mmotcg

Hearthstone’s game director fields questions about the expansion, ladder experimentation, and new heroes

With Knights of the Frozen Throne coming to Hearthstone next month, excitement is reaching a fever pitch for this already-popular card title. Game Director Ben Brode took advantage of this interest to raise awareness of the game and answer community questions in a recent AMA session.

Among the topics covered were minion placement, the collection manager, the expense of the game, and confirmation that the team is experimenting with a new ladder format.

Possibly the most exciting news is that the team is working on both a Druid and Warlock hero, although Brode indicated that we shouldn’t be expecting a new class anytime soon. “I think we are already having trouble carving out awesome space for nine classes,” he said. “I want us to find more unique things for Warlock to do, for example. I think adding a 10th class makes this problem much more difficult, as we could be using that space to make our core nine classes more fun.”

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Hearthstone’s Ice Cream Citadel is chilling at SDCC

Proving once again there’s no end to the Hearthstone gimmicks and pranks it will pull, Blizzard has announced Ice Cream Citadel, a pop-up ice cream stand at San Dieco Comic-Con this week, all in honor of Knights of the Frozen Throne.

“Located in the PetCo parking lot just a short walk from the San Diego Convention Center, Ice Cream Citadel will provide visitors with free ice cream in two flavors: ‘Villain-illa’ and ‘Scourgeberry Sorbet.’ In partnership with Yelp, Blizzard has also created a Yelp business page for the pop-up, titled ‘The Lich King’s Ice Cream Citadel,’ where users can rate, review, and post photos of their experience. Starting July 18, those brave enough to call the business (1-855-LIC-HKNG) will be greeted by the Lich King’s chilling voice.”

Of course there’s a live-action trailer to go with it. Maybe fallen Arthas will be better as a soda jerk than as a game dev? And you guys thought our puns were terrible!

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The MOP Up: Crash Force offers arena fun at a discount (July 16, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

This week we have stories and videos from TERAMaster X MasterEternal CrusadeWarfacePortal KnightsMapleStoryCrash ForceDroneNeverwinterElswordEVE OnlineWarframeFinal Fantasy XIVEverQuest IIWorld of WarshipsPath of Exile, and Eternal Crusade, all waiting for you after the break!

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Multiple countries will boycott the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games over e-sports concerns

Back in April, we wrote about how the Olympic Council of Asia and Alisports of China was aiming to bring e-sports to the Asian Games, reportedly the second-largest sporting event in the world, right behind The Olympics itself. In support of the move, the council cited the addition of e-sports to the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in September as a “demonstration” sport featuring multiple games, including Dota 2, Starcraft II, and Hearthstone.

That may be in jeopardy now, however. SuperData reported this week that multiple countries have now backed out of the e-sports section of the AIMAG competitions. South Korea’s e-sports division quit the event in May, followed by Australia in June and Thailand earlier in July. Thailand, we should note, blocked participation in part over health concerns and “fears related to gaming addiction,” but South Korea and Australia raised objections over the exit of the well-recognized International Esport Federation and the formation of a relatively unregulated Asian Esports Federation in its place, as well as objections over the recruitment process for teams, which appears to blur national lines.

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DreamHack Valencia: SMITE’s Project Olympus, Hand of the Gods’ open beta, Paladin’s Jenos

Hi-Rez took the floor of DreamHack Valencia in Spain today for announcements across its stable of games.

First, the renamed online TCG Hand of the Gods: SMITE Tactics has kicked off its open beta, meaning it’s accessible for everyone now. It’s also launched a 70-card Venus Competitor’s Pack that includes a crossover Aphrodite skin in SMITE.

For SMITE itself, the team announced Project Olympus, a “new initiative intended to improve core game features and further polish” the MOBA over the next three updates. Expect “major” engine upgrades, improved 64-bit client support, HUD and controller improvements for console, better in-game tutorials, and post-level-30 prestige levels.

Paladins introduced new support toon Jenos, the Ascended, and revealed the Splitstone Quarry map.

During the event, SMITE and Paladins players will be going head to head in multiple competitions with a combined prize pool of over $200,000.

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Hearthstone’s Lich King is the game designer we deserve

One gets the feeling Blizzard isn’t taking promotion of Hearthstone’s Knights of the Frozen Throne expansion too seriously, what with its latest video in which Arthas-turned-Lich-King interviews for a job at Blizzard and insults the studio as a “sweltering bastion of flannel.” Your jokes about qualifications to work on Blizzard’s games go right… here.

Blizzard has been tweaking the OTCG ahead of the expansion, however, with tweaks to some older cards (including Caverns Below) to keep them competitive once everyone’s busy whipping out the KOTFT card packs already up for pre-purchase. The video is below.

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Could Blizzard be working on offline modes for its games?

Imagine one day sitting down at your computer, firing up the Blizzard launcher, and choosing to play World of Warcraft or Diablo III… offline. Yeah, it’ll probably never happen, but how weird would that be?

The Blizzard community is scratching its head this week off of some datamined commands in Hearthstone that allow the player to set his or her account to “appear offline” to friends. While this may indeed merely be a privacy toggle, it’s gotten some musing whether this indicates that Hearthstone — and any other Blizzard titles — might include an actual offline mode in the future.

While we ponder that, there is one thing we know for certain: You can use the Blizzard launcher today to link up with the Destiny 2 community prior to the game’s release this fall. By linking a Blizzard account with a Bungie one, Activision players can be eligible for giveaways and hook up with clans.

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Perfect Ten: EverQuest’s EverExpanding franchise

When Daybreak announced last year that it was cancelling the highly anticipated EverQuest Next project, the series’ forward momentum lurched to a halt. This wasn’t helped by other EverQuest entities that have been retired over the past few years, leaving only the two aging flagship MMOs to carry on the legacy of the franchise.

For franchise it is. It might be fuzzy in people’s memories (or simply absent from them), but there was an era where EverQuest was the MMORPG at the top of everything, and Sony Online Entertainment wasted no time in capitalizing on its popularity. Spin-offs, sequels, and alternative versions spawned into being, creating a library of EverQuest games.

In fact, there are more than enough to fill up a full list of 10 titles — and then some! So today let’s look at some of the lesser-known entries in EverQuest’s ever-expanding franchise and muse about what might come to this series in the future.

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Hearthstone’s next expansion is Knights of the Frozen Throne

Will Hearthstone have as much success in the frozen northlands as World of Warcraft did with Wrath? We’re about to find out, as last night Blizzard announced Knights of the Frozen Throne is the name of the card battler’s next big expansion.

“In Knights of the Frozen Throne™, Azeroth’s greatest heroes are called to Northrend once again to battle the Lich King . . . in the tavern! Blizzard Entertainment’s newest Hearthstone® expansion brings players to the Icecrown Citadel, where they will encounter terrifying bear sharks, ridiculous geists, indigenous Tuskarr ice fishermen, and the mysterious influence of runic magic. With 135 icy new cards, the tavern is about to get a whole lot cooler!”

Among the highlights of the expansion are new legendary hero cards, the Lifesteal keyword, and free Northrend-themed missions (“including a prologue, two wings of three bosses, and a final epic showdown against The Lich King himself”). The whole shebang launches in August, alongside a prepurchase 50-card bundle that by itself costs $49.99. The new pics and trailer are down below!

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Unofficial Guild Wars 2 CCG gets a Prophecies-themed expansion

Back in March, Guild Wars 2 player Luke Dowding announced that he was building a free and unofficial collectible card game for the community called Guild Wars 2: Heroes of the Mists. At the time, we crossed our fingers that ArenaNet could let the game stand, and as of April, when the game branched out for play on Tabletop Simulator, it appeared the studio was giving at least a tacit blessing. And now, Dowding has announced the game is getting an expansion themed around classic Prophecies.

“The expansion comes packed with over 60 new cards all based upon the memorable characters from the original Guild Wars 1 game Prophecies. The expansion also comes with a new ability as well as a huge balance overhaul to all existing cards which in testing has made the game a lot more fun and playable,” he writes. “Prophecies was my first choice because its the foundation in which the Guild Wars universe was built. I personally played Guild Wars 1 for several thousand hours and have very fond memories of the game. Add Prophecies as the first expansion is also a great way to bring back serious nostalgia and remember those key characters from the original game from over 12 years ago.”

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Warframe posts drop rates for all its loot, hoping to ‘start a trend’

Warframe’s Digital Extremes is joining the very small list of online game developers being transparent about just what’s in their lockboxes, lootboxes, gambleboxes, lootcrates, or whatever you want to call them. In fact, the data dump it’s produced actually covers all loot drops rates in the game, something researchers have been calling for.

Warframe is free! Which means our drop system is designed to maintain a balance,” DE writes. “Our free players can earn the game’s content, and our paying players who support us with purchases usually get first dibs on the content by using Platinum (which can be traded to free players)! As far as we can tell… we are the first developers to post something quite like this – correct us if we’re wrong! Let’s hope it works out for us and we may start a trend.”

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The MOP Up: Warframe’s Chains of Harrow (July 2, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

This week we have stories and videos from Dota 2Destiny 2Battleground EuropeArcheAgeOrbus VRFinal Fantasy XIHearthstoneTERATibiaElsword OnlineOsiris New DawnLeague of LegendsAstroneerSMITEWarframeThe Black Death, and Gloria Victis, all waiting for you after the break!

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Hearthstone nerfs bothersome Quest Rogue deck, skirts around Chinese lockbox regulations

Following Hearthstone’s most recent expansion, Journey to Un’Goro, one deck has come to dominate pretty much all others — and Blizzard now says that it is high time it left the meta.

The studio announced that it would be nerfing the key card behind the “Quest Rogue” deck to stop this runaway train: “The Caverns Below is uniquely powerful versus several slower, control-oriented decks and played often enough that it’s pushing those decks out of play. This change should help expand the deck options available to players both now and after the release of the next expansion.”

Meanwhile, over in China Blizzard has had to employ a… creative solution to get around a law that forces video game companies to state the odds obtaining desired items in lockboxes (of which Hearthstone’s card packs are considered). Instead of allowing players to purchase packs directly, Blizzard now encourages players to buy quantities of arcane dust, after which they will be gifted “free” packs that require no such revelations.

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