You might have noticed something a little different at one of Blizzard’s games. Unlike the rest of them, Hearthstone stands out as one of the, if not the most, prominent card games on the internet right now. There is a science behind Hearthstone. Not rocket science, of course, but there has been some sort of plan that was set in motion, from the beginning until now, that drives the game forward in a very positive way.
Unlike the other Blizzard games, Hearthstone is a one versus one game in which players need to carefully craft their card decks. Crafting is not at all easy: it requires time, game knowledge and it implies a strategic approach. Do I want to go on the offense from the beginning and risk an empty hand? Or do I want to keep a low profile until I can see what my enemy has and then strike? These are all questions that every player needs to ask themselves when crafting a deck.
Rob Pardo, the former Blizzard Chief Creative Officer, explained that the differences between Blizzard’s “normal game style” and Hearthstone were there on purpose. They had a plan about how the game was going to develop in time, what playerbase they wanted to attract and the community they wanted to form. And luckily, it worked. Right now, Hearthstone can pride itself with millions of players and millions of dollars in profit.
When interviewed, Pardo explained how the development team asked themselves about whether they should make team games bigger or smaller. World of Warcraft is huge, Diablo can be quite large if pushed a little bit and Heroes of the Storm is a 5 versus 5 game (it was not around when Hearthstone came out), so the approach was to go as micro as possible and make it a one versus one.
The implementation process was the most challenging part because Blizz had to create a rather new game and be pretty modest about it at the same time. Pardo also claimed that “like almost everything at Blizzard, we never think the game’s going to be as successful as it turns out, which is an awesome place to be.”
So, as you can see, the science behind Hearthstone was nothing too complex. It was just a decision that was made based on the trends that were going up at the time, so they decided to shift in the opposite direction, and they did it quite well. Did you know that Hearthstone was developed by a team of interns at Blizzard?
Photo Credits staticflickr.com