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Friday, December 1, 2023

Hearthstone’s next expansion is Forged in the Barrens and it’s very much for the Horde

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The teaser for the next Hearthstone expansion suggested we should expect something Horde-focused, featuring orcs and quilboars, and delving into some old Warcraft lore. Today at BlizzCon, Blizzard revealed the new set, called Forged in the Barrens, and that’s exactly what it is.

Set in Kalimdor, it’s all about heroes of the Horde going on their first adventures. If you remember Barrens chat in World of Warcraft being full of confused people asking, “Where is Mankrik’s wife?” then you’ll be amused to see the orc questgiver returns, and the answer to that question is, “Somewhere in your deck, where she will summon a 3/10 Mankrik when played.”

As is traditional the new expansion will introduce a new keyword: Frenzy, which triggers when a minion takes damage and survives. Speaking to PC Gamer about the new expansion, game director Ben Lee has this to say about Frenzy: “It’s a little bit like the Enrage mechanic. It’s a very Horde mechanic. Forged in the Barrens has a lot of Horde identity attached to it. 

“You know, orcs kind of going berserk and dealing lots of damage is their MO in Warcraft. This keyword leans into that quite a lot in terms of how it works. One of the reasons that, as a team, we’re trending towards this kind of trigger-once mechanic (Spellburst is another example) is that they’re honestly much easier to balance, which I think creates a better experience.” 

Forged in the Barrens will also feature 10 cards representing Legendary Mercenaries to recruit, and apparently these brand new characters will have their own stories told over the course of a year-long narrative. 

The expansion’s release will also coincide the start of Hearthstone’s Year of the Gryphon and the annual set rotation that goes with it. This year is a little different because players will also receive a new Core set of 235 cards that will replace the current Classic and Basic sets.

There are 135 new cards in Forged in the Barrens, and if you’d like a closer look at some of them, here you go. 

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As for Mankrik’s wife, 16 years later she finally turned up. In the Shadowlands expansion.

BlizzCon is happening now. Here’s how to watch it.

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