Curse of Naxxramas
Set in the Scourge necropolis of Naxxramas, Curse of Naxxramas is a five-wing adventure, with each wing representing one of the wings of the World of Warcraft Naxxramas raid instance. The adventure features a total of 30 new collectible cards, gained through completing various aspects of the adventure. The wings of the adventure must be purchased before they can be played or their cards can be collected.
The adventure itself comprises a series of unique boss battles distributed among the wings. Players are able to tackle bosses in several different difficulty modes: the basic Normal mode, the grueling Heroic mode, or Class Challenges bringing strategic twists to existing boss encounters using special pre-selected decks.
- 1 Adventure mode
- 2 Bosses
- 3 Access
- 4 Cards
- 5 Battlefield
- 6 Music
- 7 Lore
- 8 Developer commentary
- 9 Trivia
- 10 Statistics
- 11 Trailer
- 12 Gallery
- 13 Patch changes
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Play in Curse of Naxxramas consists of games against computer opponents, known as bosses. Each wing of the adventure houses two to four bosses, for a total of 15.
Players must defeat each boss in order to unlock the next boss in that wing. The final wing requires all previous wings to be defeated before unlocking, but the first four can be completed in any order, or simultaneously. Finishing each wing in Normal mode unlocks the one or two Class Challenges for that wing, as well as its Heroic mode.
Kel'Thuzad, the final boss, "hosts" the adventure, addressing the player as he or she progresses through the adventure, starting with the unlocking of the very first wing. He is alternately threatening, genial, and comical, or sometimes a combination of all three. During boss battles, the bosses and certain minions chime in as well, at predetermined times and sometimes in response to player actions.
Defeating bosses is the only way to collect non-golden Naxxramas cards. Each Normal mode boss awards two copies of a specific card, often thematically associated with that boss. Similarly, Class Challenges award two copies of that class's class-specific Naxxramas card. Completing each full wing in Normal mode grants the player one or two predetermined Naxxramas legendary cards. Golden versions of any Naxxramas card can be crafted after the player has earned access to its non-golden version.
Bosses are worth XP in equal amounts to Practice mode, but do not qualify for the purpose of completing quests (other than the "Total Dominance" quest) or any other gold reward, making the adventure a poor source for gold acquisition.
The following table illustrates the arrangement of wings, bosses, and rewards of the adventure (note that not all bosses have associated Class Challenges):
- Main article: Boss
Each boss is a computer opponent with their own unique cards and hero powers, designed to be "tough, unique, and interesting" encounters that introduce new strategic elements, forcing you to "change how you play". The adventure features 15 bosses, with both the bosses and their sequence matching the raid's World of Warcraft incarnation.
Bosses use a combination of unique hero powers, regular collectible cards (including class cards from any or multiple classes), and special boss cards which are not available for players to collect, equipped with unbalanced effects described as "totally unfair ... totally brutal". Boss decks are built from the standard 30 cards, but like Arena decks are not subject to the 2-copies-per-card limit found in constructed play, often containing as many as 6 copies of certain cards.
Curse of Naxxramas bosses can be played in Normal or Heroic mode, and in some cases a Class Challenge mode. Normal mode is the default for playing adventures, designed to allow players of all abilities to participate in and complete the adventure. Bosses in Normal mode and Class Challenges use the Naxxramas card back, while bosses in Heroic mode appropriately use the Heroic Naxxramas card back.
Unlike Normal mode, Heroic difficulty offers a substantial challenge even to experienced players, likely requiring several attempts and numerous deck revisions in order to succeed. Heroic bosses usually come with more powerful hero powers, as well as more Health. Heroic mode bosses may also use slightly different decks, and improved versions of boss cards.
Heroic mode is not immediately available. A player must defeat the entire wing's bosses before facing the Heroic mode of any boss from that wing.
Defeating all bosses in Heroic mode earns the player a new card back (see right).
- Main article: Curse of Naxxramas Class Challenges
Curse of Naxxramas contains nine class-specific Class Challenges, with each offering a new and more difficult twist on the adventure's encounters, tailored to that class. Completing each Class Challenge rewards the player with 2 copies of a new class-specific card for that class. Class Challenges do not have Heroic mode versions.
Class Challenges use predetermined decks, which are not revealed in full to the player at any point. These decks are the usual 30 cards, but like the Arena are not subject to the 2-copies-per-card limit found in constructed play. Each Class Challenge features the reward card, and often other cards from Curse of Naxxramas which may not yet be available to the player depending on his or her progress through the adventure.
Class Challenge decks usually have specific themes, and often serve to specifically demonstrate how the reward card can be used to great effect, such as by including several other cards with which it has good synergy. This synergy often extends to the hero powers and cards used by the Challenge's boss.
Like Heroic mode, Class Challenges must be unlocked by completing the corresponding wing of the Normal adventure.
For full decklists and strategy guides, see Curse of Naxxramas Class Challenges.
Each wing of the adventure must be purchased with gold or real money in order to unlock it for play. Once a player has unlocked a wing, that wing stays unlocked, and can be replayed as frequently and as many times as desired.
Curse of Naxxramas is only accessible by players who have unlocked all 9 classes.
|All 5 wings||$24.99||€21.99||£17.49||$31.99|
|Individual wings||$6.99||€5.99||£4.99||$8.99||700 Gold|
- The USD bundle prices all offer the same price per wing: $4.99, a 29% price reduction.
- The Euro discounts mostly offer a price per wing of around €4.45, a 26% discount, with the 3-wing option offering a slightly lower 22% reduction.
- The GBP discounts mostly offer a price per wing of £3.49, a 30% discount, with the 3-wing option slightly more expensive at £3.83 per wing, offering a 23% discount.
- The AUD discounts range from $6.25 to $6.50 per wing, offering a 28-30% discount.
The Curse of Naxxramas wings were originally made available over the course of five weeks - purchasing a wing did not immediately grant players access to it. The first wing was originally free to access, with players entering it prior to September 30th that year permanently unlocking the wing. The first wing is now available with the same pricing as the others.
Curse of Naxxramas added 30 new collectible cards to the game - 21 neutral cards and 9 class-specific cards, one for each class - as well as 5 new uncollectible cards, brought into play through the other cards. Many Curse of Naxxramas cards follow a Deathrattle theme, or involve minion death in some way. The adventure brings new minion, spell, weapon and secret cards.
Golden versions of cards are not obtainable through play, but become craftable using Arcane Dust once the player has obtained the regular version of that card. Golden Curse of Naxxramas cards cost the usual amount to craft for their rarity.
All Curse of Naxxramas cards are soulbound (although the golden versions can be crafted) and therefore cannot be disenchanted. Golden versions aside, these cards cannot be obtained through any means other than playing the adventure, and are not available from card packs.
Cards can be obtained through completing various aspects of the adventure:
- Defeating each boss awards a non-legendary neutral card x 2
- Completing wings
- Completing each wing rewards the player with a new legendary neutral card (two for the Construct Quarter)
- These cards usually represent one of the bosses from that wing
- Class Challenges
- Completing each Class Challenge awards a new class-specific common card
All cards from the adventure are available for selection in Arena, even if the player has not yet collected them.
The adventure brings 21 new collectible neutral cards, as well as several uncollectible cards.
The adventure brings 9 new collectible class-specific cards, one for each class:
Boss cards and hero powers
Curse of Naxxramas also brings numerous unique cards and hero powers used by the adventure's bosses. These are not available to players.
For a full list, see individual boss pages, e.g., Sapphiron.
Several new pieces of music are found exclusively in the adventure itself, and one additional piece was added to the repertoire for the main game, created by main Hearthstone composer Peter McConnell. The developers have stated that this will be their approach to the generation of new music going forward.
The World of Warcraft Naxxramas instance had two incarnations; it was originally released in vanilla World of Warcraft hovering above the Eastern Plaguelands, before being revamped for Wrath of the Lich King, where it moved to Northrend. Curse of Naxxramas is based on the raid's second incarnation.
- Kel’Thuzad: A Thirst for Power
High above the bitter cold of Dragonblight in the continent of Northrend, the ancient Nerubian necropolis known as Naxxramas looms in the skies, casting a dark shadow on the barren tundra that lies beneath it. Safe from most terrors that may threaten it, Naxxramas is an effective holding ground for a host of undead horrors, ready to strengthen the influence and reach of the undead Scourge at a moment’s notice.
The archlich known as Kel’Thuzad sits at the seat of power within Naxxramas, coordinating the normally mindless Scourge into a fighting force for the Lich King. In his mortal days, Kel’Thuzad was once a powerful human mage and high-ranking member of the Kirin Tor, working under the great Archmage Antonidas, leader of the Kirin Tor at the time. The Kirin Tor had a wealth of secrets and knowledge at their disposal, and Kel’Thuzad spent countless hours devouring every bit of knowledge he could get his hands on—even the darkest and most unthinkable of arcane arts, such as necromancy. He became increasingly more reclusive and shunned by his peers the further he delved into forbidden magic.
The Lich King sought out Azeroth’s most powerful and ambitious individuals to bend to his will, sending out a mental summons to those he thought could easily be swayed by the promise of power. Kel’Thuzad was the first to answer the Lich King’s call. He saw the power the Lich King held over the undead and desired such power for his own, so he offered his services as a mage to the Lich King in whatever manner he desired. After a long, tortured journey to the frozen wastes of Northrend, Kel’Thuzad knelt at the feet of the Lich King and offered him not just his loyalty, but his soul as well.
"As my lieutenant, you will gain knowledge and magic to surpass your most ambitious dreams. But in return, living or dead, you will serve me for the rest of your days. If you betray me, I shall make you into one of my mindless ones, and you will serve me still.”
The Lich King’s words were both a threat and a promise. Kel’Thuzad would become his lieutenant, carrying out the Lich King’s whims, but in return he would gain power beyond his wildest dreams. Kel’Thuzad accepted these terms . . . as if he had much of a choice in the matter.
Inside the Necropolis
The lich Kel’Thuzad uses Naxxramas as a base of operations for the undead Scourge, separating the citadel into four specialized quarters to train his minions:
- The Arachnid Quarter
The Arachnid Quarter houses undead nerubians, an ancient race of intelligent arachnoid beings. Normally highly reclusive and suspicious of outsiders, living nerubians fought valiantly against the undead Scourge, but were overwhelmed by their numbers. While living nerubians were immune to the undead plague, nothing could prevent the Lich King from bringing back the fallen to join the Scourge in undeath.
One of the minions raised by the Lich King was the Crypt Lord Anub’Rekhan. In life, he was one of the nerubians’ most powerful lords. Now, he guards the doors of the Arachnid Quarter that house…
…Grand Widow Faerlina. Once one of the high-ranking members of the Cult of the Damned under Kel’Thuzad, in death she breeds and takes care of the seemingly endless amount of arachnids that swarm from the depths of the citadel. A master of poisons, she has a keen understanding of what makes mortals suffer. The poisons she concocts comes from the spiderlings produced by…
- The Plague Quarter
Rife with monstrosities twisted by the undead plague, the Plague Quarter produces and refines the plague into highly efficient weapons, bent on destroying all of humanity as a part of Kel’Thuzad’s undead army.
Noth the Plaguebringer was once a reputable mage of Dalaran, who heard the call of the Lich King in much the same way Kel’Thuzad did. Also driven by power, he accepted the summons to serve the needs of the Scourge with his skills in necromancy and curse-weaving. However, when Noth saw that the Third War was taking numerous innocent lives, he began second guessing his decision to join Kel’Thuzad. Kel’Thuzad swiftly dealt with Noth’s growing compassion by freezing the living heart in Noth’s chest.
Heigan the Unclean was the mastermind behind the magic of the cauldrons that quickly spread the undead plague through Lordaeron, corrupting not just the humans, but the flora and fauna in the area as well. The entire wilderness surrounding Lordaeron is now referred to as “the Plaguelands”—thanks in no small part to Heigan’s handiwork.
A prime example of how the plague manifested in the local flora and fauna is the twisted fen creeper Loatheb. In a twisted mockery of the plant kingdom’s natural ability to regenerate, Loatheb can summon deadly spores that quickly spread a sickening miasma that turns magical healing arts against those who wield them.
- The Military Quarter
Many of the humans and their loyal mounts who were once soldiers in Lordaeron’s army now find their martial talents put to use in Naxxramas’s Military Quarter. Here, in service to Kel’Thuzad and the Lich King, they hone their skills far past what they could have accomplished in life. Leaders, trainers, and military coordinators—all use their talents to coordinate the Scourge into a powerful fighting force rather than a mindless horde. Many Death Knights begin their training within this quarter under the direction of its powerful lieutenants.
Instructor Razuvious is the trainer of the Death Knights, the fiercest and most loyal of the Lich King’s servants. His strikes are sure and deadly, and it is rumored that only students under his tutelage can withstand even a single blow of his deadly runeblade.
Gothik the Harvester, master of necromancy, teaches young Death Knights the power of summoning the undead to their aid. Even the most novice Death Knight can call the lifeless from their graves, thanks to Gothik’s dark and sinister techniques. Ghosts, ghouls, skeletons—none are safe from Gothik’s influence.
Kel’Thuzad’s royal guard can be found in the Four Horsemen, each with their own twisted powers at their disposal: Lady Blameaux is a master of the shadow, able to drain the essence of life from those she encounters; Thane Korth’azz controls the destructive power of fire, and can even call forth fiery meteors from the skies; Sir Zeliek was once a paladin, so powerful in life that he can still wield the Light in death; and Baron Rivendare, once a friend of Kel’Thuzad, now continues to serve his old comrade in death with his corrupting powers and skeletal Deathcharger.
- The Construct Quarter
The Construct Quarter houses various nightmarish abominations stitched together from the once-living. A steady stream of toxic slime flows through this wing of Naxxramas; though it doesn’t pose a threat to the undead constructs that shamble about within, the viscous ooze is deadly to those who still enjoy doing things like breathing and having a pulse.
Patchwerk is one of Kel’Thuzad’s most powerful abominations—his strength and speed come as a shock to those that may face him in combat. Far from a sluggish, mindless undead, Patchwerk uses his immense power to pulverize any tiny meat thing that may face him with a flurry of potent, powerful attacks. He just wants to play!
Grobbulus lurks deeper in the Construct Quarter, carrying the same ooze that flows through Naxxramas within its hulking form. Grobbulus is a flesh giant, the first successful one of its kind, created to build a formidable army capable of quickly spreading the undead plague. One of Grobbulus’ limbs has been replaced with a syringe, which it uses to inject the plague slime of Naxxramas into its enemies.
The undead plague-dog Gluth sits obediently within Naxxramas, awaiting orders from his masters. No doggie biscuit can satisfy Gluth’s ravenous hunger. It is rumored that Gluth can easily devour an army of undead on a daily basis, which Gluth uses to knit his own decaying flesh back together.
The final hulking horror that stands within the Construct Quarter is Thaddius. Pieced together from the flesh of the innocent, this massive abomination dwells in one of Naxxramas’ experimental laboratories, flanked by two huge wights—Stalagg and Feugen. Powerful bolts of electricity arc through the laboratory, supercharging Thaddius and his wight minions.
- Frostwyrm Lair
Once one of Malygos’ blue dragonflight, Sapphiron was slain by Arthas Menethil and raised from the dead to guard Kel’Thuzad for all of eternity. Like many of the blue dragonflight, Sapphiron had immense magical power, which was only magnified by the fact that the Lich King personally resurrected him to serve the Scourge. The chill of frost is at his command, and he uses his magic to defend Kel’Thuzad at all costs.
In World of Warcraft
Years ago, the crypt lord Anub'arak led an army of undead warriors into the ancient nerubian ziggurat now known as Naxxramas. The Scourge forces overran the citadel, and under the will of the Lich King its corridors were transformed into a potent war machine. Dark magic tore the fortress from its subterranean home and lifted it into the sky. Hidden behind a thick layer of clouds, Naxxramas grew in strength. At the Lich King's bidding, the burgeoning wrath within the necropolis was unleashed upon the world. Brave heroes breached the citadel and eventually overcame Naxxramas' vile commander, the lich Kel'Thuzad, but the victory was short-lived.
Above the war-ravaged wastes of the Dragonblight, Naxxramas has returned with renewed fury. Kel'Thuzad, once again seated in the frigid heart of the necropolis, has laid siege to the Alliance fortress of Wintergarde Keep. As factions from around the world converge at the gate to Icecrown, the war against the Scourge enters its most pivotal hour. It is within Naxxramas that the tide of battle could turn against the Lich King... or irrevocably in his favor.
- On the adventure's Deathrattle theme: "Almost all of the cards in Curse of Naxxramas have to do either with Deathrattle, or things that happen when something dies, or things that interact really interestingly with things dying, … The idea behind Naxxramas as a dungeon is of course that it was from World of Warcraft, ruled by the necromancer Kel'Thuzad, so we really wanted to jump big on the whole death and deathrattle idea, and we also really liked the idea of taking this mechanic which we'd done a little bit with and blowing it out and doing crazy stuff with it." - Eric Dodds
- On dialogue and Kel'Thuzad: "I can tell you that Kel'Thuzad is going to be doing a fair amount of chatting … and he totally cracks me up." - Eric Dodds
- On Nerubian Egg: "It's a card that we've seen people build decks around, with other [existing] cards that give the Nerubian Egg an attack so you can make sure you get that Nerubian Egg killed. … It's a particularly powerful card against hunters who use Explosive Trap a lot" - Eric Dodds
- On Baron Rivendare: "In a lot of ways I'm excited about that card because I don't know exactly how players are going to use it … It's one of the types of card that we call a story card - it's a card that the number of possible combinations for it are crazy and once it gets out there we expect to hear some crazy stories that come out of it. " - Eric Dodds
- On Poison Seeds: "In the case of Poison Seeds we thought about, hey, we have druids and we really like the idea of Treants and druids and doing a little bit more with that, and while we want to have it be death-related, what's an interesting interaction we can have in the combination of those things." - Eric Dodds
- On shaking up the existing game: "It's very important for us to throw a curveball out there and see the game changing in interesting ways" - Eric Dodds
Naxxramas was chosen for the game's first adventure because of it being a well-known raid from World of Warcraft. Its first incarnation made it familiar to veteran players as the final raid from vanilla WoW, while its second incarnation meant it was also well-known to those who joined during the later Wrath of the Lich King expansion. It was also chosen for its large number of bosses, making it well-suited for adaptation as a sprawling adventure.
The raid's second incarnation was chosen as the basis for the adventure at least partly because of players being more familiar with it than the original version.
Each wing of the adventure were released on Tuesday evenings at 11:59pm in the main time zone of each region. Many players bemoaned the choice of time, with restrictions on playing due to the lateness of the hour, and in many cases the need to work the next day. According to Zeriyah, the non "prime time" schedule was chosen to reduce server stress.
The adventure had been in development for "many months" as of April 24th, with "almost all" of the adventure's cards "locked down way before [Hearthstone's release (March 11)]".
While Curse of Naxxramas is officially termed an adventure, Jason Chayes has been quoted in interviews as calling it a 'raid'. This may be due simply to the game's origins as a World of Warcraft raid, or may reflect a larger view of what adventures represent. Ben Brode has also referred to the adventure as a 'mission', perhaps reflecting the similarity to the game's tutorial.
- Just 3 months after Curse of Naxxramas was released, 6 million Nerubians had been hatched from their eggs.
- In October 2014 it was stated that the deadliest Naxxramas boss in Normal mode was Grand Widow Faerlina, while the deadliest boss in Heroic mode was Maexxna.
- Players took an average of two attempts to kill a Normal boss in Curse of Naxxramas, while defeating a Heroic boss take players an average of nine attempts.
- Hearthstone™: Curse of Naxxramas™ Cinematic Trailer (2014-07-22)
- Patch 220.127.116.1124 (2014-07-22): Added.
- JR Cook (2014-04-13). Interview with Eric Dodds and Jason Chayes, PAX East 2014.
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2014-07-14).
- Zeriyah (2014-07-08). Curse of Naxxramas™: Wing Entry Details and Heroic Mode.
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2014-07-10).
- Zeriyah on Twitter. (2014-07-08).
- Jesse Cox (2014-04-11). Twitter / JesseCox. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
- Kotaku.com (2014-04-24). Hearthstone's Curse of Naxxramas Expansion Explained.
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2014-07-25).
- Zeriyah on Twitter. (2014-07-08).
- Zeriyah on Twitter. (2014-07-08).
- Curse of Naxxramas™ Launch Event Ending Soon!. (2014-08-28).
- Zeriyah (2014-07-08). Curse of Naxxramas™: Wing Entry Details and Heroic Mode - News (Reddit.com).
- Zeriyah on Twitter. (2014-07-08).
- Zeriyah on Twitter. (2014-07-10).
- Ben Brode in Twitter. (2014-08-14).
- Naxxramas, the Floating Necropolis (official lore blog). (2014-07-03).
- Blizzard Entertainment. Official Game Guide - Naxxramas. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
- Tom Bramwell, Eurogamer (2014-04-27). Hearthstone Curse of Naxxramas: where death is a power-up.
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2014-06-22).
- Zeriyah on Twitter. (2014-08-05).
- Fireside Chat - Mobile Development Update. (2014-10-21).
- BlizzCon 2014 - New Expansion Announced: Goblins vs Gnomes. (2014-11-07).
- Curse of Naxxramas - Official site
- Beware the Curse of Naxxramas! - Official announcement blog (2014-04-11)
- Naxxramas, the Floating Necropolis - Official lore blog (2014-07-03)
- Curse of Naxxramas™ Now Live . . . Er, Undead! (2014-07-22)
- Curse of Naxxramas: The Arachnid Quarter - Now Open! (2014-07-22)