Image source: Blizzard

It’s a positive idea to be the best. The first competitor in your grade, the top scorer in your class, or the team that lifts the championship trophy overhead at the end of the season. If the thrill that comes with success wasn’t worth the agonising amount of work or the money spent to claim the top spot, there would be no reason to do that.

After its debut almost seven years ago, Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone’s place has become the world’s leading interactive collectible card game puppy, changing the genre that many know and love. Of note, Activision Blizzard has also gained from the hundreds of millions of dollars the game has earned for the organization from millions of engaged players, from young to old.

To claim that there are rivals in the digital card game field is like comparing the Overwatch League to that of the local college sports team. Yes, technically, there are other card games that do exist which have a sound playing base (e.g. Legends of Runeterra, Magic The Gathering: Online, etc.) but as yet they do not have enough market share to be considered as a long-term threat. Even on Hearthstone’s toughest day, Twitch’s viewing of the game beats that of its “competitors.”

Image source: Blizzard

So when BlizzConline 2021 took place over the weekend, Hearthstone’s fans were likely to expect the same old song and dance from the game production team during the celebration: a new expansion would be announced, maybe some never-before-seen cards and mechanics would be seen, and that would be it. Not that all of these things are boring; in fact, millions of players around the world have encircled the date on their calendars in curiosity about what was to come.

What they got, though, was a lot more than they might have expected. Not only was Forged in the Barrens, the forthcoming game expansion revealed, but also:

  • A sneak peek into some cards appearing in the upcoming Core Set
  • A new categorization system for spell cards in the form of Spell Schools
  • An entire story that will take place across three expansion during the Year of the Gryphon in 2021
  • A unique keyword, Frenzy
  • Ranked Spells which level up as the game progresses
  • A handful of cards set to appear in the upcoming expansion
  • An entirely new RPG roguelike game mode set to come out “later in the year”
  • Information from the development team in an extensive Q&A
  • In-depth interviews with numerous gaming publications

Hearthstone stole the spotlight in an exclusively virtual event that missed an in-person buzz.

Image source: Blizzard

In an interview with TechPulse, Hearthstone’s Game Director, Ben Lee, said that about 75% of the game has been played for more than four years. It’s a source of concern to others. To some, this figure is shockingly hopeful about the future of the title. So, understanding that, Blizzard’s Hearthstone BlizzConline introduction concentrated on satisfying those who are searching for new material and ways to play, right? Nope. Nope. Blizzard was approaching crowds with rogue players who may have been dabbled in other card games, such as Slay the Spire or Monster Train, with their new game mode, Mercenaries.

Blizzard is not happy with being in the first spot in the digital collectible card game world, they want to smash their rivals with more content and more content, more often with the help of their Hearthstone’s client, which Lee called the “platform for card games.” 

By having the forthcoming Core Package accessible for all fans, Blizzard is aiming to welcome new players to their Hearthstone’s ecosystem while giving old players who invested a lot of money on the game a little break from opening their wallets. They also want to give the players, who may have dabbled in the title in the past but quit because of the high cost of the game, a chance to come back.

It was a fantastic titan’s strategy.

Source: Inven Global


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