Hearthstone‘s new Mercenaries mode adds another game mode to the digital card game, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the genre as far as expansions go. This new mode does open up a new design space, and proves that Hearthstone is more like a flexible concept that lends itself to creative gameplay design.
Beyond the Standard mode, Arena mode, and Battlegrounds, Mercenaries mode is a dungeon crawler roguelite mode that takes inspiration from Pokémon. It is a very different gameplay experience, offering up even more options to appeal to a larger group of players.
Players ‘recruit’ mercenaries by opening packs, and then forming a deck of six mercenaries. For the PvE mode, players will be going through a series of fights, working their way up to the boss. There are three types of mercenaries, like a weapon triangle system, with the Protectors doing double damage to Fighters, Fighters doing double damage to Casters, and Casters doing double damage to Protectors.
The mercenaries will level up, get stronger, and can be upgraded as players gain mercenary coins. This means their units will start to synergise better, leading to more explosive combos and bigger numbers, making for some truly spectacular rounds.
Where the Pokémon influence is most obvious is with the PvP mode. When each player has a deck of six mercenaries, and they try to duke it out while playing mind games and out-bluff each other. This mode has more depth than meets the eye, and will not only be a test of one’s deck-building skill, but also a test of one’s ability to read the opponent.
This is a truly addictive mode, especially when there’s no limit or restrictions on how much one can play the PvE mode, and it is more than worth checking out!