So…I kind of regret downloading Hearthstone. No, not because there are any inherent problems with the quality of the game. Quite the contrary, actually – it’s probably one of the most solid card games I’ve played in years, mechanics-wise. Everything from the music to the graphics to the voice acting is impeccably done, and the freemium elements of the title – while they do smack very faintly of pay-to-win – are implemented well enough that they don’t particularly impede one’s enjoyment.

The way the game works is deceptively simple. In Hearthstone, there are two ‘types’ of cards – Neutral and Class. Neutral Cards – which feature various recognizable creatures pulled straight from World of Warcraft, referred to as “minions” – can be used in most any deck, but don’t include any spells within their ranks. Presumably, these represent the myriad monsters and NPCs you’d encounter in the MMORPG itself. Class Cards, meanwhile, are meant to represent a particular classes skills and abilities. While they tend to include a few minions, they’re primarily comprised of spells and equipment. Each deck may only choose Class cards from one particular Class – for example, you wouldn’t be able to include the Warlock’s class cards in a Priest deck.

Each class -represented by a familiar face from Warcraft canon, from Uther Lightbringer(Paladin) to Jaina Proudmoore(Mage) to Rexxar(Hunter) – furthermore has its own special ability, costing only two mana. This adds a unique bit of flavor to the game, and can actually form the crux of a deck’s entire strategy. For example, a common tactic with the Mage is to use Enrage minions (which get bigger when they take damage) and hit them with her one damage Firebolt spell to pump them up on the turn they’re summoned, while a priest might decide to steal those minions for himself, healing them with his ability.

Like I said…deceptively simple.

On first booting up Hearthstone, you’ll be walked through a short series of tutorial battles which will walk you through the basics (and introduce you to the game’s peculiar sense of humor). Playing as Jaina Proudmoore – the hero used to represent the Mage, the first class to which players have access – you’ll fight through a series of amusing foes, from the vicious Hogger straight up to Illidan Stormrage himself. Afterwards, the game effectively turns you loose, equipping you with a single booster pack, a selection of Neutral creatures, and the Mage class. If you’d like, you can stick with the Mage, or defeat the AI to unlock any of the game’s other classes. Play games, and you’ll level up your class, unlocking more Class Cards for them and enabling you to improve your deck.

That actually leads me to one of the biggest problems with Hearthstone – indeed, a problem shared by many games of its ilk. Due both to the leveling system and Hearthstone’s mirotransactions, there’s actually a bit of a barrier to entry for new players. Until you’ve accumulated a few booster packs, your deck’s probably going to feel a touch ineffective. That’s because many of the most powerful cards are unlocked not through leveling up, but as random drops in booster packs. These packs are bought with Gold, which can either be gained through completing “Quests” (for example, win 3 games as a Mage) or with real-world money.

That’s a minor gripe, at best. Even though it’s only in beta, Hearthstone is already incredibly addicting – and extremely promising. One thing is certain: Blizzard definitely knows how to do free to play.

Dogs of War Online

Dogs of War Online

As a tabletop gamer myself, I was immediately drawn to Dogs of War Online. The free-to-play strategy game is reportedly based on a tabletop war game of the same name. While I can’t say I’ve ever played the latter, after a bit of time with the former, I’m sorely tempted to. Although Dogs of War Online certainly does have its faults, it was, as a whole, both entertaining and engrossing.

Set in the war-torn world of Aarklash, Dogs of War Online pits three primary factions against one another: Light, Darkness, and Destiny. The Forces of Light are pretty much your vanilla ‘good guys,’ and are represented by humans and mages. Darkness, meanwhile, are the undead and unholy; creatures that have no business existing in the world. Finally, Destiny draws the Wolfen to its fold; wolf-like creatures who don’t share the black-or-white morality of the other two factions. These three groups are referred to as the Lion, the Ram, and the Wolf, respectively. When you start out, you’ll be granted access to one of the three; you can unlock more as you play through the game.

Army Points – immediately familiar to anyone who’s played a game like Warhammer – are used as a numeric representation of how powerful your forces are. Each unit has a particular AP value based on its stats and special abilities. Fielding a few ultra-powerful units might give you the edge, but you could easily see your bruisers taken down by a group of smaller, weaker foes. The units in each alliance follow the same design principles as one another, with enough variety that you’re free to develop your army as you see fit.

Take the force of the Lion, for example. Individually, they tend to be far weaker than the Wolfen, who gravitate towards savage units designed to roll over their foes in rapid succession. A Wolfen force may seem overpowered at first – after all, a single Wolfen can kill scores of swordsmen. With proper tactics, however, the brutes are rarely a problem – though the smallest mistake could see your army obliterated in a few turns.

The primary component of Dogs of War Online is engaging with duels in other players to gain fame and wealth with which they can build up their forces. There are other activities, as well; individual units can be sent on missions like tournaments, shakedowns, or kidnapping, removing them from your army for a set amount of time. Although the rewards for such missions are great and the investment small, there’s a chance your unit might end up injured or dead – though this decreases significantly with more skilled units. Oh, I should probably mention – each unit gains experience every time it’s used in combat, eventually leveling up and gaining access to new perks and abilti

The game looks and plays marvelously, with fluid animations, an easy-to-use interface, and aesthetically pleasing hex-grid maps. I won’t get too much into the details of combat, but suffice it to say, it’s quite satisfying, with a pleasing amount of depth. I’ll let you discover the rest for yourself.

The in-game cash shop is admirably designed, without even the barest hint of pay to win. Anything you can buy with purchased currency is available with in-game cash and a bit of effort grinding up the necessary funds. The end result of this combined with the game’s matchmaking system is that no player really feels like they’ve an unfair advantage over the rest; there’s really little difference between paying players and non-paying ones (save perhaps that the non-paying folks have spent more time in-game.)

Oh, and players can also construct their own buildings that will generate units for them, too, somewhat eliminating the need to use the cash shop at higher levels.

Now, Dogs of War Online isn’t perfect. There’s really no narrative to speak of, and the single-player missions are relatively bland as a result. Bad grammar and misspellings run rampant throughout the game, and the matchmaking system sometimes takes a bit longer than it should to track down opponents. It’s also still in beta, so expect a few quirks here and there. Still, it’s good for a bit of fun, especially if strategy games are your forte.

Top 10 Strategy MMO Games – MMO Attack’s Top 10

MMO ATK is proud to present the Top 10 Strategy MMO Games! Need to see those games again? To review a full text version of the list as well as expanded information for each game, check out the full article HERE.
For more news, updates and information on these games and all of the top Free MMORPGs, be sure to keep it here at MMO ATK!

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Top 10 Free-to-Play MMO Tactics Games

MMO Attack recently covered MOBA games on our Top 10 article and video lists. Another hugely popular branch of MMO gaming are Tactics. This play style utilizes grid maps and turn based combat that?s rarely emulated in other MMO titles. Today we take a look at ten of the best tactical strategy games in the MMO genre.


[stat=Developer]Red Point Labs[/stat]
[stat=Genre]Online TCG[/stat]
[stat=Free to Play]Yes[/stat]
[stat=Download Size]NA[/stat]
BloodRealm is a collectible card game where players will build custom decks of incredibly detailed heroes and monsters and battle opponents to the death.  The battles in BloodRealm are turn based, which means each turn you and your opponent will gain “mana” in which to summon allies and “blood” in which to activate special abilities.  Your deck can contain a maximum of 24 cards of which to use.  Cards have their own set of effects that can turn the tides of battle.  Some of these effects are permanent, and others remain only for a set number of turns.

To master the game you will need to manage your goals and strategies and figure out the best way to attack and counter-attack your enemies.  Mastering all the cards is something that only the best players will be able to handle.

MMO to offer female players in-game discounts

A Russian developer, Nival, has revealed that the female players of the MMO game, Prime World, will be entitled for discounts in-game purchases. In order to make sure that they won?t be getting raided by people who are just trying to get a few discounts, they will be making a mandatory Facebook login. Nival wants to attract player?s ?sisters and girlfriends? who may not play as much.