William Barton: You can very clearly see where you went wrong and right


Credit: Courtesy of Will Barton

Pictured above is freshman Will Barton. He has been playing Hearthstone for two years and now plays for a professional team. "I didn't ever have to really practice; I didn't have to try very hard,” Barton said.

It’s an average Tuesday night, and most students are working on homework, texting their friends or watching TV. But not freshman William Barton. “Amnesiac”, as he is known online, sits at the computer at home, immersed in his latest Hearthstone game.

Barton played his first video game when he was four years old, and he started playing Hearthstone a little less than two years ago. He is now signed to professional gaming team Team Archon and receives a monthly salary for playing the game.

According to Barton, he saw Hearthstone online and decided to try it because it seemed fun. He finished first on the North America server in 2014 and is the youngest person to be signed to a professional gaming team.

Hearthstone is a card-based game that can be played on a smartphone or computer. The game’s official website describes it as a “digital strategy card game that anyone can enjoy.” In Hearthstone, players choose one of nine epic Warcraft heroes to play as. They then take turns playing cards from their customizable decks to “cast potent spells, use heroic weapons or abilities or summon powerful minions to crush their opponent.”

Players are able to spend money to receive better cards; however, according to Barton, he has never spent any money on the game and advances by getting cards for playing online for a long time. Barton notes that the game is pretty similar to Poker.

“A lot of [the game] is just evaluating odds and figuring what’s going on in a situation. You make a play based off [of] that,” Barton said.

Barton explains he is not exactly sure to what he should attribute his success.

“I didn’t ever have to really practice; I didn’t have to try very hard,” Barton said. “I kind of accidentally got first in North America.”

Barton’s favorite personal achievement is placing first in North America in “the most competitive [Hearthstone] season to date.” In addition, Barton has achieved first place in online games 18 times. He will go to Texas to play in a tournament in May and hopes to qualify for the Hearthstone World Championships, which features the top 16 players in the world.

Barton tells aspiring Hearthstone gamers to think about strategy for succeeding in the long run rather than focusing too much on individual games.

“Luck isn’t really a thing; it all averages out,” Barton said.

He shares that he will continue to play Hearthstone after high school and beyond, but he doesn’t see it as a career.

“I’ll probably be playing, but I’m never going to go all in,” Barton said. “I don’t think I need to. It doesn’t take that much time for me.”

Barton admires how straightforward Hearthstone is, and with every game, he learns to improve.

“You can play a perfect game a pretty good amount of the time,” Barton said. “You can very clearly see where you went wrong and right, so it’s easy to improve and evaluate based on that.”