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The Hotseat #3 – Xinhuan

Sin HuanMoving on from Kaiel’s heartfelt interview, we will be learning what Xinhuan feels about Hearthstone.

In ‘The Hotseat’, we will interview regional Hearthstone players about them or anything Hearthstone.

For our third edition, we will be interviewing Xinhuan, a veteran in Blizzard games who have went to numerous Blizzcons! Read on to find out more about what he thinks!

Hi Sin Huan; thanks for having this interview with us! Will you like to introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi, my name Sin Huan, and I am a programmer by trade.

What got you into playing hearthstone, Sin Huan?

I used to play Magic: The Gathering 15 years ago, but sold all my cards when it got too costly to maintain decks. This was back when I was a student with no income.

When Blizzard announced Hearthstone at PAX East, I was extremely excited about it. Hex is another upcoming digital card game that I have backed on Kickstarter.

Wow, sounds like you are an avid gamer! What is your favourite genre?

I don’t have a particular favourite genre, since I play all kinds of games; they range from big titles like Starcraft, Civilization and Bioshock Infinite, to indie ones like Faster Than Light, Braid, and even mobile games like Angry Birds, Candy Crush and Plant vs Zombies.

Working in the gaming industry as a game programmer, I try to keep up with gaming news, updates and new game releases. I also like to watch Let’s Plays on Youtube.

Seems like the dream job! How’s the experience in Hearthstone so far?

It had been a great first few months during closed beta. I see new deck concepts all the time, especially since Blizzard makes card tweaks every now and then. Playing against these decks is very different from trying to play them yourself.

The game still needs a few major features though, such as game reconnects because losing arena games due to disconnection is extremely frustrating. Likewise, the game needs to put in chat DND mode for streamers and tournaments, and the highly-wanted spectator mode.

Blizzard also really needs to fix a few glaring bugs that has been plaguing the game for over 7 months, most notably the minion swapping bug and the card overlapping bug.

The game is, for the most part, pretty well-balanced, though I think some classes could use a small boost.

I cannot wait until Blizzard releases the iPad version of the game so I can play it on the move!

Wow; very in-depth analysis! What do you think of Hearthstone’s standing in the future?

I believe Hearthstone will be a very successful game, particularly since it draws upon its existing fan base of the Warcraft franchise. It is extremely entertaining to play, and equally entertaining to watch.

However, I do not think it will become a major e-sports on the same level as Starcraft and League of Legends because it has too many random and unpredictable elements, to the effect that some Hearthstone tournaments already ban Nat Pagle. Skill can overcome the luck factor, but only across hundreds of games (as the Hearthstone ladder intends), and not by a simple Best-of-3 or 5 series as is how most tournaments are currently being held.

Sinhuan

I see; how about you? Do you intend to go at it competitively or just for leisure?

Most probably just for leisure. While I enjoy playing Hearthstone competitively and making friends at local tournaments, I do currently have a full-time job and cannot commit to playing it (or any other game) as a full-time endeavor.

If I was 10 years younger, it might be different. Back then, I used to spend all my time in World of Warcraft, going as far as to write numerous in-game addons for it such as Postal and Omen Threat Meter.

Haha; that sounds cool! How do you find the community so far?

I think the Hearthstone community has been extremely friendly, and I have made a number of great friends over the course of the last few months. I met many of these people at (both online and offline) tournaments held by Hearthstone Alley, and I am pleasantly surprised to find so many good players here in Singapore.

Where do you think the current meta is heading towards?

Currently this week, the meta is 70% rush decks. It will probably head towards mid-range decks that counter rush decks within a week, followed by control decks that counter mid-range decks, and back to rush decks again in the following week. Actually maybe not, considering the end of Test Season 3 should be coming in a few days, and everyone will try to play Murloc Warlock rush again after the season resets. I hope actual seasons are longer than these 1 month test seasons; I certainly do not have the time to grind the ladder.

In a way, the game actually feels a little stale because there has been no balance tweaks or changes for almost two months, and the meta is simply just revolving around the rock-paper-scissors game of trying to predict what is the most popular deck out there.

There are only 2-3 viable ways of playing each class right now, so for example, if you see a Warlock, you know for sure it is going to be one of Murlock, Rush Lock, or Hand Lock. If you see a Rogue, it is going to be a mid-range reach rogue (variation of Kithros’ Rogue deck), or a Miracle Rogue. And there are almost no Mages and Priests in the top ranks.

My favourite class is the Mage, but it has been nerfed several times (increased costs to freeze spells and Pyroblast) to the point it is almost unplayable on the ladder in the current meta if you do not own an Archmage Antonidas and combo successfully off it.

That said, Mage is still the strongest class in the Arena, mainly due to how common her best class cards are (Fireball, Polymorph, Flamestrike, Frostbolt, Water Elemental) and her hero power. This is because the Arena skews the game towards being heavily minion-based and away from being combo-based, so her ability to ping for 1 damage and her class spells are very well suited to the environment. Compare this to the Shaman class where it has no AoE spells that are basic or common to draft and this severely hampers the Shaman from doing well consistently in the arena.

Do you have any favourites in Hearthstone?

If I have any favourite streamer, it has to be Kripparian and Noxious, not just because they are good, but because they are entertaining personalities to watch.

And my favourite card is Ragnaros.

That’s great! Any shout outs you will like to make as we conclude this interview?

I would like to thank Hearthstone Alley for building this great community, Blizzard for making yet another great game, and the people I have met in Hearthstone for all the time and fun I have had!

What do you think of this interview? Let us know who you will like us to highlight next!

Stay tuned to Hearthstone Alley, or our Facebook and Twitter for the latest Hearthstone and community news!

– Silfer

Image Credits: Silfer

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This entry was posted on March 2, 2014 by in Interviews.

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