For a free to play game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft does pretty well for itself, garnering a large amount of support thanks to swathes of positive reviews and a player base from Blizzard’s original Warcraft game, World of Warcraft, that has taken to the title.
Combining colourful animations with smart tactics, Hearthstone eschews the usual tedium of card games into something fun that thankfully doesn’t cost a great deal of money. In fact, Hearthstone is a free to play game whose payment options have yet to come under scrutiny as players only have to pay real money should they want to — with paid card packs and extra chances to play at the in-game PvP Arena available — as the gold earned from winning in the arena or completing quests means that forking out for these extras is a rarity.
With the recent exclusion of female players from the Hearthstone professional circuit causing some drama around Blizzard’s title, the developer behind the game is unlikely to shake those foundations again, not least with the highly anticipated Curse of Naxxramas expansion pack. The peace will seemingly continue then as the pricing plans for the addition of Hearthstone’s single player mode have now been announced.
As Blizzard explains, the Curse of Naxxramas is split into ten separate sections; five core wings with each one having a subsequent ‘Heroic’ mode after completion that makes the initial wings that much harder (they also provide players with even more cards if completed). Arachnid Quarter, Plague Quarter, Military Quarter, Construct Quarter, and Frostwyrm Lair are the five wings on offer in that order, each with an assortment of battles and boss-level bad guys that will test players’ “card-slinging mettle”.
The Arachnid Quarter is the one that we know the most about with the spider themed level set to bring three bosses - Anub’Rekhan, Grand Widow Faerlina, and Maexxna — to the floor, each of them meant to offer “a taste of the dangers that await you deeper inside Naxxramas”. That taste will be free though as if you show up during the month long Curse of Naxxramas launch event (no word on when said event begins) you’ll be able to bag the Arachnid Quarter for nothing, like the savviest shopper at the freebie stand, so you’ll want to look out for that.
Alternatively, should players miss out on that freebie goodness, the Arachnid Quarter and all of the subsequent other wings will be available for 700 gold or $6.99 each, meaning that dedicated players and those strapped with cash alike will be able to afford all of Hearthstone’s add-ons. Blizzard is keen to explain that all of that gold can be earned by completing quests of by winning in the in-game Arena so don’t expect them to pull a fast one with the payment scheme.
Furthermore, Blizzard also simultaneously had their pun and bargain making hats on when they thought up the “All Naxx-cess Pass” as bundles for the wings will also be available. Whether players have bought the first two wings or just access to the Arachnid Quarter (be that payment via gold of real money), three or four wing bundles will be available so that players automatically gain access to the wings once they are available and it also makes them that bit cheaper too.
Blizzard further explains:
“If you unlock additional wings with gold and wish to purchase a wing bundle at a later time with real money to unlock any remaining wings, you can still take advantage of the bundle pricing. For example, if you enter the Arachnid Quarter during the launch event and unlock it for free, then purchase the second wing with gold, the remaining three wings can be purchased with real money at the 3-wing bundle price listed above.”
The fact that Blizzard were quick to announce the pricing plan and Curse of Naxxramas’ Heroic mode, a release date has yet to be revealed but we can look for that information soon now that we have a more solid idea of what Curse of Naxxramas will offer us.