Hearthstone's first multiplayer raid pits everyone against Super-Arthas

Multiplayer raids are a common feature of MMOs, where players team up to take on a bad guy that they wouldn't have a hope of dealing with on their own. Now Blizzard is bringing that kind of co-op action to the collectible card game Hearthstone in a new Tavern Brawl that kicked off today at Gamescom. 

The brawl is an all-against-one attack against Arthas, who in this particular incarnation brings a whooping one million—that's right, one million—hit points to the table. The object isn't to defeat him—not individually, at least—but to do as much damage as possible before he pounds you out. The better you do, the higher your rank: In the video below, two-time Hearthstone European champion Thijs Molendijk earns the "Rare" rank by inflicting 110 damage, leaving just 991,227 hit points to go. 

Thijs isn't super-clear on how exactly the system works, but the raid seems to currently be exclusive to Blizzard's Gamescom Fireside Gathering. The brawl opens with a note stating that it's "best played by two players seated side-by-side," but he appears to be flying solo to no ill effect. According to Dot Esports, players get two kicks at the King before it's all over, although they'll presumably be able to dive back into the fight after they're knocked out. One million hit points is an awful lot to overcome, after all.

Mechanically, the raid in its current form doesn't seem all that terribly exciting. Thijs appears visibly exasperated at times and doesn't strike me as overly enthusiastic at any point during the video, and beating your face against an unyielding brick wall for nothing more than a "rank" might turn out to be the kind of thing that isn't fun for very long. But the concept is cool, and hopefully Blizzard will continue to tune it and come up with something more robust for a post-Gamescom rollout to the public. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.