The Life Allegory of Hearthstone

Having spent well over a thousand hours playing Blizzard’s newest digital time-sink, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, I can safely say that I am in love with this game.  From the graphics to the strategy to the keen World of Warcraft (my other mistress) references, every aspect of this game is beautiful.  

But somewhere, probably between hours 900 and 1,050, I began to realize there was something more here than just colorful digital cards, loveable animations, timeless music, and flawless voicework.  Deep below the surface brillance of Hearthstone there was a secret.  A secret that once discovered resulted in Hearthstone evolving into more than just a simple game. Hearthstone became life.

Below you will find the truths I discovered apply not only to the game and being a better player, but also to life

You can learn something from everyone.

Those other travellers may have been where you’re going. Don’t be afraid to ask what’s in store for you.  Every person you meet in Hearthstone, as well as the world, has a tale to tell.  They approach life just a bit (or maybe deal more) differently than yourself.  When you pass someone in your own journey, take the time to learn from them in the short span you have together.  Their experience could be invaluable.  Conversely, you may hold knowledge that will get them over their own future obstacles.

It’s not about the arrival, but the journey.

The how’s and why’s of winning are infinitely more important than the win itself.  How you applied yourself, your strategy, your tactics, your strength-of-arms or your keen intuition are all greatly influencing to the ultimate success of your endeavors.  The struggle to shape and harness these traits will not only build self-respect but also the greatest respect amongst your peers.  Far more than any single win ever could.

Imagination is the eternal key.

Strategy is not always a number game.  Sometimes attaining success is simply a matter of seeing it.  Imagination is the seed that grows personal traits such as cleverness, boldness, and intuitiveness.  Such personal aspects will always see one to greater chances of success in any endeavor and sometimes the risk itself is the greatest reward for those with the imagination to see it into action.

Open-Mindedness.

Yours isn’t always the only path.  Keeping yourself firmly planted upon any one road will often lead to a mastering of that one road.  But it’s the ability to accept the oft-changing world and individuals around you that gives you the greatest opportunity to learn and achieve wisdom.  Embracing strategy, outlooks, and ideas not your own can lead to greater instrospection.  If you set your sights only in one direction, you will miss out on many possible acheivements as you strive to succeed in your one single goal.

Math rules.

The most vilified of all teachers really weren’t lying.  Math does in fact apply to everything.  Especially in games where numbers are a prime factor.  Knowing in advance how far you can take a move, how much advantage it can gain you, or seeing in advance that it will overextend your resources and leave you hanging in the end.  Crunching numbers quickly and efficiently can get you out of alot of tight situations and may even bring you a win you didn’t see previously.

Waste not.

Get the most out of everything you have.  Having a strong sense of what you have to work with will create a good platform to work from in any situation.  And always making the most out of what you have, no matter how low, or how high will ensure that no opportunity goes to waste and your successes will reflect this.

Timing is everything.

The great importance of action is often in when you act, not how or even why.  Often the difference between a win and a loss can be simply when you moved.  When you act, there will always be a reaction, generally of equal or greater proportion.  Acting too soon can leave you over-extended.  Acting too late leaves you weak in your own response.  Though with the appropriate timing, what seems like an over-extension can be a skilled gambit, and a missed opportunity suddenly becomes a well-baited trap.

Anger solves nothing.

Your emotions are often situational.  Leave them there and move on to the next.  Getting angry does nothing for anyone.  Though a natural response to many situations and completely acceptable, it is always more important to recognize why you are angry and then strive to avoid that situation again.  Holding onto anger only results in unnecessarily expended energy and a natural blindness to upcoming obstacles.  With your vision and foresight narrowed by anger, you become open to attacks you normally would have seen and the cycle only continues until you’re finally able to let it go.

Success is fleeting.

You’re only as good as your last win.  But you could be better.  You can always be better than your last win.  Your strategy and tactics can always improve.  Your timing can always be sharper.  Your efficiency can always improve in tandem with your effectiveness in any situation.  Remembering how you got to a win (or how you narrowly avoided a loss) will always prove to be more fruitful than any single win.

Always have fun.

You’ll never appreciate a triumph if you didn’t enjoy the steps you took to realize it.  It is as simple as it sounds.  Games, as with life, should be about the enjoyment of the experience.  Otherwise, in the end, what’s the point of even playing.  If you can’t enjoy it, you should step away and reevaluate either the situation or possibly even yourself.  Find the enjoyment in everything and every win afterward will be that much sweeter.

I discovered that through the application of these truths I not only would become a stronger, more respected player of the game, but also a better person in my life.

Have you discovered any hidden truths in your favorite game?  Let us know in the comments below.

-Jarod Warren

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