Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last year and a bit, you’re likely aware of Blizzard’s digital CCG (collectible card game). You may have even dabbled in it off and on, simultaneously intrigued and frustrated.
Hearthstone is the affable and approachable alternative to Magic: The Gathering and though it’s easy to play, it’s very difficult to master.
Mastering an ever-changing game like Hearthstone is all but impossible, unless you’re well learned in its many subtleties and/or you’re a professional gamer. The nuances and mechanics of the game and its cards change and evolve faster than most of us can hold onto.
So… why not drop the pretense and tap into the joy?
Here are few strategies to employ to get the most out of your time with Hearthstone, even if (nay, especially if) you’re a beginner.
Strategy The First: Focus on Finding Fun in Failure
We all turn to games to feel like badass gamers every once in a while. It’s often why I find myself returning to rhythm games like Rock Band — I know I’ll kick ass at it because I’ve got a body wired for rhythm.
Surrender to the fact that Hearthstone isn’t going to make you feel like a badass gamer all the time. (If ever.) You are going to lose to your opponents far more often than you win. Sometimes, it’ll be a close game. Sometimes, it’ll be a total wash. Once and a while, you’ll even get a win!
You must reacquaint yourself with the joys of sucking at a game. When you suck at a game, you’re free to chalk up your mistakes to n00bitude. There’s freedom in that! When I lose yet another Hearthstone match, I make note of what happened and tweak the deck to fill any gaps that I find. If it’s a total wash (more than once with the same deck, especially), I’ll simply delete the deck composition and start again.
You play. You die. You play again. Shiny and chrome.
Strategy The Second: Try to Play with Friends
I’m a huge advocate for gaming with friends to get the best possible experience out of competitive (and collaborative) games. Even if there’s no outright vitriol or bad vibes coming from your opponent, there’s something to playing a game with a friend that you just can’t get from a random.
Reach out and see if any of your Battle.net friends want to play a match with you. Woefully empty Battle.net friendlist? Do what I do: tweet about it. Make friends with randoms when you play especially enjoyable matches. Make play dates with your offline friends so you can both suck at the game together.
If nothing else, misery loves company…
Strategy The Third: Earn Shinies in the Arena
Tired of losing because you don’t have any of the pretty new cards from the new expansion(s)? Take a page out of Magic: The Gathering’s tournament rules: draft a deck and play in a small tournament to win shinies!
In the Arena, you’re not limited by lack of card quality. You choose a character, build a deck from the cards presented to you, and play until you lose three times. Every entry into the arena is fairly inexpensive (150 in-game gold) and yields shiny new cards, even if you don’t win a single match. (Reward for sucking, people. Brilliant!)
Those cards can be used to create better decks, which may yield better results when you play in the Ranked league! Win win, really.
Strategy The Fourth: Find Out What Makes Hearthstone Fun For YOU
You might be the kind of gamer that enjoys getting lost in the minutia of deck building. You may love the thrill of experimentation and exploration to learn a game’s mechanics and underpinnings. You may be so thirsty for victory that it drives you to be a better player.
For me, I’m a natural problem solver. (I’m a brand & business strategist in my day job, after all.) So, I get a ton of satisfaction and enjoyment out of building and testing different deck compositions. I have a blast at getting my ass kicked so I can learn more.
Learning what makes Hearthstone fun for you personally (and not letting anyone else dictate what that looks like) is the ultimate advice I can give you.
Because if you’re not having fun, what in the hell is the point?
(Original Post: The Daily Crate)