Hearthstone Mercenaries game mode gets October release date

Hearthstone's newest game mode is on its way, as Mercenaries is set to release in October.


Tuesday marked a big day for the Hearthstone development team. The time finally arrived to fully unveil the collectible card game's next big game mode. Hearthstone Mercenaries showed off some new roguelike action, while also revealing an October release date.

Before we dive into Mercenaries and everything it entails, we would like to mention again the continuing situation at Activision Blizzard. More than a month has passed without the demands of employees being addressed by executive management.

As a show of respect to the employees across the Activision Blizzard umbrella, we would like to take a moment to repost the demands that they made public prior to their walkout. Furthermore, we would like to encourage our readers to donate to the following charities: Black Girls CODE, FUTURES, Girls Who Code, RAINN, Women in Animation, and Women in Games International.

Mercenaries will take players into a central hub called the Mercenary Village, where they'll decide their path forward. Players can take on various jobs to collect lucrative bounties through the Travel Point location. Other locations include the Mercenary Cart for the Mercenary-exclusive shop and the Fighting Pit, where players can jump into PvP. Mercenary Village locations can be upgraded over time through the Workshop with upgrades offering additional features.

Upon taking a Bounty, players will load up with a roster of six Mercenaries. Mercenaries will look similar to the way minions do in Standard, but players will instead select from RPG-style actions during a game's Command Phase. There are three different Mercenary types (Protectors, Fighters, and Casters) with their own functions and abilities. While the user interface will look wildly different, many of Hearthstone's core elements are here, including attacks, spells, and keywords. Mercenary types will operate on a rock-paper-scissors system with certain types dealing double or half damage to other Mercenaries.

Mercenary placement is a major component to battles. Players start off with three Mercenaries on the battlefield with up to three replacements available if any of them fall, though some abilities will allow for interactions with Mercenaries on the bench. Commands are entered by both sides simultaneously and turn order is determined by an ability's speed stat. Once all commands are entered, the Combat Phase unfolds and Mercenaries attack automatically. Combat can vary heavily depending on each Mercenary's type, abilities, equipment, Spell Schools, and more.

In-between journeying for bounties, players can equip their minions with new abilities and equipment. Each Mercenary starts with only one ability but can learn a second and third with experience. Players can then upgrade those abilities with Mercenary Coins. Equipment is earned via Achievements and Task Board tasks and can also be upgraded with Mercenary Coins, which are earned by successfully completing Bounties.

Hearthstone Mercenaries looks to be more than a mere add-on, as the mechanics look deep enough and different enough from the main Standard mode to be an entire game in itself. On top of that, the forbidden door now appears to be open to the world of Diablo. How will all of this work in practice? Players will find out when Hearthstone Mercenaries releases as part of Hearthstone for free on October 12. There is a lot to soak in here, so browse through the Hearthstone website for any information we might have missed.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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