In March of 2022, Hearthstone will be celebrating its eighth birthday, as the game was officially released back in March of 2014. Though for many, their Hearthstone journey started in December 2013, as that's when the open beta started, and that's when the very first players started building their collections.
Entering a collectable card game(CCG), such as Hearthstone or Magic: The Gathering(MTG), has always been a particularly daunting endeavour, as there's so much more than just starting to play a game.
CCGs are by definition hobbies where you first need to collect cards before having a decent collection and decks that are good enough to be considered meta decks, in order to start competing and have reasonable chances to actually win some games and make progress.
And building your collection in almost any digital free-to-play(F2P) CCG is a long and grinding process, which often requires at least some money investment if you are not planning on grinding for hours each day.
If you are planning to start playing Hearthstone in 2022 (or come back after a long pause), but you are not sure if it is still worth it, this guide will break down all the important things you will want to know before making this decision.
In this article, we will consider three main factors:
- Can you catch up as a new player and build decent collection and meta decks?
- Is Hearthstone still popular in 2022 and have a sustainable player base?
- Is Hearthstone still being supported by Blizzard in 2022 and beyond?
So, without further ado, let's jump right into each of these factors.
Is it worth getting into Hearthstone as a new player in 2022?
If you are a fan of card games, and especially if you love the Warcraft universe, you will have an absolute blast playing Hearthstone.
Eight years later, despite numerous other card games on the market that have emerged following Hearthstone's enormous success, Hearthstone is still by far the most polished and most fun digital card experience out there.
Hearthstone's visuals are superb, the audio design is top-notch, and the core gameplay is fun and exciting. It is simple enough to understand it quickly, but the more you dive into the game the more you will realise how complex the gameplay can be, with countless strategies, synergies, archetypes, and card interactions that you will learn as you play the game.
Probably the most important aspect to consider if you are planning on starting to play Hearthstone in 2022 is if you will be able to catch up as a new player in an 8-year-old collectable card game. It's no secret that Hearthstone has always been an expensive hobby, and that remains true even in 2022, but now it is much, much easier to build a decent collection and competitive decks as a free-to-play player.
The introduction of the free Core set is probably the most important thing Blizzard has done for new players since the game's release. Each year, when the first new expansion releases (usually in March), Blizzard will introduce a free Core set with over 230 cards, that are completely free and available for everyone. These cards, together with cards from the current rotation, are used in the Standard format, which you will play as a new player.
Blizzard has also introduced "New Player Ranks" which all new players will have to play before entering the proper ranked mode. This will allow you to play games against other beginners with similarly small collections, while also being rewarded with numerous free packs as you progress.
Once you complete New Player Ranks, you will be rewarded with a free 30-card starter deck for a class of your choosing, which will be some of the current meta decks for that class.
Asides from the free packs you earn through New Player Ranks, there will also be other opportunities during that journey to earn free cards and packs of cards. I advise you to watch Trump's F2P journey in order to learn how to be the most efficient in terms of getting all the possible free goodies you can get.
His F2P run is from 2021, so there are some sets and decks there that are not in Standard anymore, but you will still earn free rewards in the same way in 2022.
If you are planning to play Hearthstone a lot, our best advice is to invest in the Tavern Pass, which last for around 4 months, restarts with each new expansion, and costs around ~20 dollars. Asides from interesting cosmetic rewards it will also speed up your XP gain, which means more card packs in the long run.
Is Hearthstone still popular in 2022?
Another important thing you should know if you are planning to invest your time and money in Hearthstone is if the game is still popular and being played.
And while Hearthstone is not as popular as it was 5-6 years ago, it is important to note that this game was absolutely massive during its prime years, among the top 3 most-watched games on Twitch for several years, with over 100 million players.
Even now, when the player base is somewhat smaller and when there's more competition with games like MTG Arena, Gwent, and Legends of Runeterra, Hearthstone is still by far the most popular digital card game with a bigger player base than all other CCGs combined.
So, when it comes to popularity and the number of players, Hearthstone is the most popular digital card game.
Is Blizzard still supporting Hearthstone?
Even eight years after the initial release, Blizzard's Team 5 (the one working on Hearthstone) is producing more content than ever before for Hearthstone.
When it seems that all other Blizzard's games are stagnating in terms of new content, that's not the case with Hearthstone.
New modes and ways of playing, three new expansions each year plus three mini sets, Duels and Arena rotations, seasonal events, regular balance updates and quality of life improvements, tons of new cosmetic items...
In 2021, Blizzard has revealed that it has plans for Hearthstone content for at least another ten years, including adding new classes like Monk and Death Knight at some point during this decade, so you don't need to worry about the support.
Hearthstone is Blizzard's most profitable game and they are not cutting support for it anytime soon.
Conclusion - Should you start playing Hearthstone in 2022?
To wrap things up, if you are into card games and considering which one to start playing in 2022, Hearthstone is by far the best choice.
It is a fun and well-polished game, it has by far the biggest player base, it has become significantly easier to build your collection as a new player, and Blizzard plans to actively support for at least another 10 years.
Give it a try, watch Trump's F2P series to learn how to maximise free rewards, and you will have fun while building a decent collection to become competitive in around ~3-4 months.
Don't forget to check out our Hearthstone section for more news, guides, leaks, and an in-depth look at new features.
Featured image courtesy of Blizzard