Welcome to our Minecraft Review: Nether Update. I feel like Quinn has been talking about this update for a while now. Some of the YouTubers he watches must have gotten early or beta access and were showing it off. Every couple of days when we loaded up the game, he would remark, “I wonder when we’re ever going to get the Nether Update.” Well, we finally have.
However, I have to admit that we haven’t been able to explore the nether as much as we hoped. We actually tried the other day and it ended quite poorly. First Quinn died with a bunch of good armor and gear. Then, I went to help him and I died with a bunch of good armor and gear. Rinse and repeat a few times.
So, we did discover one thing. Mobs in the Nether now spawn much faster than before. I don’t think that they are any tougher necessarily, but there are so many of them that you can become overrun very quickly. So, a word of warning there. However, bear in mind that our experience was in a Nether Fortress. Outside of the fortress, all we encountered were zombie pigmen and I think Quinn called them striders.
So, apologies that I haven’t been able to do my due diligence on this update just yet. File in under “U” for “unsurprising”. In the meantime, I will work on some recon and also the videos of worlds promised a few weeks ago. And stay tuned for an actual Minecraft Review: Nether Update soon.
Time for M21 notable cards Gruul edition. Of course, in the last article, I wrote about the white, blue, and black cards in the set. If you missed that one and you don’t want to go back to read it, I will give you the highlights here. There are a ton of cool reprints in this set. Teferi is blue and he does things at instant speed. I think that about covers it.
Actually, I do have a couple of other things to say. I like the set so much that I ordered both bundles on MTGA. I know that Chris is going to give me crap about that, but I like the game. It lets me play MTG, especially since I’ve had time over the last few months with the stay at home due to Covid. And, as I mentioned last month, there haven’t been any comics.
My other mention is that I went out of order this time. I like this set so much more than Ikoria that I skipped right over Ikoria to purchase my traditional box and bundle of M21. I will go back to buy Ikoria eventually. My completionist brain won’t let me not have that binder. However, for now, let’s see why I made this decision in the first place.
Red (Oh, you like your face? I like your face, too. However, let me rearrange it a bit for you.)
Fiery Emancipation: This card is stupid expensive and mono red will never see the payoff in traditional formats. However, in the right Commander deck, it could do some damage and potentially be tons of fun. I don’t know enough about Commander to know which decks, but I’m sure you nerds will find them
Subira, Tulzidi Caravanner: I have a terrible Alesha, Who Smiles at Death tiny leaders deck. I was inspired by Chris’s friends Darren and Jason. They’re the only “real” people I’ve played against besides Chris and randos at various prerelease events over the last few years. Plus, I really like the tiny leaders format. It’s fun. maybe I can do something similar with this card.
Honorable Mention (Gadrak, the Crown-Scourge): Speaking of tiny leaders. This guy qualifies. I have a feeling it would be quite easy to put together an artifact deck to make this guy work. I’m not the dragon guy, though. Chris is.
Green (You Want Lands? Well, here, play all the lands!)
Asuza, Lost but Seeking: I learned about this card during the Amulet Titan crisis of a couple of years ago. They sort of reprinted this in Theros Beyond Death with the Dryad of the Ilysian Grove and now it’s back in full glory. I just texted Chris that with both of those cards, you could play 4 lands per turn. I’m not entirely sure how to exploit that, but it will be fun to try.
Garruk, Unleashed: I am not a green guy. I’m a blue mage to my core. However, when playing cube, I often gravitate to Gx as my default strategy. Usually it is GB and there was a Garruk card that was always open. So, I’ve sort of adopted Garruk as my favorite green planeswalker. I’m glad there’s a Garruk in standard again.
Honorable Mention (Quirion Dryad): Hearthstone had a deck that was called Miracle Rogue. The same strategy has been tried in druid and maybe other decks. Druid and rogue were the two most popular, though. In digging, I found that the decks had roots in MTG with this card.
Thanks for reading my M21 notable cards Gruul edition. As with the Esper edition, there are some fun cards in this set. I think I get to open my product on MTGA tomorrow and then my paper product should be in the mail in the next week or so. Oh, and I can’t wait to see what this set does to the Cube in Arena. The power level is definitely going to go up!
Hearthstone Trial by Felfire just proves that someone at Blizzard is a frustrated poet. And that they want the entire world to know it.
Hey, I’m not one to cast aspersions. After all, I have written my own version.
What is all of this rhyming about? Keep reading and you just might find out.
Free: Normally there is a fee. This time, the adventure is free. I am glad there is no charge. I didn’t want to pay 20 large. sure, I could have used gold. However, using it for that instead of packs gets old. And so, I played. And discovered the true prize is the friends I made.
Packs: Actually, the adventure comes with a quest. And, what is there in that chest? For your trouble, you get three free card packs. They can be won without any hacks. Simply complete Chapter 1. There, now you are done.
Variety: There is a variety of fights. It isn’t all about might. Sure, some are a race. That require you just to go face. Others require a different tact. And, that is just a fact. Against one boss a fatigue strategy works well. After drawing his last card he faces the death knell.
Length: Even though this adventure is free. There is plenty in Outland for you to see. Four rounds of four bosses. Be careful for some may cause losses. Then, at the end. You face off against one who was a friend. In order to escape Outland, you must take a stand.
Reward: Other than the cards, all you get is a card back. Compared with other adventures, that’s kind of wack. Again, I realize that it’s free. But it just seems like to me–that they could give more. Instead they put a bundle in the store. Like a sucker, I paid. But it included some packs, so better decks can be made.
Overall Trial by Felfire is fun. Even if you don’t do the adventures, you should try this one. The story is decent. You won’t be sad you went. To the plane of Outland. Just make sure you have a plan. You wouldn’t want to get lost. And captured by some demons and tossed–into a pit of despair. Or maybe they’d just set fire to your hair. So pay my warning fair heed. And get on over to this adventure via your trusty steed.
Felfire Festival Week 1 Post Mortem already? Surely, it isn’t dead. Well, yes and no. The week is technically over. However, the ramifications continue to reverberate through the game. At least, I assume they do. I thought I might play the game more now that it’s been updated.
However, I have not. I’ve tried playing a couple of times. I just can’t get into it. Battlegrounds is frustrating and boring. It takes almost all of the strategy out of a normal auto battler game. In most cases, that has worked to Blizzard’s advantage. Without a coherent strategy, the game just becomes ovals banging into each other.
The Great, The Good, and the Decent? No, just a verdict
No, I’m not even going to give lip service to these categories for this review. I could go back to the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for one article, but that seems suboptimal. And, so, I will leave the reader to decide for themselves if it’s worth it to come back if you left. In the humble opinion of the writer of this article, it very much is not worth it.
There are plenty of other autobattlers out there for you to play instead. I would suggest either Autochess or TFT if you’re on mobile. Underlords is also on mobile, but I’ve found that it is a better PC experience. In any case, don’t waste your time on Battlegrounds.
Thanks for taking the time to read my Felfire Festival Week 1 post mortem. Some of you more astute readers might attribute my snark to salt. Honestly, you’re partially right. I’ve played 3 or 4 matches to try things out and I have yet to crack the top 4 in any of them. So, yes, I am frustrated. But, I also have many other things to keep me occupied. In any case, I hope next week is better!
I was taken by surprise by yesterday’s Hearthstone Battlegrounds June 2020 update. But, I put together a quick article with my thoughts. It was close to dinner time and then we were maybe going to go to the lake. So, I didn’t talk about the minions because there were a good amount of them being added. We didn’t end up going to the lake, but I hung out in the front yard with Quinn and his stuffed Pokemon. Therefore, I’m going to take some time this morning to give my thoughts on the minions.
Hearthstone Battlegrounds June 2020 Minions
Deck Swabbie: Reducing your tier cost by 1 is huge, especially if you get it early. It’s like getting a token, but you don’t have to sell a minion to get the benefit. I think that this is going to be one of the strongest early game minions.
Scallywag: This isn’t as strong as the tier 1 murloc token because it doesn’t give the extra gold. However, 3/2 are good early game stats and trade well with almost everything.
Freedealing Gambler: A free 3/3 early game? Sign me up.
Southsea Captain: A bit of a whiff if you aren’t already in pirates and early game is too early to commit to a tribe of minions. This is probably the weakest of the tier 2 pirates.
Arcane Cannon: Aside from being the new tier 2 minion sure to be sniped by your opponent, this one is pretty good early game especially if you can get a token and guarantee first attack.
Monstrous Macaw: There are some decent early game deathrattles. Selfless Hero, Rat Pack, Harvest Golem, Kaboom Bot. Heck, even Ghoul is good against a low health board, but it could backfire against you, too.
Salty Looter: These types of minions are always a trap.
Bloodsail Canoneer: This is a strictly worse version of Deathwing’s old hero power. Hard pass unless you get it late and are already in pirates.
Yo-Ho-Ogre: This is a good card. The stat are insane. You’re virtually guaranteed to get at least 3 attacks from it. Late game, unless you get some buffs on it, it falls off, but this is a great tier 3 minion.
Southsea Strongarm: Stats are decent, but the battlecry is only good if you’re in pirates already.
Goldgrubber: Strictly worse Razorgore and honestly, that card isn’t all that great to begin with.
Ripsnarl Captain: Stats aren’t awful and could potentially get better. Similar to Waxrider and that card falls off quickly. I feel like this one would never get going.
Seabreaker Goliath: This one might be good enough to switch strategies. I guess it depends on how sold you are on what you have and what else is offered in the pool.
Cap’n Hoggar: Reducing the cost of pirates by 1 is pretty good. It’s like having a better Millhouse power if you are offered pirates.
Nat Pagle, Extreme Angler: I don’t know what a treasure chest does. I guess I could always check out reddit, since I got my answer to the digging for a golden minion. But, I’m just not in the mood right now.
The Tide Razor: These deathrattle fiesta cards are either good or bad, depending on what they pull. Right now, pirates aren’t strong enough to make this card any good, in my opinon.
Dread Admiral Eliza: Buffs are good, especially if they’re repeated. But, you’d have to be deep into pirates in order for this to pay off. I guess if you’re pulling a 6 star, you very well may be. Otherwise, this plus Megasaur with no murlocs and Nadina without dragons would be a huge whiff. I get that’s a single scenario, but I guarantee I’ll get it more than once with the luck I have
I don’t see anything in the Hearthstone Battlegrounds June 2020 update that makes me want to play pirates. They have a good early game, a decent midgame and then seem to fall off hard in the late game. I could be wrong. Often, I am. However, it still feels like murlocs, dragons, and even mechs are much stronger tribes. Granted, this is just the introduction of pirates and they have time to adjust or add new minions. See you on the Battlegrounds!
Note: All pictures taken from the official Hearthstone patch page. Please don’t sue me Blizzard. You’ve already taken enough money from my World of Warcraft habit and various pack bundles I’ve bought in Hearthstone.
What is the Felfire Festival Week 1? Well, I’m glad you asked. I wasn’t planning on doing any Hearthstone content for the near future. That all changed when I noticed the trailer waiting on my Battlenet client. If you haven’t already, you can watch the trailer below.
If you still haven’t watched the video, what can you expect from Week 1? Well, it’s a pretty big Battlegrounds update. You may remember a couple of weeks ago that I did an article on Battlegrounds because I was semi-obsessed. Well, that semi-obsession went the way of so many of my other semi-obsessions and I haven’t played a single game of Battlegrounds in a couple of weeks. That all looks to change tomorrow. What’s in store for me? If you want to see for yourself, the patch notes are here.
Captain Eudora: I’m not entirely sure what “Dig for a Golden Minion” means. Okay, I just did some digging and after the fourth hero power, it adds a golden minion to the tavern. This is an interesting hero power that you can set up for over multiple turns and get the payoff when you’re at an appropriate tier for a good golden. It is also reusable, so you could conceivably get multiple minions per game. I like it. Goofy and potentially broken. Right in my wheelhouse.
Skycap’n Kragg: While I like the hero power because it basically gives you a free turn of rolls, I don’t feel like it fits the personality of the character. It’s a utilitarian power on a hero that, at least from Hearthstone, feels reckless. Even so, another fun addition.
Captain Hooktusk: Peter Pan reference aside, this one is tough to assess. Initially, I wanted to say that it is a strictly worse Malygos, which is pretty bad to begin with. And, that might prove to be true. However, the discover mechanic (which is again my favorite in all of Hearthstone), makes it less likely that you will whiff. I need to play more with the hero to see if it is any good.
Patches the Pirate: Patches used to be a hero in Battlegrounds. His hero power was terrible. Then, they might have buffed it to bring him back. But, it was still terrible. He’s back again with a completely reworked hero power and it might be slightly less terrible. With a revolving minion pool, at least you’ll be able to avoid it if pirates don’t show up at all in the pool.
There are something like 16 or 17 new minions being added to the pool. I’m not going to go over all of them right. It is getting close to dinner and then we are going to go over to the lake after dinner. If I get around to it later, I will leave a placeholder for the other article. You can see my thoughts about the pirates here.
The Rat King‘s hero power will now hit random minions from the beginning instead of constantly starting on beasts. I’m not sure what this does for the hero power other than making it more random. I suppose, by default, that makes it weaker. Since there are now 6 tribes, you can whiff completely from the beginning much more regularly, it would seem. Putricide has been removed from the hero pool. No big loss there. Holy Mackerel is also out of the minion pool. While everyone agrees that Mack was, by far, the strongest minion in the pool, I will miss it. It’s a fun design that, if properly balanced, makes for cool interactions. I will miss you, little Fishman. In any case, I can’t wait to play around with the new stuff for Felfire Festival week 1 starting tomorrow!
What is Mekanism? Well, as usual, let me start with a story. Hey, give me a break. I’m a frustrated writer who has hasn’t been able to write, except for this web page. Give me this simple outlet. I can’t promise you it will be worth your time, but I will promise to try to make it quick. Deal?
My favorite mods were utility like a mini map and an inventory mod. To be honest, the mini map is the one thing I miss on the XBox One. Okay, I said I’d make this quick. Well, I soon moved onto visual mods like Thaumcraft and Mekanism. Those were my two favorites and I played through a world on both of them.
Between the two mods, I was virtually indestructible. I had a jet pack, magic armor, plus extra health and armor. I could breathe underwater and convert unwanted items into magical essence. It was fun for awhile. However, the curse of omnipotence is very real, my friends. Soon, I grew bored of being a Minecraft god. Then, my computer took a dump and I lost the world anyway.
A Return to Mekanism
We’ve gotten a new computer. Of course, Minecraft was one of the first things installed. However, I took a second job working nights and there was no time to play. Fast forward to March and the Covid-10 crisis and now I have all the time in the world. There’s only one problem. The XBox One is downstairs and the computer is up in Aiden’s bedroom. Long story, that. Not really, but I said I’d keep this short.
Okay, moving on. Jeez, you are pushy! When I planned Minecraft, I knew I’d do an article about mods. I’ve already talked about Thaumcraft in the past. However, you just can’t have a Minecraft week without talking about mods. So, I did some research to see the status of my old mods. Thaumcraft appears to have been abandoned, but Mekanism was just recently updated. Huzzah! Off we go.
Ore Processing – The mod introduces new ways to process your ores. As you increase your efficiency with new machines, you are able to take one ore and break it down into “more refined” materials. From one ore, you can conceivably get 5 ingots. Granted, there aren’t many ores in Minecraft that are truly rare, but this still makes for a massive surplus in a lot of cases.
Jet Packs! – I’m a big fan of jet packs. Often, when I taught engineering, I used jet packs as a solution to getting from one side of the river to the other. Mekanism gives you the ability to fly using jet packs. It is quite possibly the coolest item I’ve ever crafted in all of Minecraft. Just thinking about it now makes me want to go up and start the process.
Electricity – Sure, Redstone allows for some circuitry in Minecraft and is a sort of pseudo electricity. However, Mekanism gives you real honest to goodness generators and processors that run on electricity. You even have to craft and run wires in some cases to make it work. Sure, it seems like a small thing and maybe not a distinction worth mentioning. However, it’s one that I found interesting.
New Ores – I have to be honest. I almost put this one in “The Great” section. Then again, I’m the kind of guy who still gets excited every time I run across coal while I’m mining. If you give me new materials that are necessary to build new stuff, that just means there’s more to hunt for when I’m out mining!
Not a Full Reskin – The mod isn’t sold as a full reskin and I wasn’t expecting one. It just introduces some new materials and craftables. With all of that being said, I think something like Pixelmon or Parzi’s Star Wars Mod are a lot more fun than something like Mekanism. The main problem there is that those mods are usually too quickly abandoned. Probably because they’re a ton of work to design, develop, and update.
No In-Game Tutorial – I’m going to be honest again. This is really the only thing that bothers me about the mod. I just added the full reskin so that I could have my requisite 2 items in each section. Sure, there is an extensive tutorial online. Also, people have made their own. However, one of the things that I liked so much about Thaumcraft was that you could learn on the go and not have to alt-tab to figure things out. Granted, it’s a small inconvenience, but it is inconvenient.
While Thaumcraft was probably my favorite mod for Minecraft, Mekanism was always a close second. Unfortunately, Thaumcraft hasn’t been updated in a few years. As I remember, it was pretty fully functional, so that isn’t a huge deal. Nevertheless, that means that Mekanism has moved into first place. There is such a variety of tasks to keep you busy. Definitely check it out if you have the chance.
I don’t know if I ever played Pool of Radiance. One of my most fond memories of high school is playing Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve already talked some about my memories with paper and pencil D&D. However, I also have extensive experience with the computer games as well.
The thing about the PC games is that I don’t have specific memories of which games I played. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I remember playing the Spelljammer game and I remember playing at least one of the Dark Sun games. I don’t know if I played any of the Dragonlance games, though I’m almost positive that I did at one point or another. It remains my favorite setting even today.
One game I’m almost positive that I never played was Pool of Radiance. Why, then, am I picking that game to feature? Well, according to my extensive research (a single Google search), it is the first of the PC games to feature the mechanics of D&D. So, it’s only fair that I pick that one as my first entry into the Way Back Machine. If it goes well, I might take a look at one of the Dark Sun games in a couple of weeks. If it goes poorly, I definitely will.
Decent Graphics – I know many of you will scoff at this. And, you might have a right to do so. However, compared to my expectations, this game blew them away. Granted, I’m not sure what my expectations were, but I clearly forgot about the capabilities of those early games. There were different sprites for the different monsters and you were able to customize your characters to some degree.
Surprisingly in depth – Again, I’m not sure what I was expecting. I mean, we’re not exactly in the prehistory of games, but 1988 is pretty early in the history. The Super Nintendo (when I really started to become involved in video games and consider to be the start of good graphics and consistently good gameplay) is still 3 or 4 years away. I guess the old PC gamer mentality of being a step ahead was true at the time. In addition to the character creation feeling almost (you don’t individually roll stats, but you do pick alignment) like pencil and paper, the features of the game are greater than the sum of their parts. Let’s talk about some of those features.
Intuitive – Granted, this isn’t pick up and play if you haven’t played Dungeons and Dragons before. It will take some getting used to. As I told Chris when he texted about flipping through a source book, “It’s a whole other language. However, like Magic, once you get used to it, it’s second nature.” This game is very much along those lines. Within a half an hour of (probably too in depth for a simple review article) character creation, I was into the game and wiping my party. (More on that in a bit)
Minimap – Again, those of you who have grown up in modern video game times might get a chuckle out of an oldbie like me thinking that the minimap is worth of mention in the article. But, hear me out. Being an oldbie pencil and paper D&D guy, I took about 5 minutes to look for some graph paper to start drawing my own map of the town before I realized there was a minimap built into the interface.
The Story – The story of Pool of Radiance isn’t bad. In fact, it’s actually pretty engaging and gets you into the action quickly. I’m not surprised because this is a TSR (the owners of the D&D license before WotC bought them) product. Even so, the story is pretty generic RPG stuff and isn’t engaging enough to keep me coming back for more. That’s to be expected since The Forgotten Realms is the most generic of D&D settings
Pool of Radiance is hard! – So, I went to the City Hall to find out what commissions I could collect. “Go to the ruins and help clear it of monsters.” Okay, sounds good. Let’s kill some monsters. First encounter in the ruins? A party of kobolds. No problem, right? Wrong. 2 party members dead. Crikey! Let’s rest. Nope. Interrupted by a party of monsters. Let’s rest in the city. Nope. It costs 1 platinum to rest in the inn. Let’s rest in an alley. Nope. Caught by the guards. WTF. Okay, how about a temple? 100 gold pieces for cure light wounds. Jesus. Fine. Now, back into the ruins. Second encounter is a party of orcs. And, we’re all dead. Well, that was fun.
Pool of Radiance is a game that definitely stands the test of time. Over 30 years later and I will probably keep going back to try to at least defeat that first dungeon. Who knows? Once I do that, I’m sure that I’ll be back to try to finish the rest of the game. Then, I’ll move on to other games in the series. I have been playing the game on this web based emulator. However, I recently discovered a place that has the game plus a bunch of others for only 10 bucks. I just have to vet the source to make sure that it is legit and not bloatware or virus ridden like the old Limewire files. In spite of the frustration of the game being hard, I suggest you give it a try.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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