It's been impossible to evade this news today, and even over in the Hearthstone subreddit, you'll be accosted by plenty of ALL CAPS headline posts (c'mon guys, this is internet 101 – no need to rage caps your headlines, OK?). If that wasn't enough, Blizzard today made three (1 - 2 - 3!!!) separate updates to the Hearthstone website to let us know that Naxxramas has finally arrived to this title. However, I think the real news was that Blizzard had underestimated how popular this update would be (really guys?) and all the reports are saying that it's pretty much just one giant lag fiesta. Especially for our European friends.
While I don't get how they could grossly underestimate Naxxramas' popularity in Hearthstone, especially considering how they've been pumping out content these past few months to hype up its release, I have to try to see things from their perspectives. While I won't even pretend to know what goes on over at Team Hearthstone from a technical standpoint, since community is the only aspect I've been a part of in the gaming industry, I do wonder how they seem to not have prepared for this at all. Still, I'm not going to run over to the forums or to Reddit so I can get in on the all caps headline bandwagon.
Like anyone who wants to take a trip down memory lane, I'm currently installing and updating Hearthstone. Honestly, I had zero interest in the game until I found out that Naxxramas would be added into the game (don't tell IeSF OK). I'm wondering if I'll be able to cash in on my free first wing before that door closes. I'm not the biggest Trading Card Game enthusiast, so I haven't been able to get out of the tutorial yet, but there's maybe hope, right? I hear it's actually pretty fun after the tutorial, which I should probably start over from the beginning, since I've likely forgotten most of it already.
Today, only the first wing, The Arachnid Quarter, is accessible for players. People have a month to claim this wing, which will be theirs to play for free. After they get it, it's replayable, and after running the entire wing successfully, a heroic mode will open up. This will be true of all of Naxxramas' wings in Hearthstone, but they won't all be available for free. Each week, a new wing unlocks, but players will not be able to adventure through it until they have purchased the wing. Each wing can be bought for either $7 real cash or 700 in-game gold. There are also bundles available, if you want to spend real cash to purchase all of the wings at once (or, if you get the first for free, you can also choose to buy a bundle of the remaining four wings – this works for two or three wing bundles as well). Bundles are currently not available to purchase with gold, and I'm not certain if they will be able to be obtained this way.
While it's weird that there isn't a gold bundle for purchase, there could be reasons behind it that we're just not certain of. However, because the wings are launching staggered, I think it's a wonderful idea that they can be purchased one at a time through gold. People like me, the super casual (at least I think I would be, but I've yet to get far enough to get hooked), won't realistically need all wings available at first. If I get into the game, beyond just wanting to take a tourist trip down memory lane into The Arachnid Quarter, I don't see myself setting up a training regiment to start competing. I'll likely slowly get around to earning enough gold for the next wing (The Plague Quarter – progression will be the same as in World of Warcraft) by the time I've finally gotten the hang of what I'm doing. Chances are all of the wings will be available by then, but I'm not in a hurry. I'll be OK will creeping my way through content.
What's your take? Will nostalgia get a grip on you, making you want to log in and see how Naxxramas is in Hearthstone? Are you still bearing the mental scars from when Naxx was a 40-man ordeal and never want to hear that word again? Are you one of the folks who just isn't into the Warcraft universe?