At BlizzCon we sat down with Dean Ayala, Game Designer, and Becca Abel to talk about the next big expansion coming to Hearthstone. The game had some of the best announcements at BlizzCon with Kobolds & Catacombs announced as a rogue-like single player experience (and over 100 new cards to boot). Hearthstone remains one of the best card games out there, but changes coming look to bring a lot of the community back to the game who might have taken time off in recent months.
One of the first additions people will be excited about is Legendary weapons. K&C is all about the dungeon crawl dynamic and nothing is better than getting epic loot at the end. Legendary weapons carry a history in Warcraft and players can now find them throughout Hearthstone. Each character will get something to use in battle. It was a unanimous decision by the whole team. Best part, Becca explained that you will get your first legendary for free for all players. The rest will be earned via the regular card pack RNG.
While going through the new Kobolds & Catacombs solo adventure in the game, you’ll be unlocking a lot of abilities. You will frontload with one of three classes and then go into the dungeon. The more you play the adventure, the more of the classes you’ll unlock for the dungeon runs. As you play through the challenges you will sometimes get unidentified item cards (also unlockable in the new cards). The team loved the idea of having you uncover a magic item which needed to be identified, very similar to old school RPGs. The effects for an item can change each time you draw one, it stays within Hearthstone’s rules, but it will keep the player surprised each game.
Dean went into the infinite replay of dungeon runs. It is also a great deck building experience as you grow when you play. You begin small and play through each challenge gaining access to more cards and new abilities. He explained that the old expansions mirrored World of Warcraft raids. You went through with your deck to defeat bosses. With K&C you now have a whole different design on deck building. You don’t bring your own deck, you are given 10 cards to start, and then build it as you progress through the encounters.
Becca said that the single player mode was designed to bring players back who had not stayed up to date with Hearthstone. The experience is a solid single player mode which will help new players learn to build decks on their own before entering the deep end of the pool with competitive play. You don’t unlock cards in the dungeon runs specifically, but leveling up classes through it still will, and some daily quests may be for the dungeon run as well. Think of it more as a relaxing way to play Hearthstone, and try some insane decks they throw at you, rather than a way to unlock the new cards. The new cards will still be mainly obtainable through the purchase of packs.
We also talked about the Recruit keyword coming to the game which now brings cards right onto the playing field. Many past summons would put cards in your hand or sometimes spawn another card when you played them. This dynamic quickly brings cards into play from your deck. Recruit goes into the whole building a deck or in the rogue-like adventure, simulating having a party to explore the dungeon.
Only a few cards were revealed for the whole set. Blizzard normally likes to surprise players. It should be that way, but in the coming weeks we’ll see more and more reveals. We asked about having players start over in the dungeon run mode and the team explained that it is meant to challenge you, you have to have risk vs. reward and rogue-like design is at the center of that thinking.
Hearthstone is always shaking things up and the team was great to chat with. It seems like Kobolds & Catacombs will bring back a lot of players, myself included. The solo design and fun mechanics go back to players being able to enjoy Hearthstone without the heavy competition. You can pick up and put down your dungeon crawl without losing progress - something we all agreed is needed as parents. Kobolds & Catacombs launches in December.