Just because Hearthstone’s Boomsday Project
expansion is out and about
doesn’t mean that the dev team is done with its crazy experiments.
In fact, next week will see the rollout of the new Puzzle Lab solo adventures. These will, as the name implies, revolve around puzzles (with four types in all). Players can progress through the labs in any order as they try to solve the puzzles from easy to difficult. Each puzzle game gives players a tricky objective to play through in a solo setting.
While the Puzzle Labs are coming, one Hearthstone developer is going. Production Director Yong Woo decided to follow after former Hearthstone lead Ben Brode and join Brode’s new Second Dinner studio. Blizzard Watch reports that this now makes a total of five ex-Hearthstone devs that now work at this indie game company. Guess Brode has that kind of charismatic pull?
It seems so long ago that we lived in the halcyon days of real-time strategy dominance in the PC market. Remember when Command and Conquer was all the hotness? And there was that weird WarCraft game?
At least the genre isn’t completely dead. In fact, there’s a new indie MMORTS on the market that seems promising. It’s called Kingdoms of Marazia, and it’s a somewhat simplistic-looking hex-based RTS in which players expand their holdings, protect their castles, and make alliances to stay alive as long as possible. Because resources in each game are limited, players will have to make the decision if and when to band together or move on others.
Kingdoms of Marazia is currently on sale for $14 at Steam through August 13th, so it’s not like it’s going to set you back more than the cost of a monthly sub.
I haven’t been making any secret of how much fun I’m having in the Star Wars Galaxies Legends emulator (and thanks so much to the readers who urged me to try it!). What I haven’t tried just yet is TCGEmu, which is trying to revive the Star Wars Trading Card Game that existed chiefly inside SWG itself.
Late-game SWG players will recall that the TCG was ahead of its time on so many fronts: It was actually one of the first fully online card games out there, but back then it had no chance of reaching the heights of mainstream adoption that we’re used to seeing now with games like Hearthstone, especially since few people outside of SWG knew it existed. It was gorgeous as heck, too, with stunning artwork that exists nowhere else.
Of course, the TCG also has the dubious honor of being one of the first openly and egregiously lockbox-esque pay-to-win systems in a major MMORPG, as players spent gobs of money angling for loot cards, which they could then use (or sell) inside Star Wars Galaxies itself. While I personally bought and traded my (free monthly) loot cards and loved some of the clothing and homes added to the game, I was also among those who argued that all of those items should have been added to the sandbox through crafters rather than through gamblers and junkies spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on what were basically lockboxes in the form of card packs.
Hearthstone’s Boomsday Project
expansion is live today with its typical goofy scenario, this one revolving around World of Warcraft’s
Netherstorm zone and a gobbo mad scientist enjoining players to crew his lab of “bleeding-edge scientists” for mischief and mayhem. What else?
“No project is deemed too difficult (or too dangerous) for Dr. Boom and his colorful team of scientists, engineers, and researchers. In The Boomsday Project, players will encounter raw, unfiltered science in the form of irresponsibly powerful Omega cards, which become incredibly potent when played at 10 mana crystals. They’ll also be inexplicably attracted to the new Magnetic keyword, which allows Mech minions to merge, combining their attack, health, and abilities to form mind-blowing amalgamations of doom. In addition, unwilling participants will be subjected to Projects, maniacal spells that appear to be mutually beneficial to both parties. And players will surely handle the immensely powerful new Legendary Spells, representing the pinnacle of scientific achievement, in a proper and responsible manner.”
Blizzard has goodies in store for “early adopters”; if you log in right away, you’ll pick up some freebie card packs as well as a random class legendary or hero card.
I’ve noticed a bit of a renewal for Pokemon Go thanks to large improvements by Niantic starting with Generation 3. With raids, quests, real-world weather affecting spawns, trading, and friends, the game’s drastically changed since release. But as my fellow Massively OP reporters Brendan Drain and Tina Lauro Pollock have both returned to the game, I’ve also noticed that coming (back) to the game can be a bit confusing.
There are a lot of in-depth guides out there, but there is so much going on with the game that for a real newbie, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Instead, I’m going to go point by point, top priority to bottom, in a way that lets you get back into the game quick and easy, using long-term but relevant tips and resources. Power players and veterans can skim these articles and add their own advice in the comments section, but my job is going to put you on the road to being a capable Pokemon trainer.
Today, we’re going to start with community.
Even in a quarter that didn’t see a single major product or expansion release, Activision Blizzard made even more money than it did the year previous. The company’s Q2 2018 earnings report
showed that the mega-publisher brought in $1.64 billion during the period. This must be making some execs pretty happy, as this managed to pass the company’s target goals for the quarter quite handily.
Blizzard said that it hosted 37 million active monthly users across all of its games during the quarter. World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth has enjoyed “strong pre-orders” to date, and both Hearthstone and Overwatch also were highlighted as particular studio strengths. And this is neither here nor there, but we should point out that yesterday marked the 5,000th day of World of Warcraft’s live operation.
Looks like the money’s going to continue to stream in, with fall expansions and the big announcement that the company signed a deal with Tencent to release Call of Duty Mobile in China.
update 12 is live today, along with the Arena changes the devs explained yesterday.
“This Hearthstone Update charges the nether coils as we get ready to pull the big, shiny lever that unleashes Hearthstone’s newest Expansion: The Boomsday Project, on August 7! This is also your chance to participate in cutting-edge research: drop by a special Fireside Gathering for a Pre-release Event where you can open The Boomsday Project packs and play with your new cards before the official release! This update also brings Arena updates, game mechanics updates, and a few card changes, as well as some bug fixes and feature improvements.”
So about that Arena update. It’s important that class cards show up in Hearthstone’s Arena format. They help ensure that every class feels different, after all, and that’s pretty important in this particular format. But there’s also the problem of them showing up a little too frequently at this point, which is why this patch is dropping their appearance rates significantly. Class cards will have a 50% drop to their appearance rate, as will spells and weapons, which results in a net drop from 250% appearance to 125% appearance. (It’s a multiplicative thing.)
Back in May, Bethsoft surprised Elder Scrolls Legends players with a big announcement: It was ending its partnership with Dire Wolf Digital, which was the original dev studio behind the Elder Scrolls flavored online card game. In its place, Bethsoft would be bringing in a studio dubbed Sparkypants to handle the “future development and ongoing support for the game.” At the time, Bethsoft was promising new features and “competitive scene support,” and then, just a few weeks later ar E3, the company announced a graphics overhaul and port to Xbox One, PS4, and the Switch.
According to a new dev blog out today, Sparkypants’ rework is far more extensive; the companies say they’re “rebuilding Legends from the ground up with brand-new code,” though existing accounts will retain all their progress and achievements. The studio is also focused on a new story expansion and a “new thematic set of standalone cards that will add some interesting new wrinkles to the game’s meta and get players trying new deck compositions” with a focus “on designing ‘big’ cards that will see a lot of play.”
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!
Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Hearthstone, DC Universe Online, Elsword, EverQuest II, Wild Terra, Riders of Icarus, Dauntless, Realm Royale, Pokemon Go, Escape from Tarkov, War of Rights, and EVE Online, all waiting for you after the break!
Yes, the Hearthstone
team is having way, way too much fun with the loopy insanity of the upcoming Boomsday Project
expansion. It’s so much fun, who could call it work? Not the person who wrote this new short story
that steps into the Boom Labs to look at the mad science in progress. Plus, if you read carefully, you might catch a glimpse of one of the expansion’s newest cards.
Hearthstone is currently enjoying the heat of the Midsummer Fire Festival. In addition to enjoying some special theming, players can earn a new fire emote, take part of a fiery tavern brawl, and earn double gold from quests. This event will conclude on July 30th.
Some industry news this morning: James Ohlen announced that he’s retiring from BioWare after more than two decades at the company. MMORPG fans will recall he was at one time the creative director and lead designer for Star Wars The Old Republic, but of course he played a lead role in many other acclaimed BioWare franchises and was also attached to Anthem. He’s told fans he’s taking a break from the industry to work on RPG sourcebooks. SWTOR players are expressing their gratitude for his contributions over on Reddit.
Anyone notice how Hearthstone
seems to have the best art team and the biggest sense of humor of the entire Blizzard studio? It certainly doesn’t have restraints on its creativity or insanity, as evidenced by the announcement of its latest expansion pack, The Boomsday Project
Coming on August 7th, The Boomsday Project takes players on a tour of Dr. Boom’s mad science lab and his “irresponsible experiments.” The expansion contains 135 new cards, including nine additional legendary spells. Players will contend with new types of cards such as Projects, Magnetics, and Omegas.
Single-player lovers will be treated to the Puzzle Lab, a solo experience that reportedly (but don’t quote us on this) involves puzzles. There’s a $50 pre-purchase bundle that’s up right now that tosses in a gold legendary and card backing for those who drop a half-C on it.
Go on a mad science bender after the break!
Minion types in Hearthstone
don’t always matter, until they matter a whole lot
. That’s the motivation behind the new minion types being added to existing cards
, which already look and are named as if they do
have these types. Mountain Giant and Molten Giant, for example, are clearly elemental creatures… but at this point, they lack the Elemental minion type, which will be changed with the next patch. New options for decks focused on Elementals, and a more logical layout!
Other changes include making the North Sea Kraken into a Beast, the Witchwood Piper into a Demon, and the Jungle Moonkin into… not a Beast. (The other Moonkin in the game was not a Beast, and lore-wise they really shouldn’t be Beasts.) This likely won’t wildly change the game’s meta, but it should add new options for some decks and generally make things feel a wee bit more consistent.