It’s been an interesting and generally informational convention weekend, with more news to come. Plenty of studios, even if they weren’t hosting a presence at PAX East or GDC, are busting out some fairly big reveals, including new titles, expansion announcements, and release dates. Getting all of this news at once makes me want to put on my jams and roll around in the information while saying “Whee!” very loudly.
Apart from WildStar’s housing reveal, which is STILL making me grin like a loon, probably the most interesting announcement from PAX was Blizzard’s reveal of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.
It was an interesting announcement for several reasons. First, I’m still amazed that Blizzard deigned to attend a convention that it didn’t have iron-fisted control over. Considering that there’s a BlizzCon coming up in a few months, I have to wonder why the studio didn’t just save this announcement until then (maybe Blizzard has something even bigger in the pipeline? maybe the studio wants to get Hearthstone out the door before BlizzCon?). It also wasn’t what anyone was expecting: an online CCG based on the Warcraft universe and developed by a somewhat small (~15 devs) team. Some people loved the announcement, some hated it, some were rather meh about it, if Twitter reactions were a good read on things.
I’m siding toward the “loved it” category. Why?
- I am a huge sucker for CCGs and have been craving an online one as of late. I remember Magic Online fondly but don’t have a billion dollars to get back into that.
- It’s eventually going to come out for iPad. A mobile Blizzard game? Yes, please.
- I miss the feel of WoW and wouldn’t mind a touch of that back in my life without going whole-hog back into that game.
- It’s a Blizzard game, so it’s not going to be that original but it will be polished and pretty addictive. I can live with that.
All in all, it looks kind of cute and kind of fun. I like that there will be ways to earn cards in the game without hitting a pay wall, although I have no illusions about Blizzard pushing packs on us like an aggressive drug dealer.
CCGs and MMOs have this interesting relationship, especially in the SOE corner. It’ll be fascinating to see how this plays out.