world of warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic Y Hearthstone both revisit one of the franchise’s most beloved villains: Arthas Menethil, the Lich King. Arthas first appeared in warcraft 3 In 2002, and 20 years later, Blizzard continues to tell and retell the story of its rise, corruption, and fall. Arthas has made such consistent appearances as a villain because he’s a walking origin story for half the heroes on Azeroth.
As players prepare to eventually face the Lich King in classic anger, Hearthstone is exploring a hypothetical battle for the city of Silvermoon that celebrates the most angsty elves in the game, the Blood Elves. The newest expansion to the card game, March of the Lich King, launched on December 6, adding the new Death Knight hero class for free and introducing 145 new cards.
“Arthas is without a doubt our most popular character – there is star power there and excitement to see his story. Knights of the Frozen Throne it was one of our most popular expansions. But we haven’t gotten around to telling the story of Arthas in Hearthstone before, and has a wide audience that might not have played world of warcraft Y warcraft 3.” says Chadd Nervig, has the lead in Hearthstone.
Players can unlock Hearthstoneof the Death Knight class playing through a story prologue that introduces Arthas and shows his impact on the rest of the cast. (Spoiler alert: he’s no good, and no one else likes him very much.) Hearthstone introduced its first new class in 2020, with Illidan the Demon Hunter. “It’s very important to us that playing that class in Hearthstone feels like it does in world of warcraft — the environment is there, with the iconic spells and abilities,” says Nervig.
Thus arises the Death Knight, with a unique rune system and an army of the undead. This hero class tutorial comes with a showcase of undead, blood, and frost runes. “One of the things we learned from the Demon Hunter prologue is that he did a great job with the origin story of Illidan, but the players had to figure out what [gameplay] the archetypes were there by themselves,” says Matt London, mod designer. “We were able to showcase the power of each rune and give players an idea of what each spec is trying to do.”
But it’s not much fun for a Death Knight to lay waste to weak enemies. Enter the Blood Elves, one of the Lich King’s greatest enemies in warcraft 3. Arthas’s campaign to Northrend and the Frozen Throne took him through his own homeland and the elven homeland of Quel’Thalas, where the Scourge killed 90% of the High Elf population. The elves changed their name to Blood Elves and began doing some morally questionable things to rebuild their people, like drinking demon crystals and torturing a being of pure Light named Naaru to gain paladin powers.
“There are few absolutely black and white aspects of the conflicts in the Warcraft story,” says Nervig. “There are different shades of gray, and the Blood Elves were on the darker side in some cases, and they’re coming out of it. [circa early Wrath of the Lich King]but some of those roots are still visible there.”
The Blood Elves made a natural pillar for this new Hearthstone expansion as the team began to iterate on the initial concept. Blizzard needed something that would stand out from Knights of the Frozen Throne and Icecrown Citadel, but it was still grounded in lore. The team had also wanted to have a blood elf-focused expansion for some time, so pitting them against their longtime nemesis made sense. This time, Arthas is on the offensive, looking for the second round with Silvermoon.
It harkens back to a simpler time in warcraft tradition, before the metaphysical implications of the Shadowlands. While the team says that an Ardenweald expansion is a whennot a Yesfor now Hearthstone it’s right next door World of Warcraft Classicplunging into the nostalgia of 2008.
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