The next adventure add-on for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft was announced today during the BlizzCon opening ceremonies. Titled League of Explorers, the single-player-focused expansion will take players on a journey through "ancient temples filled with relics, treasures and traps."
The titular League of Explorers heading up the adventure is made up of four Warcraft heroes, beginning with the well-established dwarf Brann Bronzebeard, who founded the League; the cocky human Reno Jackson; the night elf cartographer Elise Starseeker; and a murloc who can speak named Sir Finley Murgleton. These four will set off on a journey to different locales in the Warcraft universe to hunt down the pieces of an artifact called the Staff of Origination.
Each of the staff's three parts are in a different location that will serve as a "wing" of the adventure: the Temple of Orsis, Uldaman and Stranglethorn Jungle. The adventure's fourth and final wing will take place at the Hall of Explorers in the dwarven capitol city of Ironforge, where the staff will be stolen by an evil archaeologist named Rafaam.
"There are less total missions to play in League of Explorers, since there's four wings and not five," Hearthstone senior game designer Ben Brode told Polygon at a pre-briefing event for the expansion earlier this year. "But there's actually more total cards in this expansion than in previous adventures."
Brode said the adventure will contain 45 new cards in total. Although we were shown a number of them, they were not final at the time we saw them and, as such, could be changed before the adventure releases.
A new mage spell card called Torch costs three mana and deals three damage, but also shuffles another three-mana spell into your deck that deals six damage, allowing you to snowball into more powerful abilities later in the game.
A hunter spell called "Explorer's Hat" will give a minion one extra attack and one extra health, but that's not the only bonus it provides. When that minion dies, they'll drop another Explorer's Hat card into your hand.
Some of the new cards feature a new mechanic that Blizzard is calling "discovery." For example, a certain minion might have a battlecry that reads "discover a spell." When you play this minion, you'll be shown a choice of three spells. The one you pick will instantly be delivered into your hand. Brode said discovery options will be restricted to neutral cards and cards of the class you're currently playing — no discovering a druid spell as a rogue, for example.
In keeping with the theme, League of Explorers will also include some new traps in the form of secrets. Hunters will have Dart Trap, which triggers when the opposing hero uses their hero power, and deals five damage to a random enemy. Paladins will get a secret called Sacred Trial; when this is active, if an enemy has at least three minions and plays a fourth, the new minion will be destroyed.
League of Explorers will feature five new legendary cards — one for each member of the League, and one for the villainous Rafaam. Brann Bronzebeard will cause any battlecries that get played while he's active to trigger twice. Reno Jackson will fully heal your hero's health, as long as your deck contains no more than one copy of any card. Sir Finley will allow you to discover more murlocs and put them into your hand. And Rafaam will give players access to three "powerful artifacts," unique spells that cost 10 mana in exchange for "crazy effects."
Most interesting of all, though, is Elise Starseeker. When she's played, a spell card called "Map to the Golden Monkey" will be shuffled into your deck. When Map to the Golden Monkey is played, a minion named Golden Monkey will be shuffled into the deck. And when Golden Monkey is played? Every card in your hand and in your deck will be replaced with random legendary minions.
Whether or not Elise and her chain of effects will actually be good or viable to play is up for debate, but there's no denying that it's a ridiculous, fun card.
The first wing of League of Explorers will launch next Thursday, Nov. 12. We'll update with more details, images of the new cards and video as we have it.