What is Hearthstone?
Mark Register explains it all
Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft is an online collectible card game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. It is free-to-play with optional purchases to acquire additional cards and access content quicker. The game was announced at the Penny Arcade Expo in March 2013 and released on March 11, 2014. Hearthstone is available on both Microsoft Windows and OS X systems, and is also available on iOS and Android touchscreen devices. New content for the game involves the addition of new card sets and gameplay, taking the form of either expansion packs or single-player adventures that reward the player with collectible cards upon completion.
Hearthstone is Blizzard’s intuitive Digital Collective Card Game taking the best parts from the original CCG games like Magic the Gathering and making it so good they collected 10+MM active monthly users bringing them $20MM a month in revenue.
The turn based game is played by selecting 1 of 9 hero classes, a deck of 30 cards from your library that you can grow by buying expansion packs, then battling players starting with 3 cards (4 if you go second) gaining 1 mana crystal each turn that you can use to summon minions, spells, and weapons to bring your enemy’s 30 health to 0.
The scene is set in an old timey inn with a warm, inviting, friendly feel deriving its overall aesthetic and feel from the World of Warcraft item “hearthstone” that would teleport you to the nearest inn or tavern, your home away from home, to unlock the Kansas skin just click your ruby slippers three times and say there’s no place like home.
The game started as a low overhead passion project with 5 core Blizzard employees coined “Team 5” with the goal of making a CCG easy for anyone to play, obtaining the visceral experience as one has with playing with tangible cards, and becoming a cash printing press like every other Blizzard title.
Even as Team 5 grew to 15 developers when the beta was released it was Blizzard’s lowest overhead project compared to their normal development team size of 80+.
The game has been well recieved and Blizzard made a good move of paying popular streamers like Amaz, Trump, and Frodan to play it on Twitch.tv which was a welcomed palate clenser for people bingeing on intense MOBA & FPS matches.
Blizzard is keeping their leisure CCG game in the world of Esports by hosting their Blizzcon annual Hearthstone World Championship with a $250k prize pool, $100k of which goes to to the first place winner.
It’s not enough to support a pool of full time players but it’s great for marketing.