Even though Blizzard's light-hearted digital card game, Hearthstone, just got a new expansion back in April, rumors of new content just around the corner have been proven true. At an event in Shanghai, China, the studio announced a new adventure, One Night In Karazhan, that will add hours of single-player content and 45 new cards to the mix when it launches on August 11th. Best of all, the first prologue mission is free for everyone.
First, specifics: as the game's adventures have gone, Karazhan won't be as full-fledged as a proper expansion like April's Whispers Of The Old Gods, which added 100 cards and made quite a few changes. Instead, the upcoming content addition will introduce a new single-player experience released in weekly episodes, known as "wings." Every Thursday, players who have paid admission (in real-world money or in-game gold) get a new slew of mini-bosses that, if defeated, award cards.
Like the previous adventures, Karazhan is a multi-person dungeon raid from World of Warcraft. In the MMO, players explored the spooky, abandoned tower of the treacherous-but-now-redeemed wizard Medivh. In Hearthstone's upbeat side universe, gamers are invited to a disco-infused dance party, but strange things are afoot for them to investigate.
To keep the game fresh, Blizzard introduced new competitive rules with the last content addition, Whispers Of The Old Gods, splitting constructed player-versus-player into two modes. Standard only allows cards released in the last year, and as the de facto mode for tournaments and professional play, keeps top-line competitive play fresh. Wild, on the other hand, is a catchall of every card from the beginning set, two full expansions, and three adventures released to date -- a total of 832, not including Karazhan.
Each new content release's cards typically adhere to a unique synergistic theme, but aside from an intriguing handful of new additions featured on Polygon's post, it's unclear how Karazhan will change the face of Hearthstone. Entire decks seen in professional play have been built around single cards released in the last expansion, last year's League of Explorers, so it's a good bet that the new ones will shake up the deck balance that's been settling since Whispers dropped in April.
But best of all, everyone can try out the first level of Karazhan for free. The prologue and first wing will be playable on August 11th, with each of the three others becoming available on subsequent Thursdays. Players can buy the entire adventure for $20, or each wing for $7 or 700 in-game gold, with Blizzard promising a money-saving bundle should folks purchase them piecemeal. And lest you think you'll skirt the adventure and just drop dollars on a few packs...you can't. The only way to get all the new cards is to earn them by buying a new section and beating it. Good luck, and may the groove be with you.