With a day to think about the big Hearthstone announcement from BlizzCon 2014 regarding the forthcoming Goblins vs Gnomes expansion, the Messiah has some thoughts and opinions based on what is known so far. Here are just a few of the things to think about when planning for the new expansion.
Anyone that has played any amount of World of Warcraft, will know two basic things about Goblins and Gnomes. First they love inventing crazy things and playing with crazy magic. Secondly, half of the time those things are insanely cool and powerful, and the other half of the time they blow up in their faces!
From the cards shown so far by Blizzard, this thematic element has been captured perfectly. Many of the cards previewed, in fact almost half of them, have a random effect to them. This varies from card to card either damaging random minions, random enemy minions, summoning a random minion, and many more effects.
I really like the randomness and risk element that this introduces for several reasons.
- All of this is very thematic and fits the expansions theme extremely well.
- The randomness allows cards to be a bit more powerful for their cost than they would be if they were not random.
- It is an element in a card game that would not be easy to implement in a physical card game, thereby making it very different than physical CCG’s (collectable card games).
- It introduces another tactical element in finding ways to deal with the randomness.
More Tactical Choices
The new expansion Goblins vs Gnomes will introduce even more tactical challenges and choices that players will have to deal with than they had previously. A lot of these challenges have to do with managing or preparing for a lot of the randomness that the cards introduce.
A lot of the things that you need to manage to get the best out of the cards is to make sure that you minimize the number of options for the random effect. Let us consider these two cards and the considerations that you may have to think of.
The Madder Bomber is an upgraded version of the Mad Bomber card that we are all familiar with. However since he deals 6 points of damage randomly assigned to other characters you really need to save him until your opponent has several minions and you have none. He is a great card to play right after your opponent does a board clear.
Next up is the Bouncing Blade which can be a deadly card, but really needs to be timed correctly. It has the chance to deal significant amounts of damage, however it can also do a single point. The way to make best use of this card is to make sure you clear out any weak minions before using it. If your opponent (or you) has a 1 health minion on the board you will want to clear it off in some other way before using this card. Additionally if the board is clear and your opponent summons a massive 8/8 giant, remember that this card will keep dealing damage until a minion is dead, meaning it will kill that single 8/8 minion for just 3 mana.
There are many other random cards that require consideration and tactical choices due to their random nature. I believe this is awesome for the game as it really makes players think and adjust to the game as they play.
More Strategic Choices
Just as the expansion Goblins vs Gnomes will add many tactical choices to the game, it also has several cards that add some serious strategic options to the game. Remember that even though many players confuse strategy and tactics as the same thing, they are very different. A very simplified comparison is that strategy is an overall battle plan and setting of goals, while tactics are the smaller choices made during a battle to either adjust to the enemy strategy, flow of battle or to achieve sub-objectives that help meet the overall goal.
Just two very cool cards that open up some addition strategic options are shown below:
These are two very interesting cards as they can provide some serious advantages if they are planned for. First up is the Blingtron 3000 which can summon a weapon for you, even if you are not playing a class that can normally get a weapon, however it also grants your opponent a weapon. This can give you a huge advantage in a game since your opponent will not be expecting many classes to have access to weapons. To get the best strategic advantage from this card you can plan ahead and take a few additional cards to deal with it. Cards that would help here are Acidic Swamp Ooze, Skeletal Smith, and of course Harrison Jones which would even further your advantage.
The second card that creates some new strategic options is the Clockwork Giant. Since it gets cheaper the more cards you opponent has in hand you can get it faster by filling your opponents hand with cards. Several options are out there but are generally avoided since giving your opponent cards is generally not advisable as it gives them more options. However in this case cards like Coldlight Oracle, Dancing Swords, and King Mukla all become beneficial. Consider these cards in a Paladin deck here you could use Coldlight Oracle or King Mukla on turn 3 the other on turn 4 and then in all likelihood the Clockwork Giant on turn five followed up on the next turn with a Divine Favor to fill your hand as well!
New Spare Parts
Spare parts are a new buff/spell card that are provided in multiple ways. These cards allow many classes gain access to abilities that they may normally not have access to. Access to them are completely random though, which means that you will have to react very tactically to them each time you get them. You can plan your deck strategically to gain access to as many spare parts as you want, however you will never be sure which ones you will get or how useful they will be.
This adds another interesting element to the game and more options and thought process on how you play the game. This could be a lot of fun and something I look forward to.
No New Currency
It is awesome that Blizzard has chosen to keep the game simple on this level and not introduce a new currency to the game. There was a lot of fear that Blizzard would force players to buy the new packs with only cash or with a new currency that would be introduced so that you could not use the gold that you have saved over time. It was also feared that cards from the new set would disenchant to different materials than the original cards, thereby stopping you from being able to craft new cards right away.
Blizzard appears to have listened to the player base and kept things simple. You will be able to use all of your stored gold and dust to purchase or craft anything you want from the new set.
I don’t for a second believe this is a benevolent move on Blizzards part, but one more based on the appearance of benevolence. I have no stats on how much gold the average player has, but Blizzard surely does. My guess, and it is only a guess, is that the vast majority of players will have less than 3,000 gold available by launch time. Which would purchase only 30 packs. This means that most players will likely purchase more than enough packs for cash to make Blizzard’s accountants happy. By keeping the currency the same, they also don’t upset anyone, which keeps the majority of players happy and playing the game, and therefore spending real currency.
While all of that may come across as negative, it’s not. It is beneficial for players and Blizzard. It is just something that I am pointing out that I am sure has been well analyzed and thought out. I am sure many calculations were done trying to calculate the expected player loss if gold was replaced, compared to the average pack purchase rate after a players gold was expended if they were allowed to keep the gold. Regardless of the thought process and math, I am happy with the final choice.
Messiah’s Overall Thoughts on Goblins vs Gnomes
While we don’t know everything that is coming in the new cards, as we have not seen all of them yet, I am very excited about what we have seen so far. As discussed above the cards look to add both strategic and tactical options to the game. The new cards do this by maximizing things that are not possible in traditional physical card games which make them even more interesting to me.
Since I have played Magic the Gathering since it was first released way to many years ago, I have found Hearthstone a little limiting since it has so few cards available to it. However, one feature I have loved in it that makes it very different from physical card games is the random ability that many cards have. This makes the game very obviously a virtual card game only, and sets it apart by providing options not possible in a physical game. This makes players have to react tactically more often and makes you have to consider more options.
I also really like the fact that there will be over 120 cards added which adds many more options to deck building. It also looks like a lot of thought has gone into the cards to make sure that they purposefully open up some new combos with some old and sometimes ignored cards.
I am therefore pretty happy with what I have seen so far, how about you? Make your thoughts known in the comment section below.
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