22 August 2014 - 16:44

First full Hearthstone expansion to feature nearly 100 new cards

Card collecting is a key mechanic of any deck building game, and that includes Blizzard’s popular free-to-play titan Hearthstone
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Card collecting is a key mechanic of any deck building game, and that includes Blizzard’s popular free-to-play titan Hearthstone. But that means you need new cards to collect.

The first full expansion for Hearthstone will include about 100 new cards, senior game designer Mike Donais said on the last episode of Value Town, a Hearthstone show put on by retiring stream personality Chris “ChanmanV” Chan. Donais revealed the new cards will be available through sales of a new booster pack, similar to expansions in other trading card games.

That’s contrasted against Blizzard’s first addition to their core set, Curse of Naxxramas, which added 30 cards to the 382 available at the game's launch. Blizzard labelled Naxxramas an “adventure” instead of an “expansion”, careful to mitigate fan expectations. Instead of selling booster packs, Naxxramas released cards through a series of single-player challenges segmented into four purchasable chunks.

Blizzard’s first real expansion seems more in line with the model established by other collectible card games. The top physical CCG on the market, Magic: The Gathering, features a “core” set of about 250 cards, and then releases a series of three expansions each year, with a 249 card base expansion followed by two smaller 165 card expansions.

Whether Blizzard adopts a similar release cycle is another matter—Donais said the company hasn't settled on a schedule yet. But this next expansion should give them a better idea on the timeframe involved in development.

In addition to designing, balancing, and providing art for cards, Hearthstone cards also require development time to implement their mechanics, something a game like Magic does not have to deal with. That may make a release schedule necessarily longer than the three to four months between Magic expansions. It’s been five months since Hearthstone’s official release, and the only new cards are the 30 from the Naxxramas adventure.

Donais also discussed game mechanics, the implementation of Naxxramas, and the potential for a 2v2 game mode during the hour plus show.

H/T Liquidhearth | Image via Blizzard

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