I loved Hearthstone so much; it was one of the most fun games I ever played. And yet I regret it immensely all the same.
No, this isn’t (only) because of the Hong Kong stuff, though I will never buy an Activision-Blizzard game again until they completely change course, which they will never do.
The game was just so much of a waste of time for me. A waste of literal money, too–besides the single-player expansions I bought, which were really good, I will admit, I probably spent another $100 on the game just from impulse arena runs and digital booster packs and whatnot. But money aside, I poured probably a thousand hours into the game, more than any other video game I’ve ever played.
And was it really worth it?
Not really, no.
Card games are pretty fun, and one as fast-paced and fun as Hearthstone is a sure bet for me to get into it. The fact that you don’t have to physically own all the cards and don’t have to lug around a bunch of expensive armed robbery targets to the local comic book shop to play is a plus, too. But when you’re by yourself, playing against a bunch of anonymous faces you can’t even interact with, in a card game that’s basically pay-to-win for anyone who doesn’t get lucky enough to earn all of the best cards for free, it can be an emotionally draining experience.
Something I used to do is watch $2 used DVDs I bought from the local Mckay Books and CDs store, basically to have something on that I could pay half-attention to, while putting more attention on playing Hearthstone at the same time. I burned though a lot of movies that way, but I also probably missed out on some of the better ones that way– there’s probably a few movies I would have liked way more had I been paying any real attention to them, like, say, Premium Rush. I don’t regret multitasking during movies I don’t care that much about, but Hearthstone is way too involving to really multitask with, and I think I missed out that way.
Everything about Hearthstone, looking back, was just so frustrating though. The card packs were randomized, the Arena decks were randomized, the players were randomized, the daily quests were randomized, half the cards had randomized effects… I know card games have an element of luck about them already, but it was getting a bit ridiculous.
I got extremely lucky very early on when I started playing, because I earned Dr. Boom, one of the most broken and amazing cards in the game’s entire existence, for free just a few weeks into playing. That card alone helped me build fun decks and win way more than I should have. But as more expansions came out and I took breaks from the game here and again, I kept falling further behind, not collecting enough of the best cards to keep up, and eventually it was a bit too far gone.
The game also got EXTREMELY busted around 2017, with these “quest” cards that were absolutely terrible, and so many strategies that involved around reaching a specific combo, and then you win with no ability to ever regain anything.
Unable to really win after a certain skill level because of the lack of cards, it became a slog to finish a lot of the daily quests, and I was barely ever able to advance in the Ranked games anymore. I gave up trying to be legitimately good at the game, and focused more on trying to have fun with my all-time favorite deck, the Mill Rogue Deck. With this deck, the goal is not exactly to beat the opponent normally, but to force them to draw so many cards that they run out and die from having zero cards. It’s a hilarious way to turn the game on its head and there are very few ways to effectively counter it once it starts. It’s really hard to pull off though, so it isn’t actually a great deck.
But it wasn’t enough to keep me having fun, especially when they did a card rotation thing and no longer allowed you to play most of the most important Mill Rogue cards in “standard mode.”
Hearthstone was fun, but not nearly fun enough to have put so many hours into it. None of my friends kept with the game as long as me, and I made precisely zero friends through the (fairly toxic) community. In the end, my most prominent memories of Hearthstone are mostly like this:
Nowadays, I don’t play video games enough to want to waste THIS much time on a single game, even if a lot of it is spent multi-tasking (Civilization and Fire Emblem excepted). I briefly got into the quite fun digital card game Faeria, but it came out just a bit too late to get me to invest more than a couple hours into it total. Alternate universe me is probably a huge fan of that, though, so I do have to give it a recommendation, especially since it has some really neat single-player puzzle content. I love that kinda stuff.