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Latest Curse of Naxxramas cards revealed, and more coming! [Updated]

With Curse of Naxxramas, Hearthstone's first expansion, slated to be released tomorrow, we're seeing a lot of last-minute previews of the soon-to-be-live cards. We know Naxxramas will feature 30 brand new cards and though we haven't seen them all yet, it seems Blizzard plans to reveal each of them before the expansion goes live.

So far, we've seen:
  • Mad Scientist, a minion with a deathrattle effect that puts pulls a secret from your deck.
  • Stoneskin Gargoyle, a minion that returns to full health at the start of every turn.
  • Stalagg, a legendary 7/5 minion with a deathrattle effect that summons Thaddius if Feugen has died in the same game.
  • Sludge Belcher, a 3/5 minion with taunt who summons a 1/2 minion with taunt on death.
  • Maexxna, a legendary 2/8 beast that destroys any minion it damages.
  • Zombie Chow, a 1-mana 2/3 minion that restores health to the enemy hero when it dies.
  • Deathlord, a 2/8 minion with taunt and a deathrattle that lets your opponent put a minion from their deck onto the battlefield.
  • Echoing Ooze, a minion that summons an exact copy of itself at the end of the turn.
  • Feugen, a legendary 4/7 minion with a deathrattle effect that summons Thaddius if Stalagg has died in the same game.
  • Spectral Knight, a 4/6 minion that can't be targeted by spells or hero powers.
Added since earlier this afternoon:
  • Haunted Creeper, a 1/2 beast that summons two 1/1 spiders on death.
  • Kel'Thuzad, a legendary 6/8 who, at the end of the turn, summons all friendly minions that were killed during the turn.
  • Nerub'ar Weblord, a 1/4 that causes all minions with battlecry to cost 2 more mana.
  • Unstable Ghoul, a 1/3 minion with taunt that deals one damage to all minions on death.
  • Wailing Soul, a 3/5 minion that silences your other minions when summoned.
  • Thaddius, a legendary 11/11 minion who's summoned when both Feugen and Stalagg have died in the same game.
We expect more cards to be revealed throughout the day, so stay tuned to Hearthstone's Facebook page for the latest! Update: With the latest additions, all 30 new cards from the set have been revealed.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas pricing details

New card reveals aside, we've heard very little about Hearthstone's Curse of Naxxramas since its initial announcement. The two major questions have been when? and how much? Other than sometime in July, we still don't know when, but Blizzard announced today that each wing of Naxxramas -- five in total -- will cost 700 gold or $6.99 USD each. Players who participate in the month-long Naxxramas release event will receive the first wing for free. Bundle packages are also available:
  • All five wings: $24.99
  • Already own first wing (purchase remaining four): $19.99
  • Already own first two wings (purchase remaining three): $14.99
  • Already own first three wings (purchase remaining two): $9.99
The five-wing package will save you roughly $5. Do note that even if you purchase all five wings immediately, Naxxramas will only open one wing at a time, one per week until all are unlocked. Once you've unlocked and defeated all wings of Naxxramas, you'll be able to tackle them on a more difficult Heroic Mode, awarding a unique card back upon completion.

The full details of this can be found on Battle.net along with European pricing structures.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Hearthstone tournament now open to all

Yesterday we reported about the oddity of a Hearthstone tournament that didn't allow women to compete. The reason? The International e-Sports Federation wanted gaming to be recognized as a "true sport," and was following the professional sports model of gender division. With fewer women competitors than men, this led to tournaments with a large selection of gaming events for men, but few for women -- in the case of this tournament, Hearthstone, Dota 2, and Ultra Street Fighter IV were all men-only events.

While e-Sports are often gender-divided (competitive StarCraft is notable in this regard), the idea of a men-only Hearthstone tournament was apparently the straw that broke the camel's back. Among many others, Blizzard spoke out against IeSF policy, telling VentureBeat, "One of our goals with e-sports is to ensure that there's a vibrant and also inclusive community around our games. We do not allow the use of our games in tournaments that do not support this, and are working with our partners to ensure they share the same goal."

The end result is that the IeSF has reversed the policy, and offers events open to all genders as well as women-only events to encourage the participation of women in the male-dominated field of pro gaming. It's a setup that's similar to the competitive chess scene, which has both a World Chess Championship in which anyone can compete and a Women's World Chess Championship. Now, at the 6th e-Sports World Championship BAKU 2014, men and women will be able to compete together in StarCraft 2 and Hearthstone tournaments, while there's also a women's only StarCraft 2 tournament. Time to get your game on!

Filed under: News items, Hearthstone Insider

Hearthstone tournament bans female competitors

No girls are allowed to compete in Finland's Assembly Summer 2014 Dota 2, Ultra Street Fighter IV, and Hearthstone tournaments, which are open to men only. According to the International e-Sports Federation's rules, the genders of competitors in e-sports are separated to help the competition be recognized as a "true sport." In response to complaints, the IeSF posted the following on their Facebook page: "The decision to divide male and female competitions was made in accordance with international sports authorities, as part of our effort to promote e-Sports as a legitimate sports."

And while this means separate but equal style treatment for some events, for others -- like Hearthstone -- it means women simply can't compete at all. At Assembly Summer 2014, women aren't allowed into these tournaments because if they won, they wouldn't be allowed into the IeSF men-only world finals. Markus Koskivirta, head admin of the Assembly Summer 2014 Hearthstone IeSF Qualifier, speaking to PC Gamer, said that the Finnish eSports Federation is lobbying for equal rights for male and female gamers... but with the long and strange tradition of segregated e-sports (StarCraft competition often has such divisions), that could be a long time coming.

Though the IeSF says it wants to promote female gamers by hosting women's only events, the end result of this is to keep women on the outskirts of pro gaming by relegating their participation to smaller events and smaller stages. All this goes towards suggesting that women aren't good enough to compete with the men -- something that in an all-digital "sport" is difficult, at best, to justify.

We all love the same games, so why can't we play them together?

Filed under: News items

Curse of Naxxramas coming to Hearthstone in July

Though we've known Hearthstone's Curse of Naxxramas expansion was coming out some time this summer, we haven't yet had a date to pin our card-playing hopes on. But now CM Aratil has announced on the Hearthstone forums that the expansion is headed our way this July. We still don't have a pricetag for the expansion, but Aratil says they'll be posting further details on July 1st, which is just around the corner.

Curse of Naxxramas will take gamers to -- surprise! -- Kel'Thuzad's citadel Naxxramas, where they'll fight new bosses and have the chance to earn 30 new cards. If you want to see just what's in store, the Hearthstone team has released a number of card previews, all of which are collected here.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Hearthstone ranked play season 2 ending soon

Season 2 of ranked play in Hearthstone will come to a conclusion at the end of this month. The reward for participation in season 2 is the Black Temple-themed card back, seen above. You only need to hit rank 20 before June 1 to earn the skin, a relatively easy feat for most players -- losses don't cause you to lose ranking until you've surpassed rank 20.

The top players of the season may qualify to compete in the Americas Qualifier Tournament, the winners of which will move on to compete at BlizzCon. The full qualification details can be found on Battle.net.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Hearthstone's Americas Qualifier prize pool is $250,000

Blizzard has announced a $250,000 prize pool for Hearthstone's Americas Qualifier Tournament. The breakdown is $100,000 for first place, $50,000 for second place, $15,000 for third and fourth place, $7,500 for fifth through eighth place, and $5,000 for ninth through sixteenth place. The Americas Qualifiers will include a total of 130 participants, including Legend-ranked players in the Hearthstone ladder and top players from community tournaments.

The full details of the tournament can be seen on Battle.net. It's sure to be a cutthroat competition -- of 130 participants, only 4 will go on to compete in the World Championships at BlizzCon.

Filed under: News items, Hearthstone Insider

Breakfast Topic: Is your Hearthstone main your WoW main?

While the gameplay in Hearthstone doesn't match WoW's exactly, it does a pretty good job of giving you the feel of the class you're playing. Of course, with such a different kind of game, having a similar feel doesn't mean that class you play the most in WoW will also be the class you play most in Hearthstone. For my part, I play a monk in WoW -- not an option in Hearthstone -- and typically play a paladin -- which used to be my WoW main -- in Hearthstone.

So today we're asking you, readers: which class are you playing most in Hearthstone? Does it match your favored WoW class or not?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Hearthstone Insider

Anub'ar Ambusher joins Curse of Naxxramas lineup

Today's Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas card preview is the creepy-crawly Anub'ar Ambusher. This rogue-only card has the text "Deathrattle: Return a friendly minion to your hand." That could be handy for recalling creatures with battlecries or frustrating if you have a bunch of buffed up beasties out. As with all Hearthstone cards, using the Anub'ar Ambusher to best effect will require some strategy.

As interesting as these tiny previews are, they still don't hint at a release date for Naxxramas beyond this summer. Hopefully we'll be seeing more than previews soon!

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

WRUP: Hearthstone and Fanfic

Hearthstone
While BlizzCon tickets (and the challenges with them) is the topic of the day, let's stick to happier subjects. After all, things with Hearthstone continue to move along swimmingly, and who doesn't like enjoying a bit of creativity with a favorite game?

So we asked your intrepid WoW Insider staff: If your character were going to be a Hearthstone card... what would its stats be? It's not quite fanfic but more like fancards.

Don't forget to tell us what game you're playing this weekend. We'd like to know!

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Is Hearthstone pay-to-win?

Many games that fall into the free to play category also fall into the pay to win category -- which is to say that if you want to be able to play well, you'll wind up forking over some cash. It's a big frustration with free to play games which can easily wind up costing just as much -- or even more -- than games with an ordinary pricetag. So while we wondered whether we needed to sink money into buying more Hearthstone packs, we were glad to see Polygon had done a detailed examination of the advantage you get from buying cards in Hearthstone.

Though anyone interested in the economics of it should definitely read the entire article, the end result is that because there are many options to earn in-game gold to buy packs -- and because the best decks aren't necessarily built with all epic cards -- with some patience a casual player will catch up with a big spender. But, still, opening pack after pack of cards that has an appeal that has nothing to do with economics.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

WoW Moviewatch: Hearthstone: This Means War

That master of comedy, Ian Beckman, returns with a sarcastic take on everyone's favorite online card game. In Hearthstone: This Means War, we take a moment to contemplate exactly how fierce doing battle via collectible virtual cards really is. I mean, come on. It's just a card game, right?

This is the kind of video Beckman excels at. A few moments of metaphorical introspective humor and then a quick jab to the gut of our collective zeitgeist. Also, funny voices. What's not to love?
Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

WoW Insider's guide to Blizzard resources updated

Looking for more blogs, podcasts, and resources devoted to Diablo, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, StarCraft, and Warcraft? Then you'll want to check out our newly updated guide to all things Blizzard. In it, we've gathered all of our favorite resources on Blizzard games for your browsing enjoyment. So why not take the rest of the day off to catch up on your reading?

And we're always on the lookout for new Blizzard blogs, so if you have a favorite site that we've missed, please contact us to let us know. We're happy to add any resources that are regularly updated, don't advocate breaking Blizzard's terms of service, and don't have any R-rated content.

Filed under: WoW Insider Business

Play Hearthstone collectively with Hearthmind

Filed under "where did the last 30 minutes go?" is Hearthmind, which applies the collective gaming concept behind Twitch Plays Pokemon to Hearthstone. To make things work with the time-sensitive nature of Hearthstone, the Hearthmind interface polls users for moves once every five seconds -- just click on the screen to suggest the next move -- and once the five seconds are up, the most popular move is made. Though this makes for some clunky gameplay, Hearthmind does manage to win some matches.

The most frustrating feature of this collective gameplay, however, has to be the time between matches. There's nothing to do while waiting for another matchup, but the five second action timer is still running -- and with nothing to click on that does anything, plenty of players hit the cancel button while you're waiting to be matched, meaning you have to go back and queue up for another round, hoping there's not too many clicking the cancel button this time.

Though it's not exactly good gameplay, it's inexplicably engrossing to watch a group of a hundred people all trying to play a round of Hearthstone together ... to varying results.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Are you playing Hearthstone for iPad?

I admit, I was charmed by Hearthstone during its beta. But after a lot of playtime -- and the beta wipe which cleared my card collection -- the game lost some of its shine. By launch, I was playing very little, if at all, and my gametime has dwindled ever since. That was until Hearthstone for iPad appeared -- and if the download numbers are anything to go by, I'm far from the only one who's jumped on (or back on) the Hearthstone bandwagon.

Easily being able to fire up a game of Hearthstone on my tablet means that now I play a lot of times where I might not have before -- having a game running while I'm checking email or watching television. So, readers, tell me: has Hearthstone coming to the iPad brought you into the game?

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

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