Having just wrapped up an arena winning 7 games, my main thought for the last 3-4 games was “make it end”. I kept playing just because, but yea, not really fun. Mage deck that happened to pull 4 flamestrikes, zzzz but effective. Oh and the new cards are in the arena, and let me tell you, they are a HOOT with all the random BS they cause. A total hoot!
On the flip side was my experience with Hex. The intro tutorial had no sound. The default size of the chat window is so small its kind of a joke. The whole thing doesn’t feel as polished or solid as Hearthstone, and Hex is a PC game where Hearthstone is an ipad app.
On the other hand, even two games into the PvE series (campaign?), I’ve already made more interesting decisions and felt more in control of the game than 99% of Hearthstone games, and that’s using the intro deck which I’m pretty sure is designed to be really basic (though maybe not, see less polish issue above). I could see myself playing Hex for a long time, if once I get over the learning curve it overall ‘works’. Too early to say just yet, but so far so good.
Playing Hex actually made me realize just HOW dumbed down Hearthstone is. I mean I had a good idea of what a normal game of MtG plays like, but it’s been a few years since I’ve actually done it. Playing Hex reminded me just how many decision points during one full round Blizzard removed, to say nothing about the actual cards or other game systems.
Which highlights why I’m so hard on Hearthstone; there is no reason Blizzard couldn’t have gone with the design of Hex, and the polish of Hearthstone. Yes, I know Blizzard was hoping to capture the masses with this ‘casual’ app, but they failed. “The masses” isn’t a game in the top 50 for revenue, and out of the top 200 in terms of downloads when it has the Blizzard name and Warcraft IP behind it.
If Hearthstone was a massive success I wouldn’t be ranting about it, but rather would just accept that its a game not for me but clearly for a lot of others. But it isn’t. Maybe with future updates it might be, but right now it isn’t. And it could have been something far more interesting and successful. Old Blizzard would have delivered that. New Blizzard didn’t. Maybe they can’t.