now and then though.

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