Things got explosive at this year's BlizzCon, when Blizzard Entertainment announced the first expansion to their collectable card game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Dubbed, Goblins vs Gnomes, the expansion will add 120 cards to Hearthstone's already impressive roster. To put that in context, the first Adventure, Curse of Naxxramas added 30 cards to the original 412 card count. But beyond the fact that we're getting a lot of cards, the BlizzCon Hearthstone panels focused on the themes of this expansion, and it comes down to one word -- mech.
Goblins vs Gnomes adds in the mech card type to the game. Most of the cards in the expansion either fall into this new type, or have abilities that benefit mechs. Some cards that are already in the game were also labeled mechs, like the perennial favorite the Harvest Golem. Each class will be getting their own unique mech card, allowing for mech decks to be built by any class.
In addition to mech card, the expansion adds in a new set of buff spells called Spare Parts. These token cards are created by various mechs, and allow you to add abilities like taunt, additional damage, and even some more unusual abilities to the minions you already have on the board. My personal favorite is Time Rewinder, which acks as a free Sap or Brewmaster and returns a minion to your hand. Up until they announced these spare parts, I wasn't really seeing the Gnome in the Goblins vs Gnomes expansion. While Goblins are all about building huge mechs and creating explosives, Gnomes are mostly interested in tinkering with things, creating world enlargers and discombobulator rays. I am hoping that as we learn more about the expansion we'll see even more Gnome flavored wackiness.
One of the most interesting panels during this year's BlizzCon actually looked at these new cards and how they might fit into your current playstyle, as seen through the minds of Arena Pros Trump and Hafu. While Trump is known for boiling all his card decisions down to math, Hafu looks for cards with rediculous combos or value. The Blizzard devs prepared a set of slides that highlighted new cards from Goblins vs Gnomes, and compared them to cards we all know and love, like the Ironbeak Owl for instance. The general takeaway from watching their analysis was that most of the expansion cards are actually better than those we are currently using, because they provide additional utility with extra abilities, or beefier stats. In addition, many of the combos we can create with these cards make them a ton of fun to play. I am sad that I didn't get a chance to try them out for myself, but there is good news on that front. I won't have to wait long.
Goblins vs Gnomes will be coming to a Hearthstone board near you December 2014. In addition, Blizzard has announced that they are launching an Android tablet version of the game that will also be available next month. This means that there will be thousands more people that can get in and play the game, and hopefully plenty of new people to trounce on my way up the ladder next season. *dimple*
One important note: As this is an expansion, the new cards will be available in pack form the way you buy current card packs for gold or real money. They are going to cost the same as regular packs of cards, which means that if you managed to get a unique card with every pack the expansion would set you back 2400 gold. Granted, this never happens, so plan on spending a lot more money/time to build up your new kit. I am seriously considering finally opting for that $39.99 40 pack card set to see if I can get Sneed's Shredder and Dr. Boom right off the bat. Yes, a dreamer, that's me.