Hearthstone VR prototype allows players to walk around the Tavern - Dexerto
Hearthstone

Hearthstone VR prototype allows players to walk around the Tavern

Published: 27/Jan/2020 23:34

by Brad Norton

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You might soon be able to see the salt emanating from your opponent more authentically than ever before as Blizzard has confirmed that there is in fact a playable version of Hearthstone in Virtual Reality (VR).

Blizzard’s Collectible Card Game (CCG) invites players to a charming tavern filled to the brim with all sorts of whimsical characters from the rich Warcraft lore. Pulling up a chair by the hearth will keep competitors warm while they face off in the deeply strategic game.

That experience could be translated into the virtual world in the near future as a PowerUp interview with Blizzard teased that a playable version of Hearthstone VR has already been developed internally.

Hearthstone characters around a table
Blizzard
Could you picture taking a seat at this table in virtual reality?

Having transitioned out of Beta testing in 2014 upon its official release, Hearthstone quickly became available on a wide array of platforms from desktop to mobile. One market that it is yet to enter, however, is VR. 

Internally at Blizzard, developers are invited to an event labeled ‘Free Your Mind.’ This period allows for developers to work on brand new projects outside of their core tasks and one such group recently decided to focus their efforts on a prototype for Hearthstone VR.

Designed by just two developers over the course of two weeks, developers outlined how the playable build actually allowed you to “walk around The Tavern and sit down to play a game with someone.”

Hearthstone game board
Blizzard
Rather than an overhead view that we’re used to, VR would offer a new perspective on the board.

While it was merely an experiment for two developers to tackle on the side, there’s no denying that the proof of concept was appealing to those internally. Features were extremely limited in the quick build, only allowing simple interactions such as throwing “cards at the table” or flipping the table over, but the potential is certainly there.

Being able to physically walk around in a crowded tavern, spectate ongoing games, and interact with countless others similar to the likes of VRChat could be a fantastic way for Hearthstone to evolve moving forward.

Purely a test run for the time being however, there’s no telling whether the two developers were allowed to continue their efforts and further flesh out a VR version of the game.

Hearthstone characters
Blizzard
Perhaps a release on VR could coincide with a new expansion.

Despite its potential, some developers at Blizzard “believed players would prefer to be able to swipe their finger on a tablet” rather than having to manually place cards on a board in a physical space.

Perhaps we’ll see a VR version of Hearthstone one day, but for the time being it seems as though it’s not the highest priority for Blizzard and that the concept will just remain a prototype.

Hearthstone

Hearthstone finally adding dual-class cards in Scholomance Academy

Published: 15/Jul/2020 5:07 Updated: 15/Jul/2020 7:06

by Isaac McIntyre

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Blizzard has confirmed Hearthstone will finally be adding dual-class cards in its upcoming expansion, Scholomance Academy, which is set to be released in early August according to the collectible card game developers.

Hearthstone has just unveiled its next major expansion, a wizarding school-themed set that evokes the world of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise. The August expansion will be the second to be added in the Year of the Phoenix, following ‘Ashes of Outland.’

There are a few new features Blizzard are planning on bringing to their long-standing online trading-card game in the next expansion, they confirmed on July 14. Chief among them are “dual-class cards,” a first for Hearthstone.

Scholomance Academy feature image for Hearthstone expansion.
Blizzard Entertainment
Blizzard just unveiled its next Hearthstone expansion, Scholomance Academy, set to be released in August.

It’s not the first time the base classes have shared limited cards; the title’s fourth expansion ‘Mean Streets of Gadgetzan’ added “tri-class cards” to the pool all the way back in December 2016. There were only nine classes back then, however.

Dual-class “Double Major” cards

With the addition of Demon Hunter at the start of Year of the Phoenix, Blizzard can now split cards into five groups, each with two related classes. There will be ten dual combos all up in the August expansion release:

  • Druid/Hunter
  • Hunter/Demon Hunter
  • Demon Hunter/Warlock
  • Warlock/Priest
  • Priest/Paladin
  • Paladin/Warrior
  • Warrior/Rogue
  • Rogue/Mage
  • Mage/Shaman
  • Shaman/Druid

Each class pairing will be given four of the 40 dual-class cards on the menu in Scholomance Academy, Blizzard revealed. The devs also confirmed each of the ten pairings would also get a Legendary ‘professor’ minion as well.

New mechanic: ‘Spellburst’

The “Double Major” cards won’t be the only new addition for Hearthstone in the upcoming August expansion either. As per usual, the devs will also be slapping a new mechanic on the table; this time, it’s called “Spellburst.”

Basically, it’s a delayed spell power for minions and players alike. The new effect warns that it will “trigger a one-time additional effect when a spell is played.” It’s almost like a trap card from rival series Yu-Gi-Oh!, but built into minions.

Hearthstone mage casts a Spellburst spell at a dummy in Scholomance Academy.
Blizzard Entertainment
Hearthstone fans will be able to pull off tricky spell traps with the new “Spellburst” cards.

New spells: ‘Studies’

The final new Hearthstone change for players to wrap their heads around for Scholomance Academy is a new spell type, “Studies.” These cards have Discover-only effects, but allow you to tutor up a specific type of card, like Demon or Mech.

Once you’ve collected your card, it will reduce the mana cost of the next card you play of that type. It certainly seems like a must-pick card for themed decks. The first that springs to mind is Paladin Murloc, which has run rampant in the Year of the Phoenix so far.

Murlocs charge forward in Hearthstone.
Blizzard Entertainment
The super-aggro Hearthstone deck “Murloc Paladin” will love to get its hand on the new Studies cards.

So there you have it; everything we know about Blizzard’s upcoming Hearthstone expansion Scholomance Academy. Keep your eyes peeled on Dexerto for more details on all 135 new cards set to be released in the August set.

The next Year of the Phoenix release is expected to drop in mid-August. Ahead of the official expansion release, fans can get an “Academy Bundle” for $49.99 USD, or book themselves a whopping 80 packs with the $79.99 “Mega Bundle.”