Act 2 of Hearthstones 3-part “Year of the Dragon” storyline is set to release on September 17th, and my card-slinging ass is currently experiencing a frankly underwhelming 5/10 on the hype scale. So, what gives? Join me in my adventure through 1 thing I want, 1 thing I like, and 1 thing that concerns me.
…And for those of you who haven’t quite caught up yet, here’s the official developer video explaining the gamemode:
Like: Dual-Class heroes and Signature treasures
Each of Saviors of Uldum’s four playable heroes will draw on a card pool filled with cards from two classes, allowing players to build a deck unlike those seen in standard play. Reno Jackson combines his Rogue tendencies with Mage cards, Elise Starseeker represents both Druids and Priests, The brash Brann Bronzebeard combines Hunter beast-mastery with Warrior might, and Sir Finley Mrrglton channels the light of the Paladin and the elements of the Shaman. Whilst this means that Warlock cards will be largely absent from the gamemode (At least as far as the player is concerned), the effect will theoretically refresh the gameplay experience and create something that doesn’t feel like a repeat of ‘The Great Dalaran Heist’, just like how last years’ ‘Rumble Run’ and ‘Monster Hunt’ modes felt distinct despite sharing a formula.
When ‘Kobold and Catacombs’ released in late 2017, it was unlike any prior hearthstone experience. Embracing roguelike elements and a build-as-you-go deck, the Dungeon Run built on the foundational principles of previous hearthstone adventures and put real effort into making a brand new kind of card-game experience. In doing so, it became the new blueprint for solo content, with every one of the five expansions to release since bar one presenting some variation on that same core concept. But despite custom classes in ‘Monster Hunt’, shrines in ‘Rastakhan’s Rumble’, and expanded starting decks in ‘Rise of Shadows’, the formula is starting to stale. There are only so many ways you can present a random selection of the same few dozen playstyles, and playing good ol’ Big Priest and Token Druid is starting to get old.
Dual-Classes should fix this problem, as suddenly cards that were never supposed to be used in conjunction will inhabit the same deck- High Priest Thekal and Witch’s Brew could reinvent the Heal Paladin archetype, Mana Cyclone and Edwin Vancleef should create some insane value turns, and High Priest Amet could potentially turn Wispering Woods into the ultimate board filler.
Concern: Repeat of problems from The Great Dalaran Heist
Whilst I enjoyed my time with ‘The Great Dalaran Heist’, I’ll be the first to admit that its potentially fantastic overall experience was somewhat damaged by some problems unique to the format; a format that Tombs of Terror is set to repeat.
‘The Great Dalaran Heist’ was split into five chapters, each set in a different area of Dalaran and overseen by a different member of the League of EVIL; the gold-obsessed King Togwaggle headed straight for the bank, the explosives-obsessed Dr. Boom set up bombs in the Sewers, and the League’s leader, Arch-Villain Rafaam, faced the elite Kirin Tor mages at the Citadel. As such, each wing had a set of unique bossfights specific to that area- bankers in the bank, archmages in the citadel. But this meant that the small pool of generic bosses were repeated every run, sometimes multiple times; and there’s only so many times you can fight Akazamzarak before it starts to get monotonous, no?
Tombs of Terror was explained as having “Four Wings, and then a Finale”, as opposed to having five Wings, implying that the finale will be a set, non-random event like the Lich King or Hagatha have been in the past. This should mean that the generic bosses are somewhat less stressed- but hopefully, Blizzard finds some way to spread their resources less thinly. Quality over quantity!
Want: An expanded ‘Anomaly’ mode
My favourite addition to the Roguelike formula in ‘The Great Dalaran Heist’ was anomaly mode- random mutators that could be placed on a run that affected the entire field. Cheaper spells for everyone? Random Murlocs invade the pitch? Deathrattles for everything?
It was a great way to expand on the gameplay, but you could only use one random one at a time and there were only a half-dozen or so. Giving us the choice to apply whichever we want from a larger pool, or even apply as many as we want simultaneously, would make this the most replayable expansion yet.
Well lads and ladies, that’s all she wrote. The expansion’s out on the 17th, so review will be out a bit after then? Take care guys.