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Hearthstone was the first game of its kind to really make it big on the Esports scene and has since spawned other copycats. It’s easy to play, but hard to master, and that keeps people coming back for more. That has led to Hearthstone becoming one of the bigger Esports communities as viewers really want to know how the pros are so good and how they come up with their strategies. This is the one Esport that you can play anywhere, either on a PC or laptop, a mobile device or a tablet and that has led to people not wanting to step away from their game no matter where they are.

The Game

Think Magic: The Gathering when you think of Hearthstone. Hearthstone is a free-to-play online collectible video card game where players build decks in order to defeat their opponent.

This is a turn-based game where people use their cards in order to reduce their opponent’s health to zero. Players must be mindful of how much mana they have and how it affects their strategies as players have a limited amount of mana per turn and only gain one mana for each additional turn.

The game is still in its infancy but is wildly popular amongst teenagers and young adults with Blizzard reporting there are more than 70 million players as of May 2017.

The Competitive Scene

Hearthstone has only been around since March 2014, so it hasn’t had the time to build up the following that other Esports have. However, because of its ease of play, it’s possible to host remote tournaments instead of making every competitor come to one location.

The game’s randomness is a key component in making sure the same people don’t finish atop the leaderboard in every competition. There are multiple cards that have random effects and sometimes they can spell your doom, while others they can lead you to a victory.

The side effect of that randomness is that it’s been hard for players and teams to build brands. Hearthstone has a higher RNG factor than most Esports, and that has led to many professional players banding together to beg Blizzard to adopt certain rules so the competitive scene can become more stable. Those pleas have fell on deaf ears for now, as Blizzard seems to believe the RNG factor is an integral part of the game.

Still, there was enough interest for a $250,000 tournament in both Summer and Fall of 2018. Both of those events were held at Blizzard’s arena in Los Angeles, and it looks like most major events will be held there in the future as well.

The Future

Unlike other Esports, there are no plans for Hearthstone to start a league. There’s no reason for it to though. It’s randomness would come under greater scrutiny in this format, and Blizzard has not shown any interest in cultivating a big professional scene.

Hearthstone has drawn plenty of rivals too. It’s success and ease of access led to other online card games springing up to challenge it rather quickly, and other games like Gwent, The Elder Scrolls: Legends, Shadowverse, and Magic: The Gathering Arena have looked to copy their model. None are as popular though, and Hearthstone was the only online card game to be among the ten most watched games on Twitch in 2018.

The future of this game is strong, but if there’s one potential worry down the road, it’s that the nature of the game does not lend itself well to a shakeup. Assuming people get bored with the format, there’s no easy fix like there is with other games. Still, this game is rapidly growing in terms of both membership and viewers. It should only continue to grow in the near future as others join the community and stream some of their favorite players on the web.

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