Despite the competition of digital card games that have been around a lot longer, like Magic: The Gathering Online, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft spin-off card game has used its combination of free entry and polished effects to become one of the most popular games in the digital cardboard genre. To keep things fresh for card players, games like Magic release a new batch of cards at least four times per year. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft may not be approaching that pace just yet, but the game is ready for its first major content addition.
Although Hearthstone fans have already imagined a pretty overpowered Game of Thrones expansion, it seems like Blizzard will be taking a more logical route for the first bit of official add-on content. The developer announced the upcoming expansion back in April with a vague release window of Summer 2014, but now it seems we have a bit more detail on when we can get our hands on those Curse of Naxxramas cards and challenges.
A Blizzard Community Manager offered an update on the expansion via the Battlet.net forums this week…
“Just wanted to give everyone a head’s up that we are currently targeting to release Curse of Naxxramas during the month of July. Unfortunately, we still have a lot of implementing and bug fixing to get through, so please stay tuned!
With that said, we are also targeting to reveal pricing details regarding Curse of Naxxramas next week on July 1st, so please keep an eye out for that.”
Considering how much Hearthstone evolved thanks to player feedback during the alpha and open beta, it’s no surprise that the news was delivered directly to the most dedicated fans via the forums. The official spoiler list for the expansion’s 30 new playable cards hasn’t been released yet, but early leaks suggest that the Deathrattle mechanic will play a major role in the new set’s theme. If that’s true, we can expect a lot of destruction and death coming our way, which definitely seems appropriate for the Naxxramas-themed setting.
The Naxxramas expansion takes players to the iconic floating necropolis that tortured WoW raiders for years with difficult boss fights and terrifying monsters. The Hearthstone single-player version of Naxx will pin deck-wielders up against a series of undead bosses in the five wings of the PvE dungeon.
Although Hearthstone is free-to-play at the start, players who want to build up an arsenal of powerful cards at a bearable pace do need to drop some money on packs or arena runs (the game’s version of drafting) to earn rewards and increase the size of their libraries. When the pricing details for the expansion are released next week, we’ll be very interested to see how high the entry fee is for the new content.
Considering the game’s success so far with drawing in players for free and getting them to spend money once they’re hooked, it seems like it would be a good idea to offer all players access to at least some part of the Naxx challenges for free. With recent rumors of PS4 and Xbox One versions of Hearthstone on the way, the launch of the Naxx expansion could end up being a good time to officially confirm those ports.
What do you think would be a fair price for the Naxxramas expansion? Do you expect Blizzard to confirm the new-gen ports this summer? Let us know in the comments.
Hearthstone is available now for the Mac, PC, and iPad.
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