The latest set of cards, Rastakhan’s Rumble, released for popular online card game Hearthstone is finally here and its impact on the community is massive.
Readers of eSports.com are well familiar with the words Rastakhan’s Rumble. Ever since its announcement during BlizzCon 2018, our team has been reporting the developments of the Troll-themed set of cards on the daily. Sometimes all the discussion surrounding certain cards, news about game modes, and reviews of the aesthetics and feel of the expansion can take away from the very basic explanations that are valuable to new players. Today, we take a step back and look at the bigger picture, seeking an answer to one simple question: why are these 135 cards so important?
New things to play with
Obvious, right? But this is really important. These new cards serve two purposes – improving existing types of decks already played at competitive play, and introducing brand-new ones. This is not always a no-brainer, as history shows that certain expansions (such as the previous one, The Boomsday Project) fail to massively change the game and only serve to implement minor tweaks to the best decks. Now, Rastakhan’s Rumble is full of high-power, but also interesting cards that set their own play style and require interesting combinations. This is a much-needed breath of fresh air.
Out with the old
Some of the older cards are not going away, but their usefulness is greatly reduced compared to the brand-new offerings. This is normal, and important for the health of the game. While yes, it feels great to spend some money and actually come up with a deck that wins most games, it also could become stale, boring and downright annoying to see it 6 months in a row. An easy solution would be to just build another one, right? Wrong! Since the other players also want to play with the best decks, you keep seeing the same ones over and over. This year’s Global Games, one of the most prestigious esports events in all of Hearthstone, had a certain deck (Shudderwock Shaman) being played by all of the teams. Let’s be honest – where’s the fun in that?
This isn’t strictly a gameplay component, but it’s a rather important one for the experience of the players. A new expansion always means new locations, storyline, and characters. Casual fans like to see a familiar face or a very cool new character every now and then, while inquisitive fanatics scour the internet for hours, reading just about every aspect of the story, the different heroes that do battle, and their fantastic battlegrounds. In both cases, this brings great value to the game and creates a sense of familiarity, belonging, and living and breathing world, instead of a table with arranged game pieces on it.
All of these are preceded by a nicely-made marketing campaign by the studio Blizzard, which creates hype, but also a sense of community and teamwork. These things are important and memorable aspects to the overall experience.
And for those reasons, a new expansion is out, and that’s exciting.