Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is an online collectible card game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. It is free-to-play with optional purchases to accelerate the card collection progress and access content quicker. Announced at thePenny Arcade Expo in March 2013, the game was released on March 11, 2014. Hearthstone is available on Microsoft Windows and OS X systems and on Windows 8, iOS and Android touchscreen devices. New content for the game involves the addition of new card sets and gameplay, such as from the Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion pack and theBlackrock Mountain adventure.
In early May 2015, there were more than 30 million registered Hearthstone accounts
Hearthstone is a digital collectible card game that revolves around turn-based matches between two opponents, operated through Blizzard's Battle.net. Players can choose from a number of game modes, with each offering a slightly different experience. Players start the game with a substantial collection of basic cards, but can gain rarer and more powerful cards through purchasing packs of cards or as reward for completing Arena runs. In-game gold is rewarded for completing randomized daily quests, where one is given each day stacking up to three with one quest able to be rerolled per day, and by winning matches in ranked play, where 10 gold per three wins is earned with a 100 gold limit per day.
Hearthstone is set within the Warcraft universe, with its characters, spells and locations drawing from existing lore.
Each Hearthstone match is a one-versus-one battle between two opponents. Gameplay in Hearthstoneis turn-based, with players taking turns to play cards from their hand, casting spells, equipping weapons, or summoning 'minions' to do battle on their behalf. Play may be between two human players, or one player and a computer-controlled opponent.
Each player is represented by their chosen 'hero', an important character from Warcraft lore. Each hero represents a particular class, determining the special cards and unique hero power available to them. Each hero has 30 Health - if that number is reduced to zero, the hero is destroyed, and the controlling player has lost the game. The available classes, with its hero name, are Mage (Jaina Proudmoore), Priest (Anduin Wrynn), Warlock (Gul'dan), Paladin (Uther the Lightbringer), Warrior (Garrosh Hellscream), Druid (Malfurion Stormrage), Hunter (Rexxar), Rogue (Valeera Sanguinar) and Shaman (Thrall). Players can choose to play using one of several pre-assembled 'basic' decks or a deck of their own making. While many cards are available to heroes of any class (the neutral cards), a substantial portion are limited to a specific class, giving each hero their own strengths and unique possibilities.
At the start of the game, each player draw cards from their respective decks of thirty cards. The first player draws three cards while the second player draws four. Next, the players enter the "mulligan phase." In this phase, both players can return any number of cards back to the deck and redraw the same number of cards. At the end of the mulligan, the second player gets another card called "The Coin," a card that gives a single use mana crystal for one turn. Despite the second player's two card advantage, Ben Brode says on average the first player has a 3% higher chance to win and Ars Technica's analysis of three professional tournaments yielded an insignificant edge to the first player.
During their turn, each player may choose to play any of their cards, use their hero power, command their minions to attack targets, or attack directly using their hero, if they have a weapon equipped. However, which actions the player is able to take is partly determined by their mana, a resource pool which is refreshed at the start of each turn. Each player starts the game with zero mana crystals, and gains one at the start of each turn up to a maximum of 10 mana. Each card and hero power requires the player to use a specific amount of mana in order to play it, strategically limiting each player's actions. The larger mana pools in later rounds allow players to play increasingly expensive cards, opening the game up to more powerful minions and abilities.
A match is concluded when one or both players has/have reached zero health, or if a player chooses to concede. Completing a match will grant each player hero experience (winning earns additional experience) and granting them access to additional basic cards up to level 10 for that hero or golden versions of basic cards past level 10; once all heroes are level 60, the player will have every golden version of the basic cards.
Each match takes place on a randomly selected battlefield, representing the board on which the game is played. There are six possible battlefields: Stormwind, Orgrimmar, Pandaria, Stranglethorn, Naxxramas, Goblins vs Gnomes-themed location and Blackrock Mountain. Each battlefield features its own design and numerous interactive elements, but gameplay is in no way affected or determined by battlefield selection; the differences are purely cosmetic. Around the battlefield are the game's important UI elements, which are each player's hand, deck, hero's portrait, hero's power, mana crystals, the log of recent cards played/actions taken and each hero's summoned minions.