Seven years ago, I tried saving money by purchasing World of Warcraft. I know it sounds counterproductive to save money by purchasing something, but, as anyone who plays WoW, Everquest, etc. can attest, MMOs are a fantastic way to kill a lot of time.
I spent the better part of three years honing my skills in Azeroth, collecting and creating drool-worthy loot, and testing my mettle in arenas and battlegrounds.
These days I don't have the time to put into the game. Even if I did, I wouldn't - the game is too different from the vanilla I loved. Burning Crusade was as good as it got, and after that, it was all down hill. I occasionally find myself longing for those old days, though. WoW represents a period of my life that I cherish, and I still have friends I met exclusively through that game.
It was while pining over my old Azeroth stomping grounds that I stumbled upon Hearthstone, Blizzard's card game based on the Warcraft universe. I now have a way to feed my nerdiness without the time investment casting a Scroll of Resurrection back into WoW would require.
Heroes of Warcraft
If you've ever played a strategy card game (Magic the Gathering, Pokémon, etc.) you understand the general idea of how to play. These card games are also the basis for Zynga's Facebook atrocity Mafia Wars, and other casual clones. What sets Hearthstone apart is how well the team recreated an immersive Warcraft experience.
Building a deck can be intimidating, but, if you're familiar with WoW battle dynamics, you already have a leg up. My main back in the day was a Night Elf Rogue (although I also spent a considerable amount of time on my Shaman and other classes). Paladins were a bane to Rogues back in the day, due to a combination of their armor, healing, and holy powers bypassing many Rogue elemental protections. This rock-paper-scissors dynamic carries over well into the card game.
If you aren't already familiar with Leeroy Jenkins, he's one of the most epic trolls in video game history. After his team went over the plan for a difficult instance, LeeRoy screams his name out and ignites the battle, ensuring his entire team wipes. The incident was recorded and posted to YouTube making LeeRoy Jenkins one of online gaming's earliest rock stars, even becoming an NPC (non-player-controlled) characters in Azeroth.
This type of WoW reverence is wholly present in Hearthstone, with LeeRoy himself showing up as a card. In addition, all of our favorite Warcraft heroes and other iconic characters are represented. If you know anything about Warcraft lore, you'll appreciate many of the references, inside jokes, and other details in the game.
Overall, Hearthstone isn't the greatest game I ever played, but it's a solid card game that brings back memories of the good ol' days of Warcraft. If you ever find yourself pining for Azeroth, head to their website to download Hearthstone for free.
Brian Penny (aka Versability) is a former business analyst at Countrywide's mortgage and insurance tracking services through the transition to Bank of America. In 2011, Penny turned whistleblower and freelance writer, exposing criminal fraud by BofA subsidiary Balboa Insurance. Brian is a frequent contributor to Huffington Post, Main Street, Lifehack, Hardcore Droid, Cannabis Now, and various other media organizations throughout the web.
In addition, Penny is an affiliate of Manduka and Amazon.
Tweets by @Versability