Do you ever get the feeling that your quest to become a Hearthstone Legend just isn't going as well as it should? You probably shouldn't lose too much sleep over it: As Blizzard's recently-released breakdown of the Hearthstone Ranked Play ladder shows, the vast majority of players sit in the bottom ten ranks, and less than one percent have achieved the coveted rank of Legend.
Just six months after Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft went into full release on the PC, Blizzard has announced that the free-to-play collectible card has racked up 20 million players.
We meet one of the men behind the bots plaguing Hearthstone. He tells us about using it in Arena, beating famous streamers, unlimited gold, and why he's not worried about Blizzard's "scare tactics".
In a move already being greeted with an almighty collective sigh of relief by most Hearthstone players, Blizzard has finally swung the nerf hammer on Leeroy Jenkins. The card’s cheap cost, relative to its high damage and Charge ability, has seen it deployed as a ‘finisher’ in a multitude of decks.
This week we're joined by Hyped, one of the best Hearthstone players in the world, to showcase his Mage Giants deck. The games are all incredibly tense. Like crushing your opponents with a stunning comeback? This could be the deck for you…
It so happens that most of the world is not close to Anaheim, California, so getting to Blizzcon can be a hassle. That doesn’t mean you can’t follow the proceedings though, because the internet exists. Not only can you watch everything that happens at Blizzcon live and in HD, but you can also watch people make rude remarks in the accompanying comment section.
Between all the bitching about which cards are OP and need nerfing, it’s easy to lose sight of what a remarkably fun, balanced (yes, really) and young game Hearthstone is. By the time it left open beta in March it already had 10 million registered players smashing each other’s faces in with ever more creative card combos. Since then, despite gripes about RNG, as if any card game doesn’t rely heavily on lucky draws, it’s on the verge of exploding as an e-sport, with regular tournaments offering big prizes and a thriving scene of pros and streamers.
Elie Bursztein is kind of a behind-the-scenes guy at Google, where he heads up anti-abuse research and figures out new ways to "protect our users against cyber-criminal activities and internet threats." He recently redesigned Google's Captcha system and implemented improved cryptography in the Chrome browser; he also figured out a way to "hack" Hearthstone by using machine learning to predict opponents' decks with what is apparently a game-breaking degree of accuracy.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is going to be a very big game, but CD Projekt Red is apparently concerned that hunting monsters, handling politics and trying to unravel the mysteries of the Wild Hunt won't be enough to keep players busy. So on top of everything else, it's added a collectible card game featuring four distinct factions battling for supremacy with an array of soldiers, spells and unique heroes. It sounds familiar, but it's not Hearthstone: It's Gwent.
Right on schedule, the Curse of Naxxramas Military Quarter is on the cusp of opening up to all. Blizzard has announced the launch times for the next chunk of Hearthstone content, so we know when each region will get the update.
Update: Blizzard is making progress on the Plague Quarter issues, but serious problems remain. In an update posted today, the studio said it has fixed the bugs that caused players to be charged twice for Plague Quarter access, that denied access to the Plague Quarter after successfully completing the purchase and that caused an improper appearance of the "Closed" sign on the in-game shop. Unfortunately, the fixes are only good for players who haven't previously run into trouble; if you've already encountered the bugs, their effects will remain on your account and the current fix will do you no good.
Problems with payments giving the "Waiting for authorization" and "Another transaction is still in progress" messages, and players being prompted to purchase access to the Arachnid Quarter for zero currency are still under investigation.
Hearthstone gets its claws into you. Blizzard’s masterstroke is the way the game rewards you for a win—the shower of fireworks that springs from the screen every time you land a killing blow on the enemy hero.
The moment you start craving more of that experience, Hearthstone’s got you—as it got us. Tim is almost entirely lost to it, spending his early hours researching deck compositions. Chris played played 50 hours when he reviewed the game, before bowing out mumbling something about mages. Andy booted it up for the first time when asked to prepare for this tournament, hated it, and then saw the fireworks—and now he’s been sucked in, too.
The inaugural PC Gamer Hearthstone tournament gathers up all of that emotional and psychological investment, and pours it into a crucible of hot, middling competition. We can’t claim to be the best players in the world, but everybody here wants to win: and everybody who gets knocked out is doomed to spend at least 20 minutes sulking in a corner.
Often, before I begin a Hearthstone Ladder session, my stomach starts churning and my heartbeat races. I actually feel the same sort of nerves you might get before an exam. Or a date. Back when I used to do either of those things. And because what, I might lose a couple of ranks in one night? Who cares? Well, dumb though it is, I do care. I’ve got the Ladder yips, and I want to overcome them...
Yesterday, I reported on the IeSF—the International e-Sports Federation—and how the gender segregation of their e-sports tournaments had led to a male-only Hearthstone qualifier at Finland's Assembly Summer 2014. Today, the IeSF released a statement announcing that they have removed the male-only restriction from their e-sports events. They also contacted us to explain their reasons for having one in the first place.
A user on Reddit's Hearthstone community yesterday shared this image—from an announcement page for a Hearthstone qualifier taking place during Finland's Assembly Summer 2014. What made "Karuta's" post notable was a single, highlighted sentence: "The participation is open only to Finnish male players."
That is, to state the obvious, a strange requirement for a Hearthstone tournament; and it makes the qualifier's organisers, the Finnish eSports Federation, seem like childish boys in a treehouse, hanging a "no girls allowed" sign on their front door. Only, the qualifier is for for the IeSF World Championship, and it's this global event that has stipulated the all-male line-up.
As we started planning for E3, the busiest week of the year, we decided that simply covering every PC game we could get our hands on at the convention wasn't enough. We wanted to do something ambitious. Something that would make our lives harder. Something like shooting the first episode of a new bi-weekly series about PC games. We're calling it The PC Gamer Show.
Have you been patiently hoarding gold in anticipation of the imminent release of Hearthstone’s single-player adventure? Or have you been spaffing your coins like a Gadgetzan Auctioneer on shore leave? As someone staring at a balance of 35 gold, I’m already resigned to the fact I’ll be paying IRL currency for Curse Of Naxxramas. But for the majority of players who seem to prefer grinding the game for free, next week you’ll know how much you need to get into the expansion.
Feel free to take this with a pinch of Arcane Dust, but a poster on the Hearthstone subreddit has unearthed a cache of images which appear to show the forthcoming Curse of Naxxramas expansion in the wild.
Spiders are our friends. They mind their own business. They trap and eat mosquitoes and various other bugs that can be such annoyances on summer days. And while they're not the toughest creatures on the Earth, their Deathrattle draws a random beast card that can really come in handy when the cards aren't going your way—in Hearthstone, anyway.
Greetings Hearthstonians, Vincent Sarius here again, and today we're going to discuss the best moments from the biggest Hearthstone tournament held so far. Dreamhack Summer took took place this weekend in Sweden, and aside from a $25,000 total prize pool—of which, $10,000 went to the winner—the top three finishers all received spots in Blizzard's upcoming qualifier tournament for a chance to play at Blizzcon for an immense $100,000 prize. That'll buy you a lot of packs.