If you’re a little bored of Hearthstone‘s usual card shenanigans, Blizzard are releasing a new game mode that turns the CCG into a roguelike-ish RPG. Named Mercenaries, players will be able to gather Hearthstone characters then send them off into combat to collect bounties. Like Battlegrounds, you won’t use your collection of cards for this, you’ll have to gather a party as you venture on. It comes out later today, and will be free-to-play.
Mercenaries reminds me a little of how you play Darkest Dungeon. There’s no deckbuilding, instead you gather a party of mercenaries in a town (that acts as your hub), and from there have options to send them on missions, collect rewards, manage your party, shop and more.
Then, like Slay The Spire, when you send your party off on bounties they’ll travel up a map with a number of procedurally-generated encounters, ending in a boss battle. In combat, you’ll be able to place your mercenaries and use their various abilities to take down your foes. If you die, you restart your run. All familiar stuff if you’ve played a roguelike or two. As a fan of those, this is actually the first time Hearthstone has peaked my interest.
If you fancy fighting other players, Mercenaries will have a PvP option as well as PvE. The gameplay is slightly different between the two though. In PvE, you’ll be able to see info about what your enemies plan on doing next, while in PvP, you’d need to learn to read human minds to get that sort of knowledge.
Mercenaries arrives in patch 21.4 today, which also preps some Halloween festivities, adding new box dressings and making way for new cosmetics (like fairy tale-themed skins) that you’ll be able to purchase next week. General bug fixes and improvements are being added too, check out the patch notes for the full details.
Activision Blizzard are the parent company of Hearthstone makers Blizzard Entertainment, so it’s worth noting the company are currently in the midst of multiple legal proceedings due to allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment. The most recent development is that two US agencies have discovered a potential conflict of interest in one proposed settlement.