Photo by Hearthstonelegend.com
By Joe Goncalves
“Hearthstone” has been around for a hot minute at this point. We’ve seen several expansions, solo adventures and other forms of add-on content to Blizzard’s titanic electronic card game. The newest of these expansions comes in the form of “Whispers of the Old Gods.” Blizzard makes their most interesting and ambitious change to the game yet.
“Whispers of the Old Gods” includes a new set of cards, along with several gameplay changes. The new set includes 134 new cards, with some of them providing some of the most unique, and at some time, bizarre, gameplay changes ever applied to a card game. Some notable cards include the Warlock card that quite literally changes you to a different class. The addition of the Old God legendaries makes some intense and sometimes head-scratching confusing changes to the game. Most of the cards are a very welcome and fresh addition to the now two-year-old game, and many “Hearthstone” players have been itching for additions to the game for quite some time.
Along with the new arsenal of cards, the newest Hearthstone expansion there are some changes to core gameplay mechanics. It’s most notable in the introduction of Standard and Wild modes to the game. The addition of standard mode into the game shook up the Hearthstone community quite a bit. As the new standard mode of gameplay restricts the player to making decks with cards from the last year of content. Quite a few cards that had become staples in so many decks for high level play were taken out. There is still a secondary game mode called “Wild,” which allows players to use cards from any set. However, the standard game mode is now what is being used in professional and high level gameplay.
These changes that were made to the game are generally welcome and accepted but like most things in life, it is not without it’s flaws. Unfortunately, one of the most glaring issues with the newest addition to Hearthstone is simply broken and overpowered game strategies. There is one specific tactic relying on one of the newly added cards that is being used by many players that can become a bit overpowered and unfair to other players. It is not entirely insurmountable, but it does throw off the sense of balance that “Hearthstone” has had in the past.
What happened to the meta-game and high level play with the addition of new cards and strategies remains to be seen. With time, the community will begin to see all the possibilities that Blizzard has given players with “Whispers of the Old Gods.” As of right now, myself and many others have sunken significant time into the game. Overall, “Whispers of the Old Gods” breathes new life into a game so many have loved so vehemently. When a game commands the attention that Hearthstone has—completely dominating the online card game market, the question “when will it go wrong” arises. While I can’t say when that time will come, or if it will come, I can say that it is certainly not upon us now.