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Game Preview: Hearthstone

Soulskill posted 1 year,6 days | from the stay-awhile-and-play-cards dept.

Games 131

Collectible card games have been a prominent part of nerd gaming culture since the early '90s. Magic: the Gathering forged a compelling genre and dozens of games have followed in its footsteps. But the past two decades have been a time of technology, and Magic is a decidedly low-tech game. Like chess, it's been moved online in only the strictest emulation of real-world play. The game itself hasn't actually evolved to make use of technology. Enter Blizzard. Many of the developers at Blizzard grew up playing Magic and other CCGs, and it seemed natural that they'd want to design one of their own. But Blizzard is video game company; managing cardboard print runs and scheduling tournaments isn't exactly in their wheelhouse. Thus, we get Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, an entirely digital CCG. It's currently in closed beta test, but open beta is supposedly just around the corner. In this video (with transcript) we take a look at how the game is shaping up.

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Brought to you by... (4, Funny)

Forbo (3035827) | 1 year,6 days | (#45673387)

This slashvertisement proudly brought to you by Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.

Re:Brought to you by... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,6 days | (#45673423)

Hey, look, when you cut out all the fan-energy by making money grubbing products designed to suck money away from customers more than be fun, you have to start spamming the hell out of your terrible(but expensive to make) free-to-play games.

Re:Brought to you by... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45673657)

If I want to play an online CCG, SOE's LoN has been around for a long time, is decently playable, and there is a good chance of you to score a card usable in their MMO when opening a new deck (you get five free decks a month.)

This is what happens when the MBA drones overrun a "cool" company. More revenue streams, more BS, more monetization [1], less playworthyness.

[1]: Sometimes I wonder why flight is going to be made an epic quest in the next WoW expansion is that it will keep subs open after people hit level cap, and no other reason.

Re:Brought to you by... (1)

Fishchip (1203964) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674997)

TIL there's an EverQuest CCG. Thankyou, mysterious AC. =)

Who writes this drivel? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45675205)

The entire summary could be summarized thus:

"Blizzard made an online collectable card game called "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft," which is similar to "Magic: The Gathering." It is currently in closed beta. Read my review for more info!"

Everything else in that summary was pure filler. Do people believe anyone wants to read all that ancillary nonsense in a summary?


Re:Brought to you by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45673567)

I know right? Man at least they could hide it better.

Re:Brought to you by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45673585)

...don't forget the zombie that talks throughout the video.

Most boring review ever.

Re:Brought to you by... (2)

Desler (1608317) | 1 year,6 days | (#45673643)

Why would Blizzard give Slashdot money? Especially when the editor's post is itself filled with inaccurate statements.

Re:Brought to you by... (4, Funny)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,6 days | (#45673783)

If it was full of accurate statements, they'd never sell any copies.

Re:Brought to you by... (3, Insightful)

stormpunk (515019) | 1 year,6 days | (#45673927)

If it were full of accurate statements it wouldn't be on slashdot.

Re:Brought to you by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45674079)

If it was full of accurate statements, they'd never sell any copies.

Two of the fastest selling PC games to date says Bzzzt you're wrong.

Re:Brought to you by... (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674161)

They did used to make good games, before the dark times. That doesn't mean anything about their recent trend of over-advertising bad games.

Re:Brought to you by... (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | 1 year,6 days | (#45675049)

Before the dark times. Before the Actpire.

Re:Brought to you by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45676531)

If it was full of accurate statements, they'd never sell any copies.

Two of the fastest selling PC games to date says Bzzzt you're wrong.

I didn't realize that Blizzard made the Grand Theft Auto and Final Fantasy franchises. Guess I learned something today!

Re:Brought to you by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45676369)

This slashvertisement proudly brought to you by Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.

Bingo. I played it back in 2004. wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantasy_Star_Online_Episode_III:_C.A.R.D._Revolution

I like the blatant attempt at slandering Magic: The Gathering: "Like chess, it's been moved online in only the strictest emulation of real-world play. The game itself hasn't actually evolved to make use of technology."
No, actually that's not true at all. They had to do a LOT of revamp on the rules in Magic: The Gathering in order to be able to code computer versions of the game. In the process this has made the ruleset a lot clearer with far fewer conflicting situations which arise when new cards and rule types are introduced.

Re:Brought to you by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45676621)

An advertisement preceded by a friggen 2:15 second unskippable IBM ad. blegh

Re:Brought to you by... (1)

aaronb1138 (2035478) | 1 year,6 days | (#45676983)

No resource management and no interrupt system. Screw that, your average 9 year old is going to be bored with such an oversimplified model.

Slashvertisements at their best... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45673413)

This game was boring as heck. Two misses in a row for a company which used to be the best in the industry.

Re:Slashvertisements at their best... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45673549)

As a former WoW player who doesn't have the time for weekly raids, a 10 minute match in hearthstone is quite compelling and fun (got my key last week). I can't wait for the ipad version :p

Re:Slashvertisements at their best... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674811)

Ever play a card game with hardcore players? They have every card's abilities memorized based on the pictures on the card. it takes 10 minutes to play a hearthstone match that would have taken 30 seconds in person (so far I've only played the computer, as I'm unlocking cards/levels before going PvP). I expect it's the same PvP, given that it's mainly animation and sounds they are delaying for.

I'd enjoy it more if I could play speed-version (disable animations, make results instantaneous). If I missed something, I could look at the history that's saved.

Re:Slashvertisements at their best... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45674939)

Never played a card game like that, but I've seen the same thing in an old school Connect 4 tournament. The top players were so good they could play the game twenty moves in advance. It was no fun for the spectators - halfway through the game action would stop, and after a minute or so of both players stareing at the board one would announce 'I calculate your victory is inevitable. I cede.'

Re:Slashvertisements at their best... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45673709)

CCG are boring compared to even simple games on smartphones.

If you like CCGs, then this is just another one with a little bit of animation and graphics sprinkled on top. It does look better than the several MTG ports to the PC I have seen in the past.

The game mechanics are simple when compared with MTG. I have heard that this was on purpose to attract a more casual player.

Another thing is that it is almost Pay2Win. You can grind out points to purchase more random card packs OR you can just pay real money.

Re:Slashvertisements at their best... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45673997)

CCG are boring compared to even simple games on smartphones.

You may find them boring.

Other people, obviously don't.

Regardless of it being Hearthstone, Magic, L5R or Pokemon.

Re:Slashvertisements at their best... (1)

HairyNevus (992803) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674031)

The game mechanics are simple when compared with MTG. I have heard that this was on purpose to attract a more casual player.

Or, you watched the video. But who would think an outlandish thing like that?

Re:Slashvertisements at their best... (2)

danudwary (201586) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674771)

As someone who's been in the beta for two months now, Hearthstone is most definitely not pay-to-win, at least by CCG standards.

You get a core set of very good cards for playing though the tutorial and leveling up classes, easily done in Practice mode. You can earn more in game currency by playing - for winning, for reaching milestones, or as rewards in Arena, which is Hearthstone's version of draft. Rare, Epic and Legendary cards are NOT required to win. While the rares and epics are desirable, they're pretty easy to come by (you can disenchant unwanted cards to craft the cards you want). Legendaries are interesting, with extra animations and sounds, but are almost all VERY circumstantial, usually with distinct disadvantages. Top tier players very rarely use more than one or two in a deck. You can easily play with common cards and a few choice crafted rares and do very well.

Of course, a few expansions from now, and who knows. For now, playing for free works out fine.

Re:Slashvertisements at their best... (4, Informative)

cbuskirk (99904) | 1 year,6 days | (#45675815)

At Blizzcon this year they revealed that 46% of players with a 3 star master rating (Highest at the time) had spend $0 on the game.

Re:Slashvertisements at their best... (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674453)

My brother is in the closed beta and showed me the game at his place. It looked fun enough and the rounds are quick. And the quick rounds are what he likes as you need to use your strategy pretty quickly. He used to play magic in high school and then online when it was released. To him Hearthstone is a good balance between strategy and short play times.

Fun side note: In magic the gathering online he once used the cheezy squirrel deck to cream a player. It uses a combination of enchantments which compound damage to a dizzying amount. After he won we left the PC on to see how high the damage counter would go. Next day we found our answer: 65535. A 16bit unsigned int.

Re:Slashvertisements at their best... (1)

xevioso (598654) | 1 year,6 days | (#45675401)

That's actually interesting. The Squirrel-craft deck is one of many infinite combo decks, so usually when playing the real thing and I need to pick a Very Large Number, I just pick Graham's Number.

Best of All To-morrow is Friday . . . THE 13TH! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45673461)

Better still, a no-slashvertizment day to celebrate.

Original Game (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45673463)

MTG was the original CCG. No other game comes close. The art work won't compare and the game play won't compare.

Re:Original Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45674253)

More than that, the original WoW TCG was more involved and developed than Hearthstone, but Blizz killed it so there wouldn't be any confusion. Hearthstone is a terribly dumbed down version of that game.

The large number of comparisons and reviews against the MTG client are unfair and don't throw in a "Hearthstone isn't trying to be copy" and then make all of these comparisons, most of which would be fixed if you compared to the dumbed down version of MtG that does exist (Duels of the Planeswalkers).

Re:Original Game (4, Insightful)

xevioso (598654) | 1 year,6 days | (#45675409)

The reason why MTG keeps winning this race and other competitors don't even come close is the amount of quality playtesting. Each card goes through a rigorous design process as the sets have to appeal to multiple types of players. The level of Quality Control in WOTC is astounding.

Blizzard doesn't schedule tournaments? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45673499)

I thought that's exactly what they did all the time in South Korea with StarCraft and StarCraft 2.

LOL (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45673533)

managing cardboard print runs and scheduling tournaments isn't exactly in their wheelhouse.

Maybe if you ignore all their boxed releases and game tournaments they've run over the years.

Preview ? (2)

Fluffy the Destroyer (3459643) | 1 year,6 days | (#45673551)

This hardly qualifies as a preview since the game is available in even its beta form

Re:Preview ? (2)

X0563511 (793323) | 1 year,6 days | (#45673835)

Oh? Maybe you'd like to share with us where we can download it to try it ourselves...

Re:Preview ? (1)

idioto (259918) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674061)

I don't play this game, but it is available as my brother plays it all the time recently. You need an invite.

Re:Preview ? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674411)

Indeed. So it's not generally available. Hence what you got here was a preview.

Re:Preview ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45674107)

You sign up in the Battle.net account management. There you can opt-in for the possibility of being a sent a beta key. It wasn't a super exclusive beta. I got a key after a couple days. But likely now they'll open it to everyone before you would even get a chance at a key, if they don't pull a usually Blizzard and delay the release.

No experience (2)

Desler (1608317) | 1 year,6 days | (#45673607)

But Blizzard is video game company; managing cardboard print runs and scheduling tournaments isn't exactly in their wheelhouse.

Just as one example, Blizzard has run tournaments at BlizzCon [battle.net] for years now. You could have found this out with 10 seconds of Googling.

What about Mystic Warlords of Ka'a? (1)

NoSalt (801989) | 1 year,6 days | (#45673621)


Re:What about Mystic Warlords of Ka'a? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45674487)

enchanted bunny

Sucked (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45673663)

I got the private beta. It sucked. Boring, uninspired characters. Card artwork needs work. No stories in the cards.

Magic for the iPad was way better, and even that got boring quick.

I'll admit (4, Funny)

BobMcD (601576) | 1 year,6 days | (#45673731)

I'll admit it, I'm mildly surprised to hear Blizzard is still a company, outside of Panda loving, anyway.

Re:I'll admit (1)

Scott Ragen (3378093) | 1 year,6 days | (#45673873)

Who was it that created Starcraft 2 & Diablo 3 (and its upcoming expansion)?

That's right. Blizzard.

Re:I'll admit (1)

stewsters (1406737) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674225)

I wish someone else made Diablo 3. It seemed like they just wanted to make a more linear WOW with a RMAH than a Diablo clone. I liked Starcraft 2, even if it did ignore every advancement in the genre since Broodwar to appease SC1's competitive audience. Seriously, no directional weapons, no terrain to generate cover, no destructible/deformable terrain, no autocasts on stims. These aren't hard things to implement, they just wanted to keep the micro feel.

Re:I'll admit (2)

B33rNinj4 (666756) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674353)

It's called Torchlight.

Re:I'll admit (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45674707)

Reading your point of view made me giggle. From my perspective they actually appeased the unskilled masses too much! Auto-mining, multiple building selection, control groups with an infinite number of units in them, etc. You mention no autocast on stim, but you can stim your entire with one click - that's not easy enough for you? You also have medivacs flying over your head so you can do it with reckless abandon. Also, SCII has destructible terrain and high ground advantages (you can't fire up a cliff without vision).

If they wanted to keep the "micro feel" of SC1, they failed miserably.

Re:I'll admit (2)

strack (1051390) | 1 year,6 days | (#45675071)

They got rid of most of the stupid shit in SC1 for SC2, the pointless micro, and that stupid fucking 12 unit limit. using a imposed UI deficiency to shape how the game is played is fucking criminal. now most of the micro has a tactical reason. choosing the right point to stim, laying down good force fields, etc. fuck the "micro feel" of SC1.

Re:I'll admit (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45675249)

Why would you want autocast on stim? The timing is very important. It's not something you'd want as an autocast. It's obviously not hard to implement, but it's hard to understand why would you even want it to begin with. Also, sc2 does have destructible terrain, and provides terrain-based bonuses (e.g. high-ground LoS). It sounds like you're bitching about a game you haven't played.

Re:I'll admit (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45675405)

Path of Exile is now free on steam.

Re:I'll admit (1)

BobMcD (601576) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674233)

Duh. But I thought those were sequels, rather like an expansion pack for WoW. Something 'new' like an online CCG is out of character for the old, fat, slumbering behemoth.

Re:I'll admit (3, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674463)

Starcraft 2 & Diablo 3 are why I'm surprised Blizzard is still a brand. Any company with 2 releases that bad would be dead, if not for the WoW cashcow. And that's fading slowly. I was once a big fan, but now that brand means "dull uninspired gameplay set in a world of dull, uninspired artwork". That seems to be the consensus about the new CCG as well.

Re:I'll admit (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45675291)

Starcraft 2 & Diablo 3 are why I'm surprised Blizzard is still a brand. Any company with 2 releases that bad would be dead, if not for the WoW cashcow.

With at least 20 million copies between SC2 and D3, that would be kind of difficult to kill a company, even if a lot was spent on them. Despite everyone's whining and bitching, they still have people buying and playing their games. They may be waning, but not anywhere near mortally injured.

D3 (4, Insightful)

iceperson (582205) | 1 year,6 days | (#45676257)

D3 was the fastest selling PC game of all time and didn't just break PC sales records, it destroyed them. But yeah, other than that I can see why you'd think it would cause blizzard to fail...

Initial sales are largely based upon reputation (1)

drnb (2434720) | 1 year,6 days | (#45676871)

D3 was the fastest selling PC game of all time and didn't just break PC sales records, it destroyed them. But yeah, other than that I can see why you'd think it would cause blizzard to fail...

You are merely quoting initial sales before word of mouth appraisals got going. Initial sales are largely based upon reputation, the actual value of the game itself is a minor factor. You have to look at sales once word of mouth appraisals of the game are flowing to determine a game's actual value.

D3 may very well be a big success. But you are not really offering evidence of that. You are really offering evidence of the success of D2 and WoW and their effect on D3 day one sales. Well, that and the fact that the D3 beta was not a disaster. I suppose a truly disastrous beta could have squandered the D2 and WoW good will. However less-than-big success in the beta would not derail the D2 and WoW good will.

Top official in Obama birth mystery killed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45673749)

Top official in Obama birth mystery killed - Loretta Fuddy

Woman lone fatality in Hawaii plane crash

http://www.wnd.com/2013/12/top-official-in-obama-birth-mystery-killed/ [wnd.com]

"A key Hawaii official in the dispute over Barack Obama's birth certificate - who lifted state restrictions to allow the White House to present the document to the public - has died in a plane crash.

Loretta Fuddy, the state health department director, was the only fatality among nine people aboard a Cessna Grand Caravan that went down at about 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday while heading to Honolulu.

Richard Schuman, president of Makani Kai Air, told NBC that the other eight people aboard were rescued from the site of the water crash.

KITV-TV in Honolulu reported Fuddy had been on health department business. Keith Yamamoto, the department's deputy director, also was aboard and survived.

Makani Kai officials said it was was the company's first fatality.

WND has reported since before the 2008 election on the dispute over Obama's birth documentation.

Fuddy took over the agency when Gov. Neil Abercrombie took office.

USA Today reported on a statement from Abercrombie.

"Our hearts are broken," he said. "Loretta was deeply loved and respected. She was selfless, utterly dedicated and committed to her colleagues in the Department of Health and to the people of Hawaii. Her knowledge was vast; her counsel and advice always given from her heart as much as from her storehouse of experience."

Recently she had been working on the state's Obamacare website.

On the subject of Obama's background, Abercrombie, who claimed to have had a relationship with Obama's parents in Hawaii as a fellow student, vowed to settle the dispute once and for all but finally gave up, insisting his hands were tied.

Read all the arguments in the birth certificate controversy, in "Where's the Birth Certificate?" and check out the special reports, banners and bumper stickers on the subject.

Abercrombie told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser regarding Obama's birth documentation: "It actually exists in the archives, written down." The London Daily Mail reported, however, Abercrombie "suggested that a long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate for Barack Obama may not exist within the vital records maintained by the Hawaii Department of Health."

Later, Obama asked for copies of the document, and under Fuddy, the state instantly waived a long-claimed ban on reproducing long-form birth certificates. On Fuddy's instructions, copies were produced and delivered to Judith Corley, a private attorney for Obama.

Fuddy had written to Obama: "We hope that issuing you these copies of your original Certificate of Live Birth will end the numerous inquiries received by the Hawaii Department of Health to produce this document."

Immediately after the delivered copy was posted on the White House website, however, numerous computer graphics and software experts declared it fraudulent.

The birth certificate dispute centers on the constitutional requirement that a president be a "natural-born citizen." Some argue that even if Obama was born in Hawaii, he was does not qualify because his father was a Kenyan citizen.

Still a live issue

The one official law enforcement investigation into the issue, conducted on the orders of Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio, concluded the document posted by the White House is a forgery.

Arpaio has said the investigation is ongoing and more evidence has been discovered to bolster his team's conclusion.

WND reported Mike Zullo, the lead investigator for Arpaio's Cold Case Posse in Arizona, has contributed evidence to a court case pending before the Alabama Supreme Court.

He has testified that the White House computer image of Obama's birth certificate contains anomalies that are unexplainable unless the document had been fabricated piecemeal by human intervention, rather than being copied from a genuine paper document.

"Mr. Obama has in fact not offered any verifiable authoritative document of any legal significance or possessing any evidentiary value as to the origins of his purported birth narrative or location of the birth event," he explained. "One of our most serious concerns is that the White House document appears to have been fabricated piecemeal on a computer, constructed by drawing together digitized data from several unknown sources."

Zullo also has noted that the governor of Hawaii was unable to produce an original birth document for Obama, and it should have been easy to find.

See some of Zullo's evidence:

More recently, Grace Vuoto of the World Tribune reported that among the experts challenging the birth certificate is certified document analyst Reed Hayes, who has served as an expert for Perkins Coie, the law firm that has been defending Obama in eligibility cases.

"We have obtained an affidavit from a certified document analyzer, Reed Hayes, that states the document is a 100 percent forgery, no doubt about it," Zullo told the World Tribune.

"Mr. Obama's operatives cannot discredit [Hayes]," the investigator told the news outlet. "Mr. Hayes has been used as the firm's reliable expert. The very firm the president is using to defend him on the birth certificate case has used Mr. Hayes in their cases."

The Tribune reported Hayes agreed to take a look at the documentation and called almost immediately.

"There is something wrong with this," Hayes said.

Hayes produced a 40-page report in which he says "based on my observations and findings, it is clear that the Certificate of Live Birth I examined is not a scan of an original paper birth certificate, but a digitally manufactured document created by utilizing material from various sources."

"In over 20 years of examining documentation of various types, I have never seen a document that is so seriously questionable in so many respects. In my opinion, the birth certificate is entirely fabricated," he says in the report.

Investigator Douglas J. Hagmann of the Northeast Intelligence Network reported this month that in October an affidavit was filed in a court case, under seal, that purportedly identifies the creator of the Obama birth certificate.

He said Douglas Vogt, an author and the owner and operator of a scanning business who also has an accounting background, invested over two years in an investigation of the authenticity of document.

Vogt, along with veteran typesetter Paul Ivey, conducted "exhaustive research of the document provided to the White House Press Corps on April 27, 2011 - not the online PDF, a critical distinction that must be understood," Hagmann said.

"Using their combined experience of 80 years in this realm, they conducted extensive examinations of the âcopy' that was used as the basis for the PDF document. They acquired the same type of equipment that was used back in the late 1950s and early 1960s in an attempt to recreate the document presented as an âauthenticated copy' proving the legitimacy of Barack Obama. Instead, they found 20 points of forgery on that document and detail each point of forgery in the affidavit," wrote Hagmann.

"Even more interesting, Mr. Vogt claims to have identified the âsignature' of the perpetrator, or the woman who created the forged document, hidden within the document itself. Her identity, in addition to the identity of other conspirators and their precise methods are contained in a sealed document supplementing the public affidavit."

Grounds for impeachment

Last month, WND columnist Christopher Monckton wrote that the controversy he calls "Hawaiigate" should be "the central ground of impeachment."

"First, the dishonesty is shameless and in your face. Mr Obama's advisers, once they realized the âbirth certificate' was as bogus as a $3 bill, knew that if they simply went on pretending that $3 bills are legal tender the hard-left-dominated news media would carefully and continuously look the other way, pausing occasionally to sneer at anyone who pointed out that, in this constitutionally crucial respect, the âpresident' has no clothes," Monckton wrote.

"Secondly, not one of the numerous agencies of state, as well as federal government, whose duty was and is to investigate the Mickey-Mouse âbirth certificate' has bothered even to respond to the thousands of requests for investigation put forward by U.S. citizens."

He said that in Hawaii last year, he watched "as a senior former state senator called the police and, when they came, handed over to them compelling evidence that the âbirth certificate' had been forged."

"The police, correctly, passed the file to the state's attorney general, a âDemocrat,' who did nothing about it," he said.

"In Washington, D.C., I watched as a concerned citizen from Texas telephoned the FBI and reported the âbirth certificate' as being a forgery. They said they would send two agents to see him within the hour. No one came."

One of the highest profile skeptics has been billionaire Donald Trump.

Trump said he can't be certain that Obama is eligible to be president, and he pointedly noted that a reporter who was poking fun at the issue admitted he can't either.

Trump repeatedly has insisted Obama has not documented his eligibility. At one point, he offered $5 million to the charity or charities of Obama's choice if he would release his passport records and authorize the colleges he attended to release his applications and other records.

Trump argues that those documents would show whether or not Obama ever accepted scholarship or other aid as a foreign student, which could preclude him from being a "natural-born citizen."

Trump's conversation with ABC's Jonathan Karl started with Karl noting that Trump took on the "not serious" issue of eligibility.

"Why does that make me not serious?" Trump demanded. "I think that resonated with a lot of people."

Karl replied: "You don't still question he was born in the United States, do you?"

"I have no idea," Trump said. "I don't know. Was there a birth certificate? You tell me. You know some people say that was not his birth certificate. I'm saying I don't know. Nobody knows, and you don't know either. Jonathan you're a smart guy, and you don't know."

When Karl admitted he was "pretty sure," Trump jumped on the statement.

"You just said you're pretty sure ⦠you have to be 100 percent sure," he said. "Jonathan, you said you're pretty convinced, so let's just see what happens over time.""

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/12/loretta-fuddy_n_4433761.html [huffingtonpost.com]
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2522374/Health-director-Loretta-Fuddy-dies-plane-crash-Hawaii.html [dailymail.co.uk]
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/12/12/hawaii-obama-birth-certificate-fuddy/3996657/ [usatoday.com]
http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/12/12/21872811-health-director-who-approved-obama-birth-certificate-dies-in-plane-crash [nbcnews.com]

Re:Top official in Obama birth mystery killed (1)

AK Marc (707885) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674987)

If you had ever made it through school, you'd know that birth isn't a mystery.

Re:Top official in Obama birth mystery killed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45676765)

Here, this should help you out:


I'm actually enjoying it (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45673775)

I've been playing a bit, mostly with friends, and having a blast.

It seems like they could have done it in the browser instead of a full blown application, but it's fine.

Re:I'm actually enjoying it (1)

B33rNinj4 (666756) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674379)

Browser-based, like Card Hunter, would have made it great. I tried it in the beta, and it was okay, but it became a bit boring after a while. If it was something I could play on my phone, or play against friends, I would have enjoyed it more.

The circle is now complete (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45673787)

The ultimate pay to win game (MTG) invades the realm of computer pay to win games, but this time it's different. It's "freemium."

This guy will be dissapointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45673801)


He makes boxes for CCG players- taking the games online won't help him.

Re:This guy will be dissapointed (2)

JTsyo (1338447) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674315)

hmm I wonder if there will be a market for virtual card protectors.

MTG uses lots of tech! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45673823)

" The game itself hasn't actually evolved to make use of technology."

that is just simply not true1

1. The rules changed to use a stack in 2006
2. Without computers, they would have have been able to bloat the rules to what they are today!

Re:MTG uses lots of tech! (2)

TheCarp (96830) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674029)

Which I find amusing because, I stopped playing in or around 2001, and picked up the game again only in the past few weeks. It looks more like a re-statement of the rules than much of a change since I already thought of it as a stack; and it already worked like a stack...there just was no explicit "stack" reference

Under the old rules, a spell being cast could be responded to by an instant or interrupt (which I believe were slightly different but I can't remember how), and since that was a spell too, it could also be responded to....and then spells resolved in reverse order. About the only complication was that a spell on the top of the stack could invalidate the target of a lower spell causing it to fizzle instead of resolving normally....which I believe is still the case.

All that said, I can't imagine playing a video game based on MTG. Part of the reason I play MTG is that it is a physical game played with other people. Actually handling the cards and seeing the look on someone's face when you take their creature and kill them with it (That "Act of Treason" card comes in so handy in my red/black deck)

Re:MTG uses lots of tech! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45674097)

You should probably read this:


Re:MTG uses lots of tech! (1)

TheCarp (96830) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674971)

Wow thanks! That explains why I never saw a rule change, I had started playing before 6th, but I don't think I ever really sat down with a rule book and read the intricacies until then (nor uttered the dreaded phrase "at the end of your turn I...." ) so I never realized it was a change!

That really is an excellent writeup of the rule change and consequences and even explains some curiosities like why power sink would be worded the way it is; talk about a nerf! Though, tapping you out is still pretty nasty in a larger game (we recently had an 8 person free for all, it took HOURS; especially with all the extort and lifelink out there now)

As an aside.... since the wife started up magic night a few weeks ago, someone told us mana burn was gone; and "Mana burn still exists" became our first house rule.... which was hilarious when our BIL came over with his ancient mono red and cast some mana flares.

Re:MTG uses lots of tech! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45674117)

The world of gaming an being online is changing that though. The popularity of playing a game face to face with cards is dying. Connecting online with your friends is where everything is going. I can play in my underwear and no one knows the difference.

Re:MTG uses lots of tech! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45675421)

Magic the Gathering is now more popular than it has ever been. The Las Vegas GP just got the record for most people ever to show up to a TCG event.

Re:MTG uses lots of tech! (1)

mythosaz (572040) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674757)

Playing Magic online is a lot like playing poker online. It either works for you or it doesn't. Different strokes. I play online (from time to time) because I can get an 8-player draft game pretty much at any time of the day or week -- something I can only get at few scheduled times locally.

Moving on...

There has always been a LIFO stack in Magic, the changes over the years have been to both standardize the rules so they could easily add on to them and to allow computer play without tons of corner cases -- programming Magic under the "old" rules would have been the living mother of all CASE statements.

There's still a lot of oddball cards that cause CRAZY interactions and require specific card+card rules, but the overwhelming majority of cards generate simple computer understandable rules.

Play is now almost always:

[...a bit simplified.]
Priority alternates between the active (guy who's turn it is) and non-active player.
The active player can add spells and effects to the stack, and the non-active player can respond to that.
That can go back and forth for as long as players can add to the stack.
When both players pass priority, effects on the stack start to unwind.
As each effect resolves, each player has the same option to, if they want, add more to the stack.
[These all happen in Active Player - Non-Active Player (AP/NAP) order.]
When nothing is on the stack, and the AP wishes to put nothing more onto the stack, and the NAP wishes to put nothing more on the stack, the game moves to the next phase.
Any time a there is an opportunity for priority to pass, "the game" does housekeeping. Anything that has been destroyed goes to the graveyard. Creatures with no toughness left are destroyed (and go to the graveyard). Any players with zero life dies, and their opponent wins.
Game events and cards themselves may cause "triggers." Cards can say, "When X happens, do Y." These too can be responded to AP/NAP; they use the stack, and they work like anything else.
A single trigger may cause a series of triggers, but they too simply add things to the stack.
There's a few more complicated ideas (like replacement effects), but they're all programmable.

I know that seems long, but anyone who ever wrote a script should understand it.

Most plays are simply: "I try to put armor on my guy." "No, I kill your guy in response." "Ok, lets move to the next phase."

Also, when the re-engineering of the rules happened, there were a number of other clarifications.

(2):Draw a Card -- That says, spend 2 mana of any color, and draw a card. That's an activated ability. That's something you can do when you have priority, and when you activate it, it goes on the stack, and your opponent can respond to it, perhaps by casting a spell that negates your next card draw.

When your opponent draws a card, you draw a card -- That does exactly what it says. It's a trigger. Any time the game sees the trigger, it adds the ability of you drawing a card to the stack, and....APNAP opportunities to respond exist.

If your opponent would draw a card, you draw a card instead -- ...also does exactly what it sounds like. It's a replacement effect.

When multiple seemingly contradictory effects happen at the same time (e.g. you have two cards, one says "When a creature goes to the graveyard, instead, remove it from the game." and the other says "When a creates goes to the graveyard, instead, return it to play." the active player manages the order of those effects.)

Re:MTG uses lots of tech! (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | 1 year,6 days | (#45675013)

They can get complicated. I remember the excitement in one group when we discovered an exploit in Munchkin, a comparatively simple game, caused by the interaction between a class ability, a specific loot card, and a rather rare event. It takes a lot of luck, but when it happens it results in a player being able to pick up the entire loot deck at once.

Still have to discard anything over the hand limit at the end of your turn, but by then you've put down enough useful items to gain a near-unstoppable advantage. So powerful is this 'cleric-hoard' exploit, the munchkin FAQ has an entry specifically saying you're not supposed to do that.

Re:MTG uses lots of tech! (1)

mythosaz (572040) | 1 year,6 days | (#45675075)

There's nearly countless 2 and 3 card interactions in Magic that, unobstructed, end the game. Most of them are triggers and replacement effects. They generally don't exist in the same sets, and there's generally better strategies and card interaction in extended formats that make those card interactions sub-optimal strategies. That said, the older extended formats (the mostly-no-holds-bared forms of Magic) include a lot of decks that win on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd turn. Even "Modern" which uses only cards since when we reformatted everything has decks that win on turn 3-4 fairly consistently.

The game overall is pretty fast. You be shocked how many games are over by turn 8 in every format.

A quick google search for 2-card and 3-card Magic combos will give more than I could possibly come up with.

Re:MTG uses lots of tech! (1)

xevioso (598654) | 1 year,6 days | (#45675519)

The best, of course, is the 1-turn kill using Flash and Protean Hulk, which would kill you BEFORE YOU TOOK YOUR FIRST TURN.

"In response to you taking your first draw step, I kill you."

Hard to pull off but highly amusing.

They re-restricted Flash after that.

Re:MTG uses lots of tech! (1)

TheCarp (96830) | 1 year,6 days | (#45675563)

Yup, I played against a guy a couple of times years ago. On the third turn he started drawing cards, shuffling his library, taking turns, and suddenly I was hit with a 38 point drain life before I got another turn. It was incredibly sick and broken. Even worst, it wasn't like he drew his nut hand, his deck was doing this consistently.

I have a couple of decks with nasty combos (nothing that fast or broken). One of my favorite was to toss a fire whip on a marsh viper....with a seeker of skybreak and vitalize in the deck, dealing 10 poison counters between the end of my opponents turn and the beginning of mine actually happens occasionally.

It also worked a few more times than Queen Sliver/Ashnod's Altar/Heartstone; though less fun as I don't get to declare "I summon infinite creatures, sacrifice an infinite number of them for infinite life, and sacrifice another infinity of them to do infinite damage directly to you" (or I wait to attack next turn if I don't have victual and/or acidic slivers out)

Re:MTG uses lots of tech! (1)

subanark (937286) | 1 year,6 days | (#45675239)

Oh hearthstone can get a bit complex too.

Events can trigger other events. And sometimes multiple events can happen all at the same time, which means that those events cannot interact with one another. E.g. Cultmaster has: When another one of your minions dies, draw a card. If someone kills all your minions at the same time cultmaster's effect won't get triggered, no matter how many of them you have.

One issue is that the rules aren't that well defined on the card. If you return a silenced card to your hand, you can play it un-silenced. If you return a polymorphed card to your hand, you get a 1/1 sheep you can play for 1 mana. Only by playing or watching the game, can you understand these details.

Re:MTG uses lots of tech! (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | 1 year,6 days | (#45676881)

Hearthstone has literally nothing on MTG in terms of complexity. One (fairly simple, by MTG standards) example was an abilities using words like "as though", for instance, "when this creature attacks, treat it as though it has flying", and another card which says "this card may only block creatures with flying". So, can the second creature block the first? (under MTG rules, yes). Or other cards which replace various phases of the game, eg one card which replaces the draw phase with Hearthstone's Animal Tracking ability (scry 3, draw one)-- and in doing so effectively make it impossible to deck out (since the "new" draw phase does not have a "deck out" provision).

Probably the most complicated thing in hearthstone that Ive seen is Jaraxxus, which replaces your champion with a minion.

hearthstone is *addictive* (4, Informative)

dknight (202308) | 1 year,6 days | (#45673893)

I'm a pretty hardcore RTS gamer (StarCraft II) but holy cow HearthStone is so fun that I've mostly abandoned SC2 in favor of racking up time there instead.

I definitely want the iOS release to hurry up so I can play on my iPad.

The thing that is surprising is, even with only a handful of emotes for communication, people still find ways to BM you :D But seriously, this is a REALLY REALLY fun game, and is going to make Blizzard some ungodly sum of money.

Re:hearthstone is *addictive* (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45675439)

Is this the first one you've played? If anything they're late to mobile. Sounds like any number of CCGs available on the app store, but maybe warcraft themed. Order & Chaos Duels, War of the Fallen just to name some I randomly played.

CCGs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45673935)

Collectible card games have been a prominent part of nerd gaming culture since the early '90s.

So this, ladies and gentlemen, is what turned nerds into mundanes...

Grammerz (1)

Dthief (1700318) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674053)

Me Tarzan, you is video game company

Riding Old IPs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45674089)

I stopped listening at, "It's nice to see from a company that's mostly been riding its old IPs for the past 15 years."

You realize this is nothing else other than riding old IP, right? There's very little new and innovative here, and the Warcraft IP has been used more times than a $2 hooker on Fremont street.

Re:Riding Old IPs? (1)

runeghost (2509522) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674387)

I stopped listening at, "It's nice to see from a company that's mostly been riding its old IPs for the past 15 years."

You realize this is nothing else other than riding old IP, right? There's very little new and innovative here, and the Warcraft IP has been used more times than a $2 hooker on Fremont street.

Isn't it using recycled art from their (discontinued) real world trading card game? (The one the summary doesn't seem to realize existed.)

TCG players look elsewhere... (2)

Bacon Bits (926911) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674289)

The mechanics of this game are about on par with the Pokemon TCG. The game is extremely lacking in player interaction. There are no instant effects. Attacking players choose to attack defending creatures directly, and can completely ignore the defender's board if they want. The game is like dual solitaire. Once you know the range of possible effects that a deck type can produce, it's fairly trivial to play around. Magic players I've seen streaming this game tend to win about 90% of the games they play, and most say it gets boring and repetitive fairly quickly. About the only time they lose is when they leave Arena and face someone who's invested every waking hour grinding for cards. It's pretty hilarious to watch other streamers coming from non-TCG games trying to play and clearly not planning out very far in advance.

As for the summary's criticism:

[Magic] hasn't actually evolved to make use of technology.

It can't, won't, and shouldn't. Magic is, first and foremost, a paper card game. WotC has stated repeatedly that the online and digital versions of the game exist to promote and supplement the paper game, not replace it. This is the same stance they've taken on D&D video games: they supplement the tabletop game. Their goal is to get players to graduate from playing online to playing the paper games. It's a good thing, too, because the client software for Magic is pretty shitty. It does the rules just fine, but the interface is consistently terrible. If the game weren't so good, it wouldn't be worthwhile. Fortunately, they've finally brought in real outside help to work on it. They brought in the Duels of the Planeswalker people for the current beta and it's terrible, but supposedly the new team consists of better programmers. Historically their problem has been paying peanuts and expecting gold. We'll see if they can get something usable by the time Hearthstone is out of beta.

Re:TCG players look elsewhere... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45674691)

Just as an FYI - If you're looking for a TCG-Online that will involve heavy tournament play, and for whatever reason don't want to play Magic The Gathering Online, take a look at HEX - Shards of Fate. www.hextcg.com

Quick rebuttal (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45675307)

Disclaimer: I haven't played pokemon or magic so my experiences are limited.

To address a couple of things you mentioned:
1. No instant effects - Wouldn't secret cards be considered instant?
2. You can completely ignore the defenders board - Don't taunt cards partially prevent this? Most games I've played, it's fairly dangerous to ignore the board and go directly after the hero.

Re:Quick rebuttal (1)

Bacon Bits (926911) | 1 year,6 days | (#45675525)

No instant effects - Wouldn't secret cards be considered instant?

They're non-optional, so no. It's not that difficult to discern what they likely are, so it's not that difficult to trigger them in the least harmful manner. Playing a mage and they cast a secret? Send in your weakest unit in to trigger it. If it doesn't, well, that eliminates 2 of the 5 Mage secrets, and only 1 of those do you really have to worry about. Besides, only 3 classes even have secrets.

You can completely ignore the defenders board - Don't taunt cards partially prevent this?

Sort of. The issue is that the attacker still decides whether, when, and how the defenders are attacked. With Magic, one of the major strategic elements is that the defender assigns blockers. So the attacker has to consider whether the defender will block, which attackers he will block, and if he has any instants. And even if he didn't have anything before, he might have been sandbagging you. Attacking is risky in Magic. In Hearthstone, it's just something you almost always do.

Most games I've played, it's fairly dangerous to ignore the board and go directly after the hero.

Of course it is. The problem is that the game favors the attacker over strategy, not that you can't misplay. It just makes the game a lot more skill based. That sounds good, until you realize it means that competition will exclude a lot of people, and thus limit popularity (this is why chess is such a small, albiet international, community).

It's a bit like... (1)

madmarcel (610409) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674425)

Haven't played the game yet but judging from that advertisement,

If I compare it to Mtg:
- no interaction during opponents turn
- no resource management
- no trading of cards
So...the three things that give Magic it's depth and appeal are missing...hmmmm...not sure about this.

Re:It's a bit like... (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674901)

The entire point of this game is to be a fast paced low entry cost game.

A polar opposite of what MTG is.

It's ok (1)

Wormsign (1498995) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674435)

As a former Magic player and former WoW player, it tickles a nice spot. I've had fun playing in the beta for over a week now. I get the complaints about the lack of interaction, but it's still a well-polished, fun, casual digital CCG. I do agree that it's "almost" Pay2Win because grinding gold through normal play to get better cards and get into Arena will take you forever, though technically possible. They need to make Arena cheaper, because being the most like a Draft in Magic, it's the most fun for the rush of what you can accomplish with a random bunch of cards given to you as opposed the slow methodical build and tweak gameplay of the normal Play mode.

Re:It's ok (2)

kwerle (39371) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674535)

At blizcon they said that 40% of the top tier players never spent a dime...

Re:It's ok (1)

Wormsign (1498995) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674699)

Sure, like I said, it's possible. Also, 40% in a closed beta is likely not a huge number of people. I don't have the kind of time required for that. I don't mind F2P games that let you spend a little to equalize with those who have more game time, but I am not going to shell out ducats over and over for the same game and digital items. I bought a set of 7 packs for $9.99 and don't plan on spending any more real cash. We'll see how far that gets me.

Re:It's ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45674731)

At blizcon they said that 40% of the top tier players never spent a dime...

Possible, but those 40% were either really lucky with random pulls, or gave new meaning to grinding. I've been playing it for a while, and it's very poorly balanced right now in numerous ways. I always groan inwardly when I start seeing lost of gold or rare cards, because more likely than not I'm not fighting a super uphill battle because that person dropped some coin to buy their power cards.

And that means that 60% of their top players did buy packs, and probably bought a lot. I also wouldn't be surprised if most of the 40% that didn't buy packs was the bottom of the top tier players.

Re:It's ok (1)

subanark (937286) | 1 year,6 days | (#45675143)

Getting top rank in the old ranking system (old as of Tuesday) was most just grinding. A good deck against a great deck still has around a 35% chance of winning. And it was quite possibly by simply getting a good win streak to get to top tier.

Re:It's ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45674795)

A lot of the top tier players also play for 8 hours a day...

Re:It's ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#45676017)

>former Magic and WoW player

"...so I put some MtG in your Azeroth so you can planeswalk while you WoW."


Card Hunter is better (1)

Evildonald (983517) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674963)

Just as a heads up. The browser-based (Flash) game Card Hunter [cardhunter.com] is better and is incredibly charismatic and fun. It's also free to play and not pay-to-win. It is like someone worked out what game my brain would like the most and made it.

You can pay to get more treasure and to do special quest maps, and the quality is astronomical for a flash-based program.

Penny Arcade also agrees with me about it being awesome! [penny-arcade.com]

Real players are different from AI (1)

subanark (937286) | 1 year,6 days | (#45674981)

Unlike what the review says, if you are playing against another player, you will see what card they have highlighted in their hand. If they are playing a card, but haven't chosen a target, you will see it (face down) floating on the field along with the targets you opponent is picking. Same goes for choosing an attack. This adds to how lively the game is and adds to the bluffing part of the game.

The AI on the other hand seems impossibly fast, playing cards right as they come out, faster than what the UI allows. On the other hand, the AI isn't very good. The AI will often play cards as soon as possible, like doing 1 damage to the player at full health, rather than waiting to kill a minion that only has 1 health.

One issue I do have with the game, is that the rules for some of the cards aren't clear. If you return a silenced minion to your hand you can play it again un-silenced. If you return a polymorphed minion to your hand you get a 1/1 sheep you can cast for 1. Only by playing or watching others play can you find out about these details.

Warcraft is when THEY CRAFT and I WATCH (1)

ndwelsh007 (3461959) | 1 year,6 days | (#45675449)

ok ok ok ok If i'm gonna sit, I'll sit....... Como back next month. Bring corn chips, box of diet coke, and two standard cheeseburgers. Let's make it right this time.

Please grow up (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | 1 year,6 days | (#45675997)

Has the gaming industry really not yet reached the point where a female character can be portrayed without enormous breasts spilling out of her costume?

I've got nothing wrong with enormous breasts or skimpy costumes, but is the gaming industry really happy being a male-only endeavor?

Games are filled with adolescent depictions of women and male characters with enormous powerful leg muscles, indicating that the young men who play games must be pretty sexually conflicted. Actually that sounds about right.

Seriously, in Arkham Origins, for some reason Batman's legs are drawn completely out of proportion to the rest of his body. He's supposed to be a big strong guy, but I don't remember him looking like a normal athlete on the top half and Mr Universe on the bottom half.

There are lots of examples of male characters drawn as old and skinny, short and fat, strong and weak, handsome and ugly. But the female characters in those same games are all triple-E cups and dressed as if by Frederick of Hollywood.

And yet, interestingly, if you look at the characters that players design for themselves (when the games give them the opportunity), they tend to look a lot more like normal people. I've seen people playing Saints Row IV as middle-aged black women and balding Hispanic construction workers. And yet, when the developers define the look of the character, it's always the same thing.

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