Saviors of Uldum – Hearthstone’s Return to Form

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Hearthstone released its twelfth expansion pack, Saviors of Uldum a month ago and the game received some heavy changes, both with the help of the 135 new card additions and the balance changes to the past card pools. However, an important piece in Hearthstone’s game design is that it is heavily tied to the Warcraft lore, and although it has strayed from it ever so lightly when it removed the ‘Heroes of Warcraft’ from its title, the next big hit in the E.V.I.L. allegiance lies within the desert land of Uldum, a place of mystery, ancient titan knowledge, and camels.

Reno, Elise, Brann and Finley – Explorer Extraordinaires

The Good Vs. E.V.I.L.!

Saviors of Uldum features the reprises of The League of Explorers, which were previously part of the expansion of the same name, and are a pretty solid group of famed adventurers – Brann, Finley, Elise and Reno, which portray a Hunter, Paladin, Druid and Mage this expansion, respectively, facing the combined might of a deadly alliance of Hearthstone villains – Rafaam the Warlock, Lazul the Priest, Togwaggle the Rogue, Hagatha the Shaman and Dr. Boom the Warrior. This conflict is part of the Year of the Dragon, which Blizzard revealed to be a year-long storyline.

While our villainous goons are original to Hearthstone, the League of Explorers are an actual faction of adventurers and appears since the vanilla version of World of Warcraft under the leadership of Brann Bronzebeard, brother of Magni. Though the rest of the crew were non-canon, they were immortalized in the MMO with the 8.2 patch where they begin a daily quest in Mechagon Island to search for clues on its history, which upon completion will give off a different subsequent quest based on the clue found, much like a choose-your-own-adventure game.

The captured city of Dalaran may surprise the locals upon its arrival…

Uldum, the Land of Titan Knowledge

The villains’ next target is set on the desert Uldum and its stronghold the Hall of Origination. Uldum is a superweapon in of itself, capable of ‘factory resetting’ the entire world should Algalon, the Observer choose to send a Factory Code Omega to the titans. It is there we venture out during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion to defeat him and cancel the re-origination process which could wipe the planet instantly. Here, the League of E.V.I.L. seeks the ancient titan knowledge and relics for themselves with the conquered city of Dalaran at their disposal, having defeated Khadgar and the entirety of the Kirin Tor in the previous expansion.

While these villains pose a grave threat on the citizens of Uldum and consequently, Azeroth, the League of Explorers comes to the rescue, with its core members utilizing newfound powers and relics. Reno has found and equipped a magical gatling wand, Finley has been knighted, riding a jeweled scarab and wielding a sword, Elise is using her innate druid powers which she trained during her time in Nordrassil and Brann, using his rifle and mounting a giant dinosaur.

Uldum may be an extremely lucrative find for the E.V.I.L. goons, but it’s also well protected – the strongholds house some of the strongest beings of all Azeroth, awakening from their slumber once their domain is under threat. Among them are the undying Colossus of the Moon and the former (secret) final raid boss of Throne of Thunder, Ra-den (or Highkeeper Ra in Hearthstone).

Saviors of Uldum is proof Hearthstone shouldn’t stray too far.

Straying From the Heroes of Warcraft

Though still staying loyal to the source material, Hearthstone has been searching for a different approach to storytelling. Instead of rehashing old storylines and ideas from World of Warcraft like in its beginning, it now uses more and more original characters in familiar concepts and areas which some theorize caused the removal of the ‘Heroes of Warcraft’ subtitle from its logo. But this is a smart move since it attracts both fans of the original game and new ones who are looking forward to seeing what kind of storytelling Team 10 can create for the game to turn it into something unique of its own.

For many people, Saviors of Uldum is the game’s return to form after its been steadily bleeding players since the launch of The Witchwood. With many fun mechanics and real stakes in the lore of Hearthstone, the game proves that it is one of the most popular in the card genre. An additional adventure (available for money or in-game currency) will be released in mid-September, which extends the lifetime of the expansion drastically, and due to the sheer amount of the content these recent adventures have given, will surely bring veterans back to the Inn for some matches.

And the villains’ story is far from over! Hearthstone’s Year of the Dragon continues their rampage in the next expansion, coming in early December. Until then, if you liked the article you’d want to read more, please check out my articles on 8.2 Pets, Allied Races and Activities in 8.2!

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