Hearthstone is without a doubt the biggest and most successful digital collectible card game (CCG) at the moment. With well over 20 million players it dwarfs the competition, though there are plenty of challengers on the horizon with Magic the Gathering getting better yearly and The Elder Scrolls and Runescape Legends coming soon.
One of the reasons for the success has been the steady stream of new content in the form of expansions and PvE adventures. After two of each alternating, it's time once again to jump into an adventure that challenges players to beat boss encounters in order to acquire new cards.
As many were expecting, Blizzard revealed the new adventure at Blizzcon 2015, but unlike many thought would be the case Blizzard is taking it in way more laid-back direction. The new addition is called The League of Explorers and it will lead players on a wild quest for a powerful mythical artefact named The Staff of Origination. Watch the trailer below to get right into the spirit of the adventure.
The adventure stars four new original and fun-looking characters who are of course members of The League. Night elf Elise "The Cartographer" Starseeker is the leader of the guild and sends Sir Finley Mrrgglton (gentleman explorer, also a Murloc), Brann Bronzebeard (the youngest brother of King Magni and Muradin Bronzebeard) and Reno Jackson (archaeologist and rather unscrupulous treasure hunter) to find pieces of the staff from all over Azeroth. All four characters will have their own legendary cards that have a lot of potential to mix up the meta of the game.
The League of Explorers (LoE) will include a host of new content. Although it only has four wings compared to previous adventures that had five, LoE has a lot going for it. It features 45 new cards (previous had 30 and 31 cards), two game boards and a new Keyword called Discover. The latter new card mechanic is especially interesting since it gives players more desperately needed tactical options. A Discover card offers the player a choice of one of three cards. It could be a 1 mana minion or a 3 mana beast depending on the card. Blizzard revealed all 45 new cards at Blizzcon, and there are 9 Discover cards altogether, most of them neutral (or usable for all classes).
The biggest surprise for The League of Explorers is the release date. There is now no time to start hoarding gold since the adventure's first wing opens in Europe today, November 13. At Blizzcon we got a taste of LoE with a new kind of encounter that the adventure has to offer in addition to the regular boss fights. In Temple Escape, we just had to survive ten turns of increasingly difficult obstacles that appeared every "enemy" turn. These included a variety of minions as well as hazards like a collapsing roof that wiped off everything on the board. Players are also presented with different courses of action at the beginning of each turn. In one instance, Reno Jackson, who was the main character of this escape, came across a floor full of spikes. Here we could choose to either take 5 damage or take a 50/50 chance on 10 points of hurt.
The escape encounter was a refreshing take on the adventure formula. It was fun to play even though it was once again super easy when playing on normal difficulty. We got to play it with a Murloc filled Shaman deck and a Rogue with a variety of new and old cards. They did showcase the encounter very nicely and the Discover mechanic was especially appealing. It also demonstrated that Murlocs could very well be making a comeback to the meta game, with a couple nice all-rounder cards and expensive but awesome Murloc spells.
Like all adventures The League of Explorers can be purchased with both real money and in-game gold. One wing cost 700 gold or €5.99 / £4.99 while the whole set of four wings (Temple of Orsis, Uldaman, Stranglethorn Jungle and Hall of Explorers) sets you back €17.99 / £13.99. We can't wait to get our hands on the adventure and the new cards. We don't think they'll revolutionise the meta game, but they definitely have a lot of potential to bring forth some interesting new decks and some cool ideas.