Impressions of Hearthstone, the upcoming Warcraft trading card game for iPad

Hearthstone on an iPad

Blizzard announced their first mobile game at PAX East 2013, Hearthstone, which will be a free to play card game for iPad based on their popular Warcraft franchise.  Though they were a little gun shy with us as far as recording live gameplay footage goes, I got to play a few rounds and the game's pretty great. There's fully customized deck-building, a lot of familiar game mechanics for those that have played Magic, and plenty of nostalgia for longtime Warcraft fans.

Either player picks a hero, each representing a major class and having their own special ability. There are 9 classes supported right now, which leaves Death Knight and Monk out (for now). Both sides summon minions to attack each other on their turns by playing cards out of their hand and using limited (but ever increasing) resource points. Damage on minions is persistent between turns, so sont worry if you can't kill it in one go.

Games are live multiplayer, so unfortunately no asynchronous play here. My favorite aspect of Hearthstone so far are all of the little touches. For example, you can see which cards your opponent is fiddling with during gameplay. The decorative UI fringe has some light interactivity, such as a launchable catapult, to keep you entertained while your opponent takes their sweet time. There is a time limit on turns though, and you can always heckle them through preprogrammed phrases or live chat if you're playing with an buddy.

The Warcraft guys have dabbled in trading card games in the past, but so far this is looking to be the most promising effort. Keep an eye out for Hearthstone landing sometime this summer.

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Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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Reader comments

Impressions of Hearthstone, the upcoming Warcraft trading card game for iPad


Collectible Card Games are especially well adapted to tablets, gameplay-wise. However I'm really not found of the economic model asking to pay for random pack of cards.

As a old MTG player I can understand investing money on physical cards, you can always resell them later, but virtual stuff ? No way.

I'm looking forward to this game. But I'm not looking forward to the micro-transactions to get ahead. I guess when you failed at making money in the real auction house in Diablo 3, you see how it will do in WoW. Here is hoping that we can unlock everything without paying.

Wherever there is "Warcraft" there lies my soul. I am a major player of World of Warcraft for some years now and I have been playing Warcraft the frozen throne for like 5 years now, and I have never been fed up with the games. This seems to be a great addition. But only problem is that I don't have an iPhone and im positive that this game won't land on the Windows Phone 7.8 platform. Which really makes me sad.

Right now I'm playing Kingdoms of Amalur on the PS3. I'd love a real game on the iPad like this one (not something like this Free to Play BS that keeps hitting the stores). I'd rather pay $10 for a real game.

Would be amazing, warcraft is a great game overall with some deep lore. It will be a direct competitor to MTG duels of planeswalker.

I've never really been a fan of trading card games; however, since this is Blizzard, I'm willing to give it a shot. I can't wait to get it.

Anyone else disturbed by the fact that you can only chat with another player if they are your 'buddy'? If I wanted to play some kiddie card game where I couldn't talk to the person across the digital table I'd play Free Realms.

I was pretty excited for this, but, not now. I'm sure the max size for the friends list will be 50 people or so. Which means you can forget about adding everyone to your list so you can chat with people you play against.