Blizzard’s online tactical card game Hearthstone is currently undergoing a dramatic and exciting change that will make the game more approachable for newcomers. Firstly, the soon to be introduced ‘standard’ mode will rotate out a large pool of older powerful cards, decreasing the power gap between a new collection and an old one. Secondly when the newest expansion (Whispers of the Old Gods) releases the first pack, it is guaranteed to contain powerful new legendary card C’Thun, a strong tool for newbies to build around.

Now is a great time to start playing Hearthstone, getting some practice in just before the new player favouring changes hit the game. It is fun and accessible, with different levels of strategy and short game times that fit well into serious and casual gamer lifestyles. As with all videogames, having fun is the top priority when playing Hearthstone; but for those looking to accelerate the growth of their card collection early, Impact has some tips.

“Tavern Brawl is a lighter more fun mode, where each week new and crazy rules are added to the Hearthstone format”

When it comes to learning how to play Hearthstone most effectively, there are many great sources of information on the topic. Discovering the general rules of thumb through play can be a highly enjoyable journey; watching some beginner’s lessons from Hearthstone Youtubers will certainly set you off thinking in the right direction. Some of these video series, such as popular streamer Trump’s, also provide you with some basic deck lists to get going with. ‘Netdecking’ (finding deck recipes on the Internet) is great for players less interested in creating their own decks; huge amounts of decks are available online tailored to whether you just have the starting cards or a nearly full collection. Hearthstone itself now also provides three deck lists for each of the nine classes, but these are not the best around and likely out of your reach as a new player, with some cards featured not having suitable replacements. Slowly improving my basic idea of a deck as I got more cards was an incredibly rewarding experience when I first began playing.

Before you start deckbuilding too heavily, it might be worth squeezing all the free resources you can out of the game that are there for new players. Secret gold bonuses will allow you to buy more card packs; these hidden quests don’t take too long and will further build your initial understanding of the game. Levelling up a hero (done by playing games) to level 10 gives you access to some highly powerful class cards for free, as well as giving you some gold the first time and when you’ve done it for all nine heroes. You’ll also get some gold for defeating every expert AI and some big gold bonuses after certain numbers of games and wins online. Card packs can also be claimed for playing one game on iPad, Android tablet, iPhone, Android phone and Samsung Galaxy S6 Series for an extra boost if those platforms are available to you.

“Slowly improving my basic idea of a deck as I got more cards was an incredibly rewarding experience when I first began playing”

The next priority is tapping into a huge bonus Blizzard have added to Hearthstone for new and older players alike. Each week a new free admission Tavern Brawl mode is made accessible. Tavern Brawl is a lighter more fun mode, where each week new and crazy rules are added to the Hearthstone format. These brawls are fun, more casual and can be played as many times as desired; the big bonus however is that your first win in each week’s Tavern Brawl rewards you with a pack of cards to add to your collection. Tavern Brawl is as enjoyable as it is useful to increase your card library, but can only be accessed once you’ve levelled up a hero to level 20.

Another mode in Hearthstone is the potentially very lucrative Arena. Unlike Tavern Brawl, there is no level barrier but will cost 150 gold or £1.49 for every foray into the challenging game type. Arena levels the playing field where every player’s deck consists of a ‘draft’ they made before playing; choosing one card from three for each of the thirty deck slots. Playing games until you win 12 times or lose 3 times, the reward based on your performance can range from amazing to less than the 150 gold value of entry. New players are granted one free admission; whilst it may be tempting to jump right in you might get a bigger reward if you save your free Arena run until you’re more skilled at the game. There is also a lot of helpful advice online on how to play and build your deck in the very different Arena format.

When it comes to playing Hearthstone day to day, there are two main sources of earning gold. 10 gold is awarded for every 3 online wins, which caps out at 100 gold a day if you are extremely keen. The other are daily quests. Every day you’re given a random new quest, a challenge that awards a certain amount of gold upon completion. You can have up to 3 quests at a time and may ‘reroll’ or swap one quest for another random quest once a day. The lowest possible reward is 40 gold, with quests yielding higher amounts of gold as you play longer. This means the most efficient way to earn gold through quests is to reroll a 40 gold quest a day and only ever complete a 40 gold quest if you have three 40 gold quests after your reroll. This level of quest management is perhaps only for players most dedicated to hoarding every bit of gold available.

Most of all, have fun. Playing and discussing with friends can also enrich the experience as well as allowing you to cash in on a good potential daily quest. Some of this article might seem intimidating but much of it is easier than it sounds, and the game can be enjoyed just as much using very little or even none of the advice mentioned above. Hearthstone is still growing – events are happening in Nottingham which are great for social and competitive reasons. Welcome new players, pull up a seat by the hearth.

Tom Evans

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