Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hearthstone - The "Elite Skills" Update

Hearthstone patch, known as the "Elite Skills" Update, will be coming soon™*, and we've got exclusive previews of exciting new features, changes, and cards!

Now With 33% More Skill!

Players have been complaining since Hearthstone's beta that there's not enough skill in the game, so Blizzard's stepping things up a notch. Roughly one-third of the current cards are being changed to increase the use of skill across the board - here's a preview card:

Topdeckin' and Wreckin'!

Another major problem that plagues the game is when players don't draw the appropriate card(s) for a given situation. While some may argue that paying attention to mana curve, including multiple copies of cards in a deck, and the sheer randomness of card drawing are important aspects to card games in general, those people are apparently wrong. When you only have two of your six-card-wombo-combo, damn the statistics - it's obviously a flaw in the game's design!

The average Hearthstone player.

To alleviate this issue, a new ability has been added to Hearthstone called Topdeck that's been added to a number of often-used cards. How Topdeck works is simple - whenever you're about to draw a card, the game checks for any cards with the ability in your deck and their requirements. If you meet any of those requirements, you draw one of the appropriate cards instead of some dumb random card. It's brilliant!

Here's a popular hunter card that's gotten both the new ability and a skillful remastering:

Visit Your Skill Trainer!

Say, who's that helpful fellow above? Why, that's Crabby, your soon-to-be best friend! Crabby was originally going to be implemented in WoW, but that feature got shelved in favor of Neptulon's Dance Club (or something). Anyway, Crabby's found a new home in Hearthstone as your personal trainer!

Blizzard realizes that the learning curve for a game can sometimes be overwhelming. There's so many cards and abilities that new players might be intimidated. When changes are made or new cards are introduced, even veteran players can feel weighed down by all the information.

That's where Crabby comes in! As you browse your collection or your hand while in-game, simply hover over a card for a moment and Crabby will appear, providing useful hints and updated rules interactions to improve your gameplay.

New Cards!

While Blizzard has already announced that "Curse of Naxxramas" will be adding a slew of new cards to Hearthstone, they know that players can be impatient and fickle. With such stiff competition in the free-to-play card game genre (such as Magic, Scrolls... well you know who they are), failure to immediately appease the fanbase can spell certain doom.

To that end, the "Elite Skills" Update includes 10 new cards that attempt to open up unique design space. Ever wonder what a Neutral Secret would look like? Feast your eyes on this:

What a card - the amount of coding to even make this work must be mind-boggling!

That's just our first look at what's in store when the "Elite Skills" Update rolls out* for Hearthstone. Tune in next time when we'll take a sneak peek under Jaina's robes to reveal the Mage's naughty new secrets!

*Never. This is a parody meant for fun and is in no way real. Shame on you for even thinking that it was, because it's totally not, I swear. Card art and design courtesy of Blizzard, with special thanks to Tural's Hearthstone Card Generator for making this much easier!

1 comment:

  1. I really cant wait for this update. Maybe it will finally level the playing field for me and I can start winning few matches. I mean just the "Skill" cards alone are going to be amazing!