Well Met S’wit! A Comparative Look at Hearthstone and The Elder Scrolls: Legends

When Hearthstone released in it’s closed beta back in August 2013 (I know, it’s been that long already!) nobody could have predicted just how big the game was going to get, probably not even Blizzard themselves to some degree. The game was warmly received and quickly became one of the most streamed games on Twitch. By the time it released in March 2014 it was sitting with around 10 million players, so it was little wonder other companies looked at this and had a light-bulb moment.

Of course, Hearthstone wasn’t the first of its kind. Despite Blizzard being revolutionary in the games’ industry, one of their best attributes is taking a game format and making it accessible for everyone; something that the extremely well known Magic the Gathering couldn’t achieve due to it’s high barriers of entry.

Since then we’ve seen many companies attempt to take a slice of this delightful pie. Mojang released ‘Scrolls’ in June 2013 but it failed to make an impact and unfortunately the servers closed down in July 2016. Supercell, who made the popular mobile game Clash of Clans, also added to the pile with their take on a Trading Card Game: Clash Royale. When we take a look at the competitive gaming scene (which seems to be a great way to gauge popularity these days, like it or not) there’s only one real player and that’s Hearthstone.

Enter the latest name to take to the card table, Elder Scrolls: Legends. First teased back at E3 in 2015, ESL went through quite a quiet patch until April 2016 when closed beta began. It’s only really now that people have started to talk about the game due to the lifting of the NDA and the beginning of the Open Beta.

As an avid Hearthstone player and quite a big Elder Scrolls fan, it was a no brainer for me to get into this game as soon as possible. I was lucky enough to try the game out many moons ago in the closed beta and have started once again to put a bit of time into it.

The first thing you’ll probably notice about Elder Scroll Legends compared to Hearthstone is that it’s not quite as visually delightful. However, take nothing away from this,  the less flashy setting actually works really well.

Like in Hearthstone, you’ll begin ESL with a tutorial that is incorporated into the Story Mode of the game. Each early encounter introduces you to the basics of the game which operate almost identically to Hearthstone.

The one big difference you’ll eventually get around to is the aspect of the game known as lanes. The board is divided into two vertical lanes and you get given a choice of minion card placement. This offers a whole new layer of strategy which is made even more interesting by the fact that these lanes can process their own certain rules. For example, in the standard ‘VS’ format of the game, the right hand land is known as a ‘Shadow Lane’ and this allows minions to be untargetable by other minions for one turn, enabling you to build up a board presence and perhaps more freedom and opportunity to set up a potential combo.

shadowlane

As you play through the Story Mode and level up your account overall, you’ll unlock cards and many of these will have mechanics which will be extremely familiar if you are a Hearthstone player.

compare bb

There’s several more mechanics you will recognize, including ‘Last Gasp’ (Deathrattle), ‘Lethal’ (acts like a deathtouch which is seen on minions like Emperor Combra and Maexxna), as well as obvious ones such as ‘Charge’.

One mechanic you won’t see in Hearthstone though is the ‘Prophecy’ keyword. Heroes in ESL start at 30 HP (just like Hearthstone) and at every loss of 5 health they will lose a rune around their portrait. This rune will draw a card; if the card is a prophecy card it may be played during your opponents turn for free! This does result in a slower style of play so far as you weigh up the risk and reward to damaging your opponent but allowing them to draw cards.

image

In my brief time playing The Elder Scrolls: Legends I’ve found many differences (including it’s deck limit of 50-70 cards!) but it’s the similarities I found most comforting. Being able to pick up a play a new TCG without having to work out what exactly is going on has given me a beginners edge to this game and that is all thanks to Hearthstone.

Will The Elder Scrolls: Legends be a Hearthstone killer? No. I do however think there is room for both games to thrive and succeed. Having a competitive gaming market is always great for us as a consumer and it pushes companies to strive even harder. For now Elder Scrolls Legends remains in closed beta and on PC, but it will be moving to a mobile platform, which I think will undoubtedly increase its reach and popularity.

Until then, Hearthstone will still be getting the majority of my time while on the go, but it has started to give me a TCG dilemma when I sit down on my computer. My parting thought would be I hope each game continues to go from strength to strength because in the end, everyone will be a winner and like the good innkeeper in the Tavern says Busy night, but there’s always room for another!

 

#FakeGods – An Unofficial Hearthstone Expansion: Week 5 Round-Up

Beware of false idols! As Blizzard teases us with card reveals and drip feeding us cards for Whispers of the Old Gods in Hearthstone, we decided we couldn’t wait any longer. We needed our card fix, so we decided to design our own cards for the new expansion.

#FakeGods is an unofficial Hearthstone expansion created by the community. This is the final round up of cards as Old Gods is finally here on the 26th April 2016 for America and 27th for the rest of us poor souls.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the cards as much as we have had making them. Until the next expansion!

Previous Weeks:
Week 1          Week 2          Week 3         Week 4


Twlight Spellcaster - SLM PT1Twlight Spellcaster - SLM PT2

“I can never hear what Twilight Spellcaster is saying, he really needs to speak up!” – by S-L-M Reddit


Corrupted Ysera - Fydria Corrupted Ysera 2 - Fydria

“She just can’t seem to get a good night’s sleep these days” by @Fydria


Evocation - Jesse

“Sweet, sweet, mana” Card by @jc_satura


Algalon the Observer - Fydria

“It all started with a big bang… BANG!” Card by @Fydria


 Corrupted Ashbringer - Fydria

“Like the normal Ashbringer, except more calories” Card by @Fydria


 IMG_5733

“Baby, it’s cold outside” Card by @unamithil


Insane Cultist - Fydria

As you read this card’s name, you feel the sudden urge to sing Cypress Hill” Card by @Fydria


#FakeGods – The whispers never stop.

#FakeGods – An Unofficial Hearthstone Expansion: Week 4 Round-Up

Beware of false idols! As Blizzard teases us with card reveals and drip feeding us cards for Whispers of the Old Gods in Hearthstone, we decided we couldn’t wait any longer. We needed our card fix, so we decided to design our own cards for the new expansion.

#FakeGods is an unofficial Hearthstone expansion created by the community. We’ll be releasing a new card every day on Twitter at 12am CET right up until Old Gods itself is released.


Mutated Creeper - SLM“NOPE!” Card by S-L-M Reddit


Mindflay by una

“And so the Patron Priest was born…” Card by


Prophet Skeram - SLM

“POWER UP!”– Card by S-L-M Reddit


Deceptive Tenetacle

“This card might tent-tickle your fancy!” card by


Azeorth - Corben

“The end is coming…” Card by


Charred Earth Elemental by Fydria

“He’s not angry, he just has really bad heartburn!” – Card by @Fydria


Mankriks wife by unaMankrik by una0

“Where’s Mankirk’s wife?.. Oh there she is…” Card by @unamithil


Thanks to everyone who submitted cards this week.

Have an idea of your own? Tweet at us (@TBRPodcast) with the hashtag #FakeGods

A Journey Into Podcasting

The Blue Recluse
2 Years On…

The Blue Recluse recently celebrated it’s 2nd birthday, (It’s first 2nd year birthday to be exact, sorry in-joke right there!) and this got me thinking. These last 2 years have flown by in the blink of an eye and right now I’m more excited about podcasting and creating content than I’ve ever been.

I think like a lot of the podcasts that start up in the Blizzard community we began with just wanting a platform to discuss our thoughts and feelings about the games we love and cherish and no doubt being inspired by other shows along the way.

As the time goes by you make tweaks to your show. For around our first 25 episodes I’m pretty sure we changed at least one thing every show and it was around that point we finally settled on some kind of format. My advice for podcasting, always look forward but don’t be afraid to listen to what you’re making to find improvements. This was one of the strangest aspects for me. I listen to many hours of podcasts a week and when the day came that I started listening to myself I quickly noticed aspects that I should work on. 2 years on, I’m still on this journey and probably always will be but I’ve noticed big changes in a positive way, either that or Marty is just that good at editing… Now that I come to think of it probably the latter (Hehe).

Speaking of editing, podcasting can be a real thankless task at times. This is totally understandable due to the sheer amount of content out in the Internet. Many hours can be spent prepping a show, recording, editing, uploading, and publishing and that’s why it’s very important to remember why you are doing this. I think if you’re starting up it’s easy to get downhearted after 10 episodes or so without much or any feedback, but if your sole objective is to talk and converse about what you love then ultimately I don’t think that matters. If something stops being fun then you probably shouldn’t be doing it… unless it’s your job and you know… money. When it comes to hobbies, make sure you are enjoying what you are doing and that will shine through.

At this stage in our podcasting we life we are still extremely young and inexperienced, but I think like many 2 year olds we are starting to find our feet. Over the past 2 years we’ve connected with some great folks out there in the Blizzard community. A mention to Realm-Maintenance which gave us our first interview, with Rho the host doing a fantastic job to promote new and existing podcasts in the community, I would recommend that being a place to check out. I’ve found so many new shows that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

This movement inspired us to reach out to the community and have guests on our show. One of our first emails (which was a very exciting experience) was from Stone over at WoW-Challenges, asking if we could mention his site/project which aims to bring the hardcore element into World of Warcraft. I remember Marty saying to me straight away, “We should get this guy on our show for an interview” and I was of similar thinking. We reached out and made it happen. It’s actually more easier than you think. Another thing I’ve learned is: if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Do not be afraid to ask people to be on your show, no matter how big or small. You would actually be surprised how privileged people can feel when they get asked and sometimes a fresh voice or perspective can do wonders for your show! I couldn’t finish this paragraph without mentioned our friend John (S-L-M Reddit) who is a custom Hearthstone content creator and has inspired us with his work, or Rosie Brent, who is now a very close friend of the show which all started with a single tweet. The community can be a wonderful thing and I would encourage you to do everything in your power to embrace it.

What is next for The Blue Recluse? It’s a good question. We have many new and exciting ideas that we hope to take forward. We recently introduced our Discord channel with the aim of building an area where fans of Blizzard games can hang out, chat, and play games together and hopefully forge new friendships. This is something I really hope grows as, essentially, it’s the people that make these games special. There’s a small convention called BlizzCon, we would really love to make it to that at some stage also. In the mean time we’ll just continue to turn your ears blue every week.

Thanks for reading (and listening)!

The TLDR summary:
Podcasting is great fun, I highly recommend it. 

HearthWatch: A Hearthstone Overwatch Infusion.

What if Overwatch invaded the tavern in Hearthstone and became actual playable cards?  Blizzard have said in the past that Hearthstone will only be pulling ideas and characters from the Warcraft Universe (hence the name Heroes of Warcraft.. Hehe!), but here at The Blue Recluse we like to dream big.

Here’s a selection of Hearthstone cards we have created with an Overwatch flavor.



Which characters from the Blizzard world would you like to see in Hearthstone? Tweet at us (@TBRPodcast) with your own ideas, or make a suggestion and we’ll do our best to create it!

#FakeGods – An Unofficial Hearthstone Expansion: Week 3 Round-Up

Beware of false idols! As Blizzard teases us with card reveals and drip feeding us cards for Whispers of the Old Gods in Hearthstone, we decided we couldn’t wait any longer. We needed our card fix, so we decided to design our own cards for the new expansion.

#FakeGods is an unofficial Hearthstone expansion created by the community. We’ll be releasing a new card every day on Twitter at 12am CET right up until Old Gods itself is released.


Archbishop Ben - Priest - Designed by Rho PT1

“Because two hero powers are better than one!” Card by


Bubble and hearth by una

“A staple in the Paladin diet” – Card by


Extraction - Rogue - Spell

“HEY, GIMME THAT!” Card by


Freya by una

“Never ask Freya for advice,all she keeps telling me is to turn over a new leaf.” By


Sargeras the Defender - SLM

“He really doesn’t like the Old Gods for some reason…” Card by S-L-M (Reddit)


Thaurissan, Herlad of Flame - SLM

“This is a quite a spec’tashular turn 3 play.” Card by S-L-M (Reddit)


The Dragon Soul by Dennis

“You know why this card is cool? Because Dragons are cool man!” Card by


Thanks to everyone who submitted cards this week. Have an idea of your own? Tweet at us (@TBRPodcast) with the hashtag #FakeGods

#FakeGods – An Unofficial Hearthstone Expansion: Week 2 Round-Up

Beware of false idols! As Blizzard teases us with card reveals and drip feeding us cards for Whispers of the Old Gods in Hearthstone, we decided we couldn’t wait any longer. We needed our card fix, so we decided to design our own cards for the new expansion.

#FakeGods is an unofficial Hearthstone expansion created by the community. We’ll be releasing a new card every day on Twitter at 12am CET right up until Old Gods itself is released.


 

Here’s a round up for card submissions from Week 2

Ultraxion - Legendary - Designed by Rho PT1Ultraxion - Legendary - Designed by Rho PT2

“Ultraxion’s favourite song is Time is running out by Muse” – Card by: 


Faceless One

“I shall wear no crowns and win no glory, death to the living and death to the Murlocs!” – Card by: @Fydria


Deep Sea Kraken - Hunter

“Under the sea, under the sea. Darling it’s better down where it’s wetter..take it from me!” – Card by: @Fydria


Whisper of an Old God - Warlock - Spell

“When you can’t beat them, mind control them!” – Card by: @Unamithil


Faceless Watcher - SLM

“It’s been Faceless Watcher’s dream to become a Wisp for some time now” – Card by: S-L-M (Reddit)


Sha of Pride - Designed by Rho

“We are all so very proud of Sha of Pride’s excellent mathematics skills” – Card by: 


Sha of Despair - Mage PT1 Sha of Despair - Mage PT2

“On his day off, Sha of Despair enjoys long beach walks around Krasarang Wilds”  – Card by: @Fydria


Have an idea of your own? Tweet at us (@TBRPodcast) with the hashtag #FakeGods

#FakeGods – An Unofficial Hearthstone Expansion: Week 1 Round-Up

Beware of false idols! As Blizzard teases us with card reveals and drip feeding us cards for Whispers of the Old Gods in Hearthstone, we decided we couldn’t wait any longer. We needed our card fix, so we decided to design our own cards for the new expansion.

Introducing #FakeGods, an unofficial Hearthstone expansion created by the community for… well fun and also I had a whisper in my ear telling me I had to do it. We’ll be releasing a new card every day at 12am CET on Twitter right up until Old Gods itself is released.


Here’s a round up for card submissions from Week 1

Yogg Saron1

“You’re insane to play this perhaps, but Face Hunters across the world tremble at the sight of Mr Saron” – Card by: @Fydria


Faceless Giant - SLM

“He has no face, but that doesn’t mean he can’t smile when you win”  – Card by: S-L-M (Reddit)


Leeroy the Malevolent - Designed by Rho

“He’s like the Punisher, except he uses chickens instead of weapons”  – Card by @RhoWoW


Sha of Anger - Warrior

“Sha of Anger has been having classes to control his temper, but there’s still a way to go” – Card by: @Fydria


High Warlord Najentus

“And there is only one thing we say to Pyroblast: ‘Not today'” – Card by: @Fydria


Naga Storm Witch - Shaman

“WARNING: Please dry hands before playing this card” – Card by: @Fydria


Sha of Doubt - Warlock

“You should play this card, No wait you shouldn’t… actually do play this card..” – Card by: @Fydria

New adventure mode for Hearthstone?

A few curious things has happened within the Hearthstone sphere the past few days. It could be a sign that a new adventure mode will be just around the corner.

The Leak
If we go a few weeks back some might remember the leak from inside Blizzard which was posted on Yahoo finance. One of the subjects the article mentioned was that Blizzard was working on a new Hearthstone expansion which was set to be released in April.

We here at The Blue Recluse thought it highly possible that Blizzard had something in the works, but we didn’t think a full blown expansion would be it.
Our prediction was that it would be a new adventure mode similar to ‘Curse of Naxxramas’.

Past Timings
If we take a  look back in time, the original game was released in March 2014 and just 4 month later we saw the first adventure mode. The adventure mode gave the game a much needed stir up to the meta game, because at this time the game felt very predictable. Most people used the most common builds and you could pretty much predict what deck your opponent was playing just from the class he was playing.

In December 2014 the Goblins vs. Gnomes was released and with 121 new cards the meta was bound to change. But now we have reached March and the meta game seems just as predictable as it did right before ‘Curse of Naxxramas’. So a little stir up is needed very soon to keep the game interesting.

So if we take a look at the timing from the past, then 4 months seems like a pretty good timing to add new content to the game. Which would be around April.

Data mining
This week we saw a post pop up on Hearthpwn with some data mining and one particular string was very interesting. It contained the abbreviation ‘BRM’ which in World of Warcraft means ‘Blackrock Mountain’. On this weeks podcast we suggested this could possibly mean that the next adventure mode for Hearthstone could indeed be called ‘Blackrock Mountain’.

It’s a large area with multiple raids and instances and it could easily be translated into a whole theme. The mountain contains a big variety of mobs and baddies ranging from Dark Iron Dwarves, Nefarian, Ragnaros, elementals to dragons. There’s so much going on in that place so a whole adventure mode theme could easily be made from that place alone.

Card Backs
If we  look back in time to the month before ‘Curse of Naxxramas’ was released, the monthly card back was actually a Naxxramas themed design. This week the card back for March was themed around Ragnaros who resides in… you guessed it: Blackrock Mountain.

Possible easter egg?
When I checked the official Hearthstone website today I noticed a little thing was added. A few seconds after the site is loaded a small elemental pops up and starts doing the traditional “elemental-dance” which you know from World of Warcraft.

Could this be a little easter egg that points in the direction of Blackrock Mountain?

elemental

Pax East
Our prediction is that Blizzard will reveal an adventure mode soon, possibly at Pax East this weekend and that it will be themed around Blackrock Mountain. A lot of small hints points in that direction at least – and the timing of Pax East is just fitting.