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.

Alteil Horizons

Alteil Horizons is an online trading card, turn-based tactics game that involves the intricate trading card building of a game like Magic: The Gathering with turn-based tactics like Final Fantasy Tactics. Alteil Horizons combines what players love from their favorite trading card games with the RPG elements to bring a fully-featured online game right to your browser.

Alteil Horizons is being developed by a Boston based start-up, Apocoplay. The game is currently undergoing a Kickstarter Campaign to help them fund the project and bring the final product to the masses.

Ancient Summoner VIP Gift Pack

[keys id=129156]MMO ATK and GameBox have teamed up to offer fans of Ancient Summoner an exclusive VIP Gift Pack.  Ancient Summoner is a card-based MMORPG that combines RPG elements with trading cards, deck building, and strategic, lane-based tower defense.

*Note* These codes only work on Server 5

[heading]How To Redeem  Your Gift Pack[/heading]1. Log in or Register for your MMO ATK account
2. Log in or register for your Ancient Summoner account
3. Input your gift code from below and click the ‘Claim’ button
4. Check your in-game email to claim your gifts

[heading]What’s Included in your VIP Pack[/heading]1. Pegasus Champion (3 star)
2. Mercenary Captain (3 star)
3. 5 1,000 Silver Gift Packs (Good)
4. Crystal Gift Pack (Rare)
5. 20 Rubies

[heading]Ancient Summoner Gameplay Trailer[/heading]

Ancient Summoner trailer

Might and Magic: Duel of Champions

[stat=Distribution]Online Download[/stat]
[stat=Free to Play]Yes[/stat]
[stat=Download Size]??[/stat]
[/review]Might and Magic: Duel of Champions is a free to play collectible card game, or trading card game from Ubisoft. 2013 has seen a multitude of online TCG games, which has both diluted the market, but has caused some of the bigger players to really stand out. Trading card games may not be for everyone, but Might and Magic brings something to the table that other card games have fallen flat on.

The game starts with a choice of three factions. They are separated by whether or not you are into healing and protection, attack damage, or infecting and stealing life. Once you’ve figured out the path you’d like to take, your story campaign begins. The tutorial will give you the basics of the game, and takes you through a few duels with some dialogue that ties together the plot. RPG players will want to take notice to the events going on, as the story for the game is actually quite decent.

Once you’ve got the hang of the game you’ll find that this online TCG Game is actually more than meets the eye. There are a number of elements that come in to play and casting cards is not as simple as throwing them at the opponent, a lot of strategy and critical thinking goes into what cards you do or do not play. The game has three types of main cards: creatures, spells and fortunes. A PvP mode along with the ability to ‘practice’ before-hand gives you enough skills to venture into the battle arenas.