All posts tagged with Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

By and on February 5, 2014 at 8:29 am

Given the phenomenal success that Blizzard’s surprise-we’re-making-a-collectible-card-game Hearthstone has enjoyed, we jumped at the chance to sit down with Eric Dodds (Lead Designer) and Ben Thompson (Lead Artist) on the game. Read on for a discussion of how balancing Hearthstone is different from StarCraft, how their success has affected the team, and what this new title means for Blizzard.

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Legend of Crouching Dragon

By on January 30, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Heard of Legend of Crouching Dragon? Made in China, it’s the uncanny valley version of Blizzard’s Hearthstone collectable card game. Just replace “version” with “exact rip off” and you’re there. Blizzard just sued its creators for 1.65 million in the Chinese courts.

This comes after we discussed Battlefield 4′s banning in my “write about China” month. It’s interesting, because I don’t remember Chinese shenanigans ever making the news so much as they are now. Previously, publishers were content to treat China as a gaming black hole, without making serious efforts to crack the market. And why bother? Games would either be censored by the State, or pirated up the yin yang.

However, times are changing. China is striding into the global economy (okay, rolling), making trade deals with America and other western nations. A decade-long ban on mainstream consoles has just been lifted. In this light, Blizzard’s lawsuit is significant as part of efforts to make the Chinese games market profitable for publishers.

The question is… will it work, or is China’s piracy problem too far gone? And is it even relevant to us in Australia?

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Unconventional Games

By on December 4, 2013 at 1:57 pm

One of the things I generally complain about to fellow journalists and friends is that lack of “surprise” that increasingly comes from entering a new game.

Developers and publishers constantly promise new mechanics, experiences and technology, but generally fail. As games become more expensive to produce, bigger studios start to feel the pinch from their overlords — niche systems, ideas and creativity don’t sell franchises, and those franchises that make incremental changes rather than wholesale overhauls allow for players who want to be comfortable. After 20-odd years of gaming, I don’t want to be comfortable anymore — which is why I’ve been enjoying the flood of new indie experiences that actually attempt to work against the status quo.

But it’s not just new experiences — it’s also refined ones. These five games were the titles I played this year that delivered those surprising moments — whether improving on classic systems, creating new ones or just making great use of creative prompts, such as humour, sadness or even politics. We’re coming up on the end of the year, and GON’s official GOTY awards are not far away – but this feature is designed to reward those titles that may not be showered in kudos, or simply forgotten on top of all the BioShocks and Last of Us‘s that whitewashed Metacritic this year.

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