Should I Stay or Should I Go – Hearthstone

I finally got to enjoy an evening of playing one of my favorite games.  Hearthstone.

Hearthstone is an online card game designed by Blizzard (same folks that brought us World of Warcraft and Overwatch).  It has to be played online because certain mechanics in the game would be very difficult to track in a live version (random selection, copying cards, etc).  They add in some awesome visual and audible effects that make the game flashy and fun too!

You play 1v1 with a self-made deck of cards from a vast collection, and I have played since it came out back in 2014 so I would say I have a reasonable portion of the cards available.

The game is free, but the catch is some cards are objectively better than others.  You can buy packs to potentially nab these powerful cards, but you are stuck slowly grinding away to get in-game gold you can use to buy these packs if you don’t want to spend real moneys.

To its credit, the game rewards you decently for playing, and back when I played daily I was putting together multiple decks with mostly the best cards.

Then they bring on a new season and a bunch of old cards get phased out.  You can keep them, but not use them in ranked (competitive) play.

This got to be too frustrating when I couldn’t play as regularly, so I slowed down how much I played even further.  They recently released a new season, and phased out most of my cards again, but I wanted to check it out regardless.  The new cards and mechanics they have introduced through the years have been a mixed bag.  Some very cool and fun to use, others tiresome and demoralizing.

I have always been a fan of free expansions, and Hearthstone has stayed true to keeping the game free for all.  They gotta make a buck somehow though, and getting a few people to buy packs each time they release new cards is how they do this.  So I find myself stuck between two concepts I find value you in:

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and “How can we make this better?”

I love the new waves of cards that give the game variety, but I hate watching my progress get systematically wiped away every year.

Cerebral Cellar has our own methodology.

Create a whole box (none of the Magic or Pokemon random pack nonsense) that contains every card designed to date.  That will have a set price, and you will be able to purchase an entire game in one box.
When we find ways to improve the game, or add new cards, we will sell expansions down the road.

This avoids any of the negative feeling “oh if I only had that card” while also allowing us to evolve the game.

I like our middle of the road plan, but maybe you have a better idea?

If you play Hearthstone, how do you feel about the method they chose?  Based on my limited explanation, I’d like to here from non-players as well!

-James Schoenster
Co-founder of Cerebral Cellar

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