It’s been a week since Hearthstone’s first expansion, Curse of Naxxramas, went live and by the time you read this there will likely be people who have fully cleared out the just released Plague Quarter. Truth be told, I hadn’t played Hearthstone in a couple of months due to the game’s stagnating meta (Zoo, anyone?), but Naxxramas represented an opportunity to shake all of that up, so I dove right back in last week with the Arachnid Quarter. I have to say I am really enjoying Blizzard’s approach to expanding the game’s card set with adventure modes. It’s a neat combination of new cards and new content. But there is one problem: the wait is killing me!
The Curse of Naxxramas adventure is great fun, but like World of Warcraft’s various raids, only a single wing is unlocked at a time. With five wings available in Naxxramas, this means that players won’t be able to enjoy the entirety of the content (and cards) until the expansion is fully released. Maybe it’s just because the game has been starved of new content for so long that my anticipation has reached a fever pitch, but the wait is maddening now that I've got a taste of the new goodies. I can see possibilities for new decks or deck adjustments in my mind, and it’s more than a bit frustrating having to construct it piecemeal over a couple of weeks. Thankfully, the Rogue challenge and new Rogue card were made available as part of the Arachnid Quarter, but players of other classes will have to wait until it’s their turn for their class card’s release, and it all just leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. To top it off, some deck possibilities, such as Secrets Mage using Duplicate (released with Plague Quarter) won't be realized until Mad Scientist releases with the Construct Quarter in two weeks. If Blizzard insists on going this route, some of the more obvious synergies should come together the same week.
In fairness, there are some positive things to come out of this particular schedule. Instead of seeing the meta shift all at once, we’re seeing adjustments on a week-to-week basis. It’s already made the ladder experience pretty interesting. Of course, the already annoying Zoolock has managed to become even more annoying with the Naxxramas cards already available. However, there is a certain satisfaction in coining out a Nerub’ar Weblord on turn two and watching a Zoolock’s entire deck fall apart unless he’s got a Soulfire in hand.
Difficulty is another aspect of Naxxramas (at least so far) that exacerbates the waiting game. Normal mode is a breeze and the class challenges, at least so far, aren’t much of a challenge. Thankfully, the Heroic mode boss fights are incredibly interesting puzzles that are fun to figure out, but like all things in this digital age, the strategies are found within a couple of hours and players learn how to cheese the bosses down quickly. I actually have a specific deck slot called ‘Naxxramas Cheese’ that I just adjust around for each fight and so far it’s been a fairly simple affair from there. There just isn’t a whole lot of replayability to the content so far, which makes the wait worse.
I’ve done my best to avoid spoilers for this week’s Plague Quarter, but I’m hoping it puts up more of a challenge than the Arachnid Quarter did. Ideally, each wing should take players a couple of days to fully clear rather than a couple of hours. Dial it up, Blizzard! Heroic mode doesn’t reward you with anything but the satisfaction of clearing it, so go nuts.
Is the wait driving you as nuts as it’s driving me? Which cards or boss fights do you look forward to most in Curse of Naxxramas? Share your thoughts with us below!
Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB