Tag Archives: Blizzard

Ashes of Outland Notable Cards

Introduction

Editor’s Note: Welcome to Ashes of Outland Notable cards. Those of you who have read my other articles that are “set reviews” know that this isn’t a simply a list of the best cards from the set. There are plenty of those lists out there. Rather, it is a list of cards that I find interesting or enjoyable from the set. That’s a good thing because this set introduces some of the most broken cards and mechanics in Hearthstone history.

Speaking of Demon Hunter, I question Blizzard’s game design and balance team more and more after this expansion. There’s no way that half of these cards should have even seen the light of day. If you don’t believe me, start an account, join ladder, and come back to see me after the first match where you don’t face Demon Hunter. I will see you next expansion. I’ve been playing with a basic Demon Hunter deck to finish their introduction quests and I don’t think I’ve lost yet.

How is it even possible? You will see this emote non-stop, too.

Okay, unhelpful pissing and moaning out of the way, let’s get to the actual introduction. As mentioned in the last article, it’s been a while since I’ve done Hearthstone content. The main reason for that is that it’s been a while since I’ve done any content. The real reason is that it was never a priority of mine when I wanted to write for the page. I’ve got nothing but time now and a new set just released, so why not jump on the bandwagon early. And, so, my Ashes of Outland notable cards.

Demon Hunter

Demon Hunter is so OP, it shot to the top of the alphabetical list.

Sightless Watcher: I was watching a stream (because Twitch has become my background entertainment of choice lately) and someone said, “Hey, we finally have scry!” It’s not exactly that, but it’s definitely the Hearthstone equivalent of that. Neat mechanic. I hope they do more.

Druid

They really like giving Druids things that cost 1.

Ysiel Windsinger: This card is somewhat redundant with the semi-broken Kael’thas. However, I’m intrigued by the fact that Blizzard keeps printing these cards for druids that cause other cards to cost one. I just don’t understand the reason for the mechanic. Look at me, trying to find reasons for things Blizzard does in this game.

Hunter

Zixor, Apex Predator and Zixor Prime: These cards are complete and utter garbage. Hey, I told you. This isn’t a list of the best cards. It’s just a list of cards that I find interesting. For whatever reason, these are the only “prime” cards that made the list. I honestly can’t tell you why. The other hunter cards must be real trash.

Mage

Free cards? Well, if you insist.

Evocation: As soon as I saw this card, I knew that it would be my favorite card in the set. It does stupid, and potentially broken, stuff with almost no draw back. Nuff said.

Paladin

I miss fishing in WoW.

Underlight Angling Rod: There was a time in World of Warcraft where I was chasing fishing achievements. Yes, there have been times in my life that I’ve been a sad World of Warcraft addict. I’ve actually found the pull of the game almost irresistible lately. Thank goodness the only computer that runs it is in Aiden’s bedroom right now, so I can avoid it.

Priest

Overcosted mass removal with a catch. Oh, priest, you slay me.

Soul Mirror: People hate priest and with good reason. Hearthstone is spam minions and go face. Witness demon hunter if you don’t believe me. Priest often makes it impossible to do just that. This card doesn’t do that. Since more and more minions are being printed with more toughness than attack (those are MTG terms, but I don’t care enough to learn the HS ones), this card is situational and, potentially stupid. It’s also legendary, so you can only put one in your deck. WTF, Blizzard.

Rogue

I love the Discover mechanic.

Shadowjeweler Hanar: Hearthstone loves random effects. Once upon a time, Chris tried to emulate Hearthstone on paper and all of the random effects stymied him. Still, good on him for sticking to his principles. What’s all this have to do with this card? Well, Blizzard actually did something right with Discover. It mitigates some of the randomness and feels like it gives you control over it. Discover is perhaps the best mechanic in this game.

Shaman

Have I mentioned that I love Discover?

Marshspawn: This is one of the few cards I’ve actually gotten to play in the game. I put together a highlander Shaman deck to do a quest and this is one of the cards in the deck. It has discover. It makes the list!

Warlock

YuGiOh fans are shouting “Pot of Greed!”

Hand of Gul’dan: Somehow part of Warlock’s identity is card draw. There’s supposed to be draw back to that card draw as part of that identity. Other than the cost, I don’t see a drawback here. But, who the hell is going to ever pay 6 for this card?

Warrior

Punch, punch, punch, punch, Zzzzzzzz….

Warmaul Challenger: This card is just dumb because potentially you are going to see the animation 10 times as it just punches the other card for 1 damage each time. That’s going to be annoying for your opponent. Hey, if I can’t have fun playing a game, neither will you!

The Verdict (There are some neat Ashes of Outland notable cards)

Ashes of Outland introduces the first new hero in the game. Demon Hunter is pathetically broken. However, let’s focus on the positive. There are some really fun cards in this set. Demon hunter be damned, I’m going to play each and every one before the end of this stay at home order. I suggest you get out there and do the same. Together, we can defeat the scourge of demon hunters!

Probably not. But, at least we will die happy. Eh, that’s probably not true, either.

Note: All images courtesy of Blizzard and Hearthstone. Taken and used without permission by using the Google machine. So, really, when you think about it, it’s all their fault. Plus, if you’re feeling litigious, I promise you they have much more money than me.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds April 2020

Introduction

Welcome to Hearthstone Battlegrounds April 2020. I remember the first time I saw Battlegrounds. Heavily invested in Autochess at the time, I also tried Teamfight Tactics, but was not nearly as good at that one. The thing about TFT is that I thought I had found someone to play the game with, but it turned out to be a missed opportunity. And, so, I continued to get my autobattling fix from Autochess.

I happened upon Battlegrounds by accident, if memory serves. It might not. The last month has been deleterious to my overall mental state. Then again, I did just properly use the word “deleterious”. However, I had to look it up in the dictionary to check the spelling and definition. See, mental state deteriorating. I’m having a conversation with myself.

Please send help.

There was an invitational for streamers to show off the game mode. I said in chat that I might never play the other modes of Hearthstone again. Not that he cares, but I probably even texted something like that to Chris. While that isn’t strictly true, I’ve definitely put more hours into Battlegrounds than any other Hearthstone mode. As evidenced by the lack of content on the page. Follow the link and laugh. Let’s explore why.

The Decent

No Emotes/Chat: This isn’t exactly true. There are only picture emotes, but I can’t entirely figure out what they are supposed to mean. Even so, some players spam them endlessly. There is nothing that online gaming communities can’t corrupt.

Not even a Happy Cow.

Broken Heroes: If there’s one thing that Blizzard is known for, it is terrible balance in Hearthstone. I’m going to give my “notable cards review” for the new set on Thursday, so there will be plenty of time to discuss their latest attempts there. However, this tendency has also extended into Battlegrounds. First there was Tirion. Then, they tried to “fix” Millhouse and that didn’t quite go as intended.

The Good

Good Auto Battler: In spite of these two minor issues, the game is still a decent auto battler. It does what Blizzard games do. It takes a concept, wraps it in a Blizzard property, strip it down to it’s simplest terms, and probably make a boatload of money from it. I’m ashamed that I spent some money to get the “perks” on one of my accounts.

Being in Quarantine, I have nothing else to spend money on. As I said, please send help.

Limited Tribal Strategy: Speaking of simplest terms, there isn’t much strategy to combining tribes like in other games. Some cards buff certain tribes, but that’s the only real synergy. Like, you don’t get extra attack or defense or anything like you do in other battlers. That makes for one of those “easy to learn, hard to master (not really)” games that Blizzard likes to tout.

The Great

Unique Hero Powers: One of the things that sold me on Hearthstone initially is that each hero has a unique power that they can use if they can afford to pay the mana for it. This adds a new dimension to card games. It also accomplishes the task of feeling like “at least I get to do something each turn” that Blizzard uses as justification for them.

Being able to do something every turn isn’t always a good thing.

Quick to Update: I thought that this game mode might have ended up just being another forgotten mode. Arena isn’t quite that, but Wild certainly is. In actuality, Blizzard has put a lot into the game mode. They regularly add new heroes, rotate out content, and even updated with a whole new tribe. A game mode that could quickly become boring becomes boring less quickly.

The Verdict (Hearthstone Battlegrounds April 2020 Is a Fun Diversion)

This game isn’t perfect. I feel like that’s my opening statement for most of these summaries. It’s perfect because it is almost always true. However, it has been a fun diversion. It’s kept me busy through much of this quarantine. If you’re looking for a different sort of game over the next few months, I’d say give this one a try. Unlike other games, you don’t have to pay anything to get started.

Hearthstone Road Trip: Destination Witchwood

Introduction

It’s that time of year again. Blizzard has released a new expansion for Hearthstone. I did a quick preview of the set about a month ago when it was announced. Before that, I wrote a bit about the new things that we could expect with the new season. You don’t have to read either of those to understand what’s going on in this article, but it would be great if you did!

One of the rumors about the new set was that it would take place in Duskwood. I said at the time that I didn’t exactly get a Duskwood vibe from the design of the set teaser and that has proven true. However, I do give you some credit, internet. You did get the woods part right. Just the wrong bunch of trees. Also, whoever first posited that the “Year of the Raven” was going to involve dark and spooky themes, I say “Kudos to you!”

And a hearty high five on top!

I already talked about the new mechanics in my previous article. Echo is fun, but so far I don’t think there’s anything that is truly broken (yet, more on that later). Rush is much preferred to charge as that mechanic will hopefully become Wild only over time. Granted, there are classic cards with charge on them, but good old Blizzard could just send them to the Hall of Fame or easily change the wording on the cards. Even and Odd decks are cute and I think there might be something to Odd quest warrior. In addition, odd paladin makes that class even more annoying to play against. But, that’s not really our thing here, so on to what we do best. Playing games and having fun.

The Cards

Neutral

This isn’t necessarily a keyword, so it wasn’t covered in the preview. It also came as a bit of a surprise when I saw it as I hadn’t been watching the spoilers for this set very closely. But, I like the mechanic of this card. It isn’t the only one that swaps attack and health each turn that it is in your hand. It is just the one that I have seen used and used myself most effectively. It’s relatively cheap and can remove big stuff right away if it is in 6/2 mode. All in all, an interesting addition to the game.

Honorable Mention

A 3-mana removal spell in this meta? Only bad thing is that if you aren’t able to target it (with hero power or other cheap spell), the opponent can silence it. Still, playing it just to frustrate your opponent and make them check the history to see what was just played against them makes it all worth it.

Druid

Naturally, this card makes me think of Twilight Drake. For one more mana, it has taunt. Both of those points are relevant. As soon as I saw this card and a few of the other new cards, I started thinking about a druid odd taunt deck. I’ve heard rumblings about such a deck existing, but I have no idea if it is actually any good. Then again, I’ve never cared too much about winning. I just want to have fun with the game.

Honorable Mention

She’s five mana and can be played in my Odd Taunt Druid deck that I’m trying to make happen. Also, and this isn’t relevant to that deck. But,A� if you can get her to stick, you could play Ultimate Infestation, then Kun, and then another Ultimate Infestation all in one turn. I don’t know how practical that is, but it sure would be fun to watch.

Hunter

This is the kind of card that I love. On first look, it looks great. Upon further inspection, it looks pretty terrible. Upon even further inspection, it settles into a decent situational card. You can use it to make an army of 4/4 minions with rush or even charge. You can use it to attempt to blow your opponent out of the water with a whole bunch of 9/8 lions that leave 2/2 hyenas in their wake (if they ever die). It’s just a potentially wacky card.

Honorable Mention

I know what you’re thinking. That’s a terrible card. And you’re right. It is an awful card. But, look at that! A 6/6 rat?! That thing’s huge!

Mage

I am bit biased towards this card because it is the gift legendary that I’ve gotten on two of my accounts so far. Moreover, I’ve been able to play it a few times. Once I got Aya Blackpaw and another time I got Stalagg (or was it Fuegen?). Stay tuned for more! I could steal this card with Rogue, play it, Shadowstep it, play it again, and get both of them for the meme Thaddius dream.

Honorable Mention

Similar to a few other cards on the list, this one invokes feelings of another card. It’s a slightly worse improvement on arcane missiles. However, in a meta where everyone is playing 1 and 2 mana cards with only 1 or 2 health, throwing around one mana fireballs seems like a decent thing to be doing.

Paladin

A card that makes Quest Paladin viable! Not really, but I did see someone on low level ranked playing the deck and it ran all over my pile of Mage cards that I’ve been using to try to finish the quest. I have packs upon packs of standard legal cards, but I’m trying to save them to open them for a YouTube video. See, guys I do care. As far as this card, this isn’t an example of a broken Echo card, but it does come pretty close.

Honorable Mention

Hearthstone has bulk rares, too! Just like their big brother Magic the Gathering. The difference here is that you get useful dust from the card in addition to the hollow empty feeling of what the card might have been after opening it from a pack.

Priest

In addition to the earlier “that’s busted, wait that’s terrible, no actually that’s a decent situationally” card that I mentioned above, this is my other favorite type of card. It’s a card that does new things that we’re not used to in the game. Like the other type of card, it might just be terrible. Then again, it just might be brilliant and it hasn’t found where it wants to be yet. I can’t wait to find out.

Honorable Mention

This was a toss up between Squashling (but I didn’t want to mention two Echo cards back to back like this), Quartz Elemental (which could be fun in an Inner Fire deck, but ultimately isn’t all that interesting), and this card. Other than those reasons above, I chose this card because I like the Priest theme of using your opponent’s cards against them. Sure, rogue has those cards, too, but rogues are thieves on the outside. This confirms my suspicions that any priest in any fantasy setting is secretly a thief.

Rogue

Not a good card, but it is a Legendary minion that you can play multiple times in a turn (at least 3 on turn 10 and maybe more given coins), and it gives you a body and a card every time. Hearthstone understands that if they can’t give us great cards every time, at least they can give us fun cards.

Honorable Mention

This was a tough one and for the opposite reason of the priest honorable mention section. That one had too many good cards to choose. Rogue got some really awful cards in this expansion. I suppose that’s to be expected since they got Kingsbane last time and that card bordered on completely busted. As far as Tess goes, she doesn’t make Thief Rogue viable, but she does make it fun, in that unnerving Yogg kind of way that we all love.

Shaman

In Knights of the Frozen Throne, we got new hero cards for all of the classes. This hearkened back to the old WoW TCG where you got to choose your hero for your deck. This time, we just get poor old Hagatha. She’s got a decent battlecry, and a passive battlecry (which is always cool), but it pales in comparison to Valeera’s DK power. I choose cards because they are unique, not because they’re good.

Honorable Mention

What if they had made this 1 mana and given it Echo? Would it have been the broken Echo card that I know is coming sooner or later? I don’t think so, but we are definitely getting closer to it. What if it is still the exact same, but with Echo? That’s pretty broken, but you do potentially sacrifice your next turn for it. These are the things that keep me up at night.

Warlock

A 7 mana almost guaranteed board clear and you get a 4/4 minion out of it, too? I don’t usually pick good cards (and I might not have here), but this card seems crazy to me. This card is almost guaranteed not to see play because Cubelock seems pretty stable as a deck right now. So, nobody will ever suspect when I play this card on them. Muahahahahaha!

Honorable Mention

Another echo card that exists only to annoy your opponent? I’m sensing a bit of a theme here. This is kind of a weird card because it feels more like a Priest card than a Warlock card, but I’ll allow it. It’s just such a stupid and fun card that I could see playing two turns in a row against some silly aggro face deck just to prolong their misery.

Warrior

This isn’t a good card. This isn’t even a fun card. I mean, it has rush and that interesting twist of gaining +3 attack on the turn it’s played. This is maybe a decent Arena card. What gives with this pick? Well, that just goes to show you how terribly Warrior was treated with this expansion. If Rogue was awful, Warrior is off the charts terrible.

Honorable Mention

I seriously cannot come up with another Warrior card for honorable mention. This is not me trying to be cute or provocative. The Warrior cards are that bad. If you haven’t seen them yet and don’t believe me, just go look. There’s nothing good, nor interesting, nor fun. It’s just a pile of frightening garbage.

Shudderwock

You may have been surprised to not have seen this card in the Shaman section. It’s a crazy card that does crazy things. Seems like it would be my kind of card and I’d have been able to find some place for it. Well, I did. As with any new Hearthstone expansion, there is a busted card with busted interaction that makes a deck that does ridiculous things. This one is no different.

I had heard rumbling about this deck and how stupid and noninteractive it was. I played against it once and it seemed weird, but not overpowered. Then, I decided to do something that I haven’t ever done. I took all of my dust and I crafted the cards necessary to create the deck. Playing it only once was enough for me to see that it is the special kind of stupid that Hearthstone can be known for. I misplayed the deck and I was still able to win because the card is so silly. It just becomes an almost infinite series of interactions that can’t be countered by the opponent, not even by conceding. I have a feeling that something might be done about this card soon.

The Verdict

There are some decent cards in this set. There are also some possibly fun cards that might inspire me to make a few decks to try out during the season. Other than that, there isn’t much here. Overall, the set is quite disappointing and while it might change the meta a bit and bring back some old deck archetypes, I don’t see there being huge changes overall.

The few streams that I’ve been able to watch this week verify that. Kingsbane Rogue is gone and Druid is more of a taunt variety. However,Cube and Control Warlock still seem to be a big part of the meta along with different varieties of aggro Paladin and I don’t see those going away any time soon.

Some Notes on the Nerfs

Introduction

I know that you don’t come here for the latest breaking news in games.A� Also realize that this article won’t change that.A� I barely have the time right now to post my articles about 30 year old video games and my status as a filthy casual as a Magic the Gathering player.A� I’m not going to even attempt to keep up with all of the current video game news.

However, I did notice a post on the Instagram feed of one of the people that I follow.A� It had a picture of Patches the Pirate from Hearthstone and the tagline “I’m in charge now”, but with the “now” crossed out and “next turn” scrawled above it.A� I didn’t know what to think because Hearthstone players have been screaming for a nerf of that card since it was released.

I mean, seriously, what the hell was Blizzard thinking with this one?

Initially, I thought it was a joke and laughed accordingly.A� But, something nagged at me, so I went in search of an article that I didn’t even think existed.A� I typed “Hearthstone Nerfs” into Google and expected to only find articles from the past.A� Much to my surprise, an article written that day was the top search result, so I followed the link.A� Apparently, Blizzard finally got around to nerfing the card right as it was on the cusp of rotating to Wild.A� More on that later.

I texted Chris about it, but then we got to talking about something else.A� Later in the night, he must have checked out an article about it because he texted me out of the blue “I actually agree with the nerfs” in response to my assertion that maybe Blizzard had gotten it a bit wrong.A� It’s not that I don’t agree with the nerfs.A� It’s just…warlock right now.A� Jeeze.A� How could they not do anything about Warlock?A� I know that they want the players to use the tools available to them to figure out the meta, but c’mon.A� When they nerf one of those tools, what are players supposed to do?A� More on that later.

Patches the Pirate

This is the big one.A� As I said earlier, this is the one that players have been talking about since before the card was released.A� It thins your deck, gets played automatically most of the time, and has an immediate board impact.A� There was a time when players were running pirates in their deck just for this card.A� It was absurd.A� The power level has diminished some in standard due to the proliferation of control and durdle combo decks, but this guy is still all over wild.

It’s gotten to the point where when I see this card in wild, I just concede.A� Sometimes I will just concede if I see a warrior or rogue because I know that they are probably pirates.A� Rogue also has the mill archetype.A� They are both just such triggers for me.A� They are just no fun to play against.

I will say that I’m impressed that Blizzard is at least making an effort to support their eternal format.A� I was afraid that it would just be a dumping ground for past standard cards and they’d never even think about it again.A� I like wild because I like the eternal formats, so I play it almost exclusively.A� Instead of ignoring the format, they actually made a nerf that was at least partially due to their thoughts of how the card could warp in Wild.

Raza the Chained

This is one that has only recently gotten on to people’s radars due to the Priest Razakus combo deck that has taken over Standard.A� According to Blizzard, though, that wasn’t the main reason.A� Actually, come to think about it, their statement makes it sound like that wasn’t even a consideration.

I find that strange.A� They’ve nerfed cards in the past to prevent one turn kills and the Razakus combo is exactly that.A� Then again, it takes some effort to pull off, standard rotates every 3 or 4 months, and the card will eventually meet it’s match.A� Where it again becomes a problem is Wild, where Razakus could rule, potentially forever, squeezing out any creativity and imagination in deck building.

Since Wild gives you all of the cards to build your decks, that’s exactly what it needs to be.A� There needs to be room for new and interesting decks that are constantly evolving due to new cards rotating into the format.A� It doesn’t need to be a stagnant swamp of durdle deck against durdle deck that makesA� you want to throw yourself off a cliff.A� Again, good job thinking of us filthy casual Wild players.

The problem with this one is that Razakus was the only thing keeping Warlock from being a truly dominant force in the Standard meta.A� They may have plans to deal with Warlock in the coming months with some rotation/hall of fame moves, but in the mean time, Warlock is going to be mean.A� This doesn’t affect me much because I never play Standard at any high level, but the streams I watch will become Gul’dan v. Gul’dan, which is troubling.

Corridor Creeper

0 mana 5/5?A� What could go wrong?A� This card is crazy stupid in a game that encourages minion trading.A� At least with the giants, you can get them to 0 mana, but it takes some skill and strategy.A� This thing, you just throw your little guys into the other guy’s little guys and play him for free.A� Good riddance.A� It might still be borderline playable in arena, but the other two picks would have to be pretty bad.

This is the one that I’m least concerned about.A� It has a powerful effect and delaying that effect for one turn might make it unplayable.A� Because, we all know, when Blizzard nerfs a card, they either miss completely and the card just becomes slighly less powerful or they ban hammer it into a deep hole.A� I think this card might be in the first category instead of the second.A� It’s still a decent late game card in arena and maybe even in constructed control decks.A� I have no idea and I’m honestly not all that concerned if it isn’t.A� This card just doesn’t register all that much, but that might be because it is an arena nerf and I don’t play much arena.

The Verdict

While I ultimately agreed with Chris and all of the nerfs hit the spot, I’m a bit concerned about what Warlock will become.A� I like to watch streams because I’m terrible at the game, but I do enjoy the interaction.A� I have no idea when the next expansion is going to hit, but until then it is going to be all Warlock all the time.

It’s going to be like when Pirate Warrior and Aggro Shaman were all over the place, but as of right now, there isn’t a natural enemy of the Warlock.A� I’m sure that streamers and pro players will find that counter and hopefully they do soon.A� Because during the aforementioned Pirate Warrior and Aggro Shaman meta, I watched less and less Hearthstone.A� Maybe that’s a good thing.

Hot for HotS?

I stink at League of Legends.A� Unlike other players who

  1. don’t know that they stink (and I’m not sure how they could possibly remain ignorant because the community is too willing to tell you.)
  2. are under the delusion that they can get better (and that may be)
  3. don’t care (this is most likely as I have both heard of and seen LoL trolls in action)

I know that I’m terrible, operate under the impression that I have almost no chance of getting better, and while I don’ t care that I’m bad, I also don’t have the time or energy to troll an entire community.A� League of Legends just seems like one of those games that has been swallowed by the esports scene.A� You either play it to “Go Pro, Bro”, spectate the championships, or don’t care one way or the other.A� I am absolutely fine being in the last camp.

I don’t care about this thing! Now, let me get on the internet and type angrily about how much I don’t care!

So, why did I just spend an entire paragraph and number list talking about how much I don’t care about League of Legends?A� Well, after stinking up the joint in that game, I did what most LoL burnouts do these days, I loaded Blizzards offering into the not-MoBA *wink, wink* genre, Heroes of the Storm.A� As with most of Blizzard’s games these days, it gave players a noob friendly experience that more or less replicates the gameplay of the more established game.A� They call it removing unnecessary elements to make the games more fun.A� I call it stealing, or copyright infringement, at least.

Okay, I’ll ease up on the random Blizzard hate.A� Because, I honestly like Heroes of the Storm.A� Unlike League of Legends, I found a mode in HotS that allows you to play solo with bots to practice strategy.A� As an added bonus, the mode allows for the completion of quests to gain gold and buy more heroes.A� For a hopeless anti-social noob like me, that’s perfect.A� Sure, it gets boring beating the AI all the time and occasionally I will venture into PvP mode.A� It doesn’t last long because my incompetence shows very quickly.A� However, unlike LoL (again), there isn’t a heap of abuse that awaits new or bad players.A� Instead, other players are decent and many more than you’ll ever find in LoL are actually helpful.

Typed League of Legends noob into the Google machine to see if I could get an example of the abuse. This image came up, which I assume is supposed to be insulting. I, however, am such a neophyte to the game that I’m not entirely sure.

Now, why am I digging up ancient history with LoL and HotS?A� I haven’t played either in months and don’t really miss my time in game.A� Well, a couple of weeks ago, I saw that Blizzard was advertising Heroes of the Storm 2.0.A� Instead of making some snarky comment about releasing unfinished beta as a completed game, I will keep an open mind and see what’s the big deal.

Upon logging in, there’s a huge splash screen announcing that they are officially out of beta. A�Er, I mean, they’ve retooled the whole game and are now calling it the 2.0 version! A�Then, you get some of the goodies that await you like player level, 3 (!) different kinds of currency, and two other things that obviously weren’t that impressive that I felt the need to remember them minutes later. A�Oh, and lookie here! A�Loot chests! A�Woo hoo! A�Opening stuff is fun! A�In all seriousness, this feels like the loot chests from Deulyst and contains most of the same kinds of loot like emoji, “spray” (whatever the hell those are), and skins for the heroes. A�All in all, I got some pretty decent stuff, including a legendary skin. A�I will give it to Blizzard. A�They know how to get you on that treadmill.

I always use treadmill, but I suppose that hamster wheel is more appropriate. If you work on a treadmill for long enough, you will start to see results.

The gameplay remains largely untouched, as far as I can see. A�I’m sure they’ve done some “Blizzard balance” ™ on certain heroes and powers, but it still revolves around defeating your enemies, collecting various bonuses depending on the map you play, and killing the opposing base by whatever means necessary. A�You can still play strictly AI games (though I didn’t have the patience to finish out the game and see if they still offer quest completion that way) so that’s a nice way to ease back into things.

Similar to LoL and many other multiplayer games these days, the esports scene has infiltrated HotS and there are competitive games. A�So, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to get into the game as it is intended to be played. A�However, if I’m bored some days and fed up with the other games that I usually play, I might fire it up and play a few games with the bots. A�They are entertaining enough for limited interaction.

And, now, even as I’m writing this, I go exploring and find that they have several modes that are not competitive in nature. A�Quick Match, Unranked, and Brawl are all modes for the filthy casual like me. A�So, I fired up a Brawl match to see what it was all about and I got matched up against a single other player with bots filling in the rest of the team. A�That seems to have been a one time occurrence and the second game was with actual players. A�There wasn’t any of the abuse of League of Legends, we came back to win a very close match, and I actually had fun.

Overall, the positives outweigh the negatives and I will most likely be trying to rotate Heroes of the Storm into my daily routine. A�One of my Hearthstone accounts might suffer for it, but that’s a risk that I’m willing to take. A�Damn you, Blizzard. A�Just when I think I’m almost out, you pull me right back in.

Not you, though. You stay dead and buried in my shameful, but glorious (no! do not give it power!), past.