Hearthstone is getting its first crossover character from another Blizzard franchise, as part of its upcoming Mercenaries game mode. The new mode launches on October 12, and one of the eponymous mercenaries will be the devil himself from the Diablo series. He’s available as one of three pre-purchase bundles for the game.
Blizzard announced the new character among a lot of new details and our first look at the Mercenaries game mode that the company has been teasing since the beginning of this year. As previously announced, Mercenaries incorporates elements of RPGs and roguelikes into its own PvP/PvE environment that plays vastly different from the standard Hearthstone collectible card game.
In Mercenaries, you’ll visit the Village as a central hub where you can find Bounties, buy things from the Mercenaries shop, and claim mode-specific rewards. When you take on a Bounty you’ll select a party of six Mercenaries. Then at the start of combat you’ll pick three of those to do battle, with the other three on the Bench ready to take over if one of your characters falls or swaps out with a special ability. Completing Bounties will gain you experience to level up your heroes along with loot, and the bounties are repeatable so you can keep going to collect a particular type of loot.
The Mercenaries characters will be one of three classes: Fighters (green) with high damage potential, Casters (blue) with powerful spells but less attack than fighters, and Protectors (red) with high defense and support abilities. You’ll also be able to equip them with items to enhance or alter their abilities to your liking. During combat you’ll place them on the board and choose their abilities, which will then activate all at once during the combat phase.
The new mode will launch with 50 Mercenaries characters. Trying it during the introductory phase will get you eight initial characters, enough to form a party, and you can collect more by crafting or buying Mercenaries packs. The eight launch Mercenaries will be a mix of well-known Warcraft characters and original characters who have been introduced into Hearthstone this year: Rokara, Tyrande, Blademaster Samsuro, Xyrella, Millhouse Manastorm, Cariel Roame, Cornelius Roame, and Grommash Hellscream.
Three pre-purchase options are available for Mercenaries now: the Diablo bundle with a Diamond Legendary Diablo and 50 Mercenaries packs for $50; the Lich King bundle with a Diamond Legendary Lich King and 50 Mercenaries packs for $50; and the Sylvanas bundle with a Golden Legendary Sylvanas and 30 packs for $30.
The introduction of a non-Warcraft character into Hearthstone could also mean that Blizzard is feeling more free to experiment and crossover with its other popular franchises. So we may see other cameos in Mercenaries in the future, like Kerrigan from Starcraft or whatever they re-name McCree from Overwatch. That name change is coming in light of an ongoing sexual harassment suit brought by the state of California, which has loomed over recent Activision Blizzard events and led the studio to cancel its planned reveal stream for the most recent Hearthstone expansion.
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