Saturday, May 2, 2015

Heroic Blackrock Mountain

Heroic Blackrock Mountain cleared.This past Thursday the last wing of Blackrock Mountain has been opened. The bosses on normal difficulty are quite easy to beat. It would typically take me one try. Normal difficulty Nefarian took 3 tries, because the mechanic was not fully clear at first.

Bosses on the heroic difficulty are extremely hard for the most part. Not only does it take multiple tries to tweak the deck, but the luck of the draw plays a big factor too. The deck building for these bosses was the most interesting part for me. Actually figuring out what the weakness of each boss is to exploit it.

Special card back reward for clearing Heroic Blackrock Mountain.The only deck that I wasn’t able to figure out on my own was General Drakkisath, where all cards cost 1 mana, you are capped at 1 and he is at 2. Another super hard one was Dark Iron Arena which I won purely by a lucky Unstable Portal into Lord Jaraxxus.

The bonus for beating all heroic bosses is a special card back — so it’s purely cosmetic. Making everyone beat some of these close to impossible bosses for actual cards would not be in the spirit of Hearthstone, where anyone can be successful without spending a cent of actual money. My previous favorite card back was the one I got for clearing Heroic Naxxramas. Now I’m sticking with this new one.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hearhstone Update

My latest Hearthstone stats.Tomorrow Blizzard is releasing a second adventure mode expansion for their free-to-play card game Hearthstone. The expansion is going to focus on defeating the multitude of bosses and their minions that reside inside the Blackrock Mountain. Blackrock Mountain is actually the place we used to raid during our World of Warcraft days, when it took 40 people to defeat anything.

Lucky pack.Meanwhile I wanted to post an update on our past and current adventures in Hearthstone. We never really stopped playing. Sometimes we play more, sometimes less, but all throughout these months we’ve been enjoying this great game where a typical match takes from 10-15 minutes.

Angry Chicken win.Sometimes I start to lose interest, but my favorite Hearthstone podcast — The Angry Chicken — starts the fire again. The podcast is named after one of the most worthless cards in the game, but it was really fun when I made it work and won a game with it. That one was for Garrett, Dills and Jocelyn.

Rank 6.Alёna mostly prefers Arena mode (although she plays ranked too), as do I. But sometimes I play on the ladder for a while. My best result ever was reaching rank 6. Maybe one day I’ll make it to legendary, but I probably don’t have the skill nor the time to do that.

Lucky pack.One of the big draws to the game is getting as many cards as possible, which in turns allows you to build good or fun decks. Fun decks often lose, but they are fun — like my favorite Priest Madness deck which keeps stealing everything opponent is trying to throw at you and using it against the opponent. Back to the packs — sometimes you get complete junk, or stuff that you already have. However sometimes you strike gold — when every card in the pack is great.

10 wins in a row in Arena.The maximum number of games that you can win in Arena is 12. However we never got that far. My best run was up to 10, but it only happened once. I had a lot of 7s and a couple of 8s. Sometimes on very rare occasions you lose with 0 wins. That never feels pleasant, but for some reason on several occasion now the game gave me a legendary card as a consolation prize in the pack after such lose.

Defeated Curse of Naxxramas on Heroic difficulty.And a while back, when Blizzard released their first expansion — the Curse of Naxxramas — I beat it on Heroic difficulty. It’s been a lot of fun to build decks specifically to play on each boss’s weakness. That’s why I’m looking forward to playing through the Blackrock Mountain, which brings 31 news cards with it.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Last Word on Hearthstone

Opening a new pack of cards.A couple of last thoughts on Hearthstone. At least for the time being. The game is enjoyable. I was able to amass a nice collection of cards and have achieved a rank of 12 (from starting 25). It’s not great at all by any real standards, but that was my best and is decent enough for my first TCG game.

Overall statistics.I’ve stopped playing it about 2 weeks ago. The main draw for me was opening new card packs and adding something new and nice to my collection of cards. At this point I’ve got a lot of good deck worthy cards. Most of them actually barring the legendaries. The only useful legendary that I actually did get is Ragnaros the Firelord.

My best Arena run.When you play Arena and at the end you open up a pack of cards and all of those cards are already in your collection you lose interest. At least I do. And when that happens time after time after time — well, you stop playing. Again, this is all normal and not a knock against Blizzard or anything. It’s just the way it is for a game of this type.

Super annoying murloc zoo Warlock.However I did build pretty decent fun decks for almost all classes. My big exception is Druid simply because I just did not get lucky with any good Druid cards. They are just not coming. My favorite classes in the long run are Mage, Hunter, Shaman and Paladin. My previous favorite Priest just doesn’t do very well with the way things currently are. Warrior can do really well, but it needs to have a ton of legendary cards to be effective.

Some Priest domination.The most popular decks in the current meta are Warlocks and “Miracle” Rogues. I don’t enjoy playing “Hand” Locks and “Zoo” Locks are just annoying. For “Miracle” Rogue deck to work you need a specific legendary which I do not have.

My highest rank.And that’s pretty much it. However there is a big expansion coming which is right on the horizon. Maybe I’ll give it another whirl when that comes around. Also Alёna still plays some Arena games from time to time. I do still love opening new packs with her when she gets them.
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Monday, April 14, 2014

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

A won match.A couple of days ago I by pure chance discovered a new game that I ended up finding quite a bit enjoyable, through a promotional email that Blizzard tends to bomb me with. The game is called Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and it’s a digital collecting (trading) card game.

I always felt that I missed out on the whole Magic: The Gathering thing back in the day. Because of that when Blizzard produced World of Warcraft Trading Card Game I happily jumped on it.

Playing with Priest deck.However for somebody as casual of players as my friends and I are there were several problems. First of all to keep the game somewhat fresh one has to constantly be pumping money into it. Once the initial thrill of facing your friends with your newly formed deck ends and you become familiar with their play style and their stronger moves it stops being as much fun. It also is the only way to stay competitive against other players.

Playing in clubs against other people we simply wouldn’t have time for now and after taking prolonged breaks it became hard to remember all the moves and rules. This probably sounds lame to some real trading card game fans, but that’s what it is.

Hunter.All of the above things are not a problem with a digital game. You still have the thrill of opening new packs, but you can earn them without spending any real money. You can obtain them through in-game currency which is earned by doing quests and winning games.

The game itself is free to begin with as well. You get to build your custom decks from all your cards for different classes without having to reshuffle real cards and taking them apart and putting decks back together.

Almost finished.You get to compete against the computer with pretty good AI and best of all you get to face off real players online. And all the rules are really easy to figure out since the game basically doesn’t let you do what you can’t do and it keeps score for you and when you start it guides you through an easy to understand tutorial.

At the beginning you get one class and a crash course that makes you easily get the rules. Then you unlock other characters of other classes and then you build a couple of custom decks and compete. I started out with a priest, but now I’ve gotten pretty good with my hunter deck. I like the synergy that a lot of cards in the deck have with each other.

Unlocked characters.There is also an Arena mode and a ranked game-play. I tried both and they are also equally interesting. I can say that for such a simple game that can be played in as little as 5-15 minutes at a time it is a pretty damn addictive and fun strategy game. Now I need to coerce my real friends to join it and try it out so we could face off against each other.

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