Thursday, October 1, 2015

The days blend together

Oh man, where does the time go. Mad Max and Hearthstone? Yeah, that would probably be it.

I will most likely never be 'good' at Hearthstone. The game is over a year old now and the its meta has been defined, redefined, and then honed a third time through expansion sets and extensive player use/abuse. There is certainly some skill required, just having the right cards will not win all the time, but having the rights cards certainly doesn't hurt. As of a few days ago I had one of the right cards so you can imagine how well that is going.

But it is fun because Blizzard got the free to play aspect and progression correct, especially when compared to the game's most direct competition: Magic: Origins. Both allow the purchase of packs with an in game currency that can either be earned or obtained with real world dollars. Hearthstone simply offers more way to earn this currency through its different game modes and daily quests. If I were to really grind the game I could a net a free pack every day. These packs may contain duplicates of cards that I already own but they can be ground up into dust and used to create new cards. Obtaining the correct cards still would take a lot of time but it feels less random and the grind itself is less arduous.

My favorite way to play Magic was the booster draft. Every player gets a starter and two boosters and makes the best deck he or she can. I still requires skill but removes the pay to win aspect that is a part of every CCG, physical or virtual. Magic Online had this and I spent an undisclosed amount of money on it before I swore the game off. Magic: Origins has nothing of the sort. Hearthstone has the arena: for the price of one and a half packs of cards you create a deck from a random selection or cards and are then matched against other arena players. Three loses and you are out, the parting gift being a pack of cards and a little gold. But win a few, say three games, and you come out ahead of the price of admission. Win more and the prize is better.

It is easily the most fun way for me to play. I don't have the skills or the cards to grind ranked so the slightly more even playing field of arena mode is where I spend my time at work when I should be working (or writing this, for that matter).


Mad Max is better than many reviews have led me to believe. It is a competent sand box game with a Mad Max overlay. More Australian voice actors would be nice, as would the game not forcing me to scale back the awesomeness of my car for story missions, but I look forward to playing it every night and will continue to look forward to it until next Tuesday.

Next Tuesday is Rock Band 4 day, or the day Chamberlain learns if he can still play the drums or not.