I’ve been playing a few hours of Hearthstone every day of my vacation. During the day while the kids are playing in the sand or after they go to bed while I’m out on the porch. The soothing sound of the ocean waves is the only thing that has kept me from snapping the iPad in half and tossing it into the water.
That might make it sound like I don’t like the game and that’s not true. I actually really like it a lot. I should hate it. I should have stopped playing it days ago and I should delete it from the iPad but I haven’t done that. I haven’t done that because even though I have only won 2 games of the hundred or so that I’ve played I still want to play it. I don’t have any idea why that is. I’ve closed it in frustration more times that I can count. I’ve even pressed down on the icon until it began to shake. I’ve stared at the little red x knowing that if I tap it the game will be gone and I’ll never have to feel this way again. I always stop myself though and leave the game right where it is.
Nearly all my games in Hearthstone seem to go the same way. They all hinge on what I would call gimmicks or what a good player might call combos. I start off playing well, I might even get my opponent’s health down to half or maybe less. Then a series of cards gets played and all of a sudden I’m being hit for 15 to 20 damage. Or maybe I’ve cleared all their minions but all of a sudden I’m dealing with 5 dogs buffed like crazy. The absolute worst is when they drop the Leeroy card on me in some super combo that leaves me with more negative HP that I had positive HP at the start of the game. There is something especially frustrating about being destroyed by my own artwork.
I was told to read Icy Veins by my friend Scott Kurtz and I did. I have plenty of free time right now so I checked out their tips and studied their deck advice. I love the song The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel. There is a line in there where he talks about whore houses and says there were times he was “so lonesome he took some comfort there.” I’ve always loved the honesty of that line and you can tell he’s ashamed but it’s the truth. Well I will tell you right now that at my lowest I built some of the decks listed on that site. I’ve never been one for net-decking but my God I didn’t know what else to do. The sad thing is I couldn’t win even with these “pro decks”. All this managed to do was amplify my shame.
In my last game against a Warrior I felt like I was doing pretty well. I had managed to avoid “top-decking” which is a common problem I have. I was trying to make “careful minion trades” paying attention to costs while thinking about “board control”. I still had 15 health to his 11 and felt like I was finally going to win. Then he said “well played” and as I have come to understand that is Hearthstone code for “I’m about to hit you for infinity damage.” Sure enough I was dead that turn and sent back to the lobby. I looked out to my left through the window at the surf in an effort to calm myself. This time though I was not soothed by the ocean. Instead I imagined myself the sand, beaten endlessly by a never-ending series of crushing waves. Eroded away by the constant assault until there was nothing left of me.
As soon as I hit “post” on this article I’m going to load it back up.