The simple but deep card game that is Heartstone has clocked tons of gameplay hours from everyone who has played it. Whether it be on your laptop during a “riveting” class lecture, on your cellphone in the company washroom or simply in the comfort of your own home, the game has drawn in many people and now, Blizzard has brought yet another exciting expansion to take more of our time with Hearthstone: Whispers of the Old Gods. The newly added expansion’s arrival on our cellphones and computer screen is cause for celebration, but does it bring enough to the Hearth to be a true game changer?

With every new expansion new cards are available and in Hearthstone: Whispers of the Old Gods there are 134 new cards that revolve around the theme of the Old Gods and their corruption. Of these new cards, many are reintroduced monsters from previous expansions that are turned into a corrupted versions of themselves. The greatest cards to be introduced however are the powerful Old Gods themselves and all the known ones from the Warcraft universe are present with C’Thun taking on a more prominent role in this expansion, while N’Zoth the Corruptor, Yogg Saron, Hope’s End as well as Y’Shaarj, Rage Unbound also make an appearance in the game. All these powerful beings as well as other fanatic monsters all bring the theme of Hearthstone: Whispers of the Old Gods truly come to life.

Adding to the new cards is a few new play styles that follow the theme of the expansion with the Old Gods, mainly C’Thun. This play style uses many of the new cards and their abilities give various buffs to C’Thun for a devastating attack against your opponent’s board and will give you a good advantage to either win the match outright or turn the tide of battle. Other Old God cards do not have specific sets to accompany them, but have powerful abilities of their own, making them just as deadly.

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The game of Hearthstone was due for a much-needed adjustment as many cards were just simply overpowered. While some of the changes that were made were for the best, some cards such as the Arcane Golem and the Ironbeak Owl which were already decent cards, are made utterly useless as there are far better cards in-game now due to some unnecessary adjustments. It is not to say that the nerfs were unwanted, as cards such as Big Game Hunter finally have been able to get the adjustment it needed, but it does seem like the proper balance of all cards is still something that needs to be worked on.

Adding insult to injury (or nerfing), the newer cards from the  Hearthstone: Whispers of the Old Gods are much stronger over the older cards. Having easy to drop cards such as Disciple of C’Thun and the C’Thun’s Chosen are low Mana drops that not only help buff C’Thun for late gameplay, but also have great effects such as helping with early game board clears or building up your forces. While there are many older cards in the game that also offer these effects, they are either hard to play on the board and of the rarer variety.

The core gameplay doesn’t change from this expansion from the last, but the introduction of Standard and Wild play adds depth to the game for purists and for those who choose to play with every card. This addition has helped balance out the difference between new players and veterans as well as not to frustrate those who may play the game for fun rather than grinding out the daily quests as soon as they pop up. The game still faces a balancing act when it comes to whom you play against, but these small steps are a great addition into making the game a more even experience.

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One of the greatest things that comes with a new expansion to Hearthstone is the art that comes with the cards. Going in a different route, the people at Blizzard chose to work with some of the past cards and give them a more distinct personality by adding the Old God theme to them. Cards that don’t necessarily have anything to do with the lore of World of Warcraft are reintroduced to players, such as Ragnaros, Lightlord and Hogger, Doom of Elwynn are just some of the few great re-introductions of cards that were previously in the game with new effects and great new art.

Sadly for Hearthstone: Whispers of the Old Gods, we did not get a new board to go with this expansion, besides a re-skin of a previous board. While we have so many great boards to choose from already, it is a shame we didn’t get one to go hand in hand with the theme and new cards. What really draws the personality for Hearthstone are the boards and how you can interact with them while waiting for your opponent to play his card… But hey, at least we did get a well needed sarcastic ‘WOW’ emote!  

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The greatest takeaway from Hearthstone is that it is a free experience and the new expansion of cards are also for everybody to enjoy. The game even gives every player a head start with their Old God deck by giving out a C’Thun and two Beckoner of Evil so that players are not too far behind at the start. The game also introduces a new quest that by completing it players can get their hands on the new expansions cards. which is far better than just having to purchase card packs. The game still retains its ‘pay to win’ options however, by either using in-game gold or by purchasing packs with real money.

For a ‘simple card game’, Hearthstone has become regarded as a one of the most addictive games available and its latest expansion only adds to the fun. From the reintroduction of old cards, to new powerful mechanics, the game offers an exciting adventure for casual and hardcore fans alike. While it still suffers from balancing issues with certain cards, Hearthstone: Whispers of the Old Gods delivers on its game changing mechanics and new twists to the board that will keep everyone playing it until the next expansion.