We've got some fresh news for you in regards to Hearthstone's new upcoming game mode - Mercenaries. In an article published by IGN, and an interview by Techpulse Game Director Ben Lee and Production Director Nathan Lyons-Smith gave us a little bit more insight into how it came to be and what players can expect to see from it. If you've missed the first round of news, check out our first article about Mercenaries and our Blizzconline Deep Dive Panel Recap!
- Mercenaries started out as a 2v2 but got changed to something that focuses more on rogue-like elements and character progression.
- Blizzard has been prototyping and building the team for about 11-12 months.
- It's their own take on Slay the Spire with "a mixture of strategic RPG and combat elements, and also some wrapping of rogue-lite levels and progression."
- The Team currently consists of 15 people, with Game Designer Paul Nguyen as the Lead.
- Paul Nguyen is also the creator of Dungeon Run.
- There will be about 40 Mercenaries available to collect! - start with a team and expand it with various characters.
- It's not about deckbuilding - the gameplay hinges on your squad and their abilities.
- Levels will have a randomly generated series of events - such as regular fights, elite encounters, or no combat at all.
- Each level will have a boss. King Mukla or King Krush are both confirmed as bosses.
- Gain new abilities by leveling up - they can also be upgraded.
- Obtain loot through drops and "other means".
- Progression is permanent - max character level will be at least 30.
- In any encounter, both sides of the fight queue up their moves for all their characters at the same time, then watch them play out.
- The endgame is about enhancing your abilities, your skills, finding cool builds and synergies, and a way to beat really hard levels.
- PvE tells you what AI is going to do.
- You can take your team and fight against other players.
One of the things that gets asked about from the community, and that the team is passionate about trying to figure out, is some form of 2v2, and that was actually one of the original pitches. But as we went through, we settled on… character progression, roguelike RPG [elements]… as the thing that we wanted to add to Hearthstone. And we've been prototyping and building and growing that team over the last, I'd say, really 11, 12 months to then have a timeline of, ‘This year, we're expecting to release.
[Paul Nguyen is] the original creator of the Dungeon Run - the Dungeon Run was his pitch and his ideas, obviously [with] tons of talented people [who also] helped make all of those Dungeon Runs across the years. And there's a really great, awesome core [team] working on the Mercenaries mode, but Paul's been spearheading this endeavour and doing really awesome, fantastic work.
The available amount of Mercenaries at the start is somewhere around 40. You have a team that you start with, but it quickly gets expanded with characters like Ragnaros, Sylvanas, King Krush, King Mukla,… Each of them has a few abilities and equipment that enhances those abilities, so the possibilities are immense. There’s a lot of depth and strategic gameplay in Mercenaries.
It's more in the Slay the Spire vein, just for simplicity’s sake. It's our own take on it - I think that's our MO, we do our own takes on these things, like Battlegrounds was our take on the auto battler genre. And this is our take on a mixture of strategic RPG and combat elements, and also some wrapping of roguelike levels and progression.
Like Slay the Spire, each run – or level - will have a randomly generated series of events – usually regular fights, sometime elite encounters and sometimes not combat at all – for players to work through, with a handful of branching paths to choose between along the way. Each run will culminate in a boss – perhaps King Mukla or King Krush.
If you have Thrall, let's say, Thrall has his abilities, and you unlock them through various different means, you actually unlock abilities through levelling up. Then those abilities themselves can be levelled up to be more powerful, equipment can be obtained through drops in levels, and also some other means as well.
Progression is all permanent, so you get to take it home with you at the end of a run of your level. And then you go to the next level and the next level and so on and so forth, and eventually you get into the end game content, which is – in the normal game flow you’re levelling up your characters from level 1 to, say, 30. The end game is enhancing your abilities, your skills, finding the cool builds, the synergies, the way to beat those really hard levels. So there’s a big PVE element to this, but there’s also PVP as well, so you can take your team of characters and fight in cool, strategic combat against other players.
A lot of the endgame gameplay is figuring out, ‘Who are the characters that I should take with me to beat Jaina Proudmoore or to beat the Lich King,’ or whoever the boss might be.
That's a lot to take in, but it surely sounds exciting! Thanks to Suchti0352 for bringing this to our attention.
What are your thoughts on this? Any hopes or concerns? Be sure to tell us in the comments below!
Visit Our Definitive Hearthstone Mercenaries Guide
Head on over to our Hearthstone Mercenaries Guide which will always have up-to-date information on the mode.