Rise of the Mech - Another WoW Story in Hearthstone’s Alternative Universe
On June 3rd,
the Rise of the Mech event will take place
in the Hearthstone universe. Alongside the introduction of a new legendary card called
the first card buffs in the game’s history
, Team 5 doubles down on the beautiful mech lore and fantasy.
And so does Team 2!
The upcoming Patch 8.2
not only focuses on the rise of Queen Azshara but also introduces the area of
Mechagon, an island inhabited by the tech-savvy mechagnomes
The Rise of the Mech offers a wonderful opportunity to once again examine the evolution of Hearthstone as World of Warcraft’s alternative universe; what once stemmed from a singular franchise now has become a dynamic linkage between two standalone games.
The Beginning of Warcraft Mech
In Warcraft, the history of mech goes a long way. The first mech creatures on Azeroth were the mechagnomes. And we are not talking about today’s mechagnomes who are also called “junker gnomes”!
The titan-forged mechagnomes, led by a certain titanic watcher called
, are the great ancestors of today’s gnomes. As we know from the Chronicle books, they fell victim to Yogg-Saron’s Curse of Flesh, a corrupting spell that turned all titan-forged entities into mortal beings of Azeroths.
Many gnomes have always looked for ways to lift the curse, and, during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, they accidentally found parts of a powerful mechagnome called
; the gnomes being the curious tinkers they are, they managed to reassemble him. However, Mechazod only had one thing in mind: To turn every single gnome into a robotic slave. Thankfully,
both Horde and Alliance members unite to eventually defeat the mad mechagnome
In Hearthstone, the legendary battle against Mechazod is featured in two weekly special events called Tavern Brawls.
“Unite Against Mechazod!”
was Team 5’s first effort to establish co-op play in a Tavern Brawl, as two players are paired up together against the boss. In the follow-up Tavern Brawl called
“Return of Mechazod”
, both players and Mechazod can use new cards to play.
Mechazod’s playstyle in both brawls stems from a very common theme in mech history: Randomness. As he hovers between the board sides of the two players, he doesn’t use a specific deck or holds cards in hand. Instead, Mechazod owns a certain spell pool, and casts each spells somewhat randomly. Depending on the situation, the algorithm behind Mechazod will make certain decisions.
Interestingly, this “controlled randomness” showcases an important part of the upcoming Mechagon experience with Patch 8.2! As we already know,
customizable trinkets with different random effects will become available
Goblin vs Gnomes: The Mech Tribe
But Hearthstone not only pays tribute to the history of gnomes. With its first expansion
Goblins vs Gnomes
, Hearthstone materialized the ongoing conflict between gnomes and goblins.
In Warcraft, the Engineering profession has made this conflict more than visible from the very start. Back in Vanilla, the average engineer had to make a tough decision whether he wanted to join the path of
. But no matter what, your personal inventions suffered from one thing and one thing only: Perfect imperfection.
Hearthstone’s first expansion, however, did almost everything perfectly right: The introduction of the Mech minion type showed Team 5’s intent to add new card tribes in the future. The newly introduced keyword Spare Parts added a neat little twist to not only the game but the lore of mech as a whole, while not forgetting its roots in the Warcraft universe by adding iconic minions like
The addition of Spare Parts as a collectible currency in 8.2
yet again shows the dynamic relationship between Hearthstone lore and new World of Warcraft content.
Boomsday Project: The Rise of Dr. Boom
Besides its general theme about mech and a racial feud, Goblin vs Gnomes introduced a certain minion card that was bound to change the game of Hearthstone as a whole: Dr. Boom.
Veteran WoW players surely know about
this very special NPC located in Netherstorm
. Sparky Uberthruster, as his fellow goblin colleagues have been calling him, was ordered by his boss Blastfizzle to examine the geomorphological constitution around Area 52. Sadly,
the radioactive nature of Netherstorm fried his brain
, and he turned into the mad Dr. Boom.
Thanks to his enormous health pool, Dr. Boom turned into a perfect target dummy. Whether it may have been weapon skill training or just damage testing, Boom stood his ground against every player.
But Hearthstone’s developers had better plans for him. In terms of power level,
the original card behind Dr. Boom
may have been the most powerful card in the first two years of the game.
Another two years later,
Dr. Boom turned into the main antagonist
The Boomsday Project
, Hearthstone’s ninth expansion. Just like Goblins vs Gnomes, Boomsday revolved around the fantasy of crazy mech minions, and the new keyword Magnetic offered excellent synergies with existing mech cards.
The evolution of Dr. Boom and his ongoing presence in the Hearthstone storyline underlines the importance of independent writing in terms of Blizzard’s Warcraft card game; however, Team 5 never forgets the beginnings of their work, and the life of Dr. Boom may be the very best example for that.
Mechagon and Rise of Shadows: Reel of References
With the release of Hearthstone’s most recent expansion Rise of Shadows, Team 5 announced an ongoing storyline over all three expansion of the 2019 Standard year named “Year of the Dragon”. And while dragons may not play a major role in current WoW, there still can be found several references, especially in the expansion’s single player campaign.
The Dalaran Heist
, a league of super-evil Hearthstone villains including Rafaam, Madam Lazul, Hagatha and everybody’s favorite Dr. Boom try to take the city and its loot by storm.
A total of 75 different boss encounters
are included in five story chapters all across the city of Dalaran, and there are tons of hidden gnome and mech references. May it be
(who is actually called MAllificent in the single player campaign), Millhouse’s angry wife, or
Chomper, who just looks like Grubbis’ loyal pet basilisk from Gnomeregan
Mechagon, on the other hand, will feature numerous references as well:
You will be able to interact with the noble Explorer’s League
featuring the heroes of the correspondent Hearthstone expansion,
Sir Finley Mrrgglton
Another interesting Mechagon NPC will be P.O.G.O
, who is currently a mechano-rabbit boss in the Dalaran Heist. The card called Pogo-Hopper will also be buffed with the Rise of the Mech event, so that could very well be an indicator towards more interactions with mechanical virmen on Mechagon.
We’ve been talking about uniting franchises and alternative universes for a while now
, and both The Rise of the Mech event and the upcoming release of Mechagon just add another layer to that development. However, the history of mech in Warcraft really is much bigger than it usually looks, and Hearthstone always paid more than enough tribute when using these storylines to evolve their own characters such as Dr. Boom.
There’s no comparable theme or fantasy that has been used as often as Mech in Hearthstone, and - looking at the PTR reports so far - both WoW and Hearthstone players can be sure that Mechagon will be able to transport this unique feeling of goblin fun and gnomish curiosity combined with loads and loads of mech interaction!
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