Home is where the Hearth(stone) is.

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    It’s not news that this winter has been ridiculous. I’ve been FORCED (really had to twist my arm hahah) to miss several days of work, and even now, I’m able to squeeze this post in because of a delayed opening due to 4 inches of snow. I’ve really tried to make the best use of that time. I’ve been reading a ton. Some fantasy, some Science Fiction. I even read two 007 novels in preparation for a trip to the Spy Museum (they’ve a great exhibit running on Bond villains).

    Alas, I simply cannot read all the time. Truly, it’s an unfortunate affliction. After a long stint with my E-reader, or even an actual book, I get sleepy and my attention begins to wander. I need to mix up my media consumption. It was in an attempt to do this that I discovered a little beta for a game called Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

    hearthstone-logo1

    Now I think it is pretty fair to say that in my youth, I drank plenty of Blizzard’s Kool-Aid. It may be fair to say that I was raised on Blizzard’s Kool-Aid. I was a little too young for Diablo II or any of their games before that (Diablo I & Warcraft I & II) but I’d played them a little. I’m sure I could have been a doctor except for Star Craft. Ten times I could have been an astronaut except for War Craft III. When World of War Craft hit the scene in my Sophomore year of high school, I made the conscious decision to leave Azeroth after six months use (abuse). Since leaving, I’ve unlocked several achievements in real life, namely a college degree and gainful employment although a steady girlfriend still eludes me (womp  womp). Even so, not a day goes by that I don’t check my account and wonder if I couldn’t part with $15 a month just for a taste.

    Finally, Star Craft II is released, and then Diablo III. By this time, I’ve realized that I hardly have time for video games at all. I also realize that I haven’t spent more than $2.99 on a video game since those dark times back in high school. I buy neither. League of Legends had seemed pretty fun (I know, not a Blizzard game) but with a minimum commitment of 45 minutes per session (one game) I still didn’t have the time. Also, I just want to slingshot birds into pigs.

    FrozenThroneBut, it would seem that I was not meant to escape Blizzard for long. And oh the irony behind what brought me back. An actual blizzard. At first, just a dusting. A few inches here. A couple there. An extra hour or two delay. Just enough for a couple games. Then several feet of snow. Two full day closures at the end of the week for a total of 4 days of unadulterated boredom. I suppose a few more games will suffice. Maybe I’ll start building a custom deck. Yesterday I left a social engagement early to squeeze another couple games in before bed. I know what a slippery slope I’ve begun to walk. If this weather continues I fear I may lose all contact with the outside world. Trapped under ice on a frozen throne (ooh combined Metallica & WarCraft III reference. Double kill?).

    I can’t describe Hearthstone. Nor can I describe it’s addictive powers. At its basic element, it’s a card game. And a pretty quick one too. The basics are easy but there seems to be plenty of advanced level play so you won’t get bored as you get better. Of course, there are AI opponents but most of the fun comes from dueling actual people (I was never much of a PVP person before but this is fun). And finally . . .

    Nostalgia.

    All the cards are based off of characters from the previous games, or ‘creeps’ (hope I’m using that term correctly) which in your youth, you worked so hard to slay. However, there is no attempt at plot or anything remotely resembling a campaign, which is surprisingly a relief. I mean, now that I think about it, there’s probably more than a decade of story in the Warcraft Universe but really not a bit of it matters. I just get to pit my Murloc Warrior against your . . . boar thing? It’s really a bit silly how enjoyable the game is. But perhaps it isn’t silly. Perhaps it’s a giant conspiracy and I am nothing more than the prodigal son returning home . . . where the Hearthstone is.

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