I’m going to preface this post by saying I’m currently working off a fever, so I apologize for any incoherent rambling. But I just started thinking about both Pokemon Go and Hearthstone and how Hearthstone could have blown up bigger than it did.
So one thing that I’ve found with Pokemon Go is that it is incredibly easy for anyone to pick up and play. Everyone sees the same Pokemon. If you go on a walk together, it doesn’t matter if you’re level 2 or level 32, you’ll both see that Bulbasaur and have a chance at getting him.
Hearthstone, on the other hand, has tried to make the game newbie friendly through the introduction of Standard and Wild modes, and only the most recent card sets and adventures can be used in Standard. For the competitive newcomer, Standard was a great introduction as it lessens the need to collect all the cards in Hearthstone’s history. However, there still exists the barrier to entry of buying card packs, which helps keep Blizzard afloat. But if I want to introduce someone to the game, they’re still stuck with using the basic / classic set and slowly grinding in-game coins to slowly buy packs and slowly building a viable deck.
Again, contrasting this design with Pokemon Go, the core gameplay is level and time agnostic. Hearthstone’s core gameplay most definitely could be level and time agnostic. But, in my opinion, the problem is that at its core, it is a card collection game; it is not a card game. What I mean is that if a group of friends are sitting together and I’m the only one who plays Hearthstone, I cannot just bring out my cards and start a game, as I might if we were going to play Blackjack or Poker. Each player has to collect cards in order to play, and while the basic sets in Hearthstone aren’t terrible, they certainly aren’t that fun.
To that end, I would like to see the option to share decks with real life Battle.net friends. The decks would not be able to be used in the ladder, only in friendly battles. The decks should be editable too, if someone has a legendary that would improve the deck I’m loaning them, let them put it in. That way, a couple friends could come together, share decks, and have some fun.