Hearthstone isn’t quite ready to roll out the new Mercenaries game mode, announced at BlizzConline, but players can still meet the cast of Mercenaries and learn some neat World of Warcraft lore. A new, free campaign called the Book of Mercenaries released today, and in it, players go through a campaign as Rokara the Frostwolf orc. This is the first part of a ten-part series, each campaign focusing on a different low-level adventurer around Azeroth.
Rokara the young Frostwolf orc and new Horde recruit takes on the challenges of the Barrens head on!— Hearthstone (@PlayHearthstone) April 6, 2021
Complete the first Book of Mercenaries to earn a Warrior Pack! pic.twitter.com/Ji36o1oKZA
“Our ten new Mercenary characters and Book of Mercenaries will exist in that same wacky sandbox, although the story Book of Mercenaries is telling is deeper and more mature than anything Hearthstone has done before,” wrote Matt London, senior game designer on Hearthstone, in an email to Polygon.
The Book of Mercenaries focuses on small-scale stories, like a young Paladin following her sister’s trail, a non-binary elf navigating Azeroth after the fall of Silvermoon, or a warrior learning to prove herself to the Horde. “We meet these characters fairly low level, at the beginning of their journeys. And this is what their legendary cards in Forged in the Barrens represent, heroes in the making, just getting started,” wrote London.
It isn’t quite “canon,” as the Hearthstone story diverges from the main MMO, and there are some timeline changes. For instance, the Blood Elves join the Horde and the Exodar crashes on Azeroth a year before the invasion of Outland, so Forged in the Barrens content takes place between the end of World of Warcraft Classic and the start of Burning Crusade Classic.
“The goal was to highlight the year’s themes of nostalgia and growth and experiencing an epic adventure,” wrote London. There are ten characters — ten from the Horde, ten from the Alliance, all starting out in the world. There are no big legendary heroes or city-wide battles, here. It’s a refreshingly small-scale take on Azeroth that goes back to basics.
There will be ten total Book of Mercenaries stories, with Rokara’s campaign available as of April 6. The new strategy RPG game mode, Mercenaries, is due out later in 2021.