I have been playing a little bit of the Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft beta. So far, it really reminds me of Magic the Gathering. This is both a compliment and a criticism at the same time. I’m trying to give this game a chance.

First, you must complete the tutorial. After that, you can begin trying to unlock decks. Or, you can keep the default deck and start playing against other players. I’m not quite ready for that, so my next goal is to unlock all the decks.  I’m staying in Practice Mode and playing against The Innkeeper.

The default deck you start with, and go through the tutorial with, is the Mage deck that is personified by Jaina Proudmore.  Next, you use the Mage deck to play against non-player characters (NPCs) who personify the other decks.  You have to win in order to unlock each of the other Heroes (so you can use their decks).

I was doing ok, at first.  There are a total of 9 Heroes.  Jaina Proudmore is the first one.

It didn’t take me long to unlock a second one: Uther the Lightbringer (Paladin deck).

It took more than one attempt to defeat Gul’dan (Warlock deck).  I cannot recall how many tries it took, but it didn’t seem outrageous.  I was having fun.

After that, I worked on unlocking Valeera Sanguinar (Rogue Deck).  I’m pretty sure I didn’t win on the first attempt.  What I remember is that I was having a lot of fun.  In one night, I went from having one deck available to me to having four to choose from.

In the process, I managed to complete a quest called “Level Up”.  Get any class to level 10. My Mage Deck was now at level 10.  I earned a pack of cards as a reward.   Things were going well, and this was where I decided to stop for the night.

I picked up Hearthstone again just a few hours before I started writing this blog.  I was looking forward to working on unlocking more decks.  Here is a screenshot that shows what decks I have unlocked and which ones I still need to work towards.

There was a quest waiting for me called “First Blood”.  Complete a game in Play mode. That quest cannot be completed in Practice mode.  To complete it, I had to go into Play mode and play against another player – an actual human – not “the computer”.

What made me decide to give the quest a try was the wording.  It said I had to complete a game in Play mode.  It didn’t say I had to win.  No matter how well or how poorly that match went, I was still going to be able to complete the quest.  Why not try it?

I fully expected to lose.  Why?  I’d barely spent any time in Hearthstone, and was well aware that there were people who had devoted hours upon hours to it.  The other players probably had more experience than I did with the game.

Another reason was because I had not spent any money on buying cards.  Other players may have done so, which could put them at an advantage.  I was going into this match knowing I would lose, and hoping to lose well.

The player that was randomly chosen to battle against me was using the Anduin Wrynn (Priest deck).  As expected, I lost the match.  Here’s a screenshot right before the end.

That was my first time playing against an actual person.   It was rather exciting!  As expected, I lost the match, but I felt like I did ok.  It was nice to be able to complete a quest and get some cards.  So far, I was having fun.

I earned a pack of cards by completing the First Blood quest.

I made several attempts to unlock the Priest deck.  This was not easy.  After being defeated a few times with my Mage deck, I decided to see if the Warlock deck would get the job done.  Warlock is the opposite of Priest… right?

For whatever reason, I didn’t have success with the Warlock deck, either.   I lost track of how many times I lost.  Things had stopped being fun.  Wanna know what’s even less fun than losing a bunch of times in a row?

The answer is:  leveling as a result of losing over and over again.

Leveling a deck is supposed to be fun, right?  You work hard and your effort gets you to the next level.  It’s like the game is saying “Good job!”.  How did I manage to level this deck?  I lost, over and over again, until I’d accrued enough experience points to make it to the next level.  It was as though the game had given me a backhanded compliment.  This wasn’t fun.

I earned some cards as a result of hitting level 2 with my Warlock deck.  Usually, earning new cards feels exciting.  What could they be?  This time, my reaction was “meh”.

Next, I decided to give my Paladin deck a try.  A Paladin is something like an… Uber Priest, right? Maybe Uther Lightbringer could school Anduin Wrynn (and let me unlock the priest deck).

That didn’t work out for me at all!  My Paladin deck was defeated, multiple times – but leveled up anyway.

Oh, look, I won a card that would have been really helpful if I’d had it in the previous few matches. Thanks.  The game is now taunting me. In the back of my mind, I’m wondering if this portion of the beta test it to find out how many times in a row the average player can lose before he or she rage quits.

By now, I’d grown weary of the Paladin deck.  What’s left that I hadn’t already tried?  I still had an untested Rogue deck to use.  Could a Rogue beat a Priest?

Nope!  Things just weren’t going well for me this time around.  Not at all!

I tried again with my Mage deck, since nothing else was working.  That didn’t work, either.  My Mage deck was defeated, and leveled up to Level 12 despite losing the match.  This was when I decided to give Hearthstone a break and maybe try again another time.  It felt like I was no longer making any progress, and the game stopped being fun.

I did not return to Hearthstone until February 20, about a month after I left.  Part of the reason was probably due to a combination my interest in playing other video games, and my interest in paying the bills (also called “work”).

Instead of completely giving up, I came back and continued my attempt to unlock the Priest deck. I decided to select my Mage deck.  This time, things went very smoothly!

The screenshot above is of the final round of the match.  Anduin managed to put a rather large minion on the board.  I had 4 minions.  Not all could attack at that time, but enough did.   The final move was done by my minion that had Taunt.  I used that card to take out Anduin’s last two points.

VICTORY!

I have (finally) unlocked the Priest Deck in Hearthstone!

I now have a total of 5 out of 9 Heroes (or, decks) unlocked.  This quick match was a big success!

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