Ideas of March

My efforts thus far to get where I want to be for Warlords has been met with limited results.  It’s entirely my own fault as I’ve been spending my time Hearthstoning when free, usually in an effort to complete a daily each day.  Yes, reader, that one has its teeth sunk in but good.  Fortunately with some free time last night I finally got in some actually WoW time and took to my Gnome Warrior.  The Mrs. and I did some puttering around but actually got into a dungeon pretty quickly(!) and I picked up a couple of levels in Blackfathom Deeps.  After that she was kind enough to run me through Stocks before calling it a night.  Another Gnomeregan run this morning and she’s now 27, on her way to 28.  Go figure, as soon as I lament queue times, I have two occasions where it was less than 20 minutes.  But, now that I’ve actually been productive to some degree, I figure I can increase said productivity and give myself a proverbial kick in the rear to do so…by jotting down some goals for the month.

  • Get Semblance the Warrior (27) to 35.  My original plan was 25, but I accomplished that quite easily yesterday.
  • Get Paramita the Priest (41) to 45.
  • Get Elcombe the Mage (68) to 70.
  • Finally have Elcombe learn Alchemy, and then actually power level it to some degree.
  • Max out Saintvache’s Herbalism, currently 310.
  • Get his Enchanting (487) up over 500 as well.  Who knows, might even Max it as well.
  • Get Junkshot the Monk (7) to 20.
  • Clean up Claws of Nature Guild Bank.
  • Get Liouxpold (85) at least one level in Pandaria.
  • Reach 2,500 Daily Quests

Not a vast list by any stretch, and many of the goals are pretty simple to obtain.  I average about an hour and a half of free time a day, so I can’t be shooting for the moon.  If I get all of these accomplished then it will feel like I’ve done something and will push me on towards the next ones in April.  Let’s face it, many little things can add up to one big thing and in this case that one thing can be momentum.  It wouldn’t hurt for me to have some of that the closer we get to Draenor.

Hearthswearin’

Stoned
Far too familiar

I haven’t really made any progress in World of Warcraft over the past couple of weeks and, admittedly, been less than constant in posting here.  As you may have guessed, the reason for that is Blizzard’s Hearthstone game.  I mentioned before how much fun it is, and there’s much truth in it.  When I have pockets of time for gaming, I tend to fire it up for a couple of matches.  There’s nothing like a good match with someone that comes right down to the wire.

Unfortunately for me that doesn’t happen too often.  In part I recognize I’m not the greatest player.  When it comes to ranked play, I’ve gotten as high as 18 but dropped back down pretty quickly.  The guys and gals there definitely know what they’re doing compared to yours truly.  Arena play is no different, but I head there because the rewards are better than your standard pack purchase regardless of how many wins you get…though once I managed to win two games before my third loss set in and I was done.  That aside, I tend to hang out in casual as I think that’s the play that best suits my interests and abilities.

Well, that’s what I would like to think.  Over the past week (ish) I’ve noticed a growing trend and that is the curve of difficulty in casual play has increased dramatically.  Where I would win anywhere between 25-40% of my games, I can now measure hours between victories.  The screenshot above is the most common play I make in Hearthstone, no question about it.  I attribute some of it to just dumb luck (I had a game where none of my 7 Taunt cards came out, despite the game going 12 rounds).  For the most part, though, it’s just an insane difference in skill level.  It’s lead many of us to come to the conclusion that players who should be playing ranked, aren’t.  Whether they just ignore it completely or get to a certain level and are bested by others, who can say?  But they hop into casual and just steamroll the “competition.”

Hearthstone at its core is an incredibly fun game.  But this, this really isn’t fun all that often.  Sure, I could take on the computer in Practice Mode but you can’t unlock cards or earn the gold to play in Arena by doing so.  Like I said, I know I’ll get trounced in Arena or Ranked and that I can accept and be perfectly fine with.  But casual mode should be for the casual players and it isn’t anymore.  Blizzard can’t really do anything about it based on the settings of the game, but hopefully when it goes live they can fix it somehow.  Perhaps a “Noobs” mode.  I know I would probably swear a lot less.  Anyone who knows me knows that when it comes to games, I don’t mind losing in the slightest.  But when the hours start to add up, one can’t help but get a little bit frustrated.

Where I Play #WoWScreenshotaday Catch-Up

Yes, I’ve not been a very good lemming.  It’s been a busy time around the Amateur house and when my time was idle…well, blame that darn Hearthstone.  It requires a simpler kind of focus some times.  That said, it isn’t that I haven’t been working on the screenshots, I just never had a chance to post and then decided to just bundle them all together.

 

Continue reading

Stoned! (Hearth Style)

If it isn’t your cup of tea, or you just plain missed the announcement yesterday, you might not know that the digital TCG (is what I’m calling it) “Hearthstone” went Open Beta yesterday.  Mrs. Amateur has been playing it in closed Beta for some time and thoroughly enjoying it.  I know other bloggers who can say the same.  Me?  I just downloaded it overnight and got a taste of it today.  Having recently played the actual WoW TCG, I had an idea of how the game worked and to be honest it wasn’t far off.  Heck, even the artwork is taken from the cards.

Hearth1

When you first fire up the game, you’re tutorial bound.  This consists of several matchups against various decks including Hemet Nesingwary and Hogger.  They’re really just meant to help you see some of the mechanics and strategies, as well as simply how to actually play the game.  Each match is a little bit longer, and tends to introduce 1-2 new mechanics. Finally you go up against Illidan in a fight to put your new knowledge to a test.  The developers are beyond honest as you get ready to duel it out with The Betrayer.

Hearth2Early on, it really does seem like that’s true.  You want to cry shenanigans, but if you play your cards right (no pun intended), you can take him down.  I think the design of this fight was to show you that even if your opponent gets a solid start, you still stand a chance.

I rolled through the six missions in about an hour, but that included some distractions and stepping away from the computer.  It’s a bit long I suppose, but it really shows you how to play the game without accounting for how a real person might play.  After all is said and done, you have a shiny -yet basic- Mage deck.  If you want the others, you need to go into the Practice area and defeat each respective “hero” to unlock the other eight decks (sorry kids, no Monks or Death Knights).  I figured I should probably get them all to give me options, so I went for the Rogue deck first after humming it over.  Didn’t take long for me to get humbled.

Hearth3Yeah, it wasn’t even close.  Valeera still had more than half her health.  But, I learned some stuff in the process and that’s why it’s called practice.  The next game I did a much better job and beat her down soundly.  Two decks owned, seven to go.

So what are my thoughts?  Well, I prefer playing with the cards in hand, much in the same way I like a hard copy of a book.  If the choice is there, I will pick the non-digital option.  But having said that, Hearthstone is a seemingly great transition to a digital model and I can see me plopping down to it from time to time -particularly as I know more and more friends that are playing.  I’m sure once I hit the “real world” and not just practice mode that I will be thoroughly trounced, but games like this have never been about winning for me.  I just play them to have fun, and I think there’s a lot of fun to be had from Hearthstone.