In 2014, Blizzard Entertainment set out to unveil a new intellectual property (IP), a collectible card game under the title, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Blizzard Entertainment saw success through their online multiplayer role-playing game World of Warcraft, attracting a subscriber base consisting of over 10 million players at the time of Hearthstone’s debut in 2014. World of Warcraft was Blizzard Entertainment’s largest IP, one which saw players traverse expansive virtual fantasy lands and embark on adventures, each which may be grandiose in scale offering unique rewards. Players of the fantasy role-playing game may traverse the realms of Warcraft through a personalised avatar, taking on quests and immersing themselves in an adventure. Through refinements in rewarding gameplay, Blizzard Entertainment may have been able to amass a dedicated community of players.
Drawing from the lore of World of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment developed Hearthstone with an aim to produce a multiplatform strategic card game. Two years later, Hearthstone’s current iteration aims to support cross-play between PC, iOS and android, allowing players to engage in competitive play across all three devices. Blizzard Entertainment’s choice to make Hearthstone support cross-play coupled with their decision to tap into the large World of Warcraft subscriber base may have resulted in Hearthstone’s success in finding its own community of committed followers.
In Hearthstone players may select from 1 of the 9 base classes to compete with at any given time, each deck is customisable and offers a wide assortment of cards and abilities. Players each test their individual deck composition as they participate in one-to-one in competitive bouts of strategy. Hearthstone players wield a variety of spells, calling upon minions for aid or use hero powers in an effort to trump their opponent. This “deceptively simple” formula has seen Hearthstone achieve a subscriber base of over 50 million players.
During Hearthstone’s lifecycle, Blizzard Entertainment aimed to cultivate a competitive scene as regular International Championships are held which see skilled players compete for large prize pools, utilising dynamic card combinations to come out on top. Hearthstone’s noticeable eSports presence and a sizable community have resulted in each update receiving widespread attention. This year Blizzard aims to release a new update, one which takes the form an adventure, titled “One night in Karazhan”. With One night in Karazhan Blizzard Entertainment aims to introduce 45 new cards and an original story campaign to this competitive multiplatform title.
Hearthstone has seen previous adventures released in the past; most recent among them is the League of Explorers, an archaeological adventure to discover hidden artifacts. Framed by a compelling narrative and supported by a cast of characters, the League of Explorers adventure found a new way to introduce cards into the franchise. Employing a similar narrative technique, this latest adventure, One night in Karazhan may allow players to earn new cards through a range of challenges and a unique single player adventure. By introducing new cards, changes to competitive play styles and techniques may be seen as Blizzard Entertainment rebalances and tweaks the dynamics of Hearthstone.
One night in Karazhan employs a tonal and stylistic shift when compared to the previous archaeological adventure, League of Explorers, and seeks to introduce something enchanting. One night in Karazhan invites players to attend a fantasy party, hosted by a wizard named Medivh. Blizzard Entertainment aims to provide players with a diverse mix of characters and entertaining scenarios which all come together under one roof to party the night away.
Since its release in 2014, Blizzard seemed to regularly update the content of Hearthstone, adding new adventures and expanding upon the assortment of cards. Blizzard seemed to continuously tweak and evolved the gameplay over the years, ensuring it remains balanced and accessible to all. The release of One night in Karazhan aims to rejuvenate the series and in doing so Blizzard may demonstrate a commitment to its community. Start saving those gold coins because players may use in-game, or real world currency, to purchase their latest enchanting adventure.
Blizzard Entertainment aims to release One night in Karazhan on 12th August 2016
How may Blizzard Entertainment rejuvenate an existing title through the release of new content?