We’ve been on a bit of a Hearthstone binge in the office lately; it’s a great game that can be played in short bursts over lunch. However, a friend of mine recently reminded me of the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game that once existed to fill that need for a Blizzard themed card game. It got me thinking about how much of the physical TCG ended up in Hearthstone; and more importantly, how much more of WoW TCG could end up in Hearthstone.
1) More Heroes from each class
At the time when WoW TCG was discontinued it had over 100 different heroes to choose from. Each of these Heroes brought something different to the battlefield, even if several of them shared the same class. More importantly, they had different special abilities. For instance, Raja’sul the Relentless could buff his allies for one turn, while Thrall could heal despite being a Shaman.
Hearthstone already offers a wide range of choices with the nine available classes, but more variety never hurt anyone. It would also open a wider range of tactical options for players and new combos. At the very least mixing and matching the existing class abilities would create a very interesting metagame.
2) One man army heroes
Summoning minions to do battle while slinging spells from the back is a decent concept, but there is some lost atmosphere in the game when Heroes like the Warrior or Rogue are left relying on summons to win. While yes, these two classes have some ability to wield weapons and do some smashing of their own, it’s just not the same as having the one man army feel with a Hero that is encased in impenetrable armour and carries a huge sword.
3) Item cards
Simplifying the game from WoW TCG to Hearthstone caused several card types to become lost. Back in the physical card game, players were able to equip their Heroes with a large variety of items and equipment. This wasn’t just confined to potions; as most Blizzard fans know, the company likes to include some every unusual items and ideas as Easter eggs for fans.
Blizzard will be introducing the first solo player campaign for Hearthstone in the form of Naraxxmas at some point in the future. However, solo player dungeons are not what makes Warcraft fun and interesting. Instead, it is the co-operative multiplayer raids; where several players combine forces to bring down a powerful boss character.
WoW TCG had this in the form of Raid decks. Powerful foes like Onyxia and dungeons like the Molten Core challenged groups of players for the chance to win prizes; or just bragging rights for defeating the raid. Anyone who has played a raid will readily talk about the amount of fun involved with trying to make four players with different strategies combine their efforts in a way that doesn’t result in the party being eaten by a dragon.
Why do we need more?
As it stands now, Hearthstone is simple and easy enough for the casual gamer to understand without too much effort. However, it lacks a large amount of depth that is often associated with card games. Only the Arena offers any real variation in games; which is why all the top players hang out there. Expanding the meta-game and providing more depth for players who have mastered the basics is actually necessary for pushing Hearthstone from a casual distraction into a full blown competitive card game; especially if Blizzard is planning to make the Hearthstone World Championship an annual competition.