Hearth­stone: He­roes Of War­craft

EDGE - - THE EDGE AWARDS -

Pub­lisher/de­vel­oper Ac­tivi­sion Bliz­zard (Bliz­zard En­ter­tain­ment) For­mat iOS, PC

Hearth­stone’s great suc­cess isn’t the mil­lions of users gath­ered, the im­i­ta­tors spawned, or the coins tum­bling into Ac­tivi­sion’s cof­fers, but its un­bind­ing of the col­lectible card game from table­top es­o­ter­ica to be­come an all-em­brac­ing, life-con­sum­ing dig­i­tal pur­suit. Few could pull off such a trans­mo­gri­fi­ca­tion, but Bliz­zard’s deft touch is ev­i­dent in the tac­til­ity it im­bues in in­cor­po­real cards, in stream­lined me­chan­ics with fath­oms of depth, and in the del­i­cate in­ter­leav­ing of a mul­ti­tude of pow­ers.

Ev­ery CCG rep­re­sents a per­ilous bal­anc­ing act – one over­pow­ered card can suck choice and strat­egy from the game – but Bliz­zard’s post-launch support has kept the em­bers stoked for the du­ra­tion of 2014, with ju­di­cious checks to too-dom­i­nant meta trends and a broad­en­ing of the game via the Naxxra­mas ex­pan­sion. Yet Hearth­stone is more than a paragon of game­craft, it is a work that in­spires de­vo­tion in un­likely places. Sheer magic.

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