Hearthstone There is always something that has attracted me. As one World of Warcraft spinoff, it’s steeped in the lore and characters I grew up with and boils down to a fun card game. I had a solid knowledge when it first came out; I built my deck, built my cards, and even climbed the ranks Hearthstoneladder of. However, like most games, I eventually stopped playing. It could be out of frustration or because I found another game to focus on – I honestly don’t remember because it was years ago. I’ve wanted to go back to it, but as the dates, month after year, and one expand into many different expansions, I feel like I can’t keep up.
This is why the new Hearthstone Mercenary Mode really intrigued me. This game mode gave me a second chance to get back into the game, to find a new foothold that I could build again. However, while there is a lot of fun in the new Mercenary mode, it is still weighed down by the standard mode of Hearthstone.
Not quite an indie game
Mercenaries are, for the most part, an independent regime in Hearthstone, where players build a team of mercenaries go complete the bounty and earn some loot. The Mercenary game takes place on a board with branching paths representing the type of match the player will face. If you are familiar with Slay the Spire, you will understand what I am talking about. Each team the player creates has six mercenaries. Each mercenary has their own unique abilities and they can outplay each other, meaning synergy is crucial to success. If one of the mercenaries dies during the game, they cannot be used until the run is complete. After the game is over, the player is rewarded with mercenary coins that can be used to upgrade or build armies.
Mercenaries mixed together normally Hearthstone gameplay with lots of ideas from deck crafting games. Despite the mercenary progression and leveling system, every run has something new – a tabula rasa-lite, if you’ll allow me to make words. Building a team of mercenaries can be a thrill. Testing out characters and seeing what kind of “deck” would work well made me remember how much I enjoyed deck building games. The list is still pretty low, especially compared to the massive size in normal mode of Hearthstone Yes. However, I consider this a blessing because it’s super easy to wrap my head around for a few minutes instead of sifting through hundreds of character pages.
Once gold becomes an issue and the bonus board is exhausted, the mode’s glaring problems become clear: It can only exist with the help of the standard game of the game. Hearthstone. Progress in Mercenaries is borderless on its own. I don’t have as many years of hoarding gold in my wallet as most Hearthstone player. After a few upgrades and Mercenary packs, I’m going through my empty coffers and considering how to fix this. There is no way to earn gold in Mercenaries other than the Lucky Daily Quest. The experience for Passing the Season also comes with the crawl of a snail. The only way I can earn gold is by jumping into a normal match of Hearthstone.
I looked at my old deck of cards with absolute confusion. I have no memory of creating half of them. All of them are unusable in the Standard game mode. I had to go into Wild mode like a fool when only C’thun supported me. I don’t even know if he’s still a good card to have. It obviously didn’t help me because I lost painfully in every match I played. Everyone has cards whose mechanics are completely foreign to me but are probably too old at this point in the game’s lifecycle. There is nothing more painful than sitting in a Hearthstone the match knows you will lose, and let your opponent drag the match out like a ferocious cat playing with a cornered mouse.
I didn’t let it bother me too much, I rolled with punches, got some gold, and headed straight for the Mercenaries. The real gut punch was realizing that I would have to do this over and over again to earn a steady stream of gold. All I wanted to do was play this mode, one that got me excited about the Hearthstone franchise, and not touch the part that I no longer consider interesting.
Mercenaries is a well-crafted mode that is incredibly appealing to players of all skill levels. There’s enough complexity to make you think about it even if you’re not playing it, but easy enough that you can smash a team together and still have a lot of fun. Things only get worse when you exit this mode and move on to the normal game mode to hunt for gold like a reckless miner. People who played Hearthstone, having an up-to-date deck and understanding the current meta shouldn’t be a problem with this. But players like me who no longer understand this play language will get frustrated at times.