2014 Game of the Year 8: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Blizzard's addictive take on collectible card games consumed countless hours of our life this year, earning it a spot in our top ten.

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When Blizzard turned its eye for simplicity and elegant design towards the collectible card game genre, we all benefitted. 

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft was an odd project for a studio more known for its massive successes. It was a small side project, created by a tiny internal team and debuted at a fan convention, PAX, instead of the media spectacle of E3. Even Blizzard didn't seem to count on its massive success. Several months and 20 million users later, it's clear the company has stumbled onto something grand. When it canceled its long-in-development MMO Titan, its comments about smaller teams working on passion projects highlighted how Hearthstone has shifted the very culture of the studio.

Hearthstone stripped down the CCG to its component parts, kept what was necessary, and threw out the rest. An automatic mana ramp keeps the game moving at a brisque pace, and cards are relegated to only a handful of effects with clear visual indicators that take advantage of the video game medium. The result is a game that's easy to learn, hard to master, and as this year's World Championships showed, can be downright nail-biting to watch in tournament play. Better yet, Blizzard has taken the lead in the free-to-play market, creating a F2P game that can truly be enjoyed without spending a dime. Both a single-player campaign and the recent Goblins vs Gnomes expansion launched this year too, keeping the meta-game exciting for players who are logging time each day.

This tiny passion project has turned into a pillar for one of the largest developers in the world, thanks to its sharp mechanics, light and airy sense of humor, and a consumer-friendly approach. Some of us have played almost every day since launch, and it still feels fresh and exciting.

More Game of the Year Coverage: 

Editor-In-Chief

From The Chatty

  • reply
    December 30, 2014 10:00 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, 2014 Game of the Year 8: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

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      December 30, 2014 10:50 AM

      I like hearthstone and all. But game of the year? No.

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        December 30, 2014 10:51 AM

        Well it's A game of the year, not THE game of the year. It didn't even crack the top 5.

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        December 30, 2014 10:51 AM

        If total timed played counts, it is definitely GOTY 2014 for me.

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          December 30, 2014 11:28 AM

          It may be in the running for most played for me, but that doesn't make it Best. It get s a lot of play when I only have 30 minutes or so, which is a lot of the time.

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        December 30, 2014 10:53 AM

        It got eighth place.

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        December 30, 2014 10:56 AM

        yo man did you see it is in eighth place and not in fact the game of the year

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          December 30, 2014 1:27 PM

          It's either the game of the year or it isn't. What the hell is game of the year 8?

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            December 30, 2014 1:45 PM

            lol what?

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              December 30, 2014 1:53 PM

              I don't know why this isn't clear to you.

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                December 30, 2014 1:55 PM

                You replied to the wrong post. That's my confusion.

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                December 30, 2014 1:56 PM

                I get you are talking to the first comment in the thread now.

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                  December 30, 2014 1:58 PM

                  There was no misreply on my end.

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                    December 30, 2014 1:58 PM

                    Then you don't understand rodneystubbs joke and you're continuing to fail. lmao

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                      December 30, 2014 2:00 PM

                      Are you feeling ok?

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                        December 30, 2014 2:00 PM

                        lol

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                          December 30, 2014 2:02 PM

                          There is a game of the year...and that's it. There's no game of the year 8. There's no 8th place. What are you having problems with?

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                            December 30, 2014 2:16 PM

                            There clearly is an 8th place. Why is there an 8th place, because shacknews says there is.

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                              December 30, 2014 2:18 PM

                              So if we just declare something then it's true? Cool.

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                                December 30, 2014 2:21 PM

                                No more silver and bronze at the Olympics. 2nd and 3rd win gold 2 and gold 3

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                                  December 30, 2014 2:22 PM

                                  My name is Chod and this is the best troll subthread on Shacknews right now.

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                                  December 30, 2014 2:25 PM

                                  Did you recently suffer from acute brain trauma?

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                        December 30, 2014 2:01 PM

                        Either you're feeling okay or your not. What the hell is this are you feeling okay?

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        December 30, 2014 11:33 AM

        Additional obligatory comment reminding you Hearthstone is not the Game of the Year.

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        December 30, 2014 12:20 PM

        It was my personal GOTY, but individual votes only count so much. When it came down to it, no game has been as versatile to demand my attention this year as much as Hearthstone.

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          December 30, 2014 12:27 PM

          right on point!

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          December 30, 2014 2:29 PM

          Ive played it probably 500x as much as any other game this year.

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      December 30, 2014 10:56 AM

      I love the game. It's my most played game of the year. And I consider it one of the best of year.

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      December 30, 2014 10:59 AM

      There are not 7 games better than hearthstone released in 2014.

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        December 30, 2014 11:10 AM

        Totally agree.

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        December 30, 2014 11:42 AM

        This is the first time I partook in a Game of the Year judging, and I can tell you that it's really hard to decide on what ten games to highlight.

        Personally, I felt Hearthstone deserved a spot on our list because for the most part, it feels very balanced, can eat up a lot of time if you really get into it, and is really, really fun. Blizzard also did a great job with churning out additional content for Hearthstone as they've released two expansions within a year of the game's public release.

        I may not be as obsessed with Hearthstone as Steve, Ozzie, and now, Josh, but I know how much fun I've had playing the game since its release and I know I'm going to continue doing so well into 2015.

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        December 30, 2014 2:05 PM

        I know a lot of people are addicted to it, but it's still just a highly polished card game rather than something that moved the medium forward or stood out from everything else before it.

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        December 30, 2014 2:07 PM

        For me there is.

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        December 30, 2014 2:09 PM

        I'm really really glad Blizzard made Hearthstone, a ghastly fucking card game, I couldn't care less about - but it's popular as fuck. Hopefully it keeps money going in so they can focus on making good stuff again. After Heart of the Swarm.......... christ lord fuck knows they need some luck to get their shit back together. What a mediocre blizzard RTS.

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        December 30, 2014 3:25 PM

        I would disagree only because everyone I know that loves and plays the game (myself included) has been playing since last year. I can't consider Hearthstone a 2014 game. I know it was technically released this year, but Blizzard betas are practically retail releases these days.

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      December 30, 2014 11:34 AM

      I know another card game that deserved some honors...

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      December 30, 2014 1:41 PM

      Nice job with the level of production on these videos.

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      December 30, 2014 2:40 PM

      watch the video, people! there are more replies than there are views

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        December 30, 2014 3:41 PM

        That's due to YT's algorithm. Views aren't updated in real-time, and get capped at 301+ until the next update. Generally you won't get an updated view count for 12+ hours unless you are a big channel.

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      December 31, 2014 7:30 AM

      Google is paying 75$ per hour! Just work for few hours & spend more time with friends and family. On Sunday I bought themselves a Alfa Romeo from having made $5637 this month. Useful site...........www.jobshobby.com

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      December 31, 2014 7:37 AM

      Google is paying 75$ per hour! Just work for few hours & spend more time with friends and family. On Sunday I bought themselves a Alfa Romeo from having made $5637 this month. Useful site...........www.jobshobby.com

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      January 1, 2015 8:18 AM

      Google is paying 75$ per hour! Just work for few hours & spend more time with friends and family. On Sunday I bought themselves a Alfa Romeo from having made $5637 this month. Useful site...........www.jobshobby.com