Shuffling, cutting, and splitting up my deck, has been an amazing adventure for the past twenty three-years. Building my deck's always consisted of carefully planning how I would bring about my opponents demise with a few drawn cards. Whether it was milling through their deck using my island deck or shutting them down with a few walls, magic cards, and my powerful minions.
That was my ultimate goal in the game, but something changed after twenty-three years. That something would eventually be identified as Blizzard Entertainment's smash-hit title Hearthstone.
Twenty-three years ago, I was among the many in the large conglomerate of Magic the Gathering players who opened booster packs in hordes, attempting to get the best cards in the current block, and even fought to be the best of the best.
Times have changed thanks to technology and Blizzard Entertainment just happens to be at the helm of what-is and what-is-not going to work in the realm of TCG's. The game has even received enough love that Fans of Hearthstone have created impressive Hero Concept's.
Magic the Gathering's Age is Showing Rather Harshly
After 23 years, it's been a rather rough road for Magic the Gathering or as its endearing fans call it MTG. The game has remained in a struggling state since it came out back in 1994, but not financially or even by player base, but the fact it has become more-so focused on tournament rule sets. In the eyes of judges, fans, and even viewers of the pro-gaming league - know the game has almost exiled casual players.
They've sent them running for the hills. The reason is not one to be taken lightly: rules are constantly changing, new buffs, debuffs, and even side-cards are constantly being placed in the game. This makes it almost overwhelming for newcomers to get into the game. The truth to this? The age is showing and it's becoming problematic with time.
As the game has grown rather complex, expansive, and even expensive; Magic the Gathering is becoming difficult to play as each new block releases. While fans like myself have spent many hours micromanaging 60-card decks there's another thing that comes at a cost - time, hundreds of hours, and even thousands of dollars in order to fight the way to the top.
This is something that Hearthstone has managed pushing to the side as they unlock new dungeons (blocks), new events, and even update the game with tutorials to help players better understand the game. This doesn't just include new creatures, new spells, and lands - it also includes plenty of new rules all around for players to learn.
The tutorials include understanding the board, understanding the effects of each hero, the player health pools, and even building a deck so that players may find a game that's rather enjoyable to their play style. The game has even gone far enough it's changing eSports for the better. This remains false for Magic the Gathering, which is harsh in many ways.
With newer buff mechanics such as "Devoid" having made an appearance in the game, MtG casts older players like myself aside as we were once attuned to basic abilities such as Flying, Wall, and Trample. With new sets such as Zendikar, Devoid has made it tougher for players like myself where we had to adapt to a game-changing mechanic. If cards can now be colorless, allowing protection cards to be useless against the devoid type.
Unfortunately, new cards like these have deterred players such as myself, just as the Sliver decks did years ago. Luckily, that's not a problem in Hearthstone as of yet.
Hearthstone Remains Relevant By Taking Advantage of It's Accessibility
When playing a card game, it's hard to figure out why it remains relevant, fun, and quite enjoyable. Within this struggle is Magic's ability to bring in new players to its confusing, constantly expanding library of cards, and even becomes more-so confusing with each block release. Luckily, this is where Hearthstone begins to shine for newcomers that are playing the game.
In essence, Hearthstone does see these growing blocks. The way it does this seems a rather common trend for software: expansions. Instead of releasing constant physical expansions, Hearthstone launches theirs via software updates. This allows for a consistent deployment of the new content, making it more accessible to those who want to access the game.
Thanks to its availability on PC, Mac, Android, and iOS. With tutorials being at the forefront, card draw buffs, and more on the way, Hearthstone is an ever-evolving entity that intends to remain growing as well as constant change to keep the game fresh.
With new cards, adventures, and stories being added - Blizzard has found a way to keep the game a fan-favorite for those looking for a digital TCG to enjoy. While the relevance of physical cards is wonderful, Hearthstone keeps that problem away, and allows for an excess of already rather common cards to be broken down and shaped into new ones.
This allows for fans to grab onto the cards they want and to make their decks just how they would like. This even leaves some of their fan-favored best cards in Hearthstone to remain relevant today.
Games like Hearthstone Should Replace Magic the Gathering
As someone who lined up on release night of a new block - Hearthstone has changed that as I now find myself staying up at night waiting for the latest update. With each of these releases, Hearthstone has remained a rather unique and constantly evolving game. One that remains fresh, ever-changing, but not enough to wing new players away from it as each "block" releases via expansions.
As each of these patches releases - Hearthstone doesn't phase the old players from the new. Blizzard has allowed players that are new and old to remain relevant to each other without causing such an unbalance that new players can't enjoy it.
This is not the same for Magic the Gathering as players have found themselves ostricized with all the new content, rules, and mechanics that are constantly applied to the game.
As someone who loved Magic the Gathering the way I did, I was not one to always attend events or even play in tournaments, I did still play with my friends when given the chance. Whether this meant taking to the tables or online, Magic the Gathering has been a game that has begun to show its age for years, its inability to give new players a chance to grow and remain easy to learn, and to separate the overly experienced from the veterans.
Luckily, Hearthstone isn't in that category. With numerous tutorials, different levels of learning; Hearthstone will be the one game for many to go to as Magic the Gathering begins to phase out.
Hearthstone's upcoming expansion "One Night in Karazhan" is set to launch on August 11th with its first wing and will release the rest over the course of the month.