Games this Week… Hearthstone, WoW, and ESO

I’m trying to get into the habit of blogging every Friday about the games I’ve been playing each week, so that I’m updating consistently. I think it’s a format that works well for me because it feels less like a formal review of stuff and more of just an ongoing expression of what I’m enjoying (or not) about whatever I happen to be playing. So, here we go.


Hearthstone updated this week with Patch 16.2, launching Chapter One of a new paid adventure, Galakrond’s Awakening, and updating Hearthstone Battlegrounds with a couple of new heroes and cards, and other changes. I’m still playing Standard on occasion, trying to get my rank up to 15 this month. My best deck right now is Paladin with a focus on lifesteal and buffs and no Neutral cards. It’s been working pretty well for me, though I’ve had to make some adjustments as I go along. I’ve been playing a little bit of Galakrond Shaman with a focus on Battlecry mechanics, and Highlander Mage, which is just my fun deck.

Galakrond’s Awakening

I was initially excited that the Hearthstone team was bringing back paid adventures because I love hoarding cards, and the adventures tend to have more “fun” cards to add to the meta, but as I opened up Chapter One of this new adventure and started playing, I felt disappointed by the actual gameplay of it. I’ve had so much fun playing the “Dungeon Run” style adventures that they’ve been doing for the last several expansions, the challenge involved in the way that games are set up, and the ability to build my deck as I go, constantly changing the strategies as the bosses get harder and harder. There is a ton of replayability in that system.

Galakrond’s Awakening has none of that. It’s nothing but basic games with basic pre-built decks and hero powers pitted against an opponent. You win, you get some cards to add to your collection, you move on to the next boss. Wash, rinse, repeat. Right now, only Chapter One is available, so there are only three bosses to fight for each team, six in total.

It feels silly to complain about getting new cards and a silly story in exchange for my money, but the Hearthstone team raised the bar so high with the free-to-play Dungeon Run style gameplay that I guess I expected more from a new paid adventure. Maybe the later chapters will offer more of a challenge, or something more interesting, but right now, I feel a bit let down by the adventure.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds

New Heroes

Tirion Fordring
Hero Power: Give minions with no minion type +1/+1. Costs 1 Gold.

I have yet to play as this hero, but I’ve played a few games against him now, and I think this is an extremely strong hero power if you build your board correctly, and I think it’s easy to do. Almost every other player is going to be going for type synergy, whether it’s demons, beasts, murlocs, or mechs, which means that the minion pool is going to be more likely to have non-typed minions in the rotation. That should make it easier to get triples of minions, and with the low cost buffing each turn, you should be able to manage a really strong board throughout the entire game.

I’d rate Tirion an Always Pick, if you have the option.

Millhouse Manastorm
Hero Power: Passive. Minions cost 2 Gold. Refresh costs 2 Gold. Start with 2 Gold.

In concept, I think this is actually a fairly strong hero. The one time I played as him, I ended the game in 8th place, but I think that’s more to do with my inability to get any good synergies going on my board than to do with the hero. With minions costing only two gold, you have really strong buying power mid- to late-game, with the downside of tavern refreshes costing an extra gold. Even so, selling minions still gives you 1 Gold in return, so you can trade minions out much more easily than other players.

I would like to test my theory about him being a strong hero, but until then, I’m going to say he is a Maybe Pick until I get more data from playing him more than once.

New Minions:

Imprisoner, Tier-2, 3/3 Demon with Taunt, Deathrattle: Summon a 1/1 Imp.

This is a decent addition to demons, though I don’t think it’s a minion worth hanging onto for long, once you upgrade your tavern.

Fiendish Servant, Tier 1, 2/1 Demon with Deathrattle: Give this minion’s Attack to a random friendly minion.

Now, I think this is a really strong card to have on your board, whether you are running demons or not, but even stronger when you are. The ability for it to buff a friendly minion with its attack has won me several matches, and when you triple this minion and get the golden version, the deathrattle upgrades so that it triggers twice, buffing two minions instead of one.

Additional Changes:

Voidwalker (Tier-1 1/3 Demon with Taunt) was removed from the minion pool, which I find interesting. It was a weaker pick compared to the other Tier 1 Demon with Taunt, Vulgar Homunculus (2/4 Demon with Taunt and Battlecry: Deal 2 damage to your hero), but still a decent pick compared to other minions because of the higher health.

Golden Zapp Slywick (Tier-6 14/20) now has Mega-Windfury instead of regular Windfury, which allows it to attack four times instead of just two. This card is already really strong as it is, and giving it Mega-Windfury makes it all the more valuable late game.

The hero Sir Finley Mrrgglton has been removed from the hero pool with a note that he’ll return in a future update with a new hero power. His previous hero power was Give a random friendly minion +1/+1. After you sell a minion, refresh this. Costs 1 Gold. This allowed him to buff single minions to extremes by late game, which may be why he is being changed. I expect the win-rate was too high to be considered balanced. I’m curious to see what they change with him.

World of Warcraft

Well… I haven’t played through Ny’alotha, the Waking City yet, the final raid of Battle for Azeroth, but I have watched the two cinematics for it, and… 


That basically killed all interest I had in continuing to play this expansion. I’m actually kind of mad that I’ve been playing this shit expansion for two years for it to end like that, and of course, my subscription just re-upped for three months, so I get to be angry about that now, too. I think at this point, I’m just going to play for PvP and then unsub for a while. I’m legitimately mad about this stupid expansion and the stupid story they cobbled together for it.

I’ve defended World of Warcraft for a really long time. I’ve spent countless hours playing this game and reading the novels and comics and immersing myself in the lore. And Blizzard just took a big fat shit on it. I don’t know what the fuck they’re doing over there in Irvine, but it’s not writing a good story or giving a shit about the lore, I can tell you that much.

Which brings us to…

Elder Scrolls Online

After a very long rage rant about whateverthefuck is going on with World of Warcraft right now, my husband and I both purchased Elder Scrolls Online last week to start playing (it’s now on sale for $8 for the base game, because of course it is). We’re both longtime fans of the Elder Scrolls franchise, but we were both hesitant about ESO because it seemed like trying to turn the Elder Scrolls experience into an MMO would ruin the gameplay and lose all the aspects of the original RPGs that we both loved.

I am so happy to be proven wrong.

ESO is such a natural extension of the Elder Scrolls games that you can almost forget that you’re playing an MMO. You can feel the love and care that they put into this game to make it a proper Elder Scrolls game. The interface is slightly different with the MMO format, (especially since I am playing on PC, not Xbox, like I have in the past) but the story and gameplay are just as immersive as the single-player games are, only now, my husband and I can play together.

The map is gargantuan. We’re still questing around a tiny sliver of Vvardenfell, giving me fond memories of playing through Morrowind, and I’m having so much fun exploring and questing. And I can’t wait to see what else is out there once we move on to other places. I’ve probably put a thousand hours into single-player Elder Scrolls games over the years, and I can easily see myself pouring just as many into this game.

That said, the game isn’t without its problems. It is free-to-play if you purchase the base game, or you can choose to subscribe to have access to all content. My husband and I just bought the base game because it was a small enough investment to see if we liked it, and for $20, I figured if I got at least four hours of gameplay out of it, it was worth the price. I’m now up to 11 hours played. The problem is that a lot of the quality of life adjustments to the game are gated behind spending actual money. Want bigger bags? You have to spend money. Want more bank space? You have to spend money. It’s frustrating, to say the least. If you subscribe though, you get all of that awesome stuff for as long as you’re paying the subscription fee. Maybe once I unsub from World of Warcraft, I might sub to ESO for a while to see if it’s worth the $15 a month, but right now, I find the push to spend actual money annoying.

Next Week

Warcraft III: Reforged drops on Tuesday, just in time for my birthday, so I’m going to spend a lot of time playing through the story campaign for that next week. Despite my hatred of Battle for Azeroth, I still love the world and lore that was built in the early years of the franchise. I never actually played Warcraft III when it originally came out, and though I know the story already, I’m excited to actually play through it first-hand.

I’ll let you know next week what I think about it.