A few dates ago the new expansion of Hearthstone: United in Stormwind. This is the second major set to be added to Blizzard’s trading card game in this Year of the Gryphon after Forged in the Wastes and the Wailing Cave miniset. As always, 135 new cards and a few keywords and mechanics to give the metagame a new look.
United in Stormwind will be launched on August 3, in a little less than a month, and we have been able to attend a virtual appointment with Chadd Nervig and Nathan Lyons-Smith, Designer of this expansion and Producer of the game, respectively. Although we were not allowed to see any news beyond what we have known for a few days, we did get to know the point of view of the developers on the expansion and the path taken by Hearthstone in this Year of the Griffin.
A return to the roots
The first feeling that comes to us after seeing the expansion trailer and the first cards revealed is that we are in front of a complete return to roots for Hearthstone. Although the card game is much crazier and relied heavily on demons, goblins and other bizarre characters from World of warcraft, now is the time to opt for something that rather reminds us of something like The Great Tournament, the game’s first expansion, released in 2015.
I asked both Hearthstone developers about this. Chad accepted this feeling and told us more: “Yes, we wanted to bring back that WoW feeling when you start an adventure with a new character. With Forged in the Wastes we wanted to represent those first levels and United in Stormwind is the way we take players on that first visit to a capital of WoW, something more mid-level “. Nathan, for his part, influenced this sense of nostalgia that the team impressed with a personal case: as an Alliance, with this Set he remembered his first character.
Of course, although we are talking that Hearthstone wants to go back to the roots and build bridges with World of Warcraft with this latest expansion, Nathan makes one thing clear: “WoW is the foundation, but we want to tell our story”. During the past Standard Year the Hearthstone team already told us a story with the Explorers, and here we have the Mercenaries as protagonists.
The Mercenaries are cards that the expansion revolves around, since they will bring their mounts as a new type of playing cards to improve the minions, but they are also closely related to the Mission Chains. These types of cards are like the missions we have had before in Hearthstone, but with three steps and rewards for each of them. For some players they have been a bit slow, but Chadd reassures us: “They are softer in terms of rewards and it may make you think they are less aggressive, but there are some more aggressive … Right now I remember the Warrior”.
Moving on to a general level about Hearthstone, some players have complained that the global power level in the game it is a bit low compared to other times. This is what those responsible for the game have commented: “I think that we are gaining a level of power throughout the year. It is natural that after a rotation, the power of the cards and decks becomes standardized. In fact, the mini-set already did this a bit.”.
For those of us who have been playing Hearthstone for many years, it is clear that since this new team took over the project, we have had a number of major balance updates. Nathan wanted to highlight how beneficial this is for the game when asked about the topic: “Over the last 18 months the team has done a great job. They are not afraid to swing more and more regularly than in the past.”
The announcement of the new Hearthstone expansion, the second in the Year of the Griffin, took place on July 1. United in Stormwind will take players to the heart of one of the Alliance’s most important capitals and introduce them to many new features.