What a BlizzCon this was! A panopticon of disappointment for card game fans, an announcement of a title nobody asked for. I never thought I would see the day when a long-awaited sequel to Hearthstone would be announced as an exclusively mobile title snuck out through the back door like an embarrassed politician caught in flagranti with both a goblin and a gnome.
Hearthstone Immortal, huh? The guy in the red shirt was absolutely right: this has to be an April’s Fools joke. After all, why would you hype up a mobile-only sequel to a series after much hype at BlizzCon, the place where your core and committed audience, many of which are exclusively PC gamers, reside? It’s nonsense, a sign of Blizzard losing their touch with the community they were once both parts and arbiters of. A shame. Would you have ever thought that the announcement of a new Hearthstone game on the big stage would be met by boos?
Make no mistake, this mobile-exclusive iteration is guaranteed to miss many of the features we consider core to the gameplay experience in the genre. The emphasis on the touch-based control system would make the usual deep slate of statistics cumbersome and unwieldy and there’s no way they’re going to be able to implement a satisfying tournament mode into the client. I already dread the myriad of issues with returning to your match whenever your connection for the second. At least they won’t be bringing the auction house back – can you imagine the shitshow that would cause?
I have no idea what impact Hearthstone Immortal will have on the franchise in the long run but I understand the frustrations of so many fans who are simply not interested in a watered-down experience that will likely lack a lot of the basic functions you’d expect from the original game.
There’s also no getting around the fact that my first impressions based on the floor version of the game made me pretty convinced that it’s just a reskinned version of Eternal. We can use Google, NetEase, you know? The MMORPG spinoff was bad enough. This might just spell doom to the franchise as we know it. At least Activision’s shares are down.