Monthly Archives: August 2013

Hearthstone beta: The wait is over!

So, I was supposed to spend this weekend getting my 5.4 resto druid healing guide together. However, much to my surprise, Hearthstone’s beta launched and I got a day-one beta key. That means I spent my entire weekend just playing Hearthstone and doing almost nothing else. I plan to have a healing guide update ready to go before it launches. With the major changes to the resto playstyle, however, it may take some time before we really know the full impacts of all the changes for resto druids.


For hearthstone, there are currently three types of play you can do after you finish a short (~5 quest) introduction. Here is some basic advice for getting started in each of the three modes:

Practice makes perfect

The “practice” mode  is a PVE mode where you play versus the computer-generated opponent. You start with a mage class, and you can use practice mode to unlock other classes, as well as level up through level 10 to unlock all your standard cards. It is recommended that you play with the basic decks until you have unlocked the standard class cards, since custom decks won’t have the right balance for this until you unlock more cards. You get experience with the class you are playing even if you lose the match. Defeating the standard druid deck in practice mode proved much less challenging than defeating the standard warlock deck (that can quickly overwhelm you). Thus, for starting out, it can be really confusing to know which class you should be fighting against for leveling up, and I spent a lot of time losing for the first ~6 hours I was playing around in practice mode. It does, however, get easier to beat practice modes once you understand the mechanics and have enough good cards to make custom decks.

Play to improve your skills

The “Play” mode is a PVP mode where you fight other players. This is a great place to complete your daily quests, which don’t necessarily require you to win the battles (e.g., today’s daily quest was to kill 40 of the minion/pets that players had). Outside of doing the daily quests, you want to get together a strong custom deck before you try “play” mode, especially when you try rated games. The basic decks don’t really stand much of a chance compared to people’s expert custom decks. There is an unrated and a rated mode, though at this point, you don’t really get a lot of rewards for defeating people in either rated or unrated games. So, this is good for improving your skill and leveling your classes (past level 10) once the practice mode stops feeling rewarding.

Pay to fight in the Arena

After you unlock all 10 classes, you can enter the Arena mode (a PVP mode where you choose one of three classes, create a temporary deck in the Arena mode, and play versus other players). However, if you had been focusing just on one class in practice and play mode, the arena will prove to be a difficult challenge, since you only get to pick from 3 (and not all 10) classes. I made the mistake of trying to make a warrior deck in arena mode without ever playing it in practice mode and I lost quite horribly on my first game (then I had to go back to practice and figure out how to actually play the class). You should save your gold for playing Arena mode instead of using gold to directly buy packs in the store, but wait to play arena mode until you have a good understanding of how to play most of the classes. At the 150 gold cost per arena play (where you get to play until you lose a total of 3 times), and taking up to 4 days worth of daily quests to enter again, there is absolutely no hurry to get into arena mode if you are new to card games.

Overall Impressions
While this game is fun and I spent the entire weekend playing, winning the games outside of arena mode does not feel rewarding at all. Gaining only one gold per win in “play” mode (regardless of being either rated or unrated) means that you would have to win 150 games to enter the arena (at a 50% win rate, it would take 300 play games at 15 mins a pop). At that rate, getting no gold would at least feel less insulting. Thus, at 40 gold per daily quest (and one daily quest per day), there is little incentive to keep playing long-term (other than to do your daily quest and arena).

In addition, as a new player, the jump from the short intro quests into the practice mode felt like jumping off a cliff. It took a long time to really get a good feel for the practice mode, and I felt like losing gave me the same level of reward as winning, so I mostly just bashed my face at things for experience and felt pretty disconnected. I feel like there should be a “newbie” mode at the start of practice mode that limits you to unlocking maybe 2 other classes but provides a longer tutorial for WOW players jumping into their first card game (maybe something that expert gamers could skip and go straight into the current content).

     For a beta, however, this game is fabulous. I am really having a lot of fun, and my worries about rewards for winning “play” mode and training for new players are rather minor problems overall. I haven’t yelled so much at my computer and gotten so absorbed by a game like this in a really long time. Once this game has the finishing polish, I think it is something

Posted in Hearthstone

Waiting for Hearthstone

Hearthstone is  a Warcraft themed collectable card game, that looks like it should be a lot of fun. While Blizzard announced that the hearthstone beta was going to start in “summer”, it is looking much more likely that we’re looking at an end of Summer start to the beta. Since there hasn’t been a whole lot of new stuff going into the WOW beta, I thought I’d reflect some on Hearthstone.


First, I really like the design of the druid class in the game. A druid has been featured in several of the game play videos thus far, and powerful damage combined with powerful healing makes for a great potential deck. One of the nice things is that they kept a lot of the spell names similar. So, starfire does what you would expect it to (single target direct damage). Healing Touch does what you would expect (heals you). Soul of the Forest summons trees, and so forth.

The newest update about the game from Blizzard has several interesting points that I wanted to highlight:

  • While we didn’t expect the PC/Mac version of the game to play well with the ipad version, they have now had a cross-platform game successfully in Blizzard. This leaves open the possibility of having one account that would work on both devices, and being able to play against your computer friends while sitting on your couch with an ipad. While not totally confirmed, this would be a best-case scenario.
  • Hearthstone will eventually have an open beta, allowing anyone to be in beta once they have opened it up. However, they are starting with a smaller closed beta (based on sending invites to small batches of accounts) and working to invite more people over time. Keep in mind, however, that early beta is likely to have a lot of bugs they will need to work out before they increase the number of people playing.
  • While the game is “free to play”, you can buy card packs. There is a special reward card for purchasing card packs with real money in beta. That card carries over into Live, along with unopened card packs equal to the value of real money you spent in beta. However, you can play the game perfectly fine without ever paying real money at all.

Beta is likely a few weeks away (as the post said not days away, but also not months away – that makes “weeks” away the best guess). I will likely post a lot more about Hearthstone once I can play in beta and give my opinions on actually playing the game. I am really excited and looking forward to seeing how the game develops!

Posted in Hearthstone, Written By Lissanna

Guild Leadership Corner: rewarding raiders for success

My guild (Undying Resolution on Elune) has several guild parties a year. At the guild parties, we hand out awards: guild rank promotions, raid attendance award bonuses, and awards for recognizing people who contributed to our team. This works well with our 25-man, where this helps our raiders to feel recognized for all the work they do.

The awards we hand out to our raid members have four categories. The first three involve nominations from the full guild, as well as full guild voting on those nominated. The fourth award is one given by the officers. You can read the award descriptions on our website.  Our four award categories are:

  • Most improved raider
  • MVP: best overall raid performance
  • Most helpful member (can be given to either a raider or a social non-raiding member)
  • General Excellence Award (awarded from the officers to any raider or social non-raiding member).

During our guild party, we try to have themes. Around the holidays, everyone dresses up in their Winter’s Veil outfits and we decorate with things like snowmen, and other holiday things. For our summer party, we have summer outfits (well, except for the moonkin…).


We try to find places to hold our parties that offer help to that themed feeling. So, for our summer party, we found the closest thing to a beach party spot that we could find, and invited people to bring beach clothes and toys. However, phasing can cause some problems with where to choose a party. So, if you choose to do a guild party, be careful not to choose it somewhere people can be left out (as we found out the hard way when 3 people couldn’t see us at our summer party spot!). With up to 30 people, finding a party venue around Azeroth can be really difficult!

However, a chance to relax and have some fun with our guild members can help make the long summer (or winter) months more enjoyable!


Posted in Guild Leadership, Written By Lissanna


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