When Blizzard Entertainment launched Hearthstone in 2014, I was happy. As a deck-building game enthusiast with little time for leisure activities, having a quick alternative to classic Magic: The Gathering looked great. With a much smaller cards database, I could easily build a deck and play a couple of test games over a lunch break.
And it was fun, for a while. Then things changed.
With new expansions and mechanics added on a regular basis, you could well think that the game would be more interesting. And it was, in a way. I loved trying new combinations, and merging deck-specific staples with unusual effects, creature types or mechanics that weren’t “meant for it”.
Results varied, but that’s part of the thrill.
You try something new and see how it goes.
But the bulk of the Hearthstone community seems to go in the opposite direction. With decks available for the new meta (i.e. the strongest strategies based on latest game developments/updates) days before the new expansion comes out, you can simply copy a deck that works.
No need to think, explore or figure it out. You can even follow sponsored pro gamers and YouTubers that tell you how to play the stuff you just copied. You can go with the “proven formula” and enjoy a quick win.
And while I still enjoy developing decks with my own brain (and mixed results), it now feels like I’m playing against the same opponent over and over again. The trend is so common I can usually “guess the deck” within a couple of turns.
But challenging a copycat is no source of inspiration. Even when you lose, you haven’t learned anything new. And it’s not that much fun anymore.
I get the same bitter feeling from most blogs and discussions on business networks lately. I see more and more people opting for “proven formulas” and sacrificing their true voice on the altar of traffic and visibility. The result? More of the same – same topics, same advice, the “thought leader” approach.
Exceptions exist – in Hearthstone and in business. At times, I come across a deck – or a blog post – with a different, a personal angle. And it doesn’t really matter whether it’s meta-perfect (or viral). For those gems inspire reflection and change.
Writing that sticks isn’t about “proven formulas”.
It’s about putting your heart into it and thinking for yourself.
While sharing your opinions may be scary, it’s worth a try. Other people might be encouraged to do the same. And that’s what starts a conversation, and triggers creativity.
Results vary, but that’s part of the thrill.