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Four ideas Hearthstone should borrow from Magic

Faceless manipulator card art
I've been playing Magic for almost 20 years. In all that time, Hearthstone is the only other collectible card game that has ever really won me over. Hearthstone is a very different game from Magic, despite some obvious similarities. I want Hearthstone to remain a very different game. Even as wildly successful as Hearthstone has been, however, Magic and other card games have some great ideas that I think Blizzard should borrow to make their own game even better.

1. Format variants

Magic has many fun variants, most of them multiplayer: free-for-all, Commander, Two-Headed Giant, Star (or Color Wheel), Planechase, etc. Some of these were invented by players and later adopted and supported by Wizards of the Coast. One of the joys of Magic is how flexible its formats can be.

Compared to that, the single format of one-on-one battles in Hearthstone is less exciting. (Of course, Hearthstone is limited by its technology in a way that real cards aren't.) Sure, we're getting a raid in Curse of Naxxramas, which could shape up to be a fantastic single-player variant. But an online game like Hearthstone, with millions of available players, begs for multiplayer formats. They could be competitive or cooperative, playing against other teams or "bosses."

A Planechase variant could be adapted quite easily by using the different game boards, once Blizzard adds a few more. Multiplayer variants will be more tricky due to the game's current layout, but I have faith that the developers can make it work.

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Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

The Queue: Tonari no Garrosh

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Mike Sacco will be your host today.

Do you think Garrosh would've been better adjusted if he had a big magical friend as a kid?

bcf_80 asked:

Here's a newbie question, but how do you get to the Isle of Giants? Is this the same thing as the Isle of Thunder (and how do you get to that if they're different)? I've been away for too long :)

It's north of Kun-Lai. You can fly or swim there, but be careful if you're flying -- the island is a no-fly zone and you'll get dismounted when you get close. Once there, you can grab a flight path and you won't need to manually fly there again. Unless you want to, of course.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: Did you keep your Pandaria toys?

I'm a sucker for cool stuff. Toys immediately fall into that category -- and in Mists of Pandaria, we received an overwhelming amount of them over the course of leveling and beyond. Rares scattered all over Pandaria and the Timeless Isle drop fun, useful, and downright weird items that don't need to be equipped, but take up an inventory slot all the same. Unfortunately, bank space is at a premium as far as I'm concerned -- the introduction of transmogrification back in Cataclysm exacerbated my storage space woes to the point that my bank and void storage are completely crammed full.

However, that didn't really stop me from keeping most of the toys. Sure, the items that drop from rares are expendable -- after all, you can always go back and farm them again. But quest reward items, like my beloved Puntable Marmot, can't really be obtained twice. With the introduction of the Toy Box feature in Warlords, I'll suddenly have a lot more space, and maybe I'll go back and farm the useless toys from Pandaria's rares once I have someplace non-bank related to keep them. Until then, I'll hang onto my favorite things. After all, there's nothing like punting a wee little marmot to vent one's frustrations. Have you kept your toys from Pandaria? Are you looking forward to the Toy Box feature that should, theoretically, free up a lot of bag space? Have you farmed the rares of Pandaria looking for a particularly fun item? Or did you simply toss all your toys in favor of more bank and bag space?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Warlords of Draenor Alpha Patch notes for April 17

A new round of updates have been released for the alpha client of Warlords of Draenor. Included in the patch notes are new sections covering changes and adjustments with Itemization, Movement Speed, Raid Utility Balance, Reforging, and Combat Resurrection. There have also been updates to existing sections as well - many class sections have received a lot of updates and adjustments, as expected for such an early build.
  • Haste % and Crit % bonuses have been streamlined -- no more spell/melee/ranged, it's a universal Haste and Crit % bonus for all.
  • Druids, rejoice -- Ravage no longer requires you to be behind the target.
  • Many glyphs have been removed, and a lot of new glyphs have been added, with some glyphs now being exclusive to a specialization.
  • Movement speed enchants now increase Movement Speed by 10% -- up from 8%.
  • Hunters, there has been a comprehensive sweep over pet abilities -- it's a major list!
  • Paladins, there have been some major tweaks to both Holy and Protection specs.
For the full list of updates, check out the official Battle.net site for all the details. New updates are denoted in red for easy reading.

Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Hearthstone is the most popular app in the world after one day


Apparently we weren't the only ones waiting for Hearthstone to come out on the iPad. According to Business Insider, Hearthstone is the number one app in 34 countries, and the number one game in 36. This includes the United States.

Magic: The Gathering and other CCGs also have a large support base on the platform, so it isn't really surprising that Hearthstone would be popular amongst users of the tablet. What is surprising is that it rocketed up the charts so quickly. It is estimated that the game could pull in $30 million in the first year from in-app card sales, which would make this foray into the tablet space quite worthwhile for Blizzard.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Shadowmoon Valley behind the scenes

If you guys have noticed, we like to feature the various throwback thursdays that developers have posted to twitter. Today we have another doozy from Cory Stockton. Previously he's shared really awesome looks back at places like Dalaran, today he gives us this look at Shadowmoon Valley in its conceptual stage. Looking it over you can see that things are still in the 'generic name' version, for instance 'Dwarf' and 'Broken Draenei Village' instead of names yet, but most of what we recognize as the Shadowmoon Valley of The Burning Crusade is on there. Considering we're going to be getting a look at an entirely new SMV as an Alliance starting zone, I find this look back very interesting.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade

Blizzard unveils the Battle.net gift card


Blizzard has announced an EU Battle.net gift card program. These gift cards, which come in the amount of €20, are available throughout many popular retailers around Europe. Upon using the gift card, the user's Battle.net balance goes up and they can purchase what they want.

This isn't a bad thing, especially for things Christmas gifts (/cough mom, if you ever read this). Individual items are still giftable via Battle.net as well, that has not gone away.

Again, this is for the EU only. The US version, we have to assume, is coming soon™.

Filed under: News items

The Queue: I really have no idea what this means

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi will be your host today.

Look, blame Scott Leyes. All I know is, with Azeroth Choppers debuting yesterday, I couldn't in good conscience not feature this today. Samwise Didier absolutely is so fluffy, we just have to accept it. He is the fluffiest. His beard is a thing of wonder.

Okay, let's get started on the over 800 comments in yesterday's Queue. That sound? The one that sounds like me sobbing? That's me sobbing.

Kameron Hoffs asks:

What changes are needed for Warriors in WoD?

I'm not quite arrogant enough to think I am in possession of all the answers in terms of warrior design for Warlords. I know what I would like to see, but I'm hardly unbiased - I identify with warriors to closely to even pretend that I'm not invested in the outcome here. That said, there are a few things I think we haven't heard much about yet, and which I think need to be absolutely there in the future.
  1. Headlong Rush needs to actually work and make warriors like haste at least a little bit. Especially when it comes to protection, a spec that currently gets absolutely nothing from haste.
  2. If not Titan's Grip for protection (letting us use 2h weapons and shields) then it's long past time for Blizzard to design 1h spears. Yes, this isn't just a warrior deal, but it's important.
  3. Warriors have lost a lot of flavor. We're losing two of our three banners (the only really unique thing we got in Mists of Pandaria) and a host of other abilities. I get that we needed to lose them for ability purge sake, but we're losing things like Sunder Armor, Cleave, Berserker Stance and in general we're suffering from a lack of coolness factor. It's time for something iconic and viscerally awesome to be added to the warrior toolbox.
  4. We need to hear some details about how rage is going to work. I can't really speculate more on this one until we hear some details, but we just lost any way to get rage from damage taken, a way to generate rage on demand, and a way to get enraged on demand. Are we just expected to Charge and use our rage generation attacks and that's it for rage? Is haste expected to fill the gap? It's time for this design to be explained to us.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Around Azeroth: Little luxuries

"For all the complaining and griping and moaning that those goblins and gnomes do on the speed barge in Thousand Needles, their racing operation getting blown to smithereens doesn't seem to have affected their class of living much," writes submitter Arugadh of The Brotherhood of Iron on Wyrmrest Accord (US-A). "I mean, even as the barge was getting attacked by pirates, this goblin put on a show of cowering in the corner as the flames raged outside. But he still had a nice, hot, comfortable bath drawn, complete with pillows and herbal soaps."

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Filed under: Around Azeroth

Breakfast Topic: The best reroll possible

So I've been asked a few times lately what I would reroll to, if I was going to reroll. For me, the problem is simple. I like the following aspects of the game a lot:
  • Two handed weapons
  • Plate armor
  • Not healing
This really only leaves me with one option - if I'm not going to play a warrior, I'm basically going to play a death knight. If I could live with a best 2 out of 3 scenario, I could maybe convince myself to play my paladin again, but I might as well be honest and admit I really hate paladins. I've just always hated the way the class works in WoW. I hate the aesthetic of their spells, I hate their various tier sets, I just really don't like the class. I'd sooner play an enhancement shaman and settle for dual fist weapons than go pally. So for me, DK is basically the only other class option that has most of what I like, even if I would have to then live with their tendency to be the gaming equivalent of a Kreator album cover.

Heck, who am I kidding, that's a plus for me.

It's not likely to happen, but it got me wondering - if your favorite class became unplayable to you, what would you switch to? What's your best possible reroll?

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