For those who weren’t aware, the latest Hearthstone expansion – Knights of the Frozen Throne (KFT) – was released on August 10 with Blizzard’s usual flare and comedic style. After a month of playing in this sixth expansion, I wanted to share my review for for the discerning gamer on the go.
Free – It doesn’t get better than that. Blizzard has joyfully moved away from charging for Solo Adventures, instead offering free access to 7 enjoyable adventure bosses awarding a total of 3 KFT card packs plus a free legendary hero card at the prologue. The adventure is on par with previous iterations with witty bosses and quirky mechanics and the improved accessibility build the Hearthstone community by allowing all players to come together and share their most creative and effective PVE decks. I also applaud the replacement of Heroic Mode bosses in favor of a single dynamic end boss, and the Hero Portrait reward is a vast improvement from the card back “rewards” of previous adventures. (Why award a card back that the earning player can barely see?)
From the simplification and proliferation of Lifesteal to the new Hero Cards, the 135-card expansion has plenty to offer new and experienced players alike. The most significant change to match dynamics is the ability to adjust your hero power mid to late game. It used to be that Lord Jaraxxus was your only option to adjust your hero power (let’s pretend the terrible “hero” version of Rag doesn’t exist), but with Hero Cards, there are now over 20 ways for you to obtain the 35 different available powers.
KFT also boosts match dynamics in more aggressive ways, such as stealing a card from your opponent’s deck (possibly robbing them of a critical card) or destroying 1-mana spells from their hand and deck (suck it, Jade Druids). And if you want a truly dynamic experience, play a Priest so you can literally copy your opponent’s deck. (Note: we discovered that 60 cards is the deck maximum after an absurdly long Priest vs. Priest copy-fest).
Improved Card Pack Mechanics
Often overlooked are the non-gameplay improvements of the expansion. When opening card packs, you’re guaranteed:
- A Legendary card within your first 10 packs of a new set.
- No duplicate Legendary cards unless you have all legendaries from the set.
- No more than 2 copies of a single card within the same pack.
These changes significantly improve the pack-opening and crafting experience for the player, and benefits your “Dust budget”. (It was disheartening to spend 1600 Dust crafting Ragnaros only to open him five packs later and have to disenchant for only 400.) This shows that Blizzard is listening to the community and is willing to adjust some mechanics in order to hold onto customers.
This is a very fun expansion, and Blizzard has made some great strategic shifts in the game to keep it interesting and engaging to new and old players alike. The increased complexity of decks and hero cards has led to longer match duration, but I’d rather a richer experience that takes a bit longer than a quick shallow experience.
For more details on the expansion, visit the official expansion page and check out the new Hearthstone Animated Short: Hearth and Home. (It makes me wonder why Blizzard didn’t just tackle full production on the WOW feature film – they can clearly make enjoyable entertainment.)