The World of Warcraft Trading Card Game has gone the way of Star Wars TCG, UFS and the Dodo. With 21 sets, dungeon decks, raiding decks, unique heroes and an impressive OP set up, not to mention the rich universe of the online game to draw upon for new cards, mechanics and flavour text, what could have led to this contender in the TCG and CCG market being dropped by both Crytopzoic (the publisher) and Blizzard (the licence holder)?
The WoW TCG could not be accused of being innovative. Considered by many as ‘easy level Magic: the Gathering’, the game system borrowed heavily from the King of Card Gaming. It showed some nice touches (being represented by a hero card with unique powers, a simplified turn sequence and being able to use and card in hand as a resource being foremost), but ultimately, anyone who has ever played M:TG was able to pick up WoW TCG in minutes. On the flipside, this could be seen as a positive; players often won’t stray too far from what they know.
So maybe it wasn’t the game system. Could it be the design side? With 21 sets, was the game staying fresh? According to the attendance numbers, the anwer was no. Darkmoon Faires, the big events in the WoW TCG calendar showed dwindling attendance in the latter years of the game, with the UK Championships showing embarrasing numbers compared to an M:TG event of the same level. However, in their final statement on the matter, Cryptozoic noted that the final set had been one of the strongest in the game’s history, with incredible feedback and sales. So if sales were good, design was still popping and new source material was still available, what was the cannon that brought this lumbering animal down?
This may not be the definitive answer, but it certainly makes one think: Hearthstone. Billed as “A fast-paced strategy card game for everyone”, Hearthstone has been seen by many as WoW TCG online. Owned by Blizzard, it would be simple to draw the conclusion that the licence was lost for the card version of the game to remove possible competition. By taking the design in-house, changing some of the mechanics and creating an interesting and colourful interface for the player, Blizzard may just be making sure no-one else can muscle in on the Warcraft gravy train.
But hey, that’s just business right?