Hearthstone: 10 Interesting Facts About This Awesome Card Game
Yu-Gi-Oh, but better?
If you’re a gamer, chances are that you’ve heard at least a few things about Hearthstone – released in 2014, this multiplayer collectible card game now has more than 30 million registered accounts.
Whether you’re a total stranger to this PC game or you’re an avid player yourself, this list should have a few tidbits for you to chew on. In no particular order, enjoy some fun facts about Hearthstone.
1. Available for your pleasure on Macs and PCs AND smartphones
The beginnings of a great match.
When Hearthstone originally came out in 2014, it was only available on Windows and OS X. But it didn’t end there, because throughout the year Blizzard Entertainment rolled out updates to make the game compatible with iPads, Windows 8, and Android tablets. Best of all, as of this April, Hearthstone is now also available on Apple iPhones and Android smartphones!
All of this is great news if you’re looking into starting the game, because you probably have one or a few (or all?) of the compatible devices necessary to become part of the Hearthstone world. And if you have a mainstream smartphone, you quite literally can leave the house and still have the game with you…
2. Max minion health is 2,147,483,647
You’ll become a real legend with OP minions.
… And anything after that is considered negative health and destroyed.
What’s so special about this number? Well, it’s the largest positive value for a 32-bit signed binary integer in computing terms. (For those of you non-computer geeks, it’s basically the largest value possible in many programming languages and thus is usually the upper limit for things such as scores and money in video games.) And it’s also a double Mersenne prime, which is super rare – there are currently only four known double Mersenne primes. (If you’re wondering what those are, go look it up; it would take a while to explain here.)
3. There is no trading card component
Collecting cards? I’m in.
Instead of trading your cards to other players like in many other card games both online and otherwise (Pokemon comes to mind, but I’m biased), in Hearthstone you can “disenchant” cards you don’t want and dissolve them into “Arcane Dust.” Then you can use Arcane Dust to craft new cards (with certain limits to which cards you can craft, of course).
Why is all this necessary? Blizzard Entertainment wanted to avoid giving players opportunities to cheat (by using bots, for example) as well as reduce outside-of-game sales
4. One more piece of the puzzle that is the world of Warcraft
So many familiar characters…
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Warcraft franchise, Hearthstone is the fifth installment from Blizzard Entertainment in a series of games that includes, most famously, the MMORPG World of Warcraft. All the characters, spells, and locations in Hearthstone come from the Warcraft universe, and as such old-timers are instantly familiar with many of the people and places and things of Hearthstone.
If you’re not already deep into the Warcraft universe, then Hearthstone may actually be a good place to start – it’s an excellent introduction to some of the key players in the Warcraft world, and it’s a great way to test the waters and see if you want to try out something like the much more labor and time-intensive World of Warcraft.
5. Mind-control Tech kills a minion if you play it as the seventh minion on your side of the board
The card in all its colorful wonder.
This one is fairly straightforward: Mind-control Tech’s Battlecry usually allows you to control a minion on your opponent’s side of the board, but if you play the card as the seventh one on your side of the board (thus filling up your board), it’ll kill one of your opponent’s minions instead.
6. The first player has a slightly higher chance of winning
Here we go!
Hearthstone aims to make the game fair, so naturally there are in-game mechanisms to even out the playing field for the second player. At the beginning of each game, the second player draws four cards while the first player only draws three. Then after the mulligan stage (which is when both players can choose as many cards as they would like to return to the deck and then redraw the same number of cards), the second player also gets a card called “The Coin.” It’s a one-time mana crystal to use during one turn, and this brings the second player’s card advantage up to two cards.
Even with this benefit, though, the game’s lead designer Ben Brode says that on average, the first player still has a 3% higher chance of winning the game than the second player. On the other hand, Ars Technica conducted another mini-study and concluded that the higher chance of winning is slight, if it even exists in the first place.
What we can draw from all this is that as a turn-based game, Hearthstone seems to be pretty balanced – if people have to argue about whether or not the first player has an advantage, then that probably means that the game is already doing a fairly good job.
7. Each deck can’t have more than 2 of each card and 1 of each Legendary card
Deck yourself out in all this glory!
In all of the normal game modes excluding Arena mode, there is a limit on how many of each type of card you can put into your deck. This adds plenty of spice to the game, because this means that whether or not you win a match rests largely upon the effort you put into building your deck.
Deck-building requires knowledge of the deeper strategic elements of Hearthstone, and with card limits you have to put even more thought into how different cards complement each other. All in good fun, if you ask me.
8. The developer team was, well, small….
They made all of this…
The developers for Hearthstone, fondly referred to as “Team 5” or “Blizzard Team 5,” were comprised of 15 programmers. Which in the gaming world is practically unheard of, because many big-name games have developer teams of 50 people or more.
Although the team has 44 members as of June 2015, much of the game’s original development was completed by the 15 original members, who were able to work extremely closely with each other to create the immensely-popular card game that is Hearthstone.
9. Fun fake cards in the credits!
No spoilers here! Go take a look yourself.
Speaking of the developer team, each member has his or her own fake card in the credits reel, which is definitely worth a watch if you have some time.
10. If you play Mindgames while your opponent has no cards in their deck, you get a 0/1 Shadow of Nothing and it dies at the end of your turn
Again, fun and easy. This fun trick allows you to play the Mindgames card while your opponent has an empty deck, summoning a Shadow of Nothing minion that has 0 attack and 1 health… and it dies at the end of your turn! Pretty cool.
Rock and roll with Hearthstone!
If you’re not already a Hearthstone player, maybe it’s about time you try out this uniquely-designed, fun card game – give it a shot, and you may find yourself among the millions of players entranced by all the different ways you can play the game.