The digital tabletop card game known as Hearthstone, developed and published by Blizzard, will receive yet another expansion in the coming month. Dubbed The Grand Tournament, and like the expansions before it, it will introduce over one hundred new cards (132 to be precise), but the highlight of the new additions is the new keyword, “inspire“. The new keyword, like the rest, is, in practical terms, a new game mechanic, adding a new dimension of possible strategems for players to experiment with.
Blizzard was founded by tabletop strategy and RPG fans, so it’s safe to say they know their stuff when it comes to Hearthstone. The company is renowned for their work in the Starcraft and Warcraft franchises, including MMORPG titan, World of Warcraft, not to mention the Diablo games. In the trend of quality they started roughly two decades ago, Hearthstone is a simple yet profoundly robust tabletop card game that exists entirely intagibly in the digital realm of Blizzard’s servers. The cards are bound to your account and trading amongst friends is not part of the experience, but that doesn’t subtract from the experience in the least. The game is entirely free and features an in-game currency (gold) that can be used to purchase booster packs and chances to fight in the arena game mode, which can all be purchased with real money as well. Two single-player experiences have been added with previous content expansions that are locked behind a real-world-money paywall, but everything else is obtainable for free (if you don’t count time investment as currency, that is). Regardless, it’s a well-constructed game and expansions like this one only expand on what it does right.
Currently, the game features five keywords that function as a game mechanic and expand strategic variety in many ways. The list includes charge, stealth, taunt, battlecry, and deathrattle, which all have their own unique functions. For example, charge allows a minion to attack the same turn it is summoned, and deathrattles are effects that are triggered when a minion is killed. The new keyword, inspire, is a new mechanic that is triggered whenever a player uses their hero power. For those unfamiliar with the game, players control different heroes each game that each have their own hero power and a set of class-specific cards that only that class can use. Examples include the mage’s fireball and the priest’s lesser heal. By implementing another way to utilize the existing mechanics, Blizzard ingeniously increases depth immensely while increasing complexity only slightly, which makes for a more varied and engaging strategic experience.
For an official rundown of the new “inspire” keyword’s mechanics, check out the explanation posted by Blizzard on their website.
It’s entirely free to download the game from Blizzard’s official Hearthstone website and begin playing immediately.