Hearthstone Has Pulled Me In Yet Again, And I Don’t Know How To Feel

Blizzard’s card-collecting juggernaut, Hearthstone, has been going strong for ages now.

It’s been over 10 years now since Hearthstone was originally announced at PAX East in 2013. I distinctly remember feeling my heart skip a beat to see that Blizzard was even at the show (it was my first or second PAX, maybe third? I can’t even remember that far back now). I also remember feeling myself IMMEDIATELY deflate when I realized it was a card game. That being said, it was a card game based on World of Warcraft, which I still to this day have probably played more than any other game in my life collectively. How could I say no? Well… I didn’t. I caved pretty much immediately and have been off and on with Hearthstone ever since.

The cinematic trailer for Hearthstone’s “Kobolds & Catacombs” expansion, narrated and sung by Critical Role’s Matthew Mercer.

My love for Hearthstone culminated with the follow-up to my favorite expansion of all time (Kobolds & Catacombs, trailer above) – when in 2018 we had the opportunity to sit down with the game’s creator – Ben Brode – in one is still to this day one of the best and most high profile interviews we’ve done to date. We spoke to him for god knows how long, talked all about The Witchwood expansion, but sadly that set ended up being the last one our pal Ben worked on for Hearthstone, as he departed Blizzard later that year to co-found the studio Second Dinner.

That episode of Not Another Gaming Podcast is still up and linked below.

Fast forward to 2024, and Hearthstone has pulled me in yet again. I’ve found myself going back and forth over the years, but haven’t really played Hearthstone EVERY DAY since pre-2020. The most recent expansion, Showdown in the Badlands, is a cowboy-themed set that transforms beloved characters into outlaws and gunslingers in classic Hearthstone fashion… And I love it.

What’s more, the meta (as far as I can tell) is not very control heavy. The worst stretches I’ve hard with Hearthstone is where the most dominant decks are lockdown Freeze Mage or Cube Lock decks, or involve OTKO setup decks like with Quest Rogue or Reno Priest. Those are no fun and just feel like you’re playing solitaire until someone wins with no real board interaction. Right now with Plague Death Knight, Dragon Druid, Arcane Hunter, and others – it really feels like you’re constantly jockeying for board state while getting off as much face damage as you can. The game is flowing nicely again, and I love to see it.

There is, however, the built-in cost of the game that is lingering in the back of my mind. At the end of the day, if Hearthstone were to go under tomorrow for whatever reason (it won’t), my card collection is just gone. Pre-ordering the expansions isn’t necessary, but many do it anyway because the race to wield a meta deck and get competitive on the ranked ladder is always very real. So depending on the type of player you are, you could easily be spending $60-100 per set, maybe even more if you like to collect the game’s golden cards too.

It’s a lot to keep up with, and the price tag hanging over your head if you want to stay competitive in the game is definitely nothing to sneeze at. So yes, I’m definitely enjoying the game. And hey… If I’m having fun, I’ll probably still keep spending money. But I can’t help but feel like I’m running in place when it comes to “progressing” in the game no matter how much money I spend or how many games I win. That’s an odd feeling, and I hope Blizzard continues to innovate on the game to make it feel more rewarding for players who spend a significant chunk of their time playing Hearthstone.

Papa Dom

Co-founder, lead blogger, graphic designer, and manager of WGG's writing team - Dom has been writing about video games for over ten years. Dom's work has been featured on some of the world's biggest gaming news outlets - including Dexerto, GameInformer, and IGN.

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