My mother is a Wizard.
Most of the time anyway. She also likes the Shaman deck. Being able to cover the battlefield with powerful magic totems certainly has its charm. But the sheer joy she gets from turning a powerful Ogre Warlord into a fragile bleating sheep is just too much to resist. Plus you know, fireballs.
Somehow, after spending decades completely inoculated to the allure of video games (despite raising two sons who would never shut the fuck up about them) she has suddenly taken an interest in Hearthstone
. She's out there building decks, learning the meta-game, and discovering the special joy of playing against dickbags online who will grub out their lowest common denominator tactics and act like their hot shit in a champagne glass.
(I might be feeling slightly protective here.)
I'm not used to this. My mom is asking for my advice on the Warlock match-up, how to deal with regenerating Priests, complaining about overpowered Rogue attacks. She excitedly texted me about the rare card drop she got the other day. Is this what I've been doing to her my entire life? It is a strange and wonderful thing to be on the other side of the glass.
I'm not even sure how it happened. Why this game? Why not Farmville
, or Candy Crush
, or any of the other mobile games that seem to be perpetually winding their invisible tendrils through the middle-age-and-over audience? I mean, sure, she'll occasionally plink some birds away at some unworried pigs now and then, but I wouldn't say she was into Angry Birds
. It's a diversion, something she'll do to pass an extra five minutes on a lunch break. Hearthstone
isn't a diversion, it's a destination. She'll break out an old heavy laptop, wait the three grinding, hitching, and sputtering minutes it takes to load up, and sit down to play a few matches.
I don't want to give the impression that she's some kind of Hearthstone
nut, she still only plays occasionally. But the fact that she'll go out of her wait AT ALL to play something is remarkable. Clearly Blizzard has done something right. Whether it's the "simple to understand, hard to master" gameplay, the cheerful colour pallet and fantasy-lite guitar plucking, or just their Gimi-with-the-serial-numbers-filed-off mascot, something caught her attention. And perhaps more impressively, it kept it.
Why not, it's a fucking great game! It's fun, full of variety, and has solid replay hooks. The F2P schema is as light and fair as they come. Nobody is going to spend their life savings on it, and nobody is going to feel like they need to buy cards to keep up. But they probably will buy a few things here and there, if only to experiment with and hone a favourite character. That seems fair to me.
Who knows, maybe Hearthstone
will be forgotten in a few weeks. Maybe this is just a weird anomaly. But for now, I'm going to enjoy this weird slice of time where my mom is very concerned about monster-synergy and mana-economy.
* - Me and Kass played Outlast: Whistleblower together. It had all of the floppy convict penis of the first game in a more focused and concentrated package! Put that on the back of the box and ship this puppy to WalMart, American is ready for it.
A - Oh dear, El Dango is so excited about Arkham Knight. I'm guessing he wrote this before hearing about the 2015 delay. Considering The Last Guardian, Ape Escape, and Beyond Good & Evil are also on his wish list, I think he's in for a disappointing E3.
R - A review for Mind Zero. Seems like if you're a JRPG fan, you pretty much live on handhelds at this point.
D - Zer0t0nin is making a game, but doesn't expect to be driving around a gold plated sports car anytime soon.
- Andy wants you see you after class.