BlizzCon: Goblins vs. Gnomes First Impression

Goblins_vs_Gnomes_LogoHoly crap! Goblins vs. Gnomes, the first full-fledged expansion for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, is quite simply going to break any deck you have and eradicate the current meta for the digital card game. Warcraft players likely know why. It’s the very nature of the inventions that these tinkering races create. The creations tend to have an inherent flaw, they don’t always work to design. This will put players ever more at the feet of the random number generator (RNG) god.

This reaction is something Blizzard anticipated, even revels in. All of their literature for the GvG reveal admits to “interesting interactions” inherent to the first expansion. Quite simply the company selected the warring races of technical ingenuity in Warcraft to provide a “fun common theme” similar to what Curse of Naxxramas brought to Adventure Play. I’m sure you’ll eventually see me pulling out my hair after my Madder Bomber deals damage to the “wrong” target on the stream, but the risk of the play will assuredly become part of the fun.

Hit the jump for our full first impression, scan through all 28 revealed cards and don’t forget to return tomorrow for our interview with game director Eric Dodds.

After playing a handful of rounds with the unveiled cards it became apparent that while there is indeed an incredible amount of randomness this does not dilute a player’s skill. In fact, I’d argue that it becomes more important. GvG will force players to have to be able to deal with random occurrences. The often linear strategy of Hearthstone goes out the window when damage is split among random characters or a random minion is spawned. This makes the board unpredictable forcing cardmasters to think on the fly, to anticipate multiple potential outcomes. A player’s true test will be their ability to minimize randomness. Mastering the use of cards like Deadly Shot will be the bee’s knees come Goblins vs. Gnomes.

A portion of this infamous randomness comes from the new Mech card type. Retconned to include the likes of Demolisher, Harvest Golem and Mechanical Dragonling, the new card type is the core of Goblins vs. Gnomes. The full bore of the expansion’s synergy is based upon having mechs on the board with ensuing cards morphed thanks to their mechanical companions. The minion type is so fleshed out in the expansion that Hearthstone game director Eric Dodds confirmed that each class contains unique mech cards. This ensures that each class is capable of developing a mech deck. How viable they are remains to be seen.

Goblins vs Gnomes GameboardThe board art is great, perfectly fitting the tinkering of the races it is made to express. But the GvG game board is lacking in today’s iteration. There’s a very simple reason for this, interaction hasn’t been completed. Buttons begging to be clicked, levels aching to be pulled and fuses screaming to be lit leave it open to our imaginations for now.

This all may be a bit bombastic. Blizzard has only revealed a small portion of the 120+ card expansion at this point. Nevertheless, the amount of cards featuring an RNG mechanic is through the roof. If the ratio remains for the rest of the mech-heavy expansion the game of Hearthstone as we know it will dramatically change. Scratch that, the game of Hearthstone is going to change dramatically in December. That’s exactly what an expansion should do!

Goblins vs. Gnomes is slated for release this December. Probably right around that delayed Android release, right? That gives players a few weeks to scrap together those pennies, horde daily Gold and stockpile dust to begin purchasing or crafting the 120+ cards. Yeah, you’ll have to earn your way into GvG, selecting to open packs from the first expansion rather than the current Expert packs. More randomness ahead. The type where skill definitely has no impact.