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That Contentious Coin

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hearthstone-the-coin-card

Hearthstone games are quick. With steady mana, limited defenses, and a heavy slant on offensive power Hearthstone’s contests of cards are about early advantages and constant presses. Laying minions often and early is a great way to stress your opponent – even big guys can only attack once. There are ways to clear the board, like flamestrike and lightning storm, but they’re more common for some heroes than others. This isn’t necessarily an issue; the heroes are designed around the classes of WoW (perhaps vice versa) and their spells are drawn from well known class abilities.

The issue, at least a common point of controversy, is the Coin. On its face the card doesn’t appear to give a significant advantage. The player going second is given a zero cost spell that grants one mana for one turn. It doesn’t sound like huge boon. At best, the second player can put down a minion or cast a spell a turn before the mana actually accrues or play a combination of cards for great effect. The bonus mana isn’t really a problem. Smart players, or players fortunate enough to have a good hand of cards, can take advantage of it and turn the tide or press a advantage further toward victory. The problem is that the Coin currently counts as a spell.

That makes sense. It is a spell. It has a spell effect and it certainly isn’t a minion. But the zero cost spell for the second player provides a secondary, and arguably more powerful, bonus. Cards that take advantage of spells cast that turn are boosted because of an arbitrary turn order, not because clever deck construction. The Coin’s advantage is supposed to be a one time mana bonus. The mechanical advantages for player turn order are already present: player one is one mana ahead, player two is one card ahead. The Coin is a nice bit of gravy; going first is quite an advantage and the bonus mana can switch the momentum. Any other advantage it provides is superfluous. It’s effect as the 31st card is too potent.

The Coin shouldn’t be a spell, it should just be the Coin. A card all of its own.

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Golden Gelbin and other news

hearthstone-golden-mekkatorque

hearthstone-golden-mekkatorqueZeriyah provided a lengthy update on Hearthstone today, commenting on some changes to the game as it progresses closer and closer to beta. Among the items discussed was a restatement that the Hearthstone team is working vigorously to launch beta before summer ends. Zeriyah phrased the timeline for beta as “not days away from launching the beta, but [...] not months away either.” Progress is being made but patience is required.

The beta will allow players to spend real money on card packs and Arena entry. However, because of the changing nature of beta testing Hearthstone’s developers have decided to reward players who put down cash with something special – a golden version of Gelbin Mekkatorque. When you purchase cards or Arena entry, you’re granted a copy of the Gnome King. His golden version is only available this way: no crafting or lucky drops from card packs. A regular version can be crafted once the game is released.

Hearthstone has also been tested on the iPad with cross-platform play. Zeriyah called it an awesome milestone in development for Hearthstone. Any means of expanding the player pool for the game has to be considered an incredible success; cross-platform potential is a phenomenal one.

The update ends with Zeriyah telling the community to continue to engage with the Hearthstone team. The community helps guide how the game evolves and the developers want to know what’s working and what isn’t.

WoW TCG: Blood of Gladiators New Epic Loot Items

Upper Deck just informed us of their new upcoming WoW TCG: Blood of Gladiators Loot Cards and more importantly the code you can use on PTR 3.1 Servers to have a live sneak peek of what they look like.

Upper Deck Announces The Latest World of Warcraft

New Rise of the Lich King Stein Collection

3 Point Entertainment had successful sales of the World of Warcraft Steins and launched a new series at the end of 2008.  They have established themselves so well in the World of Warcraft market that a new collectible series based on Wrath of the Lich King has been announced recently.

Featuring Arthas the Lich King, the new stein comes in two flavors: Epic Collection for $89.99 and the Legendary Collection for $174.99. These new steins will be available on late April and late May.

Blizzard Quote:

Epic Collection

  • Shipping late April

  • Incredible Alex Horley artwork
  • Fine-grain stoneware with bas-relief sculpting
  • Sculpted pewter lid
  • Limited production
  • Purchase 2+ steins and pay only $12.95 shipping/handling on your total order!*

Legendary Collection

  • Shipping late May

  • Limited to only 750 steins worldwide
  • Hand signed by Alex Horley
  • Exquisite enhancements including premium hand painting (See FAQ for more details)
  • Limit 1 stein per customer
  • Purchase 2+ steins and pay only $12.95 shipping/handling on your total order!*

2009 NYCC: New DC Unlimited World of Warcraft Action Figures

During my visit to the 2009 New York Comic Con, I visited the DC Comics booth to check out their World of Warcraft action figures and the artists. Chris Metzen had told me after the interview to return to the booth to see three new action figures: King Varian Wrynn (Lo’gosh), a Night Elf Huntress named Alathena Moonbreeze and a Scourge Ghoul named Rottingham. These look awesome. If you are a action figures collector, these will do great. Their armor, weapons and clothing are very detailed and colorful. Very accurate to the game, standing on impressive poses.

The DC Comics was packed with hundreds of people, the ambient was welcoming with tall posters of each franchise, especially the World of Warcraft comic book. They were showcasing video on big HD monitors of DC Online, DC vs Mortal Kombat, and even playing the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King cinematic intro. I got video of each DC Unlimited World of Warcraft action figure from different angles for your viewing pleasure. As well as close ups. Enjoy.

The first scenario for the WoW: Adventure Game League!

Fantasy Flight Games invites players to embark into the latest World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game scenario: Alterac Valley. Heed the call to battle!

World of Warcraft: the Adventure Game is an exciting and fast-paced journey through the world of Azeroth for 2 to 4 players. Choose your favorite hero and embark on an epic journey from humble beginnings to immense power, battling vicious monsters, powerful overlords, and your treacherous fellow players!

Two to four players each take on the role of a Warcraft character. The base World of Warcraft Adventure Game comes with four unique and distinctive characters: Burbonn Fang the Dwarf hunter, Sandrai Darkshine the Human warlock, Sofeea Icecall the Undead mage, and Grumbaz Crowsblood the Orc warrior. Each character is depicted by his own detailed plastic figure and has his own specialized character and ability cards.

imageThe call to arms has been sounded. Will you take up arms? This first scenario in the World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game League will force you to reevaluate your tactics, as you must prove yourself worthy through combat. For more information on the league, check out this article. Once you have played, record your information (Include all of the information requested in this news article) and email it to the JR Godwin, League Administrator.

World of Warcraft # 15 Preview - Garona Birthed A Half-Human Baby?

imageFrom the creative minds of Wildstorm’s World of Warcraft comic book writer Walter Simonson (Mighty Thor) and Chris Metzen, Blizzard has released a loregasmic preview teaser of World of Warcraft # 15.  After King Varian Wrynn decapitated Onyxia’s corpse to display her head in Stormwind, Garona makes her appearance for the first time since the events from Warcraft: The Last Guardian.  The preview reveals that shortly after Garona assassinated King Llane, she found out about her … pregnancy.  She gave the baby to an ancient human mage, named Meryl,  to raise him. It is now confirmed that Garona was cursed by Sargeras to betray and do things against her will. Therefore, she couldn’t bare to rise her own child for fear she would kill him.

This plot brings about so many intriguing questions. Who is the father of Garona’s baby? Medivh? Khadgar?  King Llane? On the other hand, Meryl is described as undead, but one who has lived by sheer will and through the use of his own magical powers to prolong his life for milennia; he exists even before Ner’zhul created the Scourge. Is Meryl one of the previous Guardians of Tirisfal?

Garona’s baby has grown up, and there is a prophecy behind him found in a scroll digged from Hellfire Peninsula. This child is to become the savior of Azeroth. Do you feel the vibe that this guy, Med’an, is the heir of Medivh? Watch the PDF preview and get that HOT comic book at a newsstand near you!

This issue will be on newsstands on January 21.

In stores 1/21.

The road back to Theramore begins in issue #15 of the ongoing series. After the events of the last arc, King Varian and Prince Anduin must return home. But who will return with them? And what role will Garona Halforcen play in this next quest? Check out the preview pages.

If you like what you see, you can visit Wildstorm for more information, locate a nearby comic store (type zipcode), or subscribe to the series directly.

Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 2 Manga Preview Scans

Tokyopop has released a preview scan of inner-pages from the Starcraft: Frontline Vol. 2 Manga. You can view the scans at the bottom of this page. Press the square icon for full-screen view mode. Once you are done, hit the Escape button in your keyboard to exit Full-Screen mode. Then pick any of the next three story preview scans. Each story displays 9 pages.

Make sure to visit Blizzplanet and StarcraftWire for our New York Comic Con coverage through February 6-8. I will be meeting the Tokyopop editors there, and thanks to Pocket Star Books (Simon & Schuster) I have secured an exclusive interview with Chris Metzen at the event.

If you got Starcraft II, Starcraft books or manga questions for our Chris Metzen interview feel free to post them here.

Blizzard Quote:
The brutal… The menacing… The twisted… Confront the vast, renowned world of StarCraft inside this collection of mind-blowing adventures.

Heavy Armor

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