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PAX Prime 2014: Hearthstone eyes an expansion


The PAX Prime Blizzard booth was one of the larger and more populated venues on the show floor this year. A slow-moving line wrapped around it as players waited eagerly to try out Warlords of Draenor or to see Heroes of the Storm for the first time. Yet it was Hearthstone -- a free-to-play game available to anyone at anytime -- that was winning gamers over.

I talked with Game Director Eric Dodds about how this small project at Blizzard blew up into a great success story. He said that when the team noticed that Twitch livestreams of Hearthstone were drawing in thousands and tens of thousands of viewers is when the studio knew that it had a hit on its hands.

Hearthstone just finished rolling out all of the wings of its first solo adventure, Curse of Naxxramas, which by Dodds' account was incredibly well received by the playerbase. The second week of the adventure's release was one of the game's best-selling so far. But instead of following it up with another solo adventure pack, the team is working on a proper expansion with a new type of pack, over 100 additional cards, and a bigger impact on the game.

I asked if he was worried that adding so many cards would sooner or later cause balance nightmares. Dodds acknowledged the challenge but said that their internal testers were "legend" and great at playing the heck out of the entire game.

Hearthstone will be at the center of a $250,000 tournament at BlizzCon later this year. Past that, the team is working on an observer mode, possible new daily quests, and an Android version by the end of 2014. Oh, and if you're one of those cheapskate players who has yet to drop a penny on the game? Dodds wants you to know that he doesn't mind you in the least; in fact, he said that all players are welcome and important to the card game's success.

Massively's on the ground in Seattle during the weekend of August 29th to September 1st, bringing you all the best news from PAX Prime 2014. Whether you're dying to know more about Warlords of Draenor, The Elder Scrolls Online, Landmark, or any MMO in between, you can bet we'll have it covered!

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