Hearthstone in an of itself is already a very strategic game. So when Blizzard announced at BlizzCon 2019 that they would be introducing a brand new eight-player mode called Battlegrounds we were very surprised. In a way, it’s like they’ve created a second title within the franchise, albeit with a different set of rules.
The new mode is the companies take on the auto chess, or battler genre, which has become very popular on mobile devices recently. The matches might look a bit chaotic, but there’s actually a very intense mental game going on within the minds of the players. With that in mind, see what we did there, we got our chance to try out the demo at BlizzCon, where our brains weren’t exactly ready for it.
An eight player match was something we couldn’t wrap our head around, which is probably why we didn’t do very well. We were first given a list of heroes to choose from, mostly consisting of characters from Warcraft. Ragnaros was a good choice, and very timely with WoW Classic all the rage. We then recruited some minions with gold, and since we kept to the Classic vibe, we went with the Dire Wolf Alpha.
We stacked the minions around the Dire Wolf and placed them near the front of our base. Placement is very important here due to Battlecry effects, so this round ends up being crucial for later situations. Despite being a totally different play style, the graphics, colors, and aesthetics all look exactly the same. The main difference is attacking, which totally threw us off.
We entered the combat phase where the Dire Wolf was ready to pounce. The Wolf also has some buffs which helped out the minions, and at first we were doing ok. We kept on attacking during the combat phase, but unfortunately this would end up being our downfall. While we continued the onslaught, we failed to upgrade our base later on in the match and instead just kept buying more minions to attack.
This really ruined our match as we later learned that upgrading first is essential to any autobattler. Even more laughable is that while the upgrading is expensive at first, it gets progressively cheaper each time you pay for it in gold. We could no longer hold back our opponents and were overtaken with quite literally no defense. One player used a Deathrattle card that summoned two of their mechs back from the grave and used that to push for our elimination. We’re sure there are much better players out there than us.
Still, all of the cards from Hearthstone make a nice appearance here, such as Ragnaros who allowed us to shoot out fire blasts to the enemies. The resources are their for you to use, not waste. You are encouraged to spend them each and every time so you aren’t utterly destroyed like we were. We also learned that you can create a bit of a combination unit that has all of its stats doubled from whatever it states in it’s description.
There’s a lot of math involved as well, but that’s always been the standard in these types of games, especially Hearthstone. In short, know what your doing before you play a match, and despite our defeat, we actually enjoyed it and wouldn’t mind going back for another round/lesson.
Hearthstone Battlegrounds will be having a closed Beta starting next week, with an open Beta beginning the week of November 12.