Hearthstone teases new Goblins vs Gnomes cards

A few of Hearthstone‘s 120-odd new cards for the Goblins vs Gnomes expansion have been revealed over at Blizzard’s official website (you can take a gander at them here). A noticeable theme among these new cards are random effects.

While the Curse of Naxxramas expansion was all about the Deathrattle, 15 of the currently announced cards (out of roughly 20, give or take) for Goblins vs Gnomes include some form of a random outcome, be it good or bad for the Gnomes’ mechanical inventions and the Goblins’ exploding Hearthstone card: Illuminatordevices. With an already-vocal group of people unhappy with some of the unpredictable elements in Hearthstone, you can imagine how these new cards, with their heavy reliance on randomized effects, have caused a bit of a stir. Admittedly, some do seem a little overpowered at present.

Take Illuminator – a 3 mana 2/4 minion which heals its owner for 4 health if they control a Secret at the end of their turn. That’s a fairly hefty early advantage if you can get it on the board quickly and keep it there unmolested, and a canny player – particularly a mage – could easily whittle down their opponent in the early game while remaining largely unharmed. Sure, come mid-game it’s likely to get wiped out relatively quickly; but with Secrets costing so little, and being relatively plentiful even in the existing card set, you just know that more than a few players were rubbing their hands with evil glee upon its reveal today.

Goblin_Auto_CardAnother  of the most recently revealed cards is The Goblin Auto-Barber. The Goblin Auto-Barber can only be used by the Rogue class (The first Rogue-only Mech card to be announced so far). The card gives the player’s hero’s weapon +1 Attack and leaves a pretty handy 2 mana minion on the field (with 3 Attack and 2 Defense). With so many of the cards in the new set revolving around Mechs, there’s bound to be some interesting synergies as we learn more and more about the set.

That said, Blizzard is nothing if not dedicated when it comes to ensuring (or trying to ensure) balance, and it remains to be seen how some of these new cards will be balanced against others, and whether some of them get adjustments between now and the time of the expansion’s release.

With such a dedicated fanbase and with some understandable concerns about how Goblins vs Gnomes will affect the game’s delicate balance, Blizzard’s Ben Brode was understandably eager to clear the air and get rid of the idea that Hearthstone was a game based more on luck rather than skill, during Hearthstone’s dedicated panel at BlizzCon over this past weekend. Brode pointed to Hearthstone‘s ability to create player stories, as well as unique scenarios that demand a high level of skill to negotiate. Lead designer Eric Dodds took a similar position, and went on to describe the team’s love for a concept they call “delightful surprise” and how they see it as a cornerstone of the game’s ongoing development.

One thing’s for sure – the Goblins vs Gnomes expansion is not only bringing a new lot of cards but also adding a spectator mode to the game. You can expect to be able to watch your friends’ greatest plays as well as their most dire defeats (provided they have enabled the spectator option).

The Goblins vs Gnomes content is set to launch in December so you don’t have to wait long! Those dying to be able to play on their Android devices don’t have to wait long either according to the Hearthstone production director, Jason Chayes, who said that December will also mark Hearthstone‘s release on Android tablets. No matter which system or faction you choose to play though, Chayes promises the results will be “explosive.”

Based on what we’ve seen so far, we don’t doubt it.

Oliver Zimmerman

Oliver Zimmerman

South-African raised, Dublin-resident. Oli loves games in all their shapes and forms. He particularly loves RPGs. He's also a keen wordsmith, and can often be found not just playing games, but also discussing their rights and wrongs.
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