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.
Quote From Nathan Lyons-SmithOne 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.
Quote From Ben Lee[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.
Sounds a lot like the quest table in draenor to me. Collect units to send them out on missions and those units level up.
I don't know why Slay the Spire keeps getting mentioned. Any similarity is extremely superficial. Slay the Spire is a deckbuilding game at its core, and they've just confirmed that there's no deckbuilding in Mercenaries.
Slay the Spire can't really claim credit for maps with branching paths and procedurally generated encounters. As one example, Darkest Dungeon had both of those things three years before Slay the Spire came out.
In fact, now that I think about it, the gameplay of Mercenaries sounds a lot more like Darkest Dungeon than STS.
While you are right that STS is not unique in the aspects it shares with (what we know about) Mercenaries, that doesn't stop it being the/a primary influence. Being an influence doesn't require you to have actually invented the game mechanics, it just requires you to be the trigger for ideas.
Compare it to music: musicians can be inspired by music from the last decade, but that music is unlikely to be especially original in its construction. Nevertheless, you would credit them as inspirations because that is what put the ideas in your head. Expressing it the other way around: it would be ridiculous to credit the Beatles as inspiration for a pop/rock song if you've never actually listened to them.
Right, but I'm not just talking about dev comments about their inspiration. Fansites, news pieces and comments keep acting like the two games are similar, but they are really, really not.
Blizzard using STS as the reference point is more than enough justification for the community to do the same. Plus, there are still enough unknowns about Mercenaries that it's not worth worrying too much about what game it will be most similar to, and it's fine to focus on the known fact that Mercenaries will have features akin to those in STS that the existing HS game modes don't have.
Poor communication on Blizzard's part, compounded with the spreading of misinformation by the community? Sounds a lot like what happened with the launch of the rewards track, so I'm going to have to disagree.
Where is there poor communication and spreading of misinformation? The quote from the game director literally says:
There's no lack of communication, they've stated exactly what it is and the community is echoing that. If Mercenaries actually wasn't inspired by Slay the Spire, then they wouldn't have said that it was. They'd have told us where they got their idea from, or at least tell us that it's not like Slay the Spire.
I don't disagree with you that from what we know it does look a bit more like Darkest Dungeon, but there is absolutely no reason to not trust Blizzard in this case. Who cares if the new mode is actually inspired by Raid: Shadow Legends?
I didn't say "lack of communication." I said "poor communication." Self-contradiction is one form of poor communication. They've said it's "in the Slay the Spire vein" and then contradicted themselves by describing a game that's nothing like STS, apart from the map interface. (Not that I'm mad -- I actually don't care for STS very much.)
I'm sure it's not a case of intentional deceit. It's more a poorly considered offhand comment that has propagated. I've got no beef with Ben Lee. I'm more annoyed at everyone else who's talking about STS when there are more apt comparisons to be made.
If you had a friend who loved STS and hated Darkest Dungeon, and you told them about Mercenaries, describing it as being "in the vein of STS," don't you think you'd be setting them up for disappointment?
This to me seems to be a combination of classic rpgs with Slay the Spire's map system. You make a team of 4 my guess and each merc has it's own skills. It will be turn based combat similar to Final Fantasy or maybe Darkest Dungeon if they want to add a positioning gimmick. Really curious about how it will play out, this is the least "Hearthstone-like" game mode so far.
My guess is that each merc will be a minion, and enemies will be the enemy minions. They will probably alter some core gameplay features like in Battlegrounds. Perhaps we will finally get a "tap" like in MtG, to activate a minion and do a thing. Or maybe the skills will simply be "when this attacks" or "round starts" or spells in hand themed around the mercs. Basically imagine the demon hunter adventure, but instead of a deck, it's all about those 4 special characters and they do a bunch more shit than just act like regular minions.
I was really hoping for a UI announcement at BlizzCon. Blizzard games have typically had exceptional UI, but what was wobbly with the release of Battlegrounds completely broke with the addition of Duels, achievements, and the rewards track. Mercenaries makes that Modes screen even more crowded, and do Solo Adventures and Tavern Brawl need to be so front and center? It's past time for the wooden box to be updated and redesigned.
I also want to see some better incentives to get more players participating in Arena and Duels, and I'd be fine with the retirement of Tavern Brawl. Tavern Brawl really only functions to give a boost to players with a weekly pack and a low-pressure mode to complete quests. I'd rather have those time-investment incentives put into Arena and Duels which thrive on a large player base to work. I hope the Mercenaries PvP isn't an afterthought either, which will require its own incentives to get many players participating. The new game modes (and Arena) are great. I want them properly supported.
Sorry id NOT be fine with Tavern brawl removal at all. I love brawl,i lvoe the thigns thta happens there that cant and shoudlnt in normal HS.
ANd i do not like arena or Duels AT ALL and id rather have a Mode removed at all for ANy reason.
I wouldn't be surprised if they'd redesign (or at least rearrange) some aspects of the UI with the launch of Mercenaries, though I don't think that they'd change a whole lot. Most likely I'd say would be a change to the icon size in the modes menu, and the layout (maybe 2 by 2?) with Mercs simply being added to it.
Solo Adventures should stay where it is, since, well, it has a lot of content to offer. Tavern Brawl on the other hand, I kinda agree that it could be moved from the "main page" into modes maybe. But the question then would be: What could replace it?
Can somebody that played this "Slay Spire" which is the main difference between this and other pve modes like Rastakhan or Witchwood? I don't get the point yet :(
One of the main aspects of Slay the Spire is the map which Mercenaries seem to have copied. The map consists of multiple interconnected paths with different encounters, and you may move from one to the other as you wish (though never progressing backwards). So there is an element of decision making about the fights. You could choose a path with more Elite encounters for better loot and harder fights, or a path with many Events (non combat encounters) to preserve your health. Events are like mini roleplay moments. "You find a shrine dedicated to C'Thun. It has many gold offerings at its base." and you get the options to pillage it for the gold and maybe get cursed, or pray to it, not getting the curse but obtaining a buff. Stuff like that.
The main difference is that mercenaries will have a map where you can select where you want to go, so it's not as linear as the usual dungeon run mode. Another difference is that not everything is fight releated, kinda like bobs tavern. Slay the spire has for example ? rooms that have a random event with things like "you are falling. What do you want to do" where you have to decide which card you want to remove from your deck for example.
The actual combat on the other hand can't really be compared to anything, atleast from the informations we got.
So they're creating an StS-like game mixed with Butcher's Circus mechanics from Darkest Dungeon (Takin your team into PvP)
Hmmmm, that sounds interesting, I love StS so I am definitely lookin for this one
*new expansion is announced* "I'm not lookin' for you"
*rework of core set announced* "You might interest me with this, but it's gonna take more than that to impress m-
*Hearthstone Mercenaries announced* "OOOOOOOOOOOHHH!!"
So Hearth: shadow legends?
For some reason I assumed there would only be 10 mercenaries to collect like the book of mercenaries mentioned. Glad to hear that's not the case, coz 40 mercenaries would make for a better variety of merc combinations. We can all guess some heroes from BGs will be added as mercs
Yeah, I'm not thrilled with how they're going about the whole mercenaries thing.
There are 10 special mercenaries that are going to be highlighted hardcore. 5 Horde and 5 Alliance.
These characters are all going to get their own "Book of Heroes" style adventure in the "Book of Mercenaries".
Then all of them are in the Mercenaries mode, which has more than just those 10 mercenaries.
I heard you liked mercenaries so I put mercenaries in your mercenaries so you could learn more about mercenaries.
I wish they would have been more creative with the mode name.
Well, better get used to them because they will appear in all 3 expansions this year :)
Atleast accoarding to this dev interview.