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Posts with tag hearthstone

BlizzCon 2014 in-game goodies sneak peek

Last week, we had our first glimpse at Grommloc, the BlizzCon 2014 in-game pet. Today, Blizzard has revealed the remaining in-game rewards.
  • Hearthstone Blizzard Entertainment-themed card back. The design incorporates elements from the compass inlaid around the infamous orc statue.
  • StarCraft II New portraits and a Heroes of the Storm-themed decal. One portrait depicts Hierarch Artanis. The other is yet to be unveiled.
  • Diablo III Warlords of Draenor-themed weapon transmogrifications. Each class will receive its own weapon, but only the demon hunter, barbarian, and monk are displayed. Kargath's bladefist and Blackhand's hammer are easily recognizable in the image. Only available for Windows/Mac version of the game.
  • Heroes of the Storm Nexus Mount and Nexus Brawler portrait
The official BlizzCon site has a more detailed image of each than you see in the header above. It being BlizzCon and all, we can't help but wildly speculate a little: given the protoss theme of the StarCraft portrait, and the fact that one of the portraits is still veiled in mystery, could we finally see a Legacy of the Void announcement? Nearly three years passed between the launch of Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm. Half of that time has passed since Heart of the Swarm's release, which would make this pretty good timing for an announcement -- though certainly not a release date.

Filed under: BlizzCon

Most Hearthstone players don't surpass rank 15

If you follow any number of prominent Hearthstone players, your perception of ranked play might be a little skewed. Being above rank 10 -- or even top 5 -- seems perfectly standard. When you play the game yourself, frustration mounts quickly because you can barely make it into the teens. However, Blizzard has recently stated you may be better than you think. According to the stats they've released, 75% of players are between rank 15 and 25. Only 2% of players are in the top 5 ranks, with only 0.5% of the playerbase at the Legend rank.

While Hearthstone had no difficulty hitting 20 million registered players, I often wonder if competitive games based on ranked played have issues with retention. When ranked play is the central game option, the simple nature of the beast means the majority of your players will sit at the lowest rungs of the ladder. The truly dedicated will invest significant time and energy into overcoming that hurdle, but certainly not everyone. The answer isn't to give people free victories, but is there another way to keep them engaged?

If you're interested in the full infographic, it can be found below or on Battle.net.

Read more →

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Hearthstone expansion coming 'soon'

The release of just a handful of new cards with Hearthstone's Curse of Naxxramas had a notable impact on competitive play -- the priest deck is considered by some to be a powerhouse with a suite of deathrattles, for example. That's often the case with collectible card games such as these, so an inevitable expansion has the potential to make Hearthstone feel like a whole new game again. Eric Dodds, Hearthstone's lead designer, told our sister site Joystiq at PAX Prime that just such an expansion is coming "soon."

It seems likely an official expansion announcement awaits us at BlizzCon. We have to wonder what approach they'll take with an influx of new cards. Power creep is always a concern -- Curse of Naxxramas's relatively few, deathrattle-themed cards is one thing, but the addition of a hundred new cards might be something else altogether. An oodle of new cards needs to hold some allure over the old ones to draw players in, but does Hearthstone have room for that many additions, given its simple rule set? An increase in base power-per-mana would be one approach, but unlikely to be endearing to players. That works fine in MMOs, but not card games. Brand new mechanics are also possible, something beyond Battlecry, Deathrattle, and Charge. Other CCGs have attempted to modify their tournament rules to limit the use of cards from previous sets or hold tournaments/ladders where only specific sets are allowed for use in play, requiring competitive players to dip into each and every set. That feels like a very un-Blizzard thing to do, but a CCG is new territory for them. Who knows?

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

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

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