Soulcalibur: Lost Swords Shutting Down

Soulcalibur

Soulcalibur: Lost Swords, the free-to-play downloadable game released exclusively for the Playstation 3, will be shutting down its service completely later this year.  Bandai Namco announced plans to terminate the game on its official Japanese website with the game becoming completely unplayable on November 30th.

Official sites for Lost Swords outside of Japan have yet to release their own statements, so the date of closure may vary depending on your region.

The end of Soulcalibur: Lost Swords doesn’t come as too great a surprise, even with it only being less than two years old.  Lost Swords is the worst received game in the Soulcalibur series with a Metacritic score of 38 out of 100 and an even worse user score.

The main source of controversy with the title is that it is pay-to-win by design, with producer Masaaki Hoshino openly admitting that this was their intent, and competitive play, the thing that fighting games are most played for, had to be cut from the title for the sake of preserving this model.  Will you actually be missing Soulcalibur: Lost Swords when it’s gone?

Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

SMITE Enters Open Beta On Xbox One

SMITE

SMITE

Hi-Rez Studios has announced that its free-to-play MOBA SMITE has entered its open beta testing phase on Xbox One, players can now access SMITE’s open beta directly via the Xbox Games Store, or by visiting the game’s official Xbox website.

SMITE’s in-game marketplace is already live on Xbox One, and all purchases, progress and achievements earned in open beta will transfer when SMITE officially launches on the console later this summer. SMITE players who link their PC and Xbox One accounts will receive a free Zeus Xbox skin for use with both accounts. Players can also take advantage of a one-time account merge option to copy select progress and items from their PC account to Xbox One.

Open beta users will also be able to purchase the SMITE Founder’s Pack for $29.99 through the Xbox Games Store. The Founder’s Pack includes every god currently in the game (65 so far on Xbox One) and all future gods, 400 Gems, the exclusive Ares “Soldier of Fortune” skin, and the limited Ymir “Cacodemon X” skin.

Are you an amateur of this game? Share you opinion in the comment box below.

Everyone Should Keep a Free-to-Play Checkbook

Just in case my numerous articles haven’t been enough to tip you off, I am currently obsessed with the free-to-play digital card game Hearthstone.  It’s a great game with a bright future that I’ve already put more time into than I care to count.  To date, I’ve put exactly $40 into the game, which is exactly as much as I would happily spend for an enjoyable budget title like this if it was being sold in retail.  Team Fortress 2 is another free-to-play game that I have lovingly poured hundreds of hours into, but no more than $5 in microtransactions at this point.  Pokemon Shuffle, which I recently reviewed, hasn’t cost me a dime.  Now, I want to ask how much you’ve spent on any given free-to-play game that you’ve enjoyed.  Have you put in $1o, $20, or maybe nothing at all?  Have you spent anywhere from $60 to even $100?  Have you carelessly spent thousands on a title that was supposedly free?  If you can’t give me an exact answer, give or take five to ten, then you have a problem.

I think that free-to-play is one of the greatest innovations that the gaming industry has had in the last generation.  It has undoubtedly been a boon for countless multiplayer games by lowering the barrier of entry and raising the active community.  Given that these types of games live and die entirely based on their player bases, this can save a game that may have otherwise fallen through the cracks and make the big games even bigger.  It’s also a godsend for avid gamers who can’t afford the latest systems and all the AAA releases.  Free-to-play opens up incredible new possibilities that leave everyone better off.  At least, it’s a great model when both sides are using it wisely.

The major downside of free-to-play models is their nasty habit of nickel-and-diming their players with microtransactions.  In some cases, it is the fault of the game developers.  Games like Marvel Heroes put up massive paywalls for getting the heroes you want to play as while never allowing you any inclination as to whether or not you’ll actually enjoy playing as that character outside of simple brand recognition.  Mobile apps like Super Monster Bros have purchase pop-ups for $100 in the diabolical hopes of scamming unsuspecting children.  These kinds of practices are certainly abhorrent, but they’re not the only ones responsible for some of the most outrageous purchases made through microtransactions.

Too often, players will spend frivolously on microtransactions with little regard as to how much they’re actually paying in the grand scheme of things.  With microtransactions being such small purchases, it’s far easier to spend without putting much thought into how much you’re actually getting out of your purchase.  Even when a game has the most generous business model to it, it’s easy to splurge on little things here and there.  Before you know it, you end up spending up to hundreds of dollars on the type of game that you could have just bought outright for only twenty.  With every free-to-play game that you play, you should keep track of every microtransaction you pay for to see the bigger picture of how much your spending.  Compare how much you’re spending on a free-to-play game with the fixed prices of other games and consider how much value you are really getting.  If the free-to-play game is strong-arming you into paying more, then that should be a sign that you should stop playing it.  There’s no shortage of free-to-play games that will treat you better and there are plenty of traditionally priced games that offer plenty of replayablity at a cheap price.

With all of that said, there’s no shame in intentionally spending a little extra on your favorite games.  Free-to-play should be seen as a system where you pay as much as you want for a game.  If you really love what the developers are doing, then by all means show your support with in-game purchases.  Honestly, my only regret with Team Fortress 2 is that I haven’t spent more on it at this point.  Also, it is your money and how much it’s really worth is going to be your choice.  My point is that we should all take responsibility when using these sorts of business models and know how much we’re investing into our hobbies.

Pokemon Shuffle Review

Pokemon

With Nintendo’s recent announcement that they will start venturing into mobile development, there is endless speculation as to what kinds of games they might develop in the future and how they will use (or possibly abuse) the free-to-play models that the devices are known for.  Fortunately, we already have a glimpse of how Nintendo may tackle the mobile market with Pokemon Shuffle, a free-to-play 3DS game that can best be summarized as “Candy Crush with Pokemon“.  That’s not to say that the game doesn’t have a few of its own twists on the formula; it’s just abundantly clear where the business model for this title was taken from.

Pokemon Shuffle is a your typical match-three puzzle game with a few unique mechanics.  For one, you’re matching your own team of four Pokemon that you select from your collection at the start of each stage.  Each Pokemon has a type, attack value, and special effect that can trigger when they’re matched.  Using Pokemon will earn them experience and level them up, gaining more attack power.  Pokemon won’t evolve over time and their evolutionary forms have to be caught seperately, but certain Pokemon can Mega Evolve during a stage if you have its Mega Stone and place it at the front of your team.  To start a Mega Evolution, you’ll need to fill the Mega Gauge at the side of the screen by making matches of that Pokemon.  Mega Evolution lasts for the remainder of the stage and gives that Pokemon more power and a more valuable effect.  The new and old ideas meld together well and make this a distinctly Pokemon-styled puzzler.

Now the question is how you actually add Pokemon to your collection.  Each stage in the game is represented as a battle with either a wild Pokemon or a rival trainer.  Defeating a wild Pokemon will give you a chance to capture it while trainers will challenge you with a mega evolution and reward you with the corresponding Mega Stone upon victory.  Building an optimal team for each stage requires strategy as certain Pokemon will be significantly more useful on certain stages.  There is a option to have a team automatically optimized for you, but this will only account for type advantages and attack power with no regard for effects.  The most skilled players will be able to balance out the values of various effects to truly optimize their teams on their own.  Effects do have a great deal of significance as enemy Pokemon won’t just stand around while you line up combos.  Some will occasionally disrupt your board by freezing your some of Pokemon or replacing them with stone blocks or weaker Pokemon.  Others will only allow you a scarce few turns before they flee, forcing you to chain strong combos immediately.  Many stages are genuinely difficult and will demand an optimized team to get through.  The one major issue is that there isn’t any kind of preview for the stage that you can build a strategy off of, so tactics for harder stages will have to be built through trial and error.  Also, the cascade effect is still a big factor and massive combos will result more often from luck than from tactics and the biggest chains won’t really feel earned.

Story is nonexistent as the game focuses simply on the “gotta catch ’em all” motto of the franchise.  Even the rival trainers you meet are represented as black silhouettes of characters from the main line of games.  It’s a bizarre decision that only reduces the game’s personality as opposed to what it might of had if it they’d just directly ported art assets.  There’s also little sense of exploration as the campaign follows a strictly linear path from start to end save for the unlockable expert stages.  The only facets of personality that the game has come from the adorably minimalistic artstyle and the somewhat bland musical score.  The intended tone is best set by the Mega Evolution theme, which is less like an elevating point for an intense battle and more akin to the goofiest carnival music you’ve ever heard.  Pokemon Shuffle is structured like a casino machine and it’s not ashamed to embrace that with its aesthetics.

The most vital factor to consider a free-to-play game is the business model and, fortunately, Pokemon Shuffle handles it quite well.  Spending real money will get you virtual jewels, which can then be exchanged for hearts or coins or can be used to keep going on a stage that you’re about to fail.  Hearts are needed to play stages while coins can be exchanged for consumable power-ups or Great Balls that are twice as effective at catching wild Pokemon as the default Pokeballs that you have an unlimited supply of.  Both hearts and coins can be acquired without having to spend jewels as a heart will automatically be given to you every thirty minutes if you have any less than five.  Coins are even easier to get as you’ll receive some every time you win a stage and when you check in online daily.  Even jewels can be acquired without spending anything as they’ll be awarded the first time you defeat a trainer and during special events.  These are rare, but it’s the sentiment of generosity that helps make the game more enjoyable.  There are also regular free content updates and daily challenges that provide plenty of replayability.  You’re bound to feel the paywall hit whenever you run out of hearts, but Pokemon Shuffle is as generous as it can be while still expecting to make a profit.   Given that cosmetic items like those seen in League of Legends and Team Fortress 2 can’t work in a game like this, the business model couldn’t be much kinder to consumers outside of just making the game outright free.

Pokemon Shuffle works best as a bonus game for the 3DS that players can turn to in-between rounds of full games and makes for good bit of variety.  It’s certainly worth downloading; just don’t let it nickel-and-dime you too much.

VgamerZz_1

Final Score: 7/10

New Halo Game Coming To PC

Halo

Halo developer 343 Industries has announced that a new game, developed by Saber Interactive, is coming to the PC. It’ll be online and free-to-play, and is due to launch in beta this year. But Halo Online is only going to be available in Russia.

Halo Online will be based on Halo 3, though heavily modified to include graphics more similar to Halo 4. It will be online 0nly and will allow between 4 and 16 players in a single match. With no mention of a story mode, it’s likely to feature player-vs-player based gameplay. It will have an in-game economy, though it’s unclear exactly what form it will take. It’s also designed to work on low-end PCs, which means players won’t need to shell out for hardcore gaming machines to play it.

343 Industries have called Halo Online a “learning opportunity” to help them explore ways to attract new players to the franchise. The game will be set on a “secret UNSC space installation called Anvil”, a place where Spartan-IV soldiers train and test new technology. There will also be a location in the game based on a Russian city.

XBox fans will be disappointed as there’s been no mention from 343 Industries about the game being released on XBox One or 360. Team Slayer and Assassination modes have been confirmed so far, with more modes expected to follow.

343 also said their focus is on gathering information from the closed beta in Russia and that they’re not looking at bringing the game into other countries. So if you want to play game on your PC, pack your bags for Russia.

Nintendo To Start Making Mobile Games

nintendo and dena

Nintendo

Nintendo will partner with Japanese mobile development giant DeNA (pronounced DNA) to create mobile games for iOS. The move comes after years of pressure from the company’s fans and shareholders alike to move into mobile gaming.

In a DeNA press release, it was announced that “both companies will develop and operate new game apps based on Nintendo’s IP, including its iconic game characters, for smart devices.” In other words, we might be seeing Mario and Zelda mobile games as well as brand new games. But if you’ve been waiting for a mobile port of the original Zelda or Pokemon games, you’re going to be disappointed. Nintendo also said they would not be making any direct ports of their older games, “only new original games optimized for smart device functionality will be created.”

Along with the mobile gaming announcement, it also teased a new console called Nintendo NX. There’s no information about the NX yet, other than that it will be a part of a brand new Nintendo membership service (similar to how Club it was before it was shut down), which will encompass all Nintendo devices and smartphones. We shouldn’t expect to learn anything new about the NX until next year.

Nintendo NX Plans

Nintendo were quick to make clear that their move into mobile gaming is not to replace their console games. Instead, the mobile games seem to be intended as a way to generate more sales of their console games, presumably by generating enough interest in the smaller-scale mobile games to encourage users to buy a Nintendo console. It’s not the way most people expected Nintendo to go when they finally made the jump to mobile gaming, and it’s also left a lot of people cynical that Nintendo will adopt a free-to-play model, supported by in-game microtransactions, that makes console gamers cringe.

That cynicism is understandable. DeNA, founded in 1999, launched Mobage Toww in 2006 (known as Mobage today). Mobage is a social mobile gaming platform, designed to encourage players to connect with their friends to facilitate the spread of freemium games. Nintendo is not the first company to trust DeNA with its IP. Mobage today hosts Star Wars games, Transformers games, Blood Brothers, and even Peter Molyneux’s Godus. When it comes to making free-to-play games, there’s no one better than DeNA. They hold several of the top-grossing free-to-play games in the world, and they all rely on in-game purchases.

Nintendo recently tested the free-to-play waters with its free 3DS title, Pokemon Shuffle. It was basically Candy Crush for the 3DS, right down to even the microtransaction system. Given that Nintendo has already waded into the murky free-to-play waters, it makes sense that whatever mobile games it plans on releasing will follow a similar model. That’s why they partnered with DeNA. The move has raised concerns with console gamers, but at this stage there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. Nintendo seems to want its mobile games to compliment is console games, which means its core 3DS and WiiU releases shouldn’t be affected.

Regardless of how gamers feel about the announcement, it seems investors are jumping for joy. Nintendo’s share prices went up by 27.5 per cent for the day to $18.22 per share. Nintendo’s stock price hasn’t been that high since early 2014.

Hearthstone Guide: Best Warlock Cards

Hearthstone

While the Mage class is the first that Hearthstone players unlock and is one of the easiest to build a reliable deck with, she’s not the best bet that new players have for winning games when they’re just starting out.  That honor goes to the Warlock class, which can build the highly competitive zoo deck with mostly basic and common cards.  Beyond that, the Warlock can also build powerful decks centered around giants and demons with a wider collection of cards.  While the Warlock may look intimidating to new players with his costly hero power and the drawbacks on many of his cards, Hearthstone is ultimately a game of resources and knowing how to get the most value out of your plays is the key to victory.  Sometimes, you have to make sacrifices to pull ahead.

This list will go over ten of the Warlock’s best cards overall from the Classic and Goblins vs Gnomes sets.  I’ll discuss which decks they work best in and how to utilize them.  Honestly, I was hoping to avoid discussing Warlock strategies so that I don’t have worry about running into more of them myself, but I’m doing this series for new players and Warlock is one of the most valuable classes to learn early on.

10. Soulfire

Giving up a random card from your hand just to deal 4 damage may not seem like a good trade, but this card is insanely good in a clutch.  It actually would have placed much higher if this list had been written prior to the card’s nerf.  Previously, this spell didn’t cost any mana to play.  Even with it costing 1 mana now, it’s still an incredibly fast play that can save you from a bad situation or even outright win you the game.

9. Voidwalker

Let’s talk about zoo and why it’s so powerful despite being so cheap to build.  The idea of a zoo deck is to fill it mostly with cheap minions and overwhelm your opponent early on.  The big drawback is that this tactic quickly empties your hand and can leave you without plays if your opponent can wipe the board.  The Warlock is easily the best class for this tactic as his hero power can refresh the hand and he has minions that play greatly to this tactic.  One handy card for this strategy is the Voidwalker, a cheap but durable taunt minion that can protect your building swarm.  It’s not going to do much on its own, but it gives other minions room to take the board and set you on the path to victory.

8. Imp-losion

While this spell has an element of randomness behind it, the effect it has on a game is a little crazy.  As a removal option for enemy minions, it’s actually really bad as it will only do 4 damage in the best case scenario while Shadow Bolt can guarantee that much damage for less mana.  However, the swarm of imps that it summons for you easily make up for all  of the card’s disadvantages.  Even when it performs at its weakest, Imp-losion ultimately adds up in your favor.

7. Flame Imp

There is a saying among Hearthstone players: The only health point on your hero that matters is the one right before you die.  Spending 3 health just to get a small minion out one turn faster than you’d normally be able to might not sound like a wise investment, but you’d be shocked just how much of an advantage it can give you as the ultimate zoo card.  Flame Imp is a bad play if it puts you at risk of losing on the next turn, but having a 3/2 on the board is going to be more valuable some extra health any time before that. If you can’t control the board, you’re just going to lose your health anyway.  Better to spend health on your own resources than to leave an opening for your opponent to knock you around themselves.

6. Floating Watcher

At a glance, Floating Watcher’s ability to grow bigger and stronger whenever your hero takes damage on your own turn might sound incredibly situational, but it can actually prove very reliable.  Not only do you have your hero power to consistently build it up, you can also combo it with cards like Flame Imp or Mad Bomber to quickly create a massive beast before you even know it.  In arena mode, this card is one of the Warlock’s best ways to overwhelm the enemy.  In constructed, Watcher is going to be the most consistent in a demon-themed deck.  Building a strong Watcher is less relevant against certain strategies, so having a versatility of cards that it can work with will keep ensure it stays a threat.

5. Siphon Soul

With all of the drawbacks that Warlock cards have, there is naturally a tendency to burn yourself out.  While you should be willing to use your health as a resource, the fact remains that you lose when you run out of it and you should have cards that restore it.  Mistress of Pain and Antique Healbot are fairly good in certain decks, but Siphon Soul is a card that can serve you well is almost any Warlock deck.  Being a hard removal card that can take out any minion in one shot already makes it incredibly valuable, but the added healing makes for a must-have spell.  The only concern is that its high mana cost can be too slow for most zoo decks, but any other deck can run it without worry.

4. Voidcaller

As I’ve said with Harvest Golem and Piloted Shredder, the most reliable minions are the sticky ones.  The minions that can maintain a presence on the board even after they have died.  Voidcaller instantly summons a random demon from your hand to the battlefield and bringing a free minion to the board is a huge asset.  What makes Voidcaller especially good is that most demons have really strong stat lines and you can influence which demon is likely to be summoned by playing that smaller ones.  Voidcaller also takes away the drawbacks of demons as his deathrattle doesn’t trigger their costly battlecries.  Voidcaller is the card that made demon decks a thing to begin with, so you should definitely pick it up.

3. Doomguard

This is the biggest minion you’ll ever need for a zoo deck and it works in any other deck as well.  A 5/7 with charge for only 5 mana is insanely powerful and lets you rule over the midgame.  The cost of 2 cards from your hand can be drastic, but you can actually avoid this by emptying your hand onto the board early.  If there are no cards in your hand to be discarded, the Doomguard isn’t going to look for some other toll to take.  Even if you have to discard, it’s a chance worth taking to set up your victory.  Doomguard is definately a must-have.

2. Mal’Ganis

Warlock has some of the craziest legendaries out there and Mal’Ganis is a perfect example.  Having a 9/7 stat line for 9 mana is decently scary.  Having to ability to give your other demons 2 more attack and health so long as he remains on the field makes him even more scary.  His ability to make your hero immune to all damage so long as he lives makes him insanely strong.  If you’re ever facing down a Warlock, save a hard removal card just in case this monster shows his face.  He’s too slow to work in a zoo deck, but a demon deck is absurdly strong with him.

1. Lord Jaraxxus

TRIFLING GAMER!  NOW YOU FACE JARAXXUS, EREDAR LORD OF THE BURNING LEGION AND THE BEST WARLOCK CARD IN ALL OF HEARTHSTONE!  JARAXXUS IS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL CARDS IN GENERAL AS HE REPLACES YOUR PUNY HERO AND TAKES THE REIGNS OF BATTLE HIMSELF.  JARAXXUS ONLY HAS 15 MAX HEALTH OPPOSED TO THE USUAL 30, BUT THIS CAN ACT AS A HEAL IN THE LATE GAME.  JARAXXUS ALSO COMES WITH A FREE 3/8 WEAPON TO CRUSH THE ENEMY.  FINALLY, JARAXXUS HAS HIS OWN HERO POWER THAT SUMMONS A 6/6 DEMON FOR ONLY 2 MANA.  ONCE JAXXARUS ENTERS THE FRAY, YOUR PATHETIC ADVERSARY WILL BE LEFT SCRAMBLING TO TRY AND STRIKE HIM DOWN BEFORE HE SHOWS THEM THE TRUE MEANING OF OBLIVION!  JUST TO ADD INSULT TO INJURY, JARAXXUS EVEN HAS HIS OWN EMOTES TO MOCK YOUR FOE WITH AND SCREAM YOUR DOMINANCE AT THE TOP OF YOUR MORTAL LUNGS!  IT’S JUST THE JARAXXUS WAY OF DOING THINGS!  HA HA HA HA HA!  JARAXXUS WINS HEARTHSTONE!  THANK YOU FOR READING!

(Man, that was fun.)

How to Build a Strong Collection of Cards in Hearthstone

Cards

Hearthstone, Blizzard’s digital trading card game set in the Warcraft universe, was one of the biggest hits of last year.  If you’ve just started playing or have been meaning to look into what all the buzz is about, this guide will take you through all of the shortcuts to building a strong collection of cards early on without having to spend a dime on microtransactions.  Even veteran players might find some hidden prizes that they’ve been overlooking.

First of all, you want to unlock all of the playable classes.  You start off with only the mage, but the other classes are unlocked simply by beating them in a match.  This is easily done by going into Solo Adventures and playing in Practice mode where you’ll be facing off against AI-controlled opponents.  Once you’ve unlocked all of the classes, you may want to stick around in Practice mode just long enough to gain some experience and I don’t just mean in learning the game. Every class has an experience bar attached to it and will level up as you play matches with it.  At certain levels, you will unlock exclusive cards for that class’s Basic set and these can be some of the most useful cards out there.  The best part is that you won’t even need to reach the level cap of 60 to unlock all of the cards.  You only need to reach level 10, which happens very quickly, and all of the cards you earn past that are golden copies of cards that you already own.  Golden cards are purely aesthetic and shouldn’t be a big concern for now.

While you’re grinding in Practice mode, be sure to take on each of the Expert level classes (pro tip: they’re not experts) in order to complete the hidden Crushed Them All quest.  Hearthstone has a number of hidden quests that will kickstart your collection with free gold and card packs, but there isn’t a way to look most of them up in-game.  Many of them are simple, such as unlocking every hero, reaching level 10 with any hero, collecting all of the Basic cards (which is done by reaching level 10 with every hero), and playing matches.  There are also free card packs that you can get simply by playing on certain devices like an iPad.  New players also receive one free key to enter the Arena gamemode, which normally costs 150 gold or $1.99 for each entry.  The Arena mode is a very different take on Hearthstone than constructed play and it will require a guide all its own to explain.

Next, there are the quest cards that can only be obtained through completing certain actions.  They’re all nice to have in your collection, but none of them are must-haves and you shouldn’t concern yourself too greatly with tracking them down.  The easiest to get, and most viable to use, is the legendary Old Murk-Eye, which is awarded to you once you’ve collected at least one copy of every murloc card in the Classic set.  Murk-Eye grows more powerful with every murloc you have on the board, so he will be just what you want to see once you’ve built a collection of murlocs.  Two Captain’s Parrot cards will be awarded for collecting every pirate card of the same set, but this is trickier to accomplish as there is one legendary pirate you need to find to complete the set.  The last two, Gelbin Mekkatorque and Elite Tauren Chieftain, were given out in golden quality for special events and can no longer be obtained in golden form.  They can be crafted in normal quality, but these are both joke cards that can just as easily lose you a game as they can win it for you.  You should only concern yourself with crafting them if you want to build a complete collection.  Otherwise, just focus on crafting the more practical legendaries when you’re starting out.

Speaking of crafting, the last hidden quest is Crafting Time, which awards you an extra 95 dust  the first time you disenchant a card.  Oddly enough, Hearthstone doesn’t feature any way of trading cards with other players.  Instead, you can trade in the cards you don’t want for the ones you do by disenchanting cards for arcane dust.  Disenchanting a card will destroy it and give you an amount of dust based on the card’s rarity.  Only cards obtained through card packs can be disenchanted and Basic cards given to you at the start and obtained through completing objectives are soulbound to you (which is good because you’d never be able to get them back if you disenchanted them).  You can only have a maximum of two copies of a nonlegendary card in any constructed deck and only one copy of a legendary, so any more copies than that should just be disenchanted.  You can easily burn all extra cards by going into My Collection, enter Crafting Mode, and clicking on the Disenchant Extra Cards button.  If you can’t find the DEC button, that just means that you don’t have extra cards to disenchant.  You can disenchant cards even if you have only one or two copies of it, but you only get a fraction of the card’s value in dust when you disenchant it so you should only consider this if it’s an especially weak card.

Crafting is also where golden cards have their chance to shine.  Whereas it would take eight normal common cards to craft one common of your choice, golden cards can be burned for enough dust to craft a normal card of the same rarity.  If you have two normal copies of a card and one golden copy, you should definitely burn the golden one for dust and focus on filling out your collection.  If you have one normal and one golden copy, hang on to them both for the time being so that you can fill out decks you want to build.  Golden cards can also be crafted, but they will cost significantly more dust than normal cards.  For example, burning a normal legendary will only get you just enough dust to craft a golden common.  Remember, golden cards are purely aesthetic aside from dust value.  You can worry about building a collection of golden cards after you’ve gotten a large collection of cards to build competitive decks out of.

After you’ve completed all of the hidden quests, you’ll still be able gather a regular supply of gold through daily quests.  Every day, you will be given a random quest with a gold prize for completing it.  These range from winning online matches with specific classes, casting a certain number spells, summoning minions of certain mana costs, and more.  These quests will wait in your queue until you complete them, but your queue can only hold a maximum of three quests at a time.  Once a day, you can trade out one of your quests for a different one by clicking the red x in the quest’s corner.  Some quests award more gold than others, so consider trading in some of your measly 40 gold quests at a chance at the 100 gold one.  You’ll also consistently earn 10 gold for every three victories in Casual or Ranked play.

Now, after gathering a healthy supply of gold, dust, and packs from your quests, there is the question of where you should invest your gold.  A good place to start is more card packs so that you have a wide collection to build decks.  Since you’ve already gotten a fair share of Classic packs from your quests, you may be tempted to throw all of your gold at that fancy new Goblins versus Gnomes expansion that recently released.  While picking up a few GvG packs is certainly a must, many of the cards it introduces into the game are unpredictable.  The Classic set has the most practical cards and is where you should mainly focus on when you are starting out.  Although, there may be an even better place to invest your gold than packs.

Hearthstone also features PvE adventures that include their own exclusive cards as rewards for defeating unique bosses.  Adventures are divided into five separate wings with around eleven exclusive cards each.  You’ll have unlimited attempts at each boss, so those cards are as good as yours once you purchase a wing.  Each section has to be purchased for 700 gold or $6.99.  If you can’t afford the $24.99 for the full bundle right away, don’t be afraid to buy a single section with gold as you can still buy the remain wings in a discounted bundle later.  You could go the route I did and just save up your gold to get the whole adventure for free.  At the time of writing, only one adventure has been released: The Curse of Naxxramas.  I don’t have the space to give Naxxramas a full breakdown, but I will say that the Plague Quarter is easily the best with the Construct Quarter being a close second.  If you can only get one wing, make it the Plague Quarter.

The last bit of advice that I’ll give anyone hoping to get into Hearthstone is that you should start an account as soon as possible.  Free prizes are regularly given out to all players whenever a new expansion releases, but are only available for a limited time.  Even if the game doesn’t grab you immediately, it’s better to start an account now and grab those free promotions when they pop up rather than wait and potentially miss out.  I have plenty of other Hearthstone articles in the works that will show you which cards you should run with and some that you can guiltlessly burn for dust.  In the meantime, be sure to check out this list of the best Mage cards.  Happy dealings!