What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? I have no idea, which only goes to prove that my father was right about my philosophy degree being a waste of my time and his money. But here's a bigger question: What happens when the loudest laughs in videogames come together? This morning we found out, as Hearthstone game director Ben Brode was joined by Sean "Day" Plott, who some of you may also know as the host of the PC Gaming Show at E3.
For reference, this is what both men sound like when laughing:
The two are friends in real life, and that chemistry very much showed on stream. This was the final card reveal before the release of the Kobolds & Catacombs expansion (which begins on 7 December in NA, but Europe will have to wait until the 8th), so the hosts had a ton to get through. The stream followed the usual format of show matches against a developer, so the fact the entire broadcast took two and half hours should give you a sense of how much time Brode and [Day9] spent teasing each other, usually as the rope burned.
You can now check out all the cards contained in Kobolds & Catacombs as a gallery over at Hearthstone's official Facebook page. When the set goes live, I think I'll be sprucing up my beloved Midrange Wild Demonlock with the likes of Vulgar Homunculus, Kobold Librarian, and Voidlord. Hopefully it catches players off guard as they test the new legendary weapons. Every player will be given a random one of these for free when they login after launch. Running weapon destruction cards like Acidic Swamp Ooze or Harrison Jones in your deck for the first couple of weeks is strongly advised.
Perhaps the craziest card revealed on the stream today was The Darkness. It only costs 4-Mana for this giant 20/20, but when you play it onto the board it's initially dormant, meaning it can't be interacted with at all, and only becomes active after you draw and play the three candles it shuffles into your deck. It's probably terrible, but I'm sure people will experiment with it in decks that look to draw a lot of cards quickly.
After the show matches, Day did a couple of Dungeon Runs. This is the new, vaguely roguelike single-player mode that's being bundled with Kobolds & Catacombs. Runs are free, and see you consecutively facing off against up to eight bosses, which are chosen from a possible pool of 48, some of which will be relatively rare. Lose and the run is done.
You begin each run with a small deck of cards, but add three extras each time you beat a boss. These are chosen from what Brode described as themed 'buckets'. For instance, when playing as Druid, Day opted to pick a bundle that focused on completing the Jungle Giants Quest using big creatures, whereas when he played as Paladin he opted for synergies with Silver Hand Recruits.
Before today's stream I hadn't seen a whole run play out, and the mode looks more fun than I expected. The difficulty starts baby simple, but by the time you reach the final boss—of which there are five—it got pretty tough. There's plenty of humour in there too. One boss was based on the meme card Magma Rager and had a hero power called The Floor is Lava, which automatically dealt 2 damage to any minion played. Another opponent was called A. F. Kay, returning from the Knights of the Frozen Throne PvE missions, and her hero power cost two Mana but read "do nothing". Very cute.
There's been some complaint in the community that the Dungeon Run doesn't offer anything beyond an exclusive card back as a reward, but Blizzard has explained that it doesn't want players to feel obliged to grind this mode rather than play real people. As someone who's always wanted a more advanced version of the Innkeeper to jam cards with while absent-mindedly watching a TV show, Dungeon Run sounds right up my alley. Or down my cave. Whatever, I'll definitely be playing it.
As for the set overall, it seems brimming with potential—both in terms of disgustingly powerful cards like Duskbreaker, and spicy meme cards like King Togwaggle. I doubt the latter will be cracking our list of the top 20 legendaries anytime soon, but I suspect there will be a big shakeup. As ever, we'll update that crafting guide once the meta settles. Let me know what decks you're excited to play down below in the caverns of the comments.