In defense of Captain Blackheart’s Treasure

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I just got my 30th win in this week’s Hearthstone tavern brawl, a repeat of Captain Blackheart’s Treasure. That’s a lot of games in a game mode that is widely derided as being mere box opening, i.e. RNG for RNG’s sake. So why bother with it to that extent? Is my curiosity for the insides of boxes really that insatiable?

The easy explanation is of course that everybody likes to win and my win rate in this week’s tavern brawl has been ridiculous, tending towards 80%. Which is easily explained by three im-not-a-genius factors, i.e. 1) like in Arena, mage is by far and away the queen of this format but most people use the brawl to clear out dailies for other classes, 2) unconstructed brawls tend to attract more beginners, 3) I played so much that I began to know what cards I could expect to choose from.

However, I think there’s more to it than that. Captain Blackheart’s Treasure requires tactics and forethought but adds – at least for a while – more fun and creativity to the mix.

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Junk Legendaries: When Christmas sucks

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As a free-to-play Hearthstone player, getting a legendary is surprise Christmas. You don’t know when it’s gonna come but you know it only comes once a few times a year.

As a seasoned free-to-play Hearthstone player, you are probably also familiar with the big legendaries with a capital L: Sylvanas, Ragnaros, N’Zoth, etc.The ones that whole decks get built around. Like a child imagining Christmas you see yourself cracking open a pack and lo and behold, there’s Tyrion Fordring!

What you’re probably less familiar with unless you scrutinise expansion lists, are the junk legendaries. The Acidmaws, the Captain Greenskins.

The Gruuls. Oh good God, the Gruuls.

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Playing Around Touchy-Feely Stuff or How to Apply Hearthstone Lessons IRL

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The dating app conversation started well enough: He said I looked good (I’d paid a good photographer), I said he looked good (he did, from most angles), and soon we were talking about meeting up. More photos were exchanged to mutual satisfaction.

The he told me he was a virgin and asked me if that changed anything. I told him it didn’t and wrote a minor treatise on how I thought it was kind of endearing and we didn’t have to force anything he wasn’t comfortable with and I’d be perfectly fine with just making out if that was the extent of it. Okay, so it was like seven or eight lines but in dating app land that _is_ a treatise. No response and next day I couldn’t see his profile anymore. Missing, presumed blocked.

I didn’t write anything inappropriate or offensive or downright bad. And I’m not even sure it was anything I said that made him block me. Maybe it’s just the modus operandi of someone who’s not out and still a virgin. Cold feet, delete, block, erase. Start over again in a couple of days.

The reason this is on a games blog is because I realised that the only reproach I had for myself felt so much like that sinking feeling of having filled a board with 2-3s as you hand turn 7 over to a mage. You don’t know if your opponent has it but you should probably not play into it. I had overcommitted to the board and this was the dating equivalent of a flamestrike.

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I greet you

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Do you greet your opponent in Hearthstone?

As I have climbed the ranks it’s hard not to notice that people who do are fast becoming few and far between. Me, I used to start every matchup with a Greetings and end all with “Well played”. But I get why many players opt out. It’s kinda ritualistic, unpersonal and pointless. And so I too have stopped spamming the button. Still, I have found an occasional use for the greeting.

Get on a bus and observe the driver. Does he or she wave enthusiastically at everybody else on the road? No. Does (s)he tip heris cap at lorry drivers? Nope. They greet their own and only their own and only by the very smallest of gestures. They raise and an index finger slightly from the wheel and nod almost imperceptibly.

I think this is a good fit for Hearthstone. My paladin enjoins other paladins with a hearty “Well met!” and has nothing but silence for shaman (shamen? shemen? shamanni?) whereas it feels entirely in its place for Thrall to call his mirror image “Friend” (I don’t actually know any WoW lore so please feel free to correct me here) Sometime I get an answer, oftentimes I don’t.

Is this a thing? Probably not. I wish it were, though.

C’thun Cockup

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The centrepiece of the Old Gods expansion for Hearthstone, C’thun, looks like equal parts Vagina Dentata and One-Eyed Meat Monster (note the goo-spitting attack). Does that mean that someone at Blizzard thinks the ultimate horror is a ghastly genitalia (gender?) mixup?

Of course, getting your C’thun out sounds rude regardless of sex.

Hearthstone art is horribly sexist – and apparently hardly anyone notices?

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Polygon is the go-to fall guy for people moaning about SJWs, thought police and feminist ruining things. Yet this is a quote from that site about Blizzard’s CCG, Hearthstone:

The game is designed to minimize harassing behavior through its chat interface, and there is no content that’s offensive to younger players. It’s a game that’s welcoming and fun for nearly every age group, at every level of ability, regardless of gender.

No content that is offensive to younger players? Regardless of gender? Well, I found one person on the internet who took offense. I’m puzzled that there aren’t more. Here is the art for the two (two out nine) female heroes:

As pointed out by wundergeek, Jaina…

… looks like she’s casting a boob-enlargement spell, only it’s backfired and they’re about to explode out of her top. Literally.

I love the game as Ben Kuchera of Polygon also clearly does. I wonder why it should get a free pass, though?