Blizzard has announced that its free-to-play digital card game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, has defied the odds and become one of the most popular online games in the world. This card game has surpassed 100 million players and the team has announced a Special “Thank You” event for players, running November 7–11 and offering free card packs and more.
J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment, said:
“Reaching 100 million players is a huge milestone for Hearthstone, but what matters to us even more is the fact that so many people around the world have embraced the spirit of the game. Whether at events like BlizzCon and Fireside Gatherings or just in tuning in to watch their favorite streamers, it’s been so inspiring to see millions of players and fans coming together, online and in real life, to participate in the Hearthstone community.”
As the press release reads, Hearthstone features a deceptively simple format in which players build digital card decks and duel each other head-to-head or play through one of several different card-based Solo Adventures. As a result of its charm and accessibility—as well as the corresponding entertainment and education provided by numerous talented community content creators—Hearthstone has consistently been a leading game on media platforms like Twitch and YouTube.
As a card-based game, Hearthstone is unlike any of the other games regularly in the top ranks on those platforms. In addition to its highly accessible card-vs.-card gameplay and the colorful personality that comes through its vibrant audio and visual elements, a major difference is that all player-to-player communication takes place through pre-generated voice lines tailored for each of the game’s playable heroes—all conveying warmth, positivity, and good-natured sportsmanship. This helps create a welcoming setting for all players, from beginners to seasoned veterans, and despite being a skill-based competitive experience, offers a change of pace from other competitive games.
In addition, Blizzard recently overhauled the “new-player experience” for the game, putting a bigger buffer between beginners and veterans—making it even easier for anyone to jump in and play. One of the company’s core design principles has been, “Easy to learn, hard to master,” and Hearthstone is a shining example, with an introductory competitive experience that eases players into the fundamentals of the game and amply rewards them along the way.