Hearthstone; the death of CCG’s.

Hearthstone is a good game. It’s great fun. Quite enjoyable. You should play it. But when the meta game changes on a weekly basis, what’s the point? A deck that was passable good last week looses frequently this week. Why does the meta game change so rapidly? The game was created in the age of streaming internet.  We watch, content, pick up some deck ideas, play those. Wash, rinse, repeat each week. The real question “Is that fun?”

Hearthstone will be played by 1.) CCG Elites. Kripp, Trump, et all. 2.) People looking to break into their ranks. Those players who can devote the amount of time to keep up with the Meta Game will be the only players deriving any entertainment from the game. When you have to spend 50% of your ‘play’ time researching the environment of literally that day, where’s the fun for the ‘amateur’ player?

Tonight I lost my interest in the game after having played for about two weeks. The open beta was really exciting, and great to watch before getting in. But the game evolved quickly as the hype increased. We watched the meta game accelerate exponentially through and beyond the Invitationals. Magic the Gathering had the same cycle, but at least the game got out of beta before it accelerated beyond the point of something an ‘average’ player could follow.

What is the attraction for the average player if your win ratio is slightly higher than average chance? The really sad thing is that unless a card game is obscure, this is how its going to be from now on. Any CCG that launches in the internet age is going to have this terribly fast meta game. There is just something sad about that. Collectible card games will never be something that can be played at a level anything less than ‘professional’. Perhaps it just means that you can never be passingly interested in a CCG. Your either all in or left in the dust. Or maybe it means that there will be two kinds of players; ‘Spectators’ and ‘people who can devote their professional lives to playing a game’.

Maybe the meta game will change once Hearthstone goes open beta. But probably not. If you want to play a game that demonstrates your skill play chess. There are a huge variety of levels of players, with a known meta game. It has rules which change extremely slowly. If you want to play a game that demonstrates your ability to watch youtube videos of other people playing, play Hearthstone.

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