Disclaimer - The following is a statement of opinion, my opinion of course. My opinion is not your opinion and vice-versa. Though at times they may resemble, do not confuse the two for one another. If you plan on commenting all I ask is to be sure to read my blog in it's entirety to avoid misunderstanding; I appreciate the feedback. Thank you and I hope you enjoy.

zombie's Tips to Getting Started in Hearthstone

I realize that most people who were interested in Hearthstone have already put some time into the beta. Here's a blog dedicated the select few who haven't jumped onto the bandwagon as of yet because they are still on the fence. I present to you a group of tips on how to get started in Hearthstone.

1. Play the Tutorial

Although you don't have a choice in the matter, the tutorial provided by the game properly introduces you to the basic gameplay mechanics. I can't not stress how important it is to pay full attention to everything it is teaching you because you will be applying that knowledge for the rest of your Hearthstone experience. It is only 20-30 minutes, so make sure that you set aside time to play through it in one sitting.


2. Unlock Every Class

Once you've completed the Tutorials, you will be granted access to Practice Mode. There you can test out your new decks against AI opponents. More importantly, this is where you will be able to unlock the various classes included in Hearthstone. As you may already know, in the beginning you are limited to the basic class: Mage. If you want access to the others, you are going to have to beat them individually.


3. Collect the Basic Cards

While it is extremely tempting to jump in and start playing against real opponents, I recommend holding off for now and leveling up each class to 10 in Practice mode. The two reasons being that it is an easy (though time-consuming) method to receive cards pinnacle to your future success and it also allows you to form a grasp on each of the classes' strengths and weaknesses.


4. Complete Unique Quests

In Hearthstone there are 16 "unique" quests, they can only be completed once but the rewards you receive are quite splendid. You may have noticed that when you unlocked every class, raised a class to level 10, and collected all of the basic cards you received 100 gold. Assuming that you haven't already spent it, you should be sitting on a hefty 300 gold. Now, if you also play three games in Play mode and defeat the Expert AI in Practice, you will receive an additional 200 gold and a card pack, raising your total currency to 500 gold. This is enough to purchase 5 card packs, but before you go do that, read the next tip.


5. Enter the Arena

As I just mentioned, the gold you currently possess is enough to purchase 5 card packs, with 5 cards in a pack you are looking at 25 new cards. Awesome, right? However what if I told you there was a better way to receive cards? When you unlocked every class, you received a notification that Arena mode was now available. Arena is a risk/reward game type where you are given a random assortment of cards to create a deck with. Using said deck you battle other people and with each subsequential victory, the prize you receive at the end increases. Once you lose three times, your Arena run ends and you are awarded items based on how well you did (or didn't do). The first time you play Arena you are given one token, allowing you to run the gambit once free of charge; your next Arena run will cost you 150 Gold.

Here's where I apply some serious Math: the 500 gold you have right now is enough to purchase 3 arena tokens. You are guaranteed one card pack every time you purchase an arena token. By using your coins on Arena instead of directly purchasing cards packs, you are receiving two less packs (15 cards). Here's the catch, alongside your guaranteed card pack you also have the opportunity to receive additional gold, cards, card packs, and dust (which is used to craft). If you fail to win in Arena, the worst you can do is to just barely make up the difference in gold between Arena and packs, and the best you can do is get enough gold to purchase another Arena token. As I said before very risk/reward however in my opinion the risk is very limited whilst the reward is practically infinite.


6. Time-Management

Alongside Unique Quests, there is also Daily quests which can provide you a minimum of 40 gold each by completing the objective. It is important to note that you can only make progress in Quests through Play or Arena mode. Essentially if you wait three days, you will receive three quests and enough gold to enter Arena. Now you can also receive 10 gold for defeating three people in Play mode , however it would require approximately 10 hours to receive enough gold for another Arena token. Unless you want to play simply for the enjoyment, it is not recommended you use this method and save yourself countless hours.


7. Use Basic Decks

The great thing about Hearthstone is that is is entirely possible to play it without spending a single dime, it just takes a load of patience. While your main source of income will be Arena and Quests, occasionally you are going to have to win three matches in Play mode to buff your gold. The problem is you will be facing opponents with loaded decks and the cards you currently possess probably won't be enough to defeat them. This is only temporary because as you accumulate more cards, you will be on equal footing. Until then, how are you supposed to get enough Gold to do so?

You are not the only person to face this predicament, many others find themselves at a disadvantage when starting off. Luckily there are people who post decks online for people such as yourself. Just type "(Insert Class Name Here) Basic Deck" into a search engine, and you should find decks built around readily available cards. With these decks, it is not guaranteed that you will win, but it will certainly increase your chances until you have enough manpower to construct a deck of your own. It will also further enforce your belief that it is entirely possible to play Hearthstone for free, even against opponents who have purchased cards with real world currency.


Optional: Support the Game

Since Hearthstone is in Open Beta, they are offering a Gelbin Mekkatorque gold card if you make a microtransaction. As if that wasn't incentive enough, for less than the price of a full game you can also purchase a "starter kit", if you will, and receive 200 cards additional. If you are really digging Hearthstone, these are both really good methods to show your support for a wonderful free-to-play game, while also removing the problem brought up in Tip 7.

Update: In my haste to put this up, I forgot to add crucial information to tip #5. I have experienced first-hand how difficult Arena can be, especially when first starting off. Just as there are premade decks listed online, there are also guides for creating decks in Arena. They are called tier lists and they detail which cards have optimal usage both in general and for specific classes. Just as the basic decks are meant to be used to get on your feet, tier lists are there to help you win matches until you have the currency, experience, and knowledge to do it on your own.

The ones I have used in the past are https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AifXEOqTcGcLdFVvWk1GRjVJTHJUaTVLcGViR1RRTFE&gid=20 and http://www.liquidhearth.com/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=513. You can use whichever ones you want, just be sure to glance over them when constructing your Arena Deck. Also note that tier lists are not absolute, there may be times when they mislead you, so don't follow them religiously and use them as intended, as mere guidelines.

Afterword: I was able to get a blog in this month, hooray! I know I had listed "microtransactions" as my next topic, and don't you worry it should also be arriving towards the end of this month, but after playing copious amounts of Hearthstone as of late, I had too much bottled up muse not to write a blog with it as the topic. I hope you all enjoy and are able to take something away from it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to stop writing about Hearthstone so that I can play some more Hearthstone. I am one Quest away from another Arena run, wish me luck!