Friday, April 11, 2014

Hearthstone - Curse of Naxxramas Announced

Today Blizzard announced some details concerning the upcoming Adventure Mode that's being added to Hearthstone, and it sounds pretty impressive.

"Curse of Naxxramas" will be the first Hearthstone Adventure, based upon the Naxx raid from WoW. When released, all players will have access to the first of five wings of the dungeon (The Arachnid Quarter). Each week after, a new wing will be accessible for purchase with either in-game gold or real money, the amounts of which have yet to be announced.

The rewards for completing each wing include new cards (including a guaranteed new legendary for each wing) themed around the denizens of Naxxramas. There's a lot of neat Deathrattle-based cards along with some others, all of which look pretty exciting.

 (All images courtesy of Blizzard)

But wait, there's more! After completing a wing, you can revisit it with each class to attempt special challenges. Completing those challenges earn you new class-specific cards. In addition, as wings unlock over the weeks of this release, the cards from those wings will start showing up in the Arena card pool. Curse of Naxxramas adds 30 new cards to Hearthstone, which is one of the most requested additions to the game.

 Personally, I'm really pleased by this announcement. Adventure Mode has been hinted at already, but the amount of content announced today is more than I expected. New cards, multiple wing unlocks, and replayable content all in one package sounds amazing.

With the relative ease of being able to play Hearthstone for free, I've been wondering how Blizzard was going to be able to financially sustain the game in the long-term (other than cosmetic purchases and new cards). This sounds like an interesting option. I'm sure somewhere people are already crying about "new content locked behind a paywall, making the game pay2win", but they're missing an important detail...

Purchasing access to a new wing doesn't give you new cards automatically (at least from the description in the announcement). You still have to complete it and the challenges for each class. Even if that proves to be simple, it doesn't mean that the cards rewarded will be so powerful that they ruin the game for everyone else. Baron Rivendare seems to be the most abusive of the preview cards (just imagine him alongside Cairne, Sylvannus, Harvest Golem, or even Loot Hoarder), but we don't have all the information just yet. Overall, Curse of Naxxramas looks like a welcome addition to Hearthstone, and I can't wait to try it.

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