Hand of Fate continues to be on my mind this week, though I have not played it. Why? Because I had a MONSTER endless run last Saturday – The most successful ever since purchasing the game. The run feels even more glorious because most of the progress was made utilizing sub-par weapons. My skill carried me through.
I say this not to gloat, but more so to commend the control that HoF gives the player. Part of player skill as it pertains to this game is playing the cards – making tough decisions about resource management and movement, i.e. when to pursue a scenario and when to flee. And then, of course, there is the RNG, which, in this run, completely screwed me in some aspects (player loadout) but gave me slight advantage in others (the ‘High Constitution’ blessing. Nod your head enthusiastically if you know what I’m talking about!) This give-and-take setup enables very satisfying gameplay. And, specific to last week’s endless run, raised my level of expectation so high for future runs that I’ve been getting myself amped all week to give it another go.
While we’re on the topic of beating Personal Bests: I want to say a little something about a little twin-stick shooter called Waves: Hachi Machi! I sat on Waves, un-played, for nearly a year. Twelve months it was there in my Steam library, consistently being overlooked. Bruh, why did I do this to myself? This game is so good! On a whim I booted it up earlier this week and I haven’t even looked back. It is intense, satisfying, maddening, blood boiling, orgasmic, instinctive, hectic, etc, etc, etc, et-freaking-c. There are divers game modes, but, bruh, Survival is where it’s at (Nod your head enthusiastically if you know what I’m talking about!)
Often, after blowing up, I blurt out, “I can’t play these types of games anymore! I’m too old for this crap!” And yet, there’s my high score from a previous run, taunting me, flirting with my wife, always in view. I must surpass this number. I will surpass this number. Indeed. No other game I’ve played in recent memory has me score and achievement chasing like this.
And what of Hearthstone? Will I ever achieve my PR of Rank 14 again? I accomplished this back in February, and have since fallen away from the game. I stuck around back then just long enough to incorporate Goblins vs. Gnome cards into my decks and make my way through all but one of the Naaxramas wings. Since then I have watched from a distance the release of Blackrock Mountain, Tavern Brawl, and The Grand Tournament. My monthly inactivity forced my rank back down to 25.
Come to last Friday. ‘Wouldn’t it be cute’, I thought, ‘to jump back in like no time has passed.’
Well. It wasn’t cute. Hearthstone has moved on without me. It has become a foreign, scary place with all kinds of new devious machinations. Being a stranger in a strange land made gleam the things about Hearthstone that turned me off all those months ago – Primarily, the realization/inevitability of my worst fear which pressed so deeply upon my heart as I sat high upon my Rank 14 lookout: Hearthstone is now exclusively pay-to-advance.
This was an obvious, bitter pill to swallow as I sat there playing my old burst Shaman against these new confangled monstrosity decks. Likewise, I play against decks at these low levels and it is clear they flushed a considerable sum to obtain so many legendary cards… And that turns me the hell off.
So, will I ever achieve Rank 14 again? Probably not. I just don’t care enough to make it happen. I used to enjoy earning the gold from daily quests. But now it will just feel like a grind. Buying packs on a shoe-string gold budget is a total wash because there are so many new cards.
The wild card here is the Arena. I was never very good at Arena. But, as I want to continue dabbling in Hearthstone, this may be the last bastion of hope. The gameplan for this weekend will be to do a few quests and bank up enough gold to buy a few admissions into the Arena, and to hopefully get to a point where my Arena career can be self-sustaining. Nod your head enthusiastically if you know what I’m talking about!
What are you playing this weekend?