Blizzard’s new expansion looks to be a step in a new direction for Team 5, and possibly the future of Hearthstone. The League of Explorers Adventure will consist of 4 wings, as opposed to the usual 5 we see in Adventures; as a result of fewer wings, we will have a lower cost (20$USD) for the entire expansion. Even though there will be less wings to go through, we will have a staggering 45 collectible cards to work with in this Adventure. Compared to the 30 we had with Naxxramas, and the 31 cards that came with Blackrock Mountain, we’re getting an outstanding value with this set. In addition to the savings that come with this expansion, it looks like the cards themselves are of a higher quality than The Grand Tournament set, and more than 10 cards might actually see play outside of the Arena.
The new mechanic that will be unveiled during this Adventure is called Discovery. It’s a unique take on controlling the RNG aspect of Hearthstone, in a way that won’t leave players feeling shafted because of a .0001% chance ruining their chances of victory. The way is works is that each time you play a card with the Discover keyword you have a choice between 3 cards that fit the parameters listed on the card, sort of like Tracking for Hunters. The criteria for each card is different, it can be “3-mana cost”, or simply “spells only”. The pool of cards the mechanic pulls from are always class specific, and neutral only, so there won’t be any Force of Nature for Paladins coming out of Discover. It will also be a viable way to combat the rise of fatigue decks such as Warrior, and maybe with this expansion, Priest. The cards pulled from Discover aren’t a part of your deck, so they will assist in postponing fatigue damage. This seems like a much better thought out mechanic than Joust, and will most certainly see play on the ladder, due to its semi-controllable nature.
Team 5 is taking a different approach to boss battles for League of Explorers. We aren’t privy to all the bosses, as of yet, but judging by the content shown at BlizzCon, we’re in for a wild ride. The final boss of the first wing features a room that you must escape within 10 turns, or you perish. Temple Escape has no deck, and a 0 cost hero power that spawns a random minion to block your way each turn. However, because it lacks a deck, Joust cards will be particularly powerful when trying to make your escape. The developers are opening a whole new toolbox, and really expanded what is possible within the game. This is just a small portion of what Blizzard has in store for us this time around, so get ready!
Check out this quote from a Pcgamesn interview with Senior Software Engineer for Hearthstone, Rachelle Davis about the countdown missions in LoE:
“The designers were actually very creative with the tools we have to build that mission. It was pretty cool that they pulled that off. We went back and optimised a little bit later but they have a very cool design space and the ability to mess with the existing formulas. Same thing happened with this week’s Tavern Brawl where they went ‘hmm, I think I can make these things work together’ and then poof: we have co-op.“
This expansion is shaping up to be very, very exciting for Hearthstone. In addition to the quick launch (one week after the announcement), the quality of the cards themselves looks to be outstanding. Don’t forget to purchase your copy of it on November 12th, and join in on the exciting times.