Merry Naxxramas: Hearthstone Single-Player Announced

By Alice O'Connor on April 11th, 2014 at 4:30 pm.

A little colourful artwork

The wonder and terror of collectible card games is that they evolve and expand over time to continue demanding your time and money and attention and love and it’s just too much and I can’t deal with it, as I may have mentioned earlier today. Blizzard are hooked into this cruel cycle with Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and today announced the first major addition to its virtual CCG since last month’s launch.

Hearthstone will kick off its single-player Adventure Mode with Curse of Naxxramas, an adaptation of a raid from World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. Expect boss battles, new cards to collect, and new ways to pay.

Like the original WoW raid, Curse of Naxxramas will send players into the fortress of the lich Kel’Thuzad. It’s similarly split up into five parts, each with their own boss battles. The first wing will be open to everyone then another will open each week, Blizzard explains in the announcement, and players will need to cough up a little in-game gold or real cash money to enter each. It’s nice that paying actual money is only optional, and if Blizzard is sensible it won’t set the fake money price too high.

Like WoW raiding, shiny prizes are up for grabs. Naxxramas will add 30 new cards in all, earned by progressing through the zone, beating bosses, and besting new Class Challenges. It also has a pretty new game board to play upon, with new bits to click on until something funny happens.

I’d like to give Hearthstone a bash, I really would, but this weakness for CCGs is so troublesome. I’m a grown adult now and this one teenage anxiety still clings to me. “You’re not strong enough to say no,” it hisses. “Hearthstone has a deck-builder. You know how much you enjoy building decks!”

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33 Comments »

  1. Tiberius says:

    I’m stoked for a new way to get cards that doesn’t involve just buying boosters. With this I can save my gold to unlock new wings that are a completely different type of challenge than regular PvP. Looking at the few sample cards, it’s pretty obvious that we’ll have to go in to the raids, learn the fights, and then get to have the fun of crafting our decks to deal with very specific threats. The sample cards based around necromancy are going to be a pain to deal with (http://cdn.escapistmagazine.com/media/global/images/library/deriv/711/711872.jpg) , but my guess is that many of them will in turn be raid rewards. The metagame is going to get completely changed by cards that enhance existing abilities. I’m glad that they look to be more than just new 3/3 bodies to play with.

    Let the gimmick decks emerge!

  2. 2helix4u says:

    Awesome, I’m pleased about this. I stopped playing Hearthstone at the exact moment I stop playing most TCGs: when my more competent friend constructs a much better version of a deck I was slower at building and trashes me over and over.

    I really hope they add Co-op raids because I can 100% see me and my friends sitting round playing cards with ragnaros and having a chat.

  3. Horg says:

    I put £20 into Hearthstone and stopped playing about a week after my credit ran out. The pace of advancement for players relying on in game gold is glacially slow, and ultimately it’s too shallow to hold my interest beyond £20. It was fun while it lasted, but unless they really shake things up I doubt i’ll play another hand.

    • OpT1mUs says:

      I’m in exact same situation. Got in beta, got hyped, played, paid 20 euros, got bored, never played again.

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        Rizlar says:

        To contrast: I didn’t put any money in, played for a while, doing the daily quests and buying booster packs until I had a few cool and fairly successful decks, then I got bored and stopped playing.

        It was a little annoying that very experimental decks tended to be complete crap, which is basically why I stopped playing. But I never felt the need to spend any real money.

    • Fuz says:

      Same as you.
      Progression is WAY too slow for people who don’t pay fro their cards with real money. Dropped the game altogether because of that.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Apparently, Arena is the way to go.

      • Horg says:

        You say that as if I wasn’t playing arena.

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          DeVadder says:

          Then how is progression glacially slow? You can easily play Arena once overy two or three days, assuming you manage to go 3-3 or better more often than not without doing anything even remotely like “grinding” by changing quests around until you get something that is done easily. Of course, it will take a while to collect all legendaries that way, but below that you can easily have everything you need for two or three highly competitive decks within weeks by turning stuff you do not need to dust.
          Mind i kinda stopped caring for constructed once i got there and started only playing one round of Arena after the other…

          • Horg says:

            A few weeks is being far too generous with those numbers. 2-3 arena runs a week means 16 packs a month on average. I’d estimate more like 2-3 months to make a good deck with that sort of gain, and even then you would need a little luck. As I said earlier, the game is not complex enough for me to justify that kind of time investment.

  4. Talahar says:

    I didn’t have much interest in playing against other players, and against AI I couldn’t find a way to earn any gold, which quite diminished my enjoyment with Hearthstone. I hope they’ll introduce some way to earn gold in PvE…

    • Tiberius says:

      I’m in the same boat. I haven’t paid a cent yet and have a TON of cards (including 6 Legendaries), but the best part about playing card games is doing so with your friends. It sucks that the only way to advance is to do my least favorite part of the game – don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy online play, but I’d rather do stylized PvE or friend battling. While we won’t be earning gold in the raids, we don’t even really need it past the initial unlock, as defeating raid bosses will just directly give us cards.

      Unfortunately, we know the exact reasons that we can’t get gold any other way and there’s no real way to change it. If we could get gold without going on ladder everyone would just make spam accounts and grind against crappy decks, which defeats the entire purpose of the daily quests.

      • TWChristine says:

        Yea, same here. I considered looking for fellow RPSers on the forum that were playing and maybe play against them (I’d rather play with people I know have a higher likelihood of being nice, than taking my chances at a random opponent), but in the end just tried grinding the practice a bit. Ended up getting bored of doing the same thing over and over and uninstalled when needing more HD space. A SP campaign MIGHT make me look at it again, but I’m still kind of meh on it.

    • Kitsunin says:

      Why don’t you want to play against other players? I typically dislike one-on-one pvp games myself, but Hearthstone is organized in such a way that there really isn’t much difference between going against a player and a well-balanced AI in other games.

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        jrodman says:

        I’ve played against other people enough in this life. I do not want to do so again.

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          DeVadder says:

          There is no chat and their emotes are muted with one click. The worst thing they can do is take longer for their turns than an ai would.

  5. Thankmar says:

    Having never played anc TCG before, I tried Hearthstone and got really hooked for about two moths now. It fits very neatly into my sparse time to play videogames, the short matches are perfect, and I have never to listen to any insults from other players, yay.
    I bought two packs with real money to get the beta-reward, and used no more money. If you get your fun out of the different playing styles of the classes, you can have fun for a very long time with the daily quests, the arena mode and the casual play mode. The rewarded packs come slow, but they aren´t too avaricious with their cards.
    That being said, I find myself frustrated at the moment, it seems that most players could build more of the costly decks due to the time the game is live now. So it looks like I had two months worth of happy playing for € 2.69. Thats a good deal, I think. I won´t pay no more money, because I despise the general principle of a TCG, collecting by paying for a chance to find anything useful, and I don´t want to trade with anyone, which is why I never played them in the first place.
    To be clear: TCGs are by principle pay to win, and its the principle i don´t want to cope with. Blizzard made a good job to find a way that lets you play for free for as long as you like. You can easily substitute time (not that much of it) for money.

  6. Scelous says:

    I’m kind of shocked at how successful Hearthstone is. I played it for a week and couldn’t understand the appeal. Like I told my friends, Hearthstone is so simple and shallow it makes Magic look like advanced quantum physics.

    • Michael Anson says:

      Actually, it isn’t that shallow. You just need to really delve into it to see what it can do. Each class has an entirely different playstyle with cards tailored to that playstyle, and seemingly innocuous abilities work together in surprisingly complex ways. If anything, this game is on par with the early days of Magic, with a simplicity of mechanics that belies the complexity of interaction.

      As an example, my priest deck makes use of a variety of cards all based around healing. I have some cards that cause card draw for every minion healed, some that heal my minions, some that heal EVERY minion, and so on. I also have a few cards that damage every minion, and a few that can allow me to buff any creature up to a ridiculous attack/health combo fairly rapidly with the right draw. The result is a fairly powerful deck focused more on creature assault than direct damage. Interestingly, I also managed to accidentally kill myself with the deck; with two card draw creatures and a Circle of Healing, I drew so many cards that I didn’t have available that the resulting damage from decking myself took me from half health to well in the negatives.

  7. Dominic White says:

    Putting the singleplayer behind a paywall seems a bit miserly, considering that the (really rather good) Might & Magic CCG has the full campaign available for free, and completing it doles out a respectable amount of in-game currency, XP and even booster packs if you complete a given mission with each faction.

    • Moraven says:

      I was surprised by the entry fee.

      They really should just get the cosmetic content out and give game content away for free. More themed boards, more hero portraits and voiceover, my suggested rage quit button that flips the game board. Valve has shown its a viable revenue stream. Now need more to do it.

    • Vegard Pompey says:

      The M&M TCG is terrific and deserves RPS coverage.

  8. RichardGamingo says:

    Hi I have a great time playing Hearthstone and I post video on my channel, together we are going to reach Arena mode though. So Lets Play a walkthrough into the competitive side of Hearthstone in this series of ranked matches where I, Richard Gamingo, play as a total n00b. Watch an epic journey unfold as a noob uses strategy, skill, and genius tactics in order to transcend the pack and escape the purgatory of Ranked Hearthstone in order to ascend into Arena Competition! @ http://youtu.be/Igm7dw-hw84
    Check it out =)
    Naxxramus = Singleplayer? I wonder if there will be some twist on the game that makes it all worth it? Probably, knowing them.

  9. derbefrier says:

    Hearthstone is cool but I can only play a few games a week. Its fun like a game of solitaire is I guess. Its there to kill a few minutes if you need to or are just bored but to be fair I was never really into the magic type card games.

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    jrodman says:

    I am stupidly peeved that the article describes Naxxramas as being from the Lich King expansion, when it was released in 1.11 “Shadow of the Necropolis” in vanilla WoW as the final released raid prior to the first expansion, The Burning Crusade.

    I should seek therapy for caring about such things even slightly, as I do.

    • Distec says:

      “Oh, you cleared Naxx 10-man? That’s cool, bro.

      Try wiping on on Four Horseman with 40 other people for a month and get back to me.”

  11. apocraphyn says:

    Contrary to what the official site says, Naxxramas wasn’t introduced in Wrath of the Lich King – it was originally introduced in World of Warcraft before any expansions hit. In fact, it was the last raid introduced before The Burning Crusade. (I’m sorry, I just couldn’t let it go unsaid!)

    *edit* Ninja’d by jrodman just above. But at least we share the sentiment.

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      jrodman says:

      You munched my biscuit!

      • apocraphyn says:

        I HAVE MADE AN IRREVOCABLE TRESPASS. YOU HAVE MY SINCEREST APOLOGIES, GOOD SIR. (All things said and done, though, the biscuit was delicious.)

  12. Mhorhe says:

    Yeeeeah..I’m gonna have to go ahead and strongly disagree with the “miserly” comparison to Duel of Champions.

    Duel of Champions’ campaign was decent, albeit quite short. They’ve only just expanded upon it now, after 14-15ish months. More to the point, it allowed you to get the most basicest of the “serious” card packs.

    Furthermore, your non-premium progress forward hinged on 1) the exponentially harder leveling system (wherein you get gold or dragon seals when leveling up) with obvious limitations. 2) earning achievements – which, while far more numerous than HS’, were also far harder and/or hinging on RNG. Getting every card in the basic set, for instance.. or all the heroes in the basic set.. etc etc.

    Far worse is the fact DoC is a lot more pretentious regarding its decks: you have Hero limitations – which also imply magic school limitations, more card types – hero magic creature event (with minimal requirements of their own, and that’s counting without fortune cards..), neutral creatures are watered down versions of race creatures, and there are 4 non-legendary card maximums (instead of 2 like in HS).

    For pity’s sake, DoC didn’t even allow you to use the same card in more than one deck for the longest time!

    All of which mean that, at least for me, non-premium progress was excruciatingly slow in DoC.

    By contrast, basically each and every one of these aspects is better tackled in HS.

    You get all your basic cards quick and easy. And some of them are the very best in the game – Consecration, Frost Bolt, Hex, etc etc.

    There are no limitations to decks regarding card type or quantity. Most creatures fall into the common Neutral pool, and most of the very best creatures are in there.

    You get a reliable way to earn gold. Yes, really. Dailies – and the implied victories – allow for enough massed gold for reliable arena play. And arena play.. well.

    The existence of Arena beats any arguments on HS’ money grubbing into dust. There’s the element of luck regarding draw – but beyond that, the sky’s the limit.

    • Vegard Pompey says:

      Each and every one of these aspects was better tackled in HS.

      Let’s not compare the DoC of yesterday with the HS of today. DoC recently had a substantial update that did a lot to improve conditions for those who play for free. It still ain’t perfect, but I’d say it’s roughly on par with HS.

      I agree that the people complaining about HS’ money-grubbing are probably people without the sense to play Arena. HS’ problem though, is that you do have to play some constructed to finance your arena runs, and HS’ constructed mode is oppressively boring.

      • Mhorhe says:

        By the DoC of yesterday, meaning 13 days ago? :D Because that’s when Heart of Nightmares was launched. While HS has been essentially like that from the get-go.

        More importantly, though, the latest expansion only slightly improves some aspects of what I’ve talked about, the vast majority are left as is – simply because they’re not issues per se in any other case than hinging your progress on not spending money.

        As to HS constructed being oppresively boring, well, that every one can only judge on his/her own. I think it’s rather tied into how long a single play session, and how many cards you have. I find it good honest fun to login and win a few matches, finish a couple dailies. To each his own.