This past month, I started to play Hearthstone. Here are my observations:
Hearthstone is a free mobile app and allows you to find other players in under a minute, where as Magic in real life requires one or more other people, and some degree of planning and organization. Magic: Online is a ten-dollar computer game that is only compatible with Windows. Hearthstone is much more accessible than real life Magic or Magic: Online.
Whereas Magic requires an investment of over a hundred dollars to have a competitive Standard deck, Hearthstone does not require you to spend any money to play. Magic: Online, as I’ve said before, is not treated by Wizards as a game, but as a second Magic: the Gathering on a different platform. This is shown by the way that Wizards costs online product and events. They price them as if they at the same price as they cost in real life. Again, they don’t treat it like a video game, they treat it like a second Magic collection, with all the same financial barriers to entry.
Hearthstone’s interface has been optimized for online play, whereas Magic: Online is clunky and unintuitive to use. I’ve found that my experience playing Hearthstone has been much smoother and more intuitive than my quick forays into Magic: Online.
It’s impossible to argue that Hearthstone is a better game than Magic. Impossible. Here are two of the main reasons why I think the mechanics of Hearthstone is inferior to those of Magic: the Gathering:
- Restrictive Deckbuilding
Hearthstone has nine “classes” or characters that you build your deck around. Each card is either usable by one of those classes or is neutral, and can be used by all of them. When you choose a class to build you deck around, you limit yourself to a specific set of cards, because cards belonging to other classes are unusable. There a limits to what each class can and can’t do. It’s almost like the color pie, except you can’t mix and match. Imagine only being able to play mono-color decks. It’s like that.
It’s harder to interact with what your opponent’s gameplan, because there are no “instant speed” cards. There are cards called “Secrets” that you play on your turn and trigger when an opponent performs a specific action, but they are limited and underpowered because they can be played around and you can’t choose what you want to target.
Hearthstone is cheaper and more accessible, but has inferior mechanics. However, I love Magic and wouldn’t think of quitting anytime soon.
What is your take? Comment below!