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Hearthstone Battlegrounds Game Review

hearthstone modes

31 August 2021 HUGE Hearthstone Update!

You can read my other blog post to learn about this huge update!


Greetings my friends! In this blog post, we are going to talk about the mode review. As a good and experienced player of this mode, I want to share my thoughts with you.

Call To Action!

Have something to say about this mode, feel free to meet me in the comments! I would be so glad to have your valuable feedbacks! If you want to read more game reviews, don’t forget to look at the category of Game Review!

At a Glance for Lazy Readers

Is Hearthstone: Battlegrounds a masterpiece, good game, just an ordinary game, bad game, or a disaster?

In my opinion, Hearthstone Battlegrounds is a good game. However, with proper updates, this game has the potential to become a masterpiece.

Positive Sides:

  • Legendary Hearthstone main theme!
  • Stunning story of Azeroth

Negative Sides:

  • Lack of in-game leaderboard and point tiers
  • Lack of player interaction

Neutral Observations:

  • Made with Unity! This is a perfect example to show what Unity has capable to do.

Game Mode Announce Trailer

Hearthstone Battlegrounds Announce Trailer

Hearthstone Battlegrounds Release Date

The mode of Hearthstone, Battlegrounds, was released on 5 Nov 2019.

Language Support

Hearthstone Battlegrounds have a relatively good number of supported languages. However, we are talking about Blizzard. Supporting tons of languages wouldn’t be a significant problem for this company. Believe me, this is really an important topic. Global game companies would lean on this subject in the future, more.

Negative Impressions

1. Very long beta term

What is the Beta term? In general, it is one of the general testing phases with Alpha. The testing phase is not permanent, as expected. However; Blizzard seems to behave oppositely because the game is in Beta for almost 2 years. I don’t understand why it takes this much time for a mode. And you are Blizzard. There is a really wrong thing here.

2. Lack of the in-game leaderboard

I didn’t even know there was a leaderboard, and I was upset because of the lack of a leaderboard feature for this game mode. I am still upset, but it is not because of this right now. It is because they don’t implement this leaderboard in-game. Should I go to the website every time when I want to see high scores? This is redundantly tiresome.

Official Leaderboard of Hearthstone Battlegrounds

3. You cannot see your own position on the leaderboard if you are not in the top 200

The title says it all. Yes, you are ranking up by gaining points in the Hearthstone Battlegrounds; however, where are they? We just instinctively know it. We think like “if we are gaining points, then we should rank up”, but we don’t see the effect of it. Players should feel they are gaining something: rewarded. If you don’t properly show this, then what are we competing for? Hearthstone Battlegrounds only shows top players, but should all players aim this tier? Instead of this big achievement, small signs of progress should also be rewarded.

4. No League or Tier present

You cannot watch your own position as well as your league. I am not even sure if there is a league or not. Placing players in tiers (bronze, silver, platinum, etc.) is a required approach to make them feel the main progress.

Positive Impressions

1. Point Loss Guard

If you lost a game after passing points multiple of 500 (like 4000, 4500, 5000, etc.), then you don’t fall behind this threshold. For example, you have 5006 points and lost your next battle. Then you won’t lose more than 6 points. If you have 5000 points and lose a battle, then your points won’t decrease. I think this is a good approach to keeping players in, even they lose too many games.

2. Cross platform available

Yes, Hearthstone is a cross-platform game, which means that you have access to the same game world on different consoles. These consoles are iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac. Being playable on mobile makes Hearthstone an incredibly practical game. You know that nowadays mobile gaming is on its edge end keeps growing. If games can be successful to adapt their world in mobile like Hearthstone, they sure will be very successful by reaching a much broader audience.

3. Board Game Opening Animation

We are not familiar with this effect in desktop or mobile games. While switching between menus, it is like you are opening a box of a board game that reveals something beneath it. Considering the game theme, this animation is the best choice for this game. Please first watch the opening cinematic of Hearthstone:

Hearthstone opening cinematic

Actually, keep this cinematic in your mind. While playing Hearthstone, sometimes, it is more likely that you remember moments from this cinematic. Anyway, the general theme of Hearthstone is a mixture of board game and card game. Switching between menus, it is clear that Blizzard also kept this plot at the center. It is amazing to feel like you are opening a board while moving between menus:

Game board opening animation while switching between menus

4. Buttons are shaking, cursor is clicking, in short, UI is interacting!

A small but effective difference that we are not most familiar with. Affordance is the ability to explain itself like a door handle: when you see it, you pull it. Buttons also have a good affordance. They are shaking and prompting users in a dissimilar way comparing to other games. Like buttons’ waggling animation, the cursor (which is a hand) is actually “clicking” when you press the left mouse button.

Buttons are shaking like flipping when you hover them with the mouse

Did you like my review?

Then you may also like one of my other game reviews. Here is the example of MMO title: Bless Unleashed Game Review.

Game Ambiance

It is warm if I explain it with only one word. While playing, in recruiting phase, try to remember the official trailer of Hearthstone that I shared with you. Then, imagine yourself in a tavern. You are playing with other wanderers who came up with this same unordinary tavern that is full of magical creatures of Azeroth. Isn’t it warm and welcoming?

Emotion I feel while playing

I generally feel a welcoming and attractive start due to the legendary main theme of Hearthstone. Bartender Bob is a huge supporter of mine. And remember this: “Don’t tell the others, I am rooting for you!” May a fellow buddy saying this would be a bad guy? Of course not 🙂

bartender bob tells "that's a great play. I can't wait to see this shake out."
My best buddy in Battlegrounds is Bartender Bob

Multiplayer feature and player community

One of the main features that Hearthstone is separated from general multiplayer games is communication limitation. You cannot communicate with other players via typing or voice chatting, but only emojis. I am not sure if this is a good feature or not. Yes, it can hugely lower toxicity, but at the same time, extremely lowers multiplayer sensation.

It is important to mention that this emoji feature is only available with paid seasonal packet called perks.

Battleground Perks

NOT Pay-To-Win!

This is one of the cool features in this game. Battleground perks is the only enhancement that you can buy in-game. By telling enhancement, I mean indirect positive effect for your game. This is the thing that I love in Hearthstone Battlegrounds: it is NOT pay-to-win.

Four Selectable Heroes Instead of One

Battleground Perks gives you only one advantage affecting your gameplay: choosing one of four heroes instead of two. This gives you the opportunity of planning wider strategies at the beginning. And you have less chance to be forced to play with a hero that you cannot play.

Detailed Stats of Your Gameplays

This is another feature that comes with Battleground Perks. You can view info of your last 5 battles, top 5 heroes by wins, summary of your total play (ex. Triples Created, Players Eliminated, or Longest Win Streak). These stats may give you an insight into your predisposition. Then you may learn from them to be a better player. Do I use these stats in this way? Actually, I used it once or twice I guess. It is up to you to decide whether they are really useful or not. In my opinion, it is not a big deal. You don’t need to spend your bucks or coins just to see these stats if it is your only goal.

Sound & Music

Legandary Main Theme

The main Hearthstone theme is a very warm piece. It is very like a classical tavern song. You can find yourself humming this theme while wandering on the main menu.

Hearthstone Main Theme

Unique Sounds

Sound effects are also special touches in this game. Murlocs, beasts, demons… All different main cards have unique sound effects. This increases the detail of game.

Story

Theme of board game tells you something!

Main story of the game is fascinating. Do you remember the section that we talked about board game opening? The animated short that I shared with you there, is explaining the story of Hearthstone better than words. In case you didn’t watch it, I am sharing it again:

Hearthstone opening cinematic

Playing board game in a tavern of Azeroth!

Hearthstone’s story is based on board games. You are in the magical tavern that welcomes any visitor. This tavern is in the land of Azeroth. Here in the tavern, you are playing a board game with other tavern visitors. Hearthstone is this board game. The game that you play in a welcoming and warm place.

Main Economy of the Game

You have 10 golds at most

The main economy of Hearthstone: Battlegrounds is gold. You start the game with 3 golds. Then, every turn you gain 1 additional gold up to 10 at most.

Remaining gold doesn’t transfer to the next turn

Every hero in the tavern costs 3 golds to buy. When you sell a hero to the tavern, you get 1 gold (excluding one pirate hero). If you have any remaining gold at the end of the recruitment phase, then you lose it. Your remaining gold(s) doesn’t transfer to the next turn.

Replayability

Competition & Points are core values

For multiplayer games, the main source of replayability is generally based on competition among players. In Battlegrounds, you compete against other 7 players in one game. Since we don’t have much interaction with other players, competition among players cannot be the most important value for replayability. We need another trigger for players: leaderboard. Though it is poorly implemented (we talked about lacking tiers and an in-game leaderboard), climbing the leaderboard by gaining points is the other side of the coin. With these two sides together, the main source of replayability is formed.

Tutorial

Providing a good tutorial section is another positive value of this game. If you are a newbie in this genre, don’t worry that you won’t get along. You can also view additional tutorial pages excluding tutorial game.

Battleground Rules - First Page
Battleground Rules – First Page
hearthstone battlegrounds tutorial buy this for a triple!
Tutorial game has nice guidance

Personal Advice: Animation Enhancement

In the tutorial section of the game, tripled Voidwalker has extremely beautiful animation. It is almost living inside the card! Then, why don’t we have this animation in the actual gameplay? Is it so hard to implement it?

Very good Voidwalker animation